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.

The exception to this would be loans that take into account the income of household members whether or not they’re on the loan. An example of this would be rural development loans from the USDA where your income has to fall below a certain level. Quicken Loans doesn’t do USDA loans.

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!

Related Posts

This Post Has 672 Comments

  1. Me and my husband file a 1099 because we work for same family owned business.. how can we buy a house in just my name .. how would they do the income part

    1. Hi Debbie:

      It may depend on whether you file jointly and there may be implications if you live in a community property state as well. I think the best way for you to get a definitive answer on this one would be to speak with one of our Home Loan Experts at(888) 980-6716. I hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  2. My wife and I are interested in buying a home in Maryland. She just purchased a business, therefore she does not really show any income. We have decicded it would be better for me to apply for a loan by myself. Are all loan options available? In other words are there any that will look at her income ( or lack there of) and debt when considering me for a loan? I currently have very little debt. Do I have all options available? Specifically USDA or conventional loans? Thank you

    1. Hi Jerry:

      If you go with a USDA loan, you would have to include any that she had if you lived in a community property state. That’s also the case for an FHA or VA loan. With conventional loans, her debts would never have to be included as long as you applied alone. If you would like to go over your options online, you can do so through Rocket Mortgage. You can also get started over the phone by talking with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  3. My husbands credit score is in the 520s. Mine is 599. I don’t work because I’m a stay at home mom, but he does. Making probably close to 3,000 a month. How would that work? We do have debt. But would be able to get a loan?

    1. Hi Jessica:

      You would need your husband to be on the loan because he makes the income for your family. However, he would need at least a 580 FICO score in order for us to be able to work with you. I’m going to suggest a few things. First, check out QLCredit. You will be able to get your free Vantagescore 3.0 credit report and score from TransUnion with some personalized tips on how you can improve. Second, we have this blog post which gives some great general credit tips. Finally, once you’ve done these things, feel free to reach out to one of Our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716. They may be able to help you get over the top to qualification by coming up with a plan. Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  4. Hi, my fiance and I are looking to get married soon, however we were initially thinking that due to his poor credit that he is trying to rebuild , maybe I should buy a house first on my own before we are married since I have no debt and high credit score, then he move in later after we are married. This would be our first home. From reading this article it sounds like this may not be the best option since I may get a smaller loan using just my income. But then again, being that we live in Texas, a community property state, would we be hurting ourselves if we wait til we get married? Does living in Texas affect my ability to apply on my own after marriage or are you saying this is only if I list his name too? I’m unsure of the best route to take with buying our first home with Texas state laws.

    1. Hi Michelle:

      There are a few things here. You can always apply on your own, regardless of whether it’s a community property state. What changes is whether his debts are taken into account even if he’s not on the loan. If you’re married, his debts would be included either way if you’re getting an FHA, USDA or VA loan. At that point, the only reason to keep him off the loan is if his credit score was too low to qualify, which may or may not be the case. If you did keep him off the loan, you can’t use his income. On a conventional loan from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, his debts aren’t included. I’m going to recommend you talk to one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  5. My husband and I are looking into buying our first home. My credit score is significantly lower than his and I still have a lot of unpaid debt (with one in collections from my previous marriage) BUT I am the one with the greater income. Would it still be beneficial to have him apply for a home loan without me? He had no debt at all. Thanks!

    1. Hi Lauren:

      Depending on the type of loan you get, the collection may not need to be paid off. It will hurt your credit score to have something in collection though. Also, your debt-to-income ratio being high definitely doesn’t help. I’m going to suggest you talk to one of our Home Loan Experts who can look into your situation at a much deeper level. You can reach out to them at (888) 980-6716.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  6. Hi,
    My husband and I are ready to start planning to buy our first house. My husband makes $7,000 a month on his job 3.5 years and I make $4,500 a month on my job 1.5 years. We pay 2 car loan payments which adds to $1140 a month. I have three credit cards and so does my husband, total of 6 cards. 5 cards are paid in full and 1 with a very low balance. We just paid the cards off this month. Our credit scores are 554 and 560 due to the credit utilization. We are hoping the scores go up since we paid the credit cards off. We both have a personal loan for $6,000 each that we got a year ago and we pay $245.00 each in monthly payments. We both have student loans that are in deferment totaling 300k combined. Also i am in check systems for a missed payment on an old credit card from BofA in the amount of $165.00 which i just paid in full. So with all this info, Should we wait longer to try to buy? If so how long? What are our chances of getting approved in 4 months?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi Candice:

