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.

Credit

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 153 Comments

  1. Hello-

    My husband and I are in the process of moving to a community property state. I have a very small pension, but a great deal of credit card debt in my name only. We’re considering having me file bankruptcy in my name only. Assuming the debt is discharged before purchasing the home loan, can he apply for a home loan without my bankruptcy causing problems? Or will we have to wait two years and include me on the loan?

    1. Hi Beth:

      If you were to get an FHA, USDA or VA loan, any adverse credit issues including bankruptcy would need to be treated as if they were the responsibility of both of you because it’s a community property state. Different guidelines apply if you’re getting a conventional loans through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and we could certainly help you look into your options to do that. I’m going to recommend you speak to one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716. They would be able to go over all of your options. Hope this helps!

  2. I live in AZ which is a community property state and I am married. My husband has a civil lien against him for back child support. Will this affect me buying a home. Even if I were the only one buying it? Can he sign something saying that I am the only one with any interest in the property?

    1. Hi Heather:

      If you’re getting an FHA, USDA or VA loan, it could affect you. None of this applies if you get a conventional loan through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, for example. I recommend you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716 to go over your potential options. Thanks!

  3. Hello. So I am wondering if you are married can one person buy a house just in their name? I live in illinois

    1. Hi Telishia:

      In some cases, you can most definitely buy a house without your spouse. Sometimes having only one spouse on a home loan can be a wise decision, if one spouse has a low credit score, a lot of debt or doesn’t meet the income requirements. All of these things could impact your eligibility to qualify for a decent loan amount at a decent interest rate. However, if you’re the only one who will be on the mortgage, depending on your income, you might only quality for a small loan amount. Additionally, in some loan cases, the lender might still consider both debts when determining the loan amount. The best thing for you to do would be to speak to one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716. Until then, here’s more information about buying a house without your spouse. I hope this helps!

  4. If one lives in Louisiana and is a no purchasing spouse on a FHA loan or Conventional loan can the non purchasing spouse name be on the title or would the purchasing spouse need to will the house to the non purchasing spouse?

  5. I just recently got married in Madison, WI. My husband is from Buffalo Grove, IL. I am in WI. We are in the process of selling his condo in IL and buying a new house in Roscoe, IL. Would this be considered community property? As of right now I’m still in WI and he is in IL.

    1. Hi Corina:

      I’m assuming you’ll be moving in soon after the mortgage closes. This doesn’t come up a lot because usually spouses are already in the same state when they’re about to move in together. I’m going to recommend you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716. They might know more and be able to help you with the answer to your question.

  6. I would like to buy property in Georgia as an investment to rent out. My spouse and I currently live and own property in California. The mortgage is solely in his name, I am only on the title. Would his debts be counted against mine if I buy the Georgia property solely in my name? Georgia is not a community property state… so I’m hoping his debts won’t count against mine.

    1. Hi Brenda:

      You don’t even have to deal with conflicting laws in this case. Allow me to explain.

      You can only get an investment property through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as a conventional loan. Neither one of these investors requires that your spouse’s debt be taken into account. So it doesn’t matter. If you would like to get started, you can talk to one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716. Hope this helps!

  7. My husband and I got married in 2015. We live in Illinois and have a child together. He purchased a home in 2016 without my knowledge. He is now in the process of refinancing the home and I have little knowledge of what he is doing. My concern is if I didn’t sign anything in the beginning and during refinancing does his debt be my debt? We both file our taxes jointly. If we should divorce what happens with the property?

      1. Hi Lisa:

        Since Illinois isn’t a community property state, and you’re not on the loan, you’re not responsible for the debt. In the case of a divorce, he would keep the property unless you’re on the title. Since you didn’t know about it, you may not be. I hope this helps.

        Thanks,
        Kevin

  8. My husband an I are wanting to buy a house in Minnesota. We have a large family and need to use both our incomes to get a larger loan, however, he and his ex-wife have a couple judgments against them for medical bills. Is this going to prevent us from buying a home?

    1. Hi Carrie:

      The short answer is it could. In many cases, judgments have to be paid off at or before the close of the loan. However, if you’re getting an FHA or USDA loan, there are certain situations in which you can keep the judgment open if you’re on a documented repayment plan. Every situation is different. I’m going to recommend you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716 to go over your potential options.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  9. Hello, I was looking into getting an FHA loan, I am in New Mexico. My husband is currently a stay at home parent for our child, however he has a child support order out of Missouri that New Mexico is upholding. He does not make any income so the loan would be off of my income alone, do they have to consider my husband’s child support payment as debt on the loan application? Is there anything we can do, aside from separating/lying?

    Thanks so much for the help!

    1. Hi Angie:

      I don’t advise lying because that could open you up to potential mortgage fraud issues. At the same time, we don’t want to break up any marriages, either. Normally, your spouse’s debt would have to be considered. Because it’s an FHA loan, though, you may be able to exclude his debts if you can get a detailed court order stating that you aren’t responsible for his debts. I recommend speaking with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716 to go over the details of your situation and see if that’s actually necessary or if you could qualify for the home you want even with his payments included.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  10. My husband and I have been married for a year. I have a reverse mortgage on my home, where he now lives. He will never be on the title, and upon my death, it is not his. We also have pre-nup to keep all our finances separate, and we file taxes separately, have no joint bank accounts or credit cards. We are totally financially independent of each other. Two questions: He wants to use his VA loan to buy a house in another state in which he travels to frequently without me on the loan. We live in a community property state, the house he wants to purchase is not. Will the lender need to look at my debt ratio even though we have proof of separate fiances? And if so, then will they only consider the debt since we married, or all of my debt?

    1. Hi JJ:

      I’m going to suggest you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts to get accurate advice about this because you’re talking about one state that is a community property state and one that isn’t. You can get in touch with us at (888) 980-6716.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  11. 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!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  12. 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.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  13. 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.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  14. 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.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  17. 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!

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  18. 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!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  21. 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.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  22. 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!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  23. 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.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

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