Buying a House Without Your Spouse: Your Mortgage Questions Answered - Quicken Loans Zing BlogTying the knot comes with a lot of financial implications. It can raise your taxes. It can lower them (if you’re lucky). It can affect the types of retirement accounts you can get. It can affect how much you pay for insurance. And, in some cases, it can even affect your mortgage.

There are a lot of things to consider when you’re getting ready to buy a house. But if you’re married, one that you might not have thought about is whether you and your spouse should both be on the home loan. In some cases, having only one spouse on the mortgage might be the best option.

If you’re looking to get a mortgage without your spouse, or if you’re just wondering why in the world someone would do this, I’ve got a few answers. I spoke with Lindsay Villasenor, a Quicken Loans operations director, to get some insight on what happens when only one spouse is on a mortgage. If you’re married and you’re taking the plunge into the real estate market, here’s what you should know about buying a house with only one spouse on the loan.

Why Would You Buy a House Without Your Spouse?

There are a couple of reasons why you might leave your spouse off the mortgage. Let’s take a look.

One Spouse Has a Low Credit Score

Unfortunately, mortgage companies won’t simply use the highest credit score between the two of you, or even the average of your scores; they’ll pay the most attention to the lowest credit score. So if your spouse has a credit score that would prevent you from getting the best possible rates, you might consider leaving your spouse off the mortgage – unless you need your spouse’s income to qualify for a decent loan amount.

One Spouse’s Income Doesn’t Meet the Requirements

According to Lindsay, “2/2/2 is a general rule for all documentation requirements.” This simply means that you’ll need two years of W2s, two years of tax returns and two months of bank statements. Depending on your situation, more documentation may be required. Conversely, less documentation may be required depending on the type of loan you’re getting, but you should be prepared with these documents just in case.

Now if one spouse doesn’t meet these requirements – say this spouse doesn’t have two years of W2s – then it might make sense to leave this spouse off the mortgage. If your spouse is self-employed, he or she will usually need two years of business returns (although this may vary depending on the loan type and the structure of the business). If your spouse is unable to provide this documentation, for instance if he or she has only been in business for a year, then it may make sense to leave this spouse off the loan.

Things to Know About Leaving Your Spouse Off the Mortgage

If you’re the only one on the mortgage, the underwriter will only look at your stuff, right? It’s not always that simple. Here are a few things to know if you’re getting a mortgage without your spouse.

You Will Probably Qualify for a Smaller Loan Amount

If you’re part of a two-income household, getting a mortgage with both spouses usually means you’ll qualify for a bigger home loan. However, if your spouse isn’t on the loan with you, your lender won’t consider your spouse’s income. Therefore, you’ll probably have to settle for a smaller, less expensive home.

Joint Bank Accounts Are Just Fine

So what if you’re only using one income to qualify, but you have a joint bank account with your spouse? According to Lindsay, this doesn’t really impact underwriting.

“As long as our client is on the account and it’s a joint account, it’s determined that they are both legally allowed to access all of the funds,” says Lindsay. As long as you’re on the account, it’s your money and it won’t pose any problems for your home loan.

Your Mortgage Company May Look at Your Spouse’s Debt

When your mortgage company approves you for a loan, they look at your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which is the percentage of your gross income that goes toward debt. Your DTI can have a huge impact on your home loan.

If one spouse has a lot of debt, you might consider leaving them off the mortgage to decrease your DTI ratio. However, if the home is in a community property state and you’re getting a FHA or VA loan, both spouses’ debts will be taken into consideration.

So what’s a community property state? In a community property state, all assets and all debt belong to both spouses. Says Lindsay, “The phrase, ‘What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is yours’ is actual law in these states.” There are currently nine community property states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. If you live in one of these states and you’re getting a FHA or VA loan, your mortgage company will look at the debts of both spouses.

Well, there you have it. Are you and your spouse considering a one-spouse mortgage? Speak with a home loan expert or leave your questions in the comments section below!

 

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This Post Has 228 Comments

  1. Hello, my wife and I are interested in buying a home. Her credit is pretty good with a score of around 740, mine is pretty shot with a score around 580-630 but with 6 chargeoffs from 2-5 years ago.

    I talked to a mortgage person at our community credit union today and she said that if we applied my chargeoffs would instantly get us denied regardless of credit scores. Unfortunately the debt is just too much to pay off so what are my options?