      I’m not one of our Home Loan Experts, so I’m not in a position to comment on your approval prospects in the blog comments. With that being said, your credit scores are pretty close to where we would need them to be, so that’s one point in your favor. To help you with an FHA loan, we would need to see a 580 credit score. In order to qualify for that, your debt-to-income ratio also has to be in pretty good shape. I think your best next step would be to talk to one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716. They can help you with a realistic timeline and a game plan for giving you where you need to be.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  7. Hi, my husband and I are looking into buying our first home. I wanted to know each of our DTIs is looked at separately or if it is the total of all our debt and income as one figure. Thank you.
    -Jen

  8. My husband and i are trying to buy our 1st home. He has a credit score of 616 because he only has one credit card and he is close to his spending limit. He has nothing negative. I have a credit score of 460 because i have a debt from 5 years ago from the hospital. If we both apply how likely if is for us to get approve? He makes 1200 every 2 weeks and i only make 1000 a month

    1. Hi Cecelia:

      If you both apply, there’s no way that’s going to work. We take the lowest median credit score from all borrowers on the loan, so it’s the 460 score that would count. He could potentially get an FHA loan on his own, but you wouldn’t be able to use your income to qualify. There are a few things I’m going to suggest here.

      It would be good idea for both of you, together, to work on your credit to better your financial situation long-term. First, check out our friends at QLCredit. You can get your free VantageScore 3.0 credit score and report from TransUnion every two weeks. You can get personalized tips within the report on how to improve. We also have an article with some good general credit rebuilding tips. Finally, once you’ve done those other two things, you could reach out to one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716. They may be able to help you come up with a game plan to finally push your credit up to where it needs to be in the long run.

  9. I’m in a weird situation. My exhusband and I own a home and in the divorce he got it but I can’t get my name off the loan because he can’t refi. My new husband and I need to buy a home what can I do?

    1. My only suggestion would be to try and reach out to the lender on your home with your husband and see if there’s anything they can do to get you up the loan even if it’s not a full refi. It’s a very difficult situation if you don’t get off.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  10. My husband and I are looking into buying our first house. He has a good income and zero debt, while I have a very low income and high student loan debt. Each of our credit scores are 750+ , but I’m worried that my debt-to-income ratio will ultimately hinder us. Is it possible to get multiple pre-approvals, some with me on the mortgage and some without, to see which option works best?

    1. Hi Kari:

      I’m going to recommend the two of you talk about your options with one of our Home Loan Experts. They would be able to discuss the best option for you moving forward. You can get in touch with them at (888) 980-6716.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  11. Is it true that since CA is a community state, no matter what loan program I’m reviewed for, my spouse’s debts have to be included? Or is that only for FHA and VA loans?

  12. my husband and I have been married for a little over 3 years and my credit is very poor, so could we still get approved for a house just going through him and leaving me off of it? if so where is the best place for us to get a home loan at? we live in Missouri.

    1. Hi Cassie:

      It’s certainly possible to have just your husband apply. The thing to be aware of is that you’ll qualify for a less expensive home because you’re only using his income in that case. That said, if you would like to apply, the two of you can look into your options and get a preapproval online through Rocket Mortgage or call one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  13. If I get approved for a home in Ohio without my wife on the loan but lending wants a joint open auto off my credit and my wife refinances the vehicle Into just her name will that cause any problems?

    1. Ohio isn’t a community property state, so if your wife is able to successfully refinance the vehicle into just her name, it wouldn’t be counted in your debt-to-income ratio. Hope this helps!

1 12 13 14

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *