Getting home buying help

(CBS) -- Brian Hardy knew his home the perfect home for his family the first time he saw it. A promotion prompted a move to southern California from San Francisco-both areas experiencing skyrocketing real estate prices.

"The promotion came with a bump in pay but not a sack of money to go put on a down payment," he says.

So Brian turned to an investment company called Unison for help with the hefty down payment. Their program gave him more buying power.

"It's additional cash in the transaction that can be used to better qualify for a loan, have a stronger offer, get a 4th bedroom instead of a 3 bedroom," says Unison's Lara Brizuela.

Here's how it works: The buyer typically comes up with a 10% down payment. Unison matches with another 10%. Making a 20% down payment helps reduce the monthly mortgage, and avoids extra insurance costs known as PML. When the homeowner sells, Unison gets 35% in any increase in property value. If prices fall, Unison pays the same 35% stake in the value decrease.

"That could be 2 years from now, 30 years from now… it's at a time that they choose," Brizuela says.

Unison's Home Ownership Investment program is for owner-occupied residences, not property flippers.

The extra help allowed Brian to buy his California dream home, complete with a pool.