Reasons For Having Only One Spouse Apply For A Mortgage Loan

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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.

Worst-Case Scenario
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.

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  1. I used to work at a bank doing loss mitigation on mortgages.

    If we got someone who was married, but had only one person on the mortgage, we were only allowed to use 50% of the non-mortgagor’s income when in calculations.

    Basically that means that a lot of people who could technically afford the house were not helped by my bank because they only had one person on the mortgage.

  2. It is highly unlikely that this would apply to you, but how would things be divided by the court in a less-than amicable divorce if both spouses are on the title but only one is listed on the mortgage?

    • maanita g.efferson says

      I had a question for u guys who gonna read and to understand of my situation now.let says 3months ago me and my husband try to buy a house which is 3months since March up to may 2016 we been looking around every open houses had here in Hawaii we needs to check and look inside.then after one week my husband stopped going and searching.then after one week he send txt and he said he negotiate the house that makes me shocked without knowing me.only with our Lady Realtor.and the first he told me that he already negotiate the house.then I said which house and where.he said at waipio that we never been I asking him again that if you been inside and what the house lookslike inside.and he answered me that he doesn’t need to check inside what lookslike because according to him my husband all the houses on that areas it’s all thesame kind of the designed until I got him he lie on me.until our becomes a big fight.until 3days ago again he bought the house also without me knowing only with the realtor together only with the escrow lady and the owner couples.and without my names on the iam thinking to file divorce against for him as a out of respect on me.but my big problems is soon I will be one of the pretty homeless iam’s because of the ideas of selfishness kind of Realtor and my husband.and he told me that were ready to move soon to our new place which is I’m not interested to move with him anymore since he lie on especially these kind of situation.but one things that I don’t understand of the papers it’s on the deeds my names is attached on that papers as its says that the buy wife.then my names.that’s at that portion I don’t understand.
      That somebody’s can help me and to explain that?

      Thnk you guys

  3. Note: some banks do not like it when two people are on the title, but not on the mortgage. I have heard situations where such things hold up closing. You might need to get a real estate attorney involved if you are really sold on going that route.

  4. Not exactly fun to think about, but what happens if your wife dies (e.g. unexpected, car accident, etc)? What is required to ensure you get the house (and mortgage)?

  5. You’re both on the title so you can deduct the real estate taxes if you’re married filing joint. But do you know if you can still deduct mortgage interest?

  6. My partner and I recently bought a house, and only I applied for the mortgage, the main reason being that I could qualify for a 1st time homeowner program with a much lower interest rate (the program had certain income qualifications, etc.). We’re not married (we can’t, we’re gay), so we have to put in protections so that she’ll get the house in case I die (a will, etc.) , and we have an agreement in place of what we’ll do in case we split.

  7. Because you are using the house as collateral for the mortgage and you live in a community property state, your wife owns only 50% of the house. If your mortgage is more than 50% of the value of the house, the lender will require that you sign the mortgage security note as well. You can qualify for mortgage with one income, but both spouses must sign the security note. Pledging 50% of the house is not enough collateral.

  8. Do I smell “exit strategy” behind this in case you deide to split?
    Seems kind of selfish, given little, if any benefit that would be derived from this scheme.
    I am surprised your wife is agreeable to this arrangmenet. She gets the full loan risk, and gives you 50% of the house???

  9. Cross the River says

    If banks are willing to have that, it’s a good thing. now, if only your wife is owner, and for any reason you go bankrupt, you might not lose the house.

    I also agree with E.C. about divorce issues. But these can be very complicated depending on where you live.

    Good post.


  10. That’s a good point, Finance Buff. I can see why the bank would not allow you to give away 50% of the house to someone who they can not hold accountable (i.e. 3rd party who is not on the mortgage).

  11. Jonathan,
    I dont think banks would give loan only in one spouse’s name if both own the house.
    think about it. Why would bank loan money to your wife on house that she does not even fully own ? Maybe you guys can get a divorce, give house to your wife. Shet gets the mortgage and you two can mayy again.

  12. Having mortgage payments in your own credit history will probably help your credit even if it doesn’t necessarily increase your score. When making decisions about future loans, banks will look at your entire credit file, not just your score. If I was a bank then I would give a better rate to someone who has a history of making consistent mortgage payments, than to someone who just makes his credit card payments. It just seems like a better liability for the bank.

  13. When I got married, my husband had just purchased a house. My name was never on the mortgage or the title. But I worked steadily and made contributions towards paying the mortgage for over five years. We had an amicable divorce, and because I could prove that I contributed toward the mortgage, my ex had to pay me half the equity accumulated in the house since our marriage. Mind you, this was in mediation. I’m not sure how my claim would have stood up in court had the divorce been hostile. Even though I’m sure you are thinking that you will never get divorced, remember that very few people ever imagine themselves doing that when they get married. I certainly didn’t, which is why I never insisted on having my name on the title and mortgage. You might want to speak to a mortgage lawyer regarding this. Also, check into having both names on the insurance.

  14. There is no exit strategy, both of us will still own half the house. Also, it’s not like either of us can stop paying lest we lose the house. If you have the right type of ownership, one spouse can die and the property will automatically shift to be 100% owned by the other spouse.

    However, there are special concerns for Community Property states, which the Finance Buff helpfully pointed out. But for the rest of the country, this seems to be an acceptable practice?

    • So before my son got married his wife (fiance’ then) bought a house in her name only. They lost the house, but now are looking to buy another one, it’s been more then 7 years. Can my son buy a house in his name only (with her on title) and get 1st time home buyers credit?

  15. Actually,

    we did the same thing and my name was NOT on either the mortgage or the title. after a few years we decided to buy a second house w/o selling the first one. I had no problem getting a loan in my name only for a primary residence. Had my name been on the first title, I would have hard time at the bank explaining how we are going to convert the first house into investment property after we move, blah blah blah. You get the idea.

