Can You Apply for a Mortgage Yourself if You are Married?

Can You Apply for a Mortgage Yourself if You are Married?

Buying a home is a dream come true for many married couples. But what do you do if your spouse's financial situation prevents you from getting a mortgage?

Many home buyers believe that if you are married and you want to apply for a mortgage, you have to apply jointly as a couple and you cannot apply as a buyer yourself. While most couples would want to have a joint mortgage, for couples where one spouse has horrible credit, it could be advantageous for only one to apply for the mortgage.

When a couple applies for a mortgage, the lender looks at both incomes, and the combined debt-to-income ratio and credit scores. They will combine all of these figures to determine if the couple is a favorable risk. For instance, if your spouse has a credit score of 600 and you have a credit score of 800, your combined score will be 700.

A lender has three basic criteria that it wants in a borrower: low debt, good credit history and a stable job and income. If you have all three of these yourself and when combined with your spouse you may not, you may be able to qualify for a mortgage yourself instead of as a joint venture.

On the other hand, applying for a joint mortgage has its benefits and can cause you to jointly qualify for a mortgage or a better mortgage when either spouse may independently lack one or more criteria for a favorable mortgage. Having both spouses on a mortgage also has psychological and other benefits. How would you feel if your spouse’s name was the only name on the mortgage and you were having troubles in your marriage? You have no legal right to the property because it is not in your name. Or what if your spouse suddenly dies and only their name was on the mortgage papers? You might be able to stay in the home, but it would probably have to go through probate or additional hassles. When both names are on the mortgage, it just creates fewer problems all around even if you have to pay a little higher interest rate to make it happen.

It is also important to note that some states, such as Illinois, both names must be on a home’s title if you are married.  Many mortgage lenders will require that the title holders are all listed as mortgage holders. It therefore is best to check with a mortgage lender in your local area to determine if it is even possible to have a mortgage in just one spouse’s name if you are married.

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