    Should my wife just apply for the home loan in her name only? If so, we live in Texas which is a community property state, will my chargeoffs still affect her? I looked over the FHA details today and it made it look like she would still get denied.

    If she applied on her own with a traditional loan, not an FHA, would she have better luck.

    Thanks for the help!

    1. Hi Clayton:

      There are several factors there including your debt to look at. I’m not familiar with the ins and outs of community property states. I’m going to get your question to someone who is. That said, if your wife did this application on her own, there could be an advantage to going with a conventional loan because the mortgage insurance does come off eventually. We can help you look into your options.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  2. We were getting ready to start looking for homes but started reading into FHA guidelines and rules about student loans my husband makes 34000 a year and has no debts unfortunately I have 55000 in student loans that are in deferment with $0 due monthly are we out of options is there any other types of loans out there? Will we ever be able to get a house or will I have to divorce the man for him to buy the house? Or will we have to find a co-sponsor for the house??? Does my debt still have to be included if we get a co-sponsor??? I feel like a lost soul any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

    1. Hey Lupe:

      Unfortunately, since your loans are in deferment, 2% of your loan amount is used in your debt-to-income ratio on a monthly basis. This is because the loans will have to eventually be repaid. You have the option of having your husband only on the loan, but then your income couldn’t be used to qualify. That said, I’m going to pass your inquiry on to one of our Home Loan Experts who can look into your situation and see if we have any solutions for you.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  3. Hi. I bought a house back in 2007 and unfortunately had to foreclose on the property which was finalized in 2014. At the time, my husband had not so great credit so the house was purchased in my name only. We’ve been out of the house for 4 years now and are ready to purchase a condo. I know that I will not be considered as a buyer, but is it possible for my income to be considered even though he’s the buyer? I want to make sure we get approved for a loan of a certain amount. Thanks!

    1. Erin:

      It’s hard to give you concrete information here because it sounds like there are many factors at play in your situation. I’m going to have a Home Loan Expert reach out.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

    1. Hey Stephanie:

      Residency shouldn’t be a problem. I’m going to pass your information on to a Home Loan Expert to help you get started!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  4. If my husband and I are Legally Seperated in the state of AZ and he is the only one on the home loan would they still be able to come after him since I owe a judgment since AZ is a community property state? Or does the Legal Seperation leave him out entirely??

    1. Hi Erika:

      I don’t know the answer to that question, but I can pass it on to someone who will. Thanks for reaching out!

      Kevin Graham

  5. I’m buying a home by myself, but I am married and I had filled my taxes with my husband. I’m planning to use my tax return to cover my closing fee? Would that be a problem since my husband is in the taxes. Thank you

    1. Hey Adriana:

      I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’m going to have someone reach out to you. Thanks!

      Kevin Graham

  6. Texas
    Husband is purchasing a house fha in his name. I am non purchasing spouse that owns a home purchased 8 years prior to our marriage. Loan underwriting pulled us out of contact Because they want to use my home mortgage payment as his which is causing his dti to be high.
    I told them yes this is a community property state however my mortgage is considered seprate property because I purchased prior to marriage. His loan application is now being disputed.
    I just want to verify if I’m correct and what can I do if they should continue to deny his application.

    1. Hi Melissa:

      That’s a very good question I don’t know the answer to, but I’m going to get you to someone who does. A Home Loan Expert will be reaching out for more information.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  7. Hello. Recently married (about 4 weeks now) and looking to purchase a home in Georgia. I normally file head of household and was trying to determine whether to continue filing head of household or married filing jointly. I prefer to have the home in my name since I have the higher/better credit. Will filing jointly automatically include him on loan or will it just consider his income? I prefer that he’s not on the loan (poor score, judgement, etc.) however, I’m ok if he’s on the deed.

    1. Hi Rose:

      Your tax filing status doesn’t automatically put him on the loan. You have the option of deciding what to do when you file your loan application. I’m going to have a Home Loan Expert reach out to you in case you’re ready to get started. They may or may not get in touch with you today. Most of our team members are off in observance of Martin Luther King Day. If not today, they’ll be in touch tomorrow and we can look into your options.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  8. I want to purchase a second home in wisconsin. I dont want to put.my husband on the loan because his credit is bad. Is there anyway around this

    1. Hey Electisa:

      Your husband doesn’t have to be on the loan as long as you can qualify with your own income and credit. I’m going to have a Home Loan Expert reach out to you with more information.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  9. I’m trying to buy a house in Texas under my name., I live and work in New Mexico 100miles from where I want to buy in Texas. My husband bought the New Mexico house on his own. And trying to sell. Would I be able to buy a house on my own without him on the loan.??? And the loan company consider my New Mexico income. Eventually will get a job in Texas.a

    1. Hi Brianna:

      The main thing should be that you have the income. I’m going to send it through to someone from our Client Relations team to see if the state makes a difference at all. Thanks for reaching out!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  10. I am married and have a steady job. My husband also works however he is not a us citizen, we are currently in the process of getting him documented. Will that stop me from applying for a mortgage even it its only in my name? We live in Michigan.

    1. Hi Chris:

      I’m going to have someone reach out and look into your situation. Someone will be contacting you soon.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  11. We have been making the mortgage payment on house we are living in for 4 plus years. We want to buy it from my mother. How do we qualify?
    Or can we? husband has steady income for rest of life. I am not working.

    1. If your mother consents, you may have some options around what you can do, but I’m going to pass your comment along to a Home Loan Expert. They can reach out and get more information specific to your situation. Thanks!

      Kevin Graham

  12. My husband is the only one who works & the only debt in his name are 2 credit cards. We have a joint account, but my debts (his pickup is in my name & I have 1 credit card)do not appear on the joint account statements. My question is, will the underwriters ask about my debts since they are paid out of the joint checking account? We just want to be prepared even though as it stands our front ratio is 17% & our back ratio would be 38.2% with my debt included. We both have credit scores of 742 & 763. Will they approve 38.2%?

    1. Hi Christine:

      There are a lot of variables to that question. I’m going to pass it along to a Home Loan Expert who would be able to answer better than I can. They’ll be reaching out today. Thanks!

      Kevin Graham

  13. My husband and I live in Texas. My husband purchased our home in a FHA before we married t12 years ago. We now have four small children and are trying to upgrade our home. However, 7years ago my husband filed chapter 13. I was not involved in the bankruptcy due to his debts being before we were married.His bankruptcy has since been paid off and dismissed. I make 70k a year and wanted to apply for a mortgage on my own. My credit score is fair. Is it possible to get a mortgage for 200k? I do not want to use his income or credit. However, we do want to sell our home.

    1. Hi Jamie:

      Every situation is different, but I’m going to have a Home Loan Expert reach out to you to get more information and see what your options are.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  14. My wife has poor credit with a judgement and 2 charge offs. She’s listed in the 400’s/500’s. No credit lines and has been been denied for a capital one credit card earlier this year. She also has a medical bill from a worker’s comp on her report that shouldn’t be there and hasn’t been removed. I have Fair/Good credit. I am supposed to purchase a family home. In PA, it’s community property. She agreed to sign a post nuptial. Am I able to purchase this home based on my current position alone? Can they avoid including her on the decision?

    1. Hello, A.Brown. I’m going to have a home loan expert from Quicken Loans reach out to you with an email. They’ll dive into your situation and point you in the right direction. We hope you’ve had a nice holiday weekend.

  15. I live in Virginia and and I am a getting a FHA, I was told that my husband information had to included in the loan as well as on the loan, but I do not want this. Is this true that I have to include his information because we are married? He had previous debts on his credit that I did not want to change my DTI. I thought that in VA you did not have to add your spouse on your loans. They want his credit report to see his debt and they wanted his income information.

    1. Hi Gloria:

      Every situation is different. Without knowing your situation, we can’t comment on your personal approval process. I’m going to pass along your comment to one of our Home Loan Experts to reach out to you for more information and answer your question.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  16. Why does a spouse have to sign off on a loan if it is going completely into your name? I was going to take full responsibility on the loan but was told my spouse had to sign a form saying they had no responsibility in the loan and if I defaulted it was all on me. I was willing to sign what ever I needed to give myself responsibility why can’t I do that?

    1. Hey Pat:

      Mortgage regulations are sometimes complicated. It’s difficult to answer your question without knowing everything involved because every situation is different. I’m going to forward your comment to one of our Home Loan Experts who may be able to give you more information.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  17. I have been married without a contract for 5 years with no children in my marriage. I have 2 children before marriage. I want to buy a house for my children, considering the fact that I have no children in this marriage, is it possible to buy a house and register it in my 1st born name to prevent them from eviction in the event of my death. What must I do?