  16. When I purchase a home I might very well look to do the same thing Jonathan. I like the idea of using the other spouse’s credit to possibly end up getting an investment property.

    Also most importantly you know for sure you aren’t taking on more house than you need. Best of luck and let me know how it goes.

  17. Special rules apply to spousal property and income in the community property states:

    * Arizona
    * California
    * Idaho
    * Louisiana
    * Nevada
    * New Mexico
    * Texas
    * Washington
    * Wisconsin

    Some or all income earned by one spouse may be community income in these states. As a general rule, that means the tax rules will treat this income as if each spouse earned half of it. If you and your spouse file separate returns, each of you has to report half of the community income. In addition, you would report half of the income produced by any property that’s treated as community property (for example, savings bonds that are purchased with community income). You would also report the entire amount of any income you have that’s treated as your separate income under the laws of your state.

    Source: Fairmark

  18. If one spouse is self-employed or a sole proprietor then I’ve heard it can make sense for that spouse to not be on the title and/or mortgage so as to protect the property from any potential legal action that could result from their work. I believe this applies more to the title than the mortgage.

  19. I can understand your reasons for having only your wife apply for the mortgage but, as others have pointed out, there are lots of things to consider. And it seems to me that the documentation on your income really isn’t that important if your wife’s salary is sufficient to get you the loan (unless you have a lot of debt in your name that you’d be bringing to the table so that it cancels out her income, so to speak). Of course, I’m something of a traditionalist when it comes to setting up the finances, so I’d feel pretty weird about having the mortgage in only one person’s name. I think I’d probably want to talk to a real estate attorney first just to make sure everything works the way I want it to.

  20. Everyone, Jonathan is doing things no different than in the other situation of any other married couple would do when one spouse does not work (stay-at-mom or dad). If you have sufficient income and credit history the lender does not care. But legally both spouses have to be on the title, atleast this is what was told me to be by the lender and realtor. I just purchased a house in Northern Alabama in mid December. I work and my wife stays at the home. BoA did not care but we (my wife and myself) made sure she was on the title of ownership so if anything happens to me she would get ownership and not somehow get it taken away from her and my kids.

    • I bought a house also, although in Tennessee, spouse had horrible credit. At least in TN spouse name had to be on the deed. Separated now, heading for divorce, how do I get spouse’s name off and retain ownership of my house. In my case there was an exit strategy at work in the back of my mind. First marriage but I had a feeling! Water under the bridge, spouse has moved out want the name off. So how do I make that happen, before it gets ugly.

      • Roger Hembree says

        I bought a home in Tennessee 15 years ago I am the only one on the mortgage and the only one on the deed although I am now thinking about having a new deed made with my wife on the deed as well. I’ve been told if I file Chapter 7 bankruptcy my home CANNOT be taken because of tenancy of entirety. I want to keep my home and continue to pay for it.

  21. If one spouse is self employed or a sole proprietor, it would make more sense for the both of you to take title by the entirety. With this form of ownership, you get the benefit of survivorship and protection from the other spouses creditors (if title is taken in the form of joint tenants with the right of survivorship, the survivorship can be severed by a default against the other joint tenant). This can be done simply by the deed saying “…to X and Y, husband and wife.” I suppose this is also predicated on CA being a state which allows title by the entirety. And again, it would not matter that only one of the owners of the property has the mortgage since the deed of trust will control what happens to the title to the property if you default on the mortgage.

  22. I also want to predicate my reply with saying that I assume you are married, since title by the entirety is only available to married couples. However, there is a form of ownership for those who cannot or are not married (ie gay couples). That is the joint life estate with Contingent alternative remainders.

  23. I agree with Chief Family Officer – see a real estate attorney.

    As far as divorce, I believe this is a non-issue if the incomes and payment of the mortgage is commingled. If both incomes are used to pay the mortgage then the house would be 50/50 upon divorce.

    And for death, it passes by probate which would give a step up in basis for 50% of the home to the living spouse.

  24. Jim ~ says

    My wife and I both are on the deed to our house, but I’m the only one on the mortgages. This was partly because my while my wife was in school, had too much student loan debt and no income, so no bank would work both of us. I on the other hand with a good solid income and relative debt was able to get the mortgages for our house. I think it is a smart move to do this because it forced us to only buy what I could afford, without even considering my wife as a source of income. She is done with school now though and our household income will go up. Good list of tips overall though.

  25. Some weird answers here, like whatever BAP is talking about. Clearly, BAP is not in a community property state.

    Community property deals with all of this. It wouldn’t matter if the wife snuck out and secretly bought a house, and everything was in her name, it’s still community property in divorce or death.

    Jonathan’s problem would be paying the mortgage, or even getting the bank to talk to him, if something happened to his wife. Make sure those powers of attorney are set up properly!

  26. I think it’s a good idea because the simpler it is for the bank, the faster the mortgage will go. The title companies sometimes take forever doing their thing — you don’t want any other hitches (like them looking into some credit item that you forgot about). As long as she can afford it on her own, I think it’s the most expeditious way to get a loan. And maybe you are right about leaving your name clear for future rental property opportunities. I also didn’t know that you could be on the deed without being on the mortgage, though. That sounds a little funny — only because that would be a great way to transfer money, tax free to a relative. I mean, say your parents took $500K and bought you a house (by placing you on the deed) — that would be a tax-free transfer of wealth, right?

  27. Community property state or not what “Tenancy by the entirety” does is protect those who own the property. This has nothing to do with what one spouse does secretly. This has to do with protecting the property from creditors (other than the mortgage company). If you take title to the home as Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship, that is fine, if one of the joint tenants (be it a spouse or whom ever)dies, the title automatically transfers to the other without a need for probate. However if one of the spouses is sued, like in some sort of malpractice, or defaults on another loan, if you have the property as joint tenants the default action taken by the creditor will sever the joint tenancy, the creditor will take ownership of the defaulting spouses interest in the property. The non-defaulting spouse (or the spouse not sued for malpractice) will then own the property, not with her spouse, but with the creditor as Tenants in common, that creditor will then sue for partition which will force the sale of the property. Tenancy by the entirety keeps the severance from ever happening, only the spouses can sever tenancy by the entirety when they divorce. The only reason I bring this up is because you are adding another name to the title at closing when only one spouse is getting the financing, and if you are a married couple it is important to make sure you word precisely in the deed that you are taking title as husband and wife, otherwise you will not get the protection that this offers.

  28. I did something similar. I bought a piece property with my wife where we own approx two-thirds and rest by another party. We have a small mortgage on our third. My wife and I are liable to make mortgage payments, however the third party was listed on trhe mortgage.

    If you can find a knowledgeable real estate attorney to help it would be worthwhile. He can make sure your deed it titled properly and that you have covred all your bases. If you found a good mortgage banker, he wiil be able to help guide you through the process.

  29. I thought of having my boyfriend’s name on the mortgage (while we both pay equal share of the mortgage payment) and both of our names on the title, but the bank asked me to sign a waiver form to give up my rights to claim the house otherwise they wouldn’t let us do this. What was the point of having my name on the title if it doesn’t really give me my share of the house? So in the end we got a mortgage together.

  30. Bottom line, if all you need to do is to sign a mortgage security note (as Finance Buff pointed out) instead of having your self-employment income scrutinized, go for it! Smart move…i might consider it with my wife!

  31. My advice is to look into keeping your name OFF the title by putting the house into a land trust (which requires an attorney). This won’t affect your mortgage or your ability to claim a homestead exemption. It WILL, however, keep your names out of public record and will allow you to avoid the deluge of junk mail from mortgage, insurance, and service companies.

  32. So Jonathan, were you able to put the mortgage only in your wife’s name and the title in both of your names? Congrats again on your first home!

  33. I did this exact thing. We were both on the title and only me on the mortgage and it was fine. Only problem was when we needed to refinance, we had to add my husband’s name to mortgage at closing as per some NJ reg.

  34. Congrats on buying a HOTEL! Oh wait.. wrong monopoly piece! LOL 😉

  35. This is exactly what Hubby and I did. The mortgage on our current home is in my name only (he was in school and not working at the time of purchase… also, it helped us stay within a budget). If we buy a second home, the mortgage will be in his name only (and then we’ll rent out the first home). It’s a great way to avoid getting in over our heads, since we’ll always be able to afford the house on one income.

  36. That’s what my husband and I did. He was a waiter/artist, and his income deemed too “unstable”, so I took out the mortgage but we are both on the deed. If anything his credit score was slightly higher than mine but both of us considered excellent credit so that didn’t matter, and the paperwork was simpler and faster. Can’t think of any downsides.

  37. question getting divorced mortage in her name shes ok with moving it into my name but bought house 2 years ago with little money down( thought it would be long term) so owe 330 and its worth about 330 , is it possible to find a company that will let me refie 120percent equity never late on payment or should I just sell and rent again?

  38. We’re about to go to short sale, hopefully not foreclosure, on a house in CA. My wife is the only one on the loan…I THINK, we’re both on the title, but I’m not there right now to find out. The bank is saying that they may want a financial statement at some point to see how money I make…is it relevant if I’m not on the loan?

  39. I have this same setup in NC. Both me and my wife are on the title while the mortage is only in my name. We thought this would make it easier for my wife to get loans later on as she would not have any mortgage obligations.
    However when we tried to get an auto loan just in her name we realized that the auto loan company would calculate the mortagage payments or some kind of payment towards rent as part of her debt obligations making her debt/income ratio higher that it actually is allowing her to qualify only for a lower loan amount. We tried to explain to them that she does not have to pay any amount towards the home but they would still include some amount as part of her obligations for the home. So now we have ended up applying for a joint auto loan which raises our income and thus lowers the debt/income ratio thus allowing us to qualify for a larger auto loan amount.
    So I am not sure there is any advantage to having just one person on the mortage loan while both are on the title. Any comments or help on of this are more than welcome.

  40. My husband and I would like to purchase another home and possibly rent out the one we’re living in now. Our current mortgage is in my name; however, we want to have the next purchase in his name being that I have a student loan that’s coming out of forebearance and other debt which I need to pay down. The loan will cause my debt/income rate to increase which would be an issue for qualifying for the loan if I’m included in the application. We know that he would need a documented rental history when he applies for a fha loan; however, how would we supply this if the mortgage is in my name. We would appreciated any advice. Thanks so much!!

  41. Well we are getting ready to buy a house and my husbands credit score is higher than mine. So they are doing the loan in his name only to get us the best rate. However, since it is a FHA loan my name cannot be put on the deed. Since I will be paying most of the mortgage (My income is higher than his) then I am going to make sure I have legal docs drawn up to ensure that I do not get the shaft just in case something happens.

  42. Foreclosed_Wife says

    This is an interesting post. This issue happened to us. My husband was the only one on the mortage, but we were both on the title. Now, we are facing foreclosure or soon to explore bankruptcy for my husband.

    The bank did not put me in the mortage for I have no SSN during that time because I am a new immigrant no job and still processing all documents needed to settle down here in CA.

    My question is, I still have no credit history, I tried to apply but I only get denied. Now, since my husband is on foreclosed, will it affect me building my credit history since we were both on the deed as husband and wife?

    We have joint accounts in Wells and the mortgage company was also in Wells. The questions are, should we close these accounts and set -up a new one only me as the sole owner?

    If he files for bankruptcy? would they come after for my own savings even I was not the one filed for bankruptcy?


  43. brought ex out took interest only subletting half of large house living in other half not married been together 15years what if he dies will i be able to take the interest only mortage out and if he has will his estate to his children pay them out the equatie

  44. if i am getting a divorce and my spouse name is on the loan and i am not do i have to keep paying half if i give up my half of the equity…and im not in a community property state?

  45. Does anyone know what happens if the mortgage is held by both parties but one of them dies, and the survivor doesn’t have the means to pay the existing mortgage?

    This just happened to friends of mine and I’m anxious to know what help is available if any.

  46. If your spouse died and you were not on the loan would the loan come due. It seems the bank (or whoever holds the note) could demand payment in full if the loan holder dies. Does anyone know??

  47. sushila rattan says

    My x-husband and I recently got a divorce. My x still lives in the community house which he and I are joint owners. We decided not to sell the house at this time since the housing market is not doing good.
    My question is: If I happen to die before the house is sold, who gets my share of the house? Do I need a Will to bequeath my share to some one other than to my x husband?

  48. This brings up to questions for me.

    I can’t sell my condo (or rent it). I am getting married. If I defualt on the loan;

    1. How will it affect my new wife’s credit?
    2. How will it affect her ability to purchase property or a house in the future.
    3. Oh yea, how long will I take the credit hit for?

    We live in Calif

  49. I am looking into purchasing a second home in California. I recently married and my new husband has very bad credit. If I apply for a loan will his credit have to be checked even if I am applying for the loan independently? I have heard with FHA loans the non borrowers credit will not determine if the borrower gets approved for a FHA loan. What would be the purpose of his credit check (if in fact it has to be checked)??

  50. I currently have a FHA loan with my first home. I am looking to buy another and rent out my first home. Can I have 2 FHA loans at the same time?

  51. Thanks for above info; help me with this; I had student loan problem, my husband secured mortgage in his name only; husband has now abandoned me and kids, he was taken to court, and ordered to pay the mortgage, which he stopped paying and is now close to foreclosure; he has now applied for a mortgage modifiation, of which my signature is required, and I have refused to sign – I believe I need to contact an attorny because I do not want to ruin my credit for the future, in case he goes into foreclosure. Has this happened to anyone, and please give some advice.

  52. Ok it is 2009 now and loans are VERY hard to get. I just applied for on on my own but they bank will not allow my wife to be on ANY documents. P&S, Mortgage or deed.

    So what are the legal ramifications vs. if she were on the P&S, mortgage and deed? Are there any. We are not a community property state.

  53. frank anderson says

    i was ordered to pay child support in the amount of 510.00 mtly and 627.00 toward the mortgage of the home that my minor child lives in now. i also have another child that i pay 601.00…..i know i cant claim child support but am i able to claim what i pay for the mortgage on my income taxes…..please send me a response back

  54. I am frustrating…it’s under escrow for more than 20 days. Now, the mortgage company ask me to file “Separation Agreement” in court because I apply the FHA loan only by myself and only put my name on the deed. To have a judgement signed by judge will take months. For FHA loan, does it really necessary? Or “The petition” will be sufficient?


  56. My husband and I have been separated for 2 years. I own the mortgage but he makes the payments. He is also included in the deed. I received the 1098 form. Can he claim this for his tax?

  57. Doris E.Hayward says

    Subject: Co-Borrow, Doris S. was not listed on the loan papers even though
    she signed all the loan papers too and the Check came in her name
    as well as Doris E.

    Doris E. (mother) good credit score; and Doris S. (daughter) bad credit score) We applied for a 1st time loan on our property that had no montage. We applied for a $56,000.00 montage. We both signed the loan papers, about 25 pages.

    We received the check with both our names on it. We cash it, and made improvements on our jointly owned house. A year later, Doris S. got laid off; I have been trying for almost 2 years to get Chase to modify this 10.875% interest rate. We applied for this modification loan back in April 2009.

  58. Forrest Salfen says

    I would like to give a LARGE word of caution and advice to all of you in CA where one spouse (like myself) is the sole 1st Mortgage holder, as well as the sole 2nd Mortgage or HELOC loan holder, but both of you are on the Quit Claim Deed. Back in 2003 I put my wife (NOW, not-soon-enough-to-be-ex-wife) on a Quit Claim Deed with the two of us as Joint Tenents, then had to do another one in Oct 2008 when I was pressured into desolving my personal Living Trust, creating a Joint Family Living Trust, then putting everything into it, along with a new Quit Claim Deed listing the Trust as Property Owner. Collectively, my actions have ultimately have turned my life into a living hell. BIG, BIG MISTAKE. DON’T EVEN CONSIDER a one-party loanholder and two party Deed Owners scenerio. Not one person (including my Trust Attorney) explained the cons that could (potentially) present themselves into my life down the road, and what the legal ramifications would be in a worst-case scenerio.

    Well, I’m here today to tell all of you, through my own current real-life experience of the WORST worst-case scenerio, don’t even think about it. If, after you read my warning, you still decide on going down the 1/2 route,than you are a bigger fool than I was. I was not blessed with any advice one way or the other for each QCD, so I’m giving you something I never had to help you realize there is a possible dark side with a 1/2 property ownership scenerio. Hopefully, if my pointing this out helps even one person to become more informed to ask more questions on the pros & cons (this forum addresses) during a home purchase, I have done my Pay Forward for the day! My two cents expressed here are only to help enlighten with making a more educated decision, through my own personal experience, a (possible) serious pitfall that a 1 loanholder, 2 signer Quit Claim Deed Real Estate purchase scenerio has hidden in the legal language and and the interpretation CA Family Law Courts view it during nasty Dissolution proceedings.

    However, if both you and your spouse are co-borrowers on the mortgage(s), as well as co-owners on the Quit Claim Deed, that combination is a good match and faster to get through the Escrow process, closing your property purchase sooner in most cases. Good Luck!

  59. i have a mortage in only my name. i am the only one working. credit was good initially, but after kids and lots of credit cards, can’t afford the mortgage payments and the credit card bills. house is only worth half of what we bought it for. considering bankruptcy and foreclosure and will live in apartment and save up money for big downppayment on new house. can husband get a house if he gets a job? his credit’s not that great either, but would be better than mine after i file for bankruptcy and foreclosure. how long will it take before we can buy a house again? can my income be added so we can qualify for a nicer house but not have my name on the house? any thoughts are appreciated.

  60. jayswife says

    This was a very informative post…lots of great experience to draw from.

  61. Elizabeth says

    I recently married. My name is on the house deed and county tax records. My husband is the only one on the MTG. He is much older. If he should die before me I can NOt afford the mtg. alone. I really do not even like the house as it requires a lot of work being on the water and upkeep because of salt and all(Florida). All I have is life insurance from him and with age it goes down and down. I do not feel if he should pass away that I would want to put 200K into a house that was once worth 400K three years ago and is now 146k because of forclosures all around us. The mtg. is still 195K. at 1311$ a month. I can afford a 700$ a month mtg. with my sole income. I save save save money and put it in the bank for the future when I will be left alone or he will be left alone.
    I already told him since the house will not sell in this market and all is well as long as we both are alive… all is OK for now…BUT if he passes I will just walk out of this home. He is OK with that; he said. His children do not want this house as they have their own homes to pay for.
    Am I wrong to think this way? If I do not feel I can afford this home what am I to do? Even if I pay it off with insurance money there is still high taxes and homeowners/flood/wind insurance. More is owed on the home than it is worth becaus eof the economy.
    I worry so much about bills if I were to be left alone. It make me sick. I would rather be enjoying my husband than be worried he is going to leave this world or I will first and and all the problems it will cause. Right now we are doing just fine.
    This market has caused so many issues when a home can not even be sold for what is owed on it. I just feel I have to walk away. Is there any other solution? My credit is excellent. Will the bank work with me to lower the mtg. payment? Is it worth it ? Would it not be better for my husband or I to walk out and pay for another home with cash and get away from the water and the high taxes and high homeowners insurance? If this house would sell now we would but when homes on the water are going for 180K-250K for 500-1m$ homes who wants ours now that dropped from $450K to $146K.

  62. NeverKnew says

    Eliz….I have a story for you!!!

    My husband just died in May. The only reason I’m the sole person on the loan is because A: he never told me!! B: He had CPA claim I owned a percentage of his business. LIE!!! Would love to talk to you! I’m screwed big time. And he screwed me in his will big time. House is upside down too. Plus, since he died, he left me with nothing more than what I put into the marriage. So many factors now, I thot would never happen. He got the last word. I’m pissed off, but then again, his legacy will show of his true being. Sad. I’m scared, but I have my truth.

    Open eyes! Be aware. I never thot I was this dumb to be here.

    Saddest thing ever…..I still love him. I sound like a domestic violence case. But I’m just abused mentally and financially.

    Best of care Eliz!!

    Is there a way to exchange contact info?? Privately?

  63. Elizabeth says

    You can email me at

  64. When I bought a property with a friend, holding it as tenants in common, my wife signed a quit claim deed for her interest — California, a community property state. If I die can I bequeath my interest in the property to my friend or anyone else without my wife being able to make a claim against it?

  65. People don’t seem to understand how a mortgage loan works. There are two separate parts. 1) The Mortgage Note is a promise to repay the loan. The Mortgage Note only needs to be signed by the borrower. 2) The Mortgage is a separate document which gives the lender the right to foreclose if the borrower doesn’t make the payments due on the note. Most lenders require that both owners sign the mortgage, even if only one signed the note. The mortgage gives the lender the right to sell the property and apply the proceeds to the mortgage loan.

  66. Susan (and All),

    The distinction you draw between loan and mortgage documents is news here and very interesting, and appreciated.

    I have questions please which relate to keeping one’s home.

    If a wife or husband (Spouse S) is not on the loan and a lender says that nonethless he or she (S) is on the mortgage … does that wife or husband have a right to see a copy of the mortgage document on request – or can “it” it be legally or otherwise kept a secret from the requeste S because S is not on th loan? Can S be foreclosed on and lose the home rand never get to see any documents?

    New to this topic, please feel free to correct the above. Thank you for any responses.

  67. Question about PREDATORY LENDING to a senior citizen.
    My husband and his mother and his late wife’s name are on the deed to the house we live in. Mother is in a nursing home now and her disability income is taken by the state. She gets $45/monthly. While living in this house, she took out too mortgages, at age 74, in her name only. $40,000 and a second for $60,000. Now we are stuck paying the mortgages off. He is self-employed and I get SSI. In this economy our incomes are not enough to pay the loans off. We could manage the first mortgage but not the second. Since his name is on the deed, I assume he will lose the house if/when they foreclose.
    My question is; Is not this PREDATORY lending to loan so much money to an old sick woman on her disability income? We cannot afford to hire an attorney.

  68. Hi my husband is buying a house his the only one works i’m unemployed the loan consultant denied his application because i didn’t provide or

    hi my husband is buying a house under his name onlymortgage and title is only his name because i’m unemployed and not good credit . my husband credits score only 640 he applyed fha. the lender wants me to call the them to verify my student loan i email the loan consultant to not giving them a permission to release any of my info to anyone she said not a problem but she denied my husband loan application. before he get the status of loan. they collected $3,000 earnest money. now that he denied can we get the earnest moneyback? is there’s a basis that if only one spouse applyed for the loan and 1 party spouse refused to give provide info. we cannot get back the earnest money.

