I mentioned before that we plan to have just my wife apply for our new home mortgage loan, and not have my name on the mortgage at all. I had been playing around with this idea for months, but it looks like we will be going through with it. Here are some of my supporting reasons:
Helps Prevent Overspending On A House
One of our primary life goals is to be able to live on the equivalent of one income so that we can both work less and enjoy our lives. In order to do so, obviously we will need to maintain a reasonable housing payment. Although it’s clear now that lenders aren’t always the best judges of what is “affordable”, if we couldn’t qualify using only one of us, that would surely be a bad sign. While going through the pre-qualification process, we found banks willing to lend us over 5 times our income!
Although this is usually one of the main drawbacks of only having one spouse on the loan, but we actually saw it as a positive way to help us make sure we weren’t spending too much on a house.
Saves Time and Hassle
We want the best mortgage rate possible, so we are doing a full-documentation loan to prove our financial worthiness. Not only did I only recently finish school again, but a chunk of my income is self-employment income. Doing a full-doc loan with self-employment income involves a ton of scrutiny and at least 2 years of detailed profit/loss records. They also only take the average income over the last two years into consideration. It was simply easier and faster to submit my wife’s more stable and salaried job information.
Projecting A Better Credit Score
Sometimes one spouse has bad credit, so you want to keep their name off the mortgage in order to get a better rate. In our case, it wouldn’t have really mattered since we already got both our scores checked while getting pre-qualified. But my wife’s score is still slightly better than mine – since she doesn’t play silly credit card games – so we figured it wouldn’t hurt.
Leaves Room For Future Mortgage
After we buy the house, I still won’t have a mortgage on my credit report. Supposedly having a mortgage helps your score, but I’ve been doing just fine for over a decade without one, so it doesn’t matter to me. However, if later on I apply for a mortgage myself (investment property?), then I’ll be able to use my full income to qualify since I’ll have no other visible liabilities. Hopefully this will result in a better rate later on down the road as well.
Although we never plan on taking advantage of this, if our home does get foreclosed upon, ideally only my wife’s credit score would be hurt as she is the only one responsible for the loan. Of course, I’d also lose my interest in the house.
Both Spouses Can Still Own The House
In our case, we plan on putting both our names on the title of the house with rights of survivorship. From what I’ve read, in many states both spouses have equal interests in any purchased house no matter who is on the mortgage, so it may not even matter.
So no mortgage for me! Let me know if I missed something, positive or negative.
By Jonathan Ping | Real Estate | 1/27/08, 4:52am