Couple standing in front of their new home.

One of the more beautiful sayings in Spanish in my opinion is “Mi casa es su casa.” That translates to “My house is your house.”

That sentiment has a lot to do with the intention behind community property laws. Nine states have laws that say things you buy when you’re married become property of the couple. Depending upon the type of loan you get, this can affect your application for a mortgage. If you can’t make the monthly payment, your spouse may still be responsible for the payments regardless of whether they’re on the loan.

If you’re considering applying without your spouse, there may be cases where it still makes sense to do so. Let’s look at some considerations.

Where and When Does It Apply?

The first thing to figure out is whether community property applies in your state. The following nine states have communal property laws on the books that apply to married couples:

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

Residents of Alaska also have the option of creating community property estates, but it’s not required that they do so.

There’s another huge caveat to the community property guidelines I’m about to go over:

The following rules concerning debt and credit only apply in the case of FHA and VA loans. If you get your loan through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, those loans follow traditional guidelines and the debt and credit of your non-borrowing spouse isn’t factored into the loan.

My Debt Is Your Debt

In those states where community property is in effect, a lender is required to request a credit report from the non-borrowing spouse when doing an FHA or VA loan. Investor guidelines on these particular loans require them to consider a number of factors that could impact approval.

Debt-to-income (DTI) Ratio

Lenders need to consider this because a borrower’s debt has to be figured into the qualifying debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Let’s do a quick example on how DTI is calculated.

Let’s say I make $3,000 a month. My car payment is $300. Housing is $700 and I have a credit card bill of around $300 per month. My DTI is 43% ($1,400/$3,000).

On FHA and VA loans in community property states, spousal debts are included in DTI regardless of whether the spouse is on the loan.

Charge-offs and Collections

Charge-offs and collections on accounts occur when payments on debt are considered well past due and the creditor doesn’t think they are likely to collect. At that point, they’ll place a mark on your credit report. Although you can’t fully remove accounts that have been charged off or gone into collection from your credit report for seven years, you can pay them off in full or sometimes work out a payment plan to deal with the obligations.

If your spouse has charge-offs or collections to pay off, they may affect your DTI. This is true for certain FHA and VA loans. One thing to note is that if the collections are in the name of your spouse, you may not have to wait 12 months prior to applying in order to get a VA loan. The collections just need to be paid off at closing.

Judgments and Liens

If your spouse has judgments or property liens, those can also affect your ability to close a loan and, in some instances, are required to be paid off. Exactly how it works depends on the type of loan you’re getting.


You’re probably wondering at this point why you would bother applying alone in a community property state if your spouse’s debt and credit report are taken into account anyway?

While your spouse’s credit report has to be ordered on FHA and VA loans to take a look at the debts, the credit score is not taken into account. This means you can’t be denied for a mortgage if your spouse has a bad credit score. In contrast, if you apply together, all scores are taken into account for both clients.

We hope this has cleared up some of the factors involved in applying for a mortgage in community property states, but a lot of this depends on the specific type of loan you’re getting. If you still have questions, call us at (800) 251-9080. You can also leave your questions in the comments and we’ll answer them or get them to the right people.

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This Post Has 132 Comments

  1. Hello Kevin,

    I live in Wisconsin and my husband and I are legally separated. I want to purchase a house and I’m looking to get an FHA loan. Does my husbands debt need to be taken into account even if we have a court order saying I am not responsible for his debt or will I need to get a divorce? He has a poor credit score and a lot of student debt and I don’t want to be held against me especially since we already have the order saying we are not responsible for each others debts.

    1. Hi Seranza:

      Since this is an FHA loan, if you have a court order detailing that you aren’t legally responsible for the debts, we can move forward without including his debt in your DTI. I recommend you talk to one of our Home Loan Experts to get started. They can be reached at (888) 980-6716. Hope this helps!

      Kevin Graham

  2. Hi there I am from Colorado which is a non community property state and my husband would like to use his VA to buy a home in Texas.
    I have acquired credit card debt and have bad credit, would my husband still have to provide my credit report even though I will be staying in Colorado? What are our options besides paying off the debt in order for him to get the VA loan? Divorce papers?

    1. Hi Tiffany:

      We certainly don’t want something like getting a mortgage to end a marriage. I’m not well-versed enough in the particular requirements in Texas to say what your options might be, but I would recommend speaking with one of our Home Loan Experts about your situation to see what they recommend. You can get in touch with us at (888) 980-6716.

      Kevin Graham

  3. I live in Wisconsin. At the time of purchase, I will be legally separated. I anticipate applying for my VA loan benefits. My spouse has severely poor credit; judgements and collections. I do not need to utilize my spouse’s income for purchase. Though legally separated, will my husbands credit influence my approval? If he will have to be part of the purchase process (though not on the title/ signing of deed), do they have to utilize his credit info.?

    1. Hi Andi:

      Since Wisconsin is a community property state, the VA chooses to treat his debts as if you’ll be responsible for it. Therefore, his debts are taken into account in your DTI. With that said, if you can produce a legally binding document saying you’re not responsible for the debt, it wouldn’t have to be considered. In addition, his credit isn’t considered for credit denial, so his score doesn’t affect you.


  4. Question: I am going to be a cosigner on my daughter’s house loan, (Oklahoma) however, my husband (Texas) is going to have to sign some documents, but he isn’t going to be on the note, so he will have no financial responsibility at all on this house, just an “interest.”

    When we go to the title company, I would like to keep my business confidential, and I am wondering if there is any way to do this, since we HAVE NO JOINT ACCOUNTS TOGETHER AT ALL, not even our home in Texas.

    Please help me.

    1. Hi John:

      Oklahoma isn’t a community property state, but Texas is. I’m not sure whether he has to sign anything. I want to make sure you get the right information and one of our home loan experts would know the answer to this question. I’m going to recommend you get in touch with them at (888) 980-6716.


  5. I’m the vet, home is a VA LOAN with me soley on the loan.In the past we have split payments on the loan. Due to a pending DV charge against me, We have a no contact court order, she is in the house. Can legally lock her Out? I plan to file for a divorce shortly.

    1. If you’re in a community property state, there’s a good chance she has some rights to the property regardless of who makes the payments. With that being said, I’m not sure how the legal system works in this situation. I’m going to recommend you speak to your lawyer.

  6. My spouse and I are legally separated, would my ex still be able to get a home with out my credit or do we have to file for a divorce for my ex to get a home in a community property?

    1. Hi Amber:

      I don’t know specifically about legal requirements, because those may vary from state to state, but I can speak in terms of getting a mortgage. If you’re getting an FHA, USDA or VA loan, these investors require that we pull credit from a non-borrowing spouse in a community property state even if you’re separated. This wouldn’t apply to conventional loans from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, though. I hope this helps!

      Kevin Graham

  7. I am planning on buying a house in Texas, and I am qualified to use VA loan. My spouse is not in US therefore, does not have a social security.
    I did not want to include him in the loan since he does not have a social security number. Is it possible to do that?

    1. Hi Ann:

      It’s possible to do this. We would still pull your spouse’s credit report because it’s a community property state and there may be some additional paperwork because he doesn’t have a Social Security number, but it’s absolutely possible. One of our Home Loan Experts would be happy to help you to give us a call at (888) 980-6716. Hope this helps!


  8. My son, his wife and baby son live together in Chicago.
    The house they live in is in her name only and her mother has paid some of the mortgage payments, but for the past 2 months my son has. She looks after the baby, he works.
    It looks as if they will divorce/separate.
    My question is: Who will be legally responsible for paying the mortgage when my son moves out? He, although not the owner? She as owner, or both?

    They’ve lived in this house since February 2017.

    1. Hi:

      Because Illinois isn’t a community property state, she would get the house and be responsible for the payment. Hope this helps!

      Kevin Graham

  9. I have recently re married and want to purchase a home but I’m finding out the wife has some sort of lean from previous relationship. How and why does this effect me if it was before I met her. I live in California.

    1. California is a community property state. Because of this, on certain types of loans – namely, FHA, VA and USDA – your wife’s debts are considered shared between the two of you. The lien may have to be paid off at or before closing or on a repayment plan. The exact requirements depend on what type of loan you’re applying for. I’m going to recommend you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716 to get clarification based on your situation. They’ll be able to give you the most accurate information.

  10. I am thinking about getting a house in my name with my credit but my spouse has the money in his account.Can he transfer the money over into my account for the down payment?

    1. Hi Ty:

      This is possible, but the money has to be in your account for a certain amount of time before it can be applied to down payment. I’m going to recommend you talk to one of our Home Loan Experts to get the best advice on this. You can reach them by calling (888) 980-6716.

      Kevin Graham

  11. Hello
    I live in Texas my husband and I are looking to buy a home he has the VA Loan I filed Chapter 13, will this affect him being approved, I’m on the put plan and have not been discharged.

    1. Hi LaToya:

      I absolutely want to make sure you get the correct information. I’m going to recommend you talk to one of our Home Loan Experts. They’ll be able to go over your situation and give you guidance. You can get in touch with them by calling (888) 980-6716.

      Kevin Graham

  12. I believe I am not in a community property state (Indiana). We are looking at buying a house soon. I am currently not working. Is it possible for my husband to be the sole purchaser? I would prefer not to be involved as I am hoping my debt will not be considered.

    1. Hi JannBee:

      You’re correct that Indiana is not a community property state. Therefore, your husband can absolutely choose to be on the loan on his own. We can work with him if he wants to get a preapproval through Rocket Mortgage. Otherwise, one of our Home Loan Experts would be happy to take his call at (888) 980-6716. Hope this helps!

      Kevin Graham

  13. Hello Kevin. I am asking questions for my mother and stepdad. They now own a mobile home which is in both of there names. They took out a second mortgage and they are now upside down. My mother wants a new home and he does not. Will she be able to sign house over to him and proceed with buying on her own

    1. Hi Mrs. Morris:

      It depends on whether they live in a community property state. If they don’t, that may be possible. If they do, they could still try, but might have to consult a lawyer about options.

      Kevin Graham

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