  69. I think you are mixing up your terms a bit. You will most certainly be on the mortgage, no loan will approve a loan agreement or note without that. It is only your spouse applying for and signing the loan agreement and note. A mortgage is different than your loan. A mortgage is a recorded security interest in the property, it is seperate from the actual loan. A bank will require you to also sign the mortgage giving them a superior lein holder status to you in the event of a foreclosure.

  70. ollie dachin says

    My husband and his mother are joint tenants on a property that they owned prior to our marriage. I owned my own home at marriage and sold it about a year into our marriage. He and his mother are in default. I applied for a home loan in CA using my income and my downpayment I inherited from my deceased ex husband. I am recovering from cancer and have not filed for separation yet because hubby and I are on good terms. My loan is a conventional loan. We filed joint taxes because he has kids. Should I be concerned about the bank having a problem with my husband’s mortgage credit? I have never been on the loan or title and we have maintained separate bank accts for the past six months and I dropped his kids from my health ins. 6 months ago. Thanks!

  71. HappyGoLucky says


    Are you and your husband joint on the loan application in CA? If not, why are you worried about your husband’s mortgage credit affecting your loan application?

  72. My husband and I have a house that has been foreclosed on. I am not on the loan so my credit score is good. I am the main wage earner now and have income to qualified for a new home loan. But…. because I am on the title of the house I can not get a loan.

    fyi… house was foreclosed on while we were making modified payment.
    We do have a lawyer, but to be honest I am tired and just want out and somewhere stable. Our income dropped due to my husband’s illness.

  73. Here is a question. If a husband and wife are separated and the husband moves out of the house (which they are renting). He goes and tries to buy a house for himself before they get divorced, can the wife try and take that house from him?

  74. victoria says

    my husband applied for a usda loan on his own because my credit was bad does he have to my debt on the loan even if my name is not on it?

    • The lender will still check your credit, even though you won’t be on the loan. I know this because I am currently going through an USDA loan approval.

  75. My mom is going through this right now. My dad and her are both on the deed but my mom is not on the mortgage. My dad passed away last September and the mortgage company GMAC refuses to talk to her. They posted a paper on the door last Thursday stating they were selling the property in a little over two weeks. The only way they will talk to her is if she goes to probate court and becomes executor. Well come to find out today when we went to go file these papers, she can’t get a court date for a few weeks and by then it will be to late and she is going to loose her house. GMAC took advantage of an 80 year old elderly man and are refusing to modify the loan for my mom all because they can get a write off on this house fix it up and sell it. I would think twice before doing this.

  76. Christian says

    If I bought a home when I was single but put my girlfriend does her credit get damanged to, even though I am the only one on the mortgage? She is my wife now!

  77. In Ky the spouse still has to sign the mortgage and deed to execute an mortgage transaction even though spouse may not be on mortgage note.

  78. dear my money:
    i live in nj. i am married but my spouse’s name is not on the Loan. does my spouse have any legal ownership rights to the premises? thx!

  79. My husband and I are on the mtg. But I am not on the title. We live in So. Fl. We are co- borrowers. We would like to add my name on the title. We were going to file a quit claim at the bank that holds our mtg.
    What do you think would be best?
    He currently is the one working. I am on S.S. only. Is that a problem?
    In case of his death, we want the property to go to me. I then, could sell it and be able to have a little more $$.
    Thanks, Rose

  80. Can I sign A realtor agreement without her signature if her name is on the title, but not on the mortgage?

  81. Peculiar scenario. Only my ex-wife’s name is on record with the bank for the mortgage. In the divorce I signed a quit claim deed so my name is on the title. My attorney included a clause in the divorce papers stating that either party can force a sale of the house at any time. This house is extremely underwater and although we rent it out, it is costing a lot of money each month to cover the rest of the mortgage and maintenance. I can’t afford this anymore.

    …Can I force a short sale?

  82. If my credit is poor, can my name be on the deed/title of the house in MA?

  83. browneyegirlct says

    Does anyone know if you just signed a mortgage modification can you claim the interest seeing it gets added to the principal? Would that tecnically be paid because it is no longer owed and the papers state interest and principal?

  84. Aries from NJ says

    I have a major QUESTION and wonder if someone has had the same situation or could provide some advise (don’t worry. will not sue. I understand nothing on this blog constitutes as legal advice, etc, etc). My wife and I plan to buy a property thinking of our newly born baby boy. My credit sucks and my wife has almost perfect credit. We plan to use her credit to secure a mortgage loan. We will go for an FHA loan. Our lawyer (or should I say my wife’s lawyer) has informed her hat my name will appear on the deed. However, I have a JUDGEMENT in my name from a property I purchased long ago. The bank has a lien on the property I bought and is waiting for the shortsale to settle to clear out this mess. I am extremely worried about my name being on this new property because of this JUDGEMENT! Can I avoid having my name appear on the deed. Will the bank who has this judgement? This sickens me to the point where I can’t sleep at night thinking of this mess. We have a home under contract and my wife is just waiting for final Go on the mortgage. PLEASE ADVISE!!!!!

  85. I am currently engaged to my fiance (getting married in five months) who has decided to apply for prequalification to get a home loan through his bank. I have worked for an opposing bank for the last seven years with steady income and a very good credit score. He has decided he wants to secure a home mortgage on his own and only put my name on the title. I currently feel as if this is our first home and should be a joint effort. Because of the way he wants to finance, part of me feels as if this is going to be his home and I will just be living there. What happens if he dies or if he decides down the road he does not want to remain in our marriage? Where would I (and possibly our children – thinking very long-term) end up? My hope is that he will not purchase a home until after we are married. However, if he does and does not put me anywhere on the mortgage, should I accept or decline the offer to be put on the title? What difference would it make? According to other posts, title affiliates really have no rights whatsoever to the property anyways. Any advice?

  86. I am asking this question for a friend. He and his girlfriend bought a house together 5 years ago. He put up the down payment, $80,000, but could not qualify for the loan. His girlfriend and her father took out the loan as joint tenants on the property. After two years, she and her father transferred their right to title to she and my friend as tenants in common with rights of survivorship. After that the girlfriend got a restructuring of the loan to change it from a variable to a fixed rate and her father came off the loan. My friend’s name also was added to the deed as a tenant in common. So the girlfriend is on the trust deed with the bank and my friend is actually put on the deed. There was no consideration given in the transfer from the father to my friend, my friend having put up the down payment. My friend gave his girlfriend his share of the mortgage payment every month for her to make the mortgage payment but didn’t realize that she wasn’t keeping the payments current, in fact she had stopped paying them all together. They broke up and she moved out. Ultimately the bank forclosed on the house. They were both served with papers to move out. She had already moved but got the notion that she could somehow get the house back so she fought the eviction and got a stay of the unlawful detainer. She did not move back in though and my friend continued to live there. The house was then put up for auction in a Trustee sale and did not sell. GMAC now is the owner of the mortgage, but do they own the house 100%. Because real estate prices had dropped, there is no equity. The house is probably worth $50,000 less than the defaulted mortgage. But what about my friend whose name is on the Deed to the property? The mortgage company exercised a due on sale invocation and because the house did not sell wants the now x girlfriend to pay the entire loan amount off. Because the girlfriend gets all the communication regarding the loan and the foreclose, my friend somewhat has to trust what she tells him. She hassled him and hassled him to move back in claiming she is half owner of the house. I see online that GMAC owns the house. They may not know my friend is on the deed. Supposedly the bank is putting the house up for auction again in a few days but it is likely will not sell. So here’s the question: Does my friend have any claim to this any portion of this property anymore? His name is in fact on the deed and he did put up $80,000 for a down payment and he was transfered half ownship as a tenant in common. Does he have any rights here as a tenant in common and because his name is on the deed?

  87. My husband and I owned property together in Virginia, we inherited the property and it is recorded as husband and wife tenants in entirety with surviorship. We built a house, he got a construction loan with IndyMac, he signed a deed of trust. I asked to be put on the loan but was told I didn’t have to sign. My husband died, I made the payments but now having problems. They will not work with me and now threatening to foreclose. Do I have any rights?

  88. We are over-under on our mortgage. He is 68 and I am 61. We are about to refi…under HARP. and I think the mortgage should be in his name only since he has the income to cover the mortgage ( we are both on the deed). There is no way we can pay this house off in our life and when one of us dies or looses our job we will loose the house. I was thinking that it would be better for one of our names go into forecloser than for both.

    Any thoughts on this matter?

  89. test

  90. I am currently looking to sell my home. My boyfriend and I would like to buy a bigger home. I am wondering is it possible to get a VA loan with basing it off my income. He is a retired VA. Would the bank do this? I mean my credit excellent his not so great.

  91. Hi,

    My husband and I are refinancing and trying to decide if we should do the morgage in just his name because we can get a better deal. We are both on the deed. He is quite a bit older than I am so if he passes away before I do will I have to refinance.

  92. I am involved with a man who will potentially be purchasing a home with me. He owns his own home in SC, and his ex wife and he are on a house she purchased in Ohio prior to their divorce being final. Therefore his name is on the deed and mortgage with jt survivorship. She now seems to be in deeply in debt and I’m wondering with his name being on the mortgage and deed if creditors could come after him for debts or could they put a lien on the home he currently lives in? Is the only alternative at this point to have her get a new loan in her name only? I am assuming they did this because there were children involved at the time and she had no credit history or income that would enable her to make the purchase on her own. Since the divorce settlement of course she has an income history.

  93. I am involved with a man who will potentially be purchasing a home with me. He owns his own home in SC, and his ex wife and he are on a house she purchased in Ohio prior to their divorce being final. Therefore his name is on the deed and mortgage with jt survivorship. She now seems to be in deeply in debt and I’m wondering with his name being on the mortgage and deed if creditors could come after him for debts or could they put a lien on the home he currently lives in? Is the only alternative at this point to have her get a new loan in her name only? I am assuming they did this because there were children involved at the time and she had no credit history or income that would enable her to make the purchase on her own. Since the divorce settlement of course she has an income history. If we end up married and on a mortgage together could I potentially end up in jeopardy of losing the home or be responsible for his debt with regard to the home he “co owns”?

  94. “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. ”

    I think that is a good objective not just for home buyers but RENTERS too. But there’s a rub, and it’s a big one that ought to be investigated.

    It is increasingly the case that landlords require all adults 18 and up, even if they are spouse or family, to qualify for housing on a rental application on their own merits. It’s desirable to rule out criminal issues and even major credit issues, but this goes beyond that. If even one of the members of such a household is less desirable from a financial perspective, all of them will have difficulty finding housing.

    The practice of making all applicants qualify as if they are nothing more than roommates has broad ramifications not just for existing couples/families but newlyweds, too. There are situations in which individuals who are already in a lease and choose to marry find their new spouse rejected. Allowing one’s spouse to live in a rental home without appearing on the lease is a risk for eviction. And if there’s one thing more serious than a prior bankruptcy, it is an eviction. Most landlords and property management firms will never consider an applicant who has been forcibly evicted — ever. And so in the rental markets, you can have situations where a single person walking in with the same income and the same credit worthiness would be approved, but if that person is married or has an adult child living with them now the landlord is using the legality of credit checks to impose what amounts to an income test. This is not just about hedging one’s bets against physical damage to the property, which is understandable, but against divorce or other situations where the rent payer may fail to make their obligations.

    You do not see landlords evaluating single applicants as sufficiently fit to rent, only to insist on the applicant going out to recruit a financially responsible party as a roommate — as a source of added protection on the lease. But you see the inverse when it comes to couples/families. If making rent is reliant on a single income earner, that’s a less than desirable candidate. You can see this confusion on landlord discussion forums — and it even drags in people that are protected under fair housing laws. For instance, I saw one where an EMT and his father applied for a rental home but even though the father could carry the rent on his income/credit, the landlord wanted to know if he could pass on both of them. The irony? If the father had applied with intent to live on his own, no landlord would have forced him to go out and find a roommate to reduce the landlord’s risk exposure. And yet suddenly when you have what the landlord presumes should be a dual income household, it sends up red flags if the applicant has a non-working child age 18 or over in the household. Likewise, it sends up red flags if the applicant does not wish to subject their spouse to a separate application processes. One might think there are laws that forbid pitting a husband against a wife or a parent against a child in the rental application process, but that’s exactly what the practice of forcing all applicants age 18 and over to complete a rental application can do. (It’s not just for criminal purposes but income vetting, essentially.)

    There would appear to be a preferential pattern of rental housing favoring either well qualified singles or dual-income households over that of multi-member single-income households. Even though the presence of a non-working adult child or spouse may pertain to a disability, religious or familial status that is protected, there is a misconception among some landlords that fair housing protections only apply to applicants who are capable of paying the rent not the “incidental” members of the household who can’t or won’t (but are nonetheless required to pass tenant/credit screenings). From all appearances, this trend not only represents an attack on the intent and spirit of fair housing laws, but has made it difficult for couples who want to live and budget on the basis of a single income to do so without having to justify their actions as a means to obtain housing.

    We really need to have state and local housing authorities look into this. It’s a strange situation when you can have a person that is single qualify without a hitch, but as soon as he or she has a less desirable dependent or a spouse, many landlords and property managers will deny all such applicants — even if the breadwinner in the household can afford rent, there are no criminal convictions and otherwise qualifies.

  95. Tell me what you think…

    My situation is similar to the rest of you however a little different. My husband is incarcerated, in the middle of a divorced.

    1. He took a loan a month before he was arrested. $3,500 in loan, only to find out from the bank when his account was depleted, and they (bank) asked me to pay it back. During that time, they would not disclosure and info on his account (because of private property rights), because he was the sole account holder, I was never given any info. Due to this, I had to open an account so I could pay bills. As of last Friday, when I got the Federal tax back. After my divorced attorney made him sign (jointed tax returns) due to child support. His bank put a hold onto my checking account of $3,600 to pay for his loan. My question is…Can the bank do that? I never was on his account nor was ever aware that there was a loan. Plus how do I get the money back from the holding?

    2. My name is NOT on the mortgage loan, but my name is under the city tax property. With that being said, the mortgage loaner would not talk to me at all on the account. It seems I will go into foreclosure for sure although I want the house. Since my name is under the city property tax, will my credit score go down too because of it?

    3. I have a student loan under my name. Been paying for the last 15 years, only have $9,000 left. Is there any way I could get help on this?


  96. I’m married, living in NJ. I’m planning to take mortgage in my name, but title will have my spouse’s name too. Question – in case anything happens to me (like death) what recourse will my spouse have? Can she keep house and continue to live in it? If not, does going by “Tenancy by the entirety” is best option as my spouse can keep house? Appreciate your help here.

  97. Pros/Cons of Including Spouse on Title/Deed of Property, but NOT the Mortgage Loan

    Potential Reasons for Not Including Spouse on Mortgage Loan:
    • Spouse has worse credit than you which would make your loan terms worse
    • Your spouse has a lot of debt, which could limit the amount of loan (due to higher debt-to-income ratio)
    • You have enough income by yourself (without spouse’s income) to qualify for loan
    • Your spouse doesn’t have documented work history (i.e., two years of W-2’s)
    • Mortgage payments would only show up on one of our credit reports (instead of looking like BOTH of us have a $4000/month mortgage payment), thus enabling other spouse to get a future different loan or one with better terms

    • Property is in Massachusetts which is NOT a community property state
    • Title of property is in the name of both spouses, as trustees of the family trust
    1. Are there legal advantages/disadvantages to not putting spouse on mortgage?
    2. What are potential implications if only one spouse is on mortgage with regards to:
    a. Ability to refinance in future?
    b. Default on loan/foreclosure:
    • One advantage I see is that only my credit score would be damaged, not my spouse’s
    • If the rest of my assets were placed under my spouse’s name, would this limit ability of bank to “seize” these other assets?
    • Or is this a moot point because this is a “non-recourse” mortgage which limits the ability of the bank to seize any other assets other than the house itself?
    c. Divorce?
    d. Death?
    e. Taxes (i.e., any impact to mortgage interest deduction on joint tax return)?
    3. Is putting both of us on the title of house “as tenants by the entireties” an option in Massachusetts? If so, what are advantages/disadvantages to doing this?
    a. Would doing this protect the house from creditors of either one of us? My understanding is that the only creditors who could possibly have a chance at getting the house are: 1) the mortgage holder or, 2) creditors of both of us (i.e., creditors on loans that we both took out together, or people who manage to sue both of us for the same thing)
    b. Would a more precise wording in the deed (i.e., stating that we are taking title as husband and wife) protect us from creditors who may sue for partition to force the sale of the property?

  98. Qs …. 10 yrs ago husband left, 8 yrs ago he deeded our home to me and our 4 young kids I paid mort always. We are now finally divorced. My Qs is? can the bank foreclose on my home (I own home) xhusband owns mortgage. Only my name on deed only his name on mortgage.

  99. People don’t seem to understand how a mortgage loan works. There are two separate parts. 1) The Mortgage Note is a promise to repay the loan. The Mortgage Note only needs to be signed by the borrower. 2) The Mortgage is a separate document which gives the lender the right to foreclose if the borrower doesn’t make the payments due on the note. Most lenders require that both owners sign the mortgage, even if only one signed the note. The mortgage gives the lender the right to sell the property and apply the proceeds to the mortgage loan.

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