Married Couples and Mortgage Loans

If you are married, do you have to apply for a mortgage in both names? In other words, can just one name/credit be considered?

2 Answers

Married couples in most states need not apply jointly for a new mortgage loan.

Most often, a married couple will desire to have both names included equally on all household debt and obligations, but variations to this general rule of thumb often occur, and for varying reasons.

For example, a couple decides to purchase a new primary residence. They apply with a local lender who takes an application and obtains a credit report. In some instances, the credit report for the couple may reveal a large difference in FICO scores for the husband and wife. This may be due in part to credit history obtained as individuals prior to marriage, or individual accounts being paid delinquently. The result may be that one of the pair could negatively impact the credit quality or requirements of a particular loan program, since most lenders put great emphasis on credit scores in determining eligibility. In this case, a decision may be made to attempt to qualify for the home loan with only one of the couple actually applying for the financing, subject to acceptable income, & assets. This is perfectly normal, and happens quite frequently.

In some instances the decision may be made to leave off a spouse due to the spouse having no income, thereby not adding anything extra to the transaction.

Yes, just one of you can be on the loan (note) as long as you qualify on your own with your payment and debt. Sometimes, this works out better if one of you doesn't have good credit or too much debt individually to qualify. Or sometimes you can get a better rate if one of you has a high credit score and can qualify on your own.

However, if your property is located in a community property state, and you are married, both of you must be on the TITLE or DEED and must both sign the Mortgage and related documents (i.e. Truth in Lending, Right of Recission, HUD-1 closing statement). You can contact your local property appraisers office or a title company to find out if your state is a community property state.