    1. Hi Ndeshi-

      Since you’re dealing with questions of who gets a property after you pass away, it would probably be best to set up a meeting with an estate planning attorney, explain your concerns, and have them answer your questions and come up with solutions. Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  18. My husband and I have been married for 6 years. We both have stable jobs, good credit (high 700s), and no debt. We want to buy a house but currently do not have the money for a down payment. (We just had a baby and our savings were all but wiped out) When we first married my husband got a USDA loan with 100% financing and no down payment. We’ve been told that since we sold that house we would qualify for a USDA loan again but we were also just told that our income is too high. Just wanting to know what our options are.

    1. Hi Heather,

      While we don’t do USDA loans, I can tell you that there are income-based restrictions. The only other 0% down payment loan would be from the VA, but that’s limited to eligible active duty service members and veterans. I can pass your comment to a Home Loan Expert who can look into your specific situation. In the meantime, here’s a post on saving for a down payment. I hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  19. Hello! My husband and I both have not so good credit (student loans of course :)) his is 582 and mine somewhere in low 500’s- we both have good jobs working over 4 years at, make over 100,000. We applied for a mortgage 6 months ago and were told to raise our credit. I paid most of my medical bills off and my credit DROPPED? Can we get a loan with his income only and his 582 credit score?? Would they take my income into consideration? Would he qualify for FHA and first time home buyers? Lots of questions and last person we worked with had not many helpful answers. We live in Buffalo, NY. Thanks in advance!

    1. Thanks for the info, Kay! I’m going to have a home loan expert reach out to you with an email. They’ll look at your situation and see what they can do. In the meantime, take a look at this article on improving your credit score. Some good choices would easily improve it.

  20. my fiance and i are planning on buying a house. he has great credit and a very stable work history. i have been a stay at home mom who just started working again and my credit isnt so good. would i be considered on the loan if we live in texas?

    1. Hello, Michelle! Thanks for your comment. While we’d need some more information to be sure, it could potentially be better if your fiance applied for the house alone. If you went on the loan together, your low credit would be averaged with his great credit, which could cause you to have a higher interest rate. Instead, he could get the house alone and then put you on the deed. Speak with him first, but this may be the best option for you and your family.

  21. Hello , I reside in Florida married for 2years thinking on purchasing a home however my husband has not filed taxes over 12 years and would like to leave him off my loan, is this possible? I’ve been told I cannot and must add him at least to deed. Please advise, I would hate my home being taken away once IRS gets involve and for the record I don’t file joint taxes with him thank god. Thanks

    1. Hey, Joan! Wow, twelve years…that’s a long time. Yes, you can get a home loan without your spouse. However, you won’t be able to include his income on the purchase. You will be judged solely on your income, credit, assets, etc. Depending on your situation, that could be a big disqualifier. If you’re interested in moving forward with a loan, please visit us at quickenloans.com.

      Best of luck to you, Joan! And you should really talk to your husband about paying his taxes.

  22. My husband refinanced the house the first time we signed the papers together then we had to do it again because he said there was a mess up and it just had to be in his name and they would put me back on later. 45 days to be exact. Well it has been over two months and we still haven’t redone the paperwork. Should I be concerned?

  23. hi. My husband and I have been married for almost 2 years. I have “owned” (I have an FHA mortgage) for a total of 5 years now. I am now pregnant and cannot work, and he has terrible credit from mistakes he made when we was younger. He has a great job that can pay all our bills but due to his credit score he can’t even get a credit card to raise his credit. We tried co-signing for a new car for him last year but they took his name off because the bank refused to have him on it. When he gets a weekday off we plan on going to the bank to see if they will put his name on the loan since he is the one paying. We would like to refinance for hopefully a smaller mortgage payment but mostly just to get a new mortgage company(the one I have keeps trying to raise my payment with no paperwork to prove why). Our problem is since I have the excellent credit but no job we have to have his very poor credit. Even with his job no one wants to refinance the mortgage. Preferably we would like to get a new house for our growing family but if we can’t even refinance we can’t get approved for a home loan. Thanks

    1. Good morning, Jenni. That’s a sticky situation, but you have a few options. First of all, you could get a credit card together, in which he is an authorized user on the credit account. But be warned. By doing this, you’re putting your good credit at risk. Make sure you have both committed to paying off the card every month. There is also the option of having a secured credit card. To learn more about your options, check out this article about improving credit and getting denied for a mortgage.

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