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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.

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 735 Comments

  1. Hey there,
    We live in Florida and are about to buy a home I have a home childcare and will not be on the home loan due to my low income and higher debt we do have a cosigner, my dad, but my husband and I file our taxes married filing jointly. Will my part of the taxes be looked at and scrutinized even though I’m not on the loan will this affect him getting a home loan?
    Thanks!

    1. Since Florida isn’t a community property state, your debts aren’t looked at. Since you file jointly, I want to make sure you get the right information on that part. I’m going to recommend you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts by calling (888) 980-6716.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  2. I live in Texas and I know this is a community property state, my question is will I be able to purchase a home with my name only on mortgage due to my husband terrible credit and a bankruptcy under his name, I can get approved only with my income but not sure if all his debs will affect me? also if able to do so what type of loan will qualify me all by myself

    1. The way community property states work, his credit score isn’t counted for the purposes of your qualification. However, if you’re getting an FHA, USDA or VA loan, his debts have to be counted in your debt-to-income ratio. If you get a conventional loan, you can get it on your own and his debts don’t matter. Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  3. Hello,
    I currently have an FHA loan on a home I bought when I was single in NY. Would my husband be able to get an fha loan on his own for another property while I keep the current fha loan? Thank you.

    Brandy

    1. New York isn’t a community property state, so as long as you don’t use his income to qualify, you could keep your properties completely separate she wanted. If you’d like to look into your options, you can do so through Rocket Mortgage or give one of our Home Loan Experts a call at (888) 980-6716. I hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  4. Hey Kevin,
    My fiance and I are looking at purchasing our first home within the next year. I recently had a conversation with someone about only using one person’s finances to purchase a home. They said this would, in turn, allow for more financial freedom for your spouse. Allowing them to finance other items in their name such as furniture, appliances, or maybe even an investment property in the future. Their logic behind this was that there was no point in both people having the six-figure debt.

    1. Hi James:

      If you can afford to buy a home without utilizing your spouse’s income, there’s certainly some logic to the theory that person was telling you about. The only downside is you won’t be able to qualify for as much on one income, so it might depend on the type of house you’re looking for.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  5. My husband is applying for a loan, however, his income may be low…
    We want to be able to get an FHA loan, as this will be our first home. Would i be able to co-sign on the loan should his income not suffice? We are purchasing a co-op, however should we find a different home a few years down the road, would i be able to apply for an fha loan if i co-sign my husband’s loan?
    We are legally married, however loan and deed would be under him only.

    1. Hi Olivia:

      you do have the option of cosigning if his income isn’t sufficient. You can apply for an FHA loan down the line even if you cosigned on the loan with your husband, provided your income was high enough to cover both mortgage payments. I do want to make clear that if you cosigned, both of you names would be on the loan. Also, unfortunately, at this time we only do co-op loans through Fannie Mae and only in New York. I hope this answers your questions, though!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  6. I live in Georgia. I purchased a home in my name only on both deed and mortgage. My wife and I are getting a divorce. Can I refinance prior to the divorce and take cash out, then sell in a few months for lower profit?
    Thanks.

    1. Hi Angel:

      The property can’t be up for sale when you’re refinancing. I want to make sure you get the right advice here, so I’m going to recommend you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts by calling (888) 980-6716. Thanks!

      Kevin Graham

    1. Hi Sam:

      There’s nothing stopping you from doing that. The one caveat is that if your wife is applying for an FHA, USDA or VA loan and you live in a community property state, any debts you carry have to be included in her debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  7. My husband and i are living in a house currently but with a new baby need to upgrade. We want to put the mortgage in my name. However my income in supplemental and his is the primary. Since we have a joint bank account can i claim his income as mine and leave him off the mortgage? Will they look at just my credit and not his?

    1. Hi Tara! Yes, joint bank accounts don’t impact underwriting. As long as you’re on the account and it’s a joint account, you are both legally allowed to access all of the funds. If you’re on the account, it’s your money and it won’t pose any problems for your home loan. You should be able to leave him off the mortgage. Additionally, if you’re buying a house without your husband, they will not look at his credit, only yours. The best thing to do would be to speak with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716 to discuss all of your options! I hope this helps! 🙂 -Allison

  8. if I apply for a non FHA or va loan lets say a conventional loan and I apply without my spouse because they have a low credit score and a lot of student debt will the mortgage company look at their debt too. I live in nevada

    1. I want to clear up some confusion here. Those are three different loan types. If you get an FHA or VA loan they will look if you get a conventional loan through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, they won’t. I hope this helps!

  9. Husband and wife are getting divorced in Illinois. Prior to divorce, Husband moves to WI (community property state), obtains mortgage and buys home, all without wife’s signature or participation. Wife continues to reside in Illinois. Could wife be legally responsible for the mortgage since it was taken out in community property state? Thank you!

    1. That’s a very good question. Since you’re in the process of the divorce and you’re living in two different states, I want to make absolutely sure you get the right information. I’m going to recommend you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts by calling (888) 980-6716. They’ll be able to get things straightened out for you.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

    2. If you and your spouse have been seperated over 20 years but not legally seperated and you refinance your home that’s been in your name (only) for years, can the loan still be granted

      1. Hi Damita:

        If you live in a community property state, your spouse may still have rights to the home. That would be the one concern. I’m going to recommend you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts to get some definitive advice. You can reach us at (888) 980-6716.

        Thanks,
        Kevin

        1. Hi Monica:

          If you’re both on the deed, you have equal interest in the property. If you get a divorce, one or the other of you would get the property and pay the other person for their share of the property depending on the terms of the divorce agreement. If the person giving the property isn’t on the loan, they can work with the mortgage company and loan servicer to assume the payments in their name. Hope this helps!

          Thanks,
          Kevin Graham

  10. We currently live in Arizona, but are looking to relocate our family. Would my husband be able to continue working in Arizona and buy a property in Illinois? Also would he be able to do this without them taking my debts and credit score into consideration?

    1. Hi Patricia:

      Your husband could continue working in Arizona while you moved to Illinois. One property or the other would have to become your primary property and the other would be a second home, so you would end up paying a slightly higher interest rate on the second home. Illinois is not a community property state, so your debts don’t have to be taken into consideration. Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  11. Hi, we live in Florida and my husband has great credit and barely any DTI ratio, however, he makes less money than i do. I have fair credit and a considerable amount of DTI but earn almost double what he makes.
    We dont want a house with both of our names together, so which one of us has a better chance of approval for a home loan ?
    Thanks !

    1. One of our Home Loan Experts would be better able to answer that question. You can get in touch with them at (888) 980-6716. Have a good day!

      Thanks
      Kevin Graham

  12. Hello,
    My husband and I want to apply for an FHA but considering only under my name due to his job situation. However we have just had a. Any and I am not going to be working for a few months. We do have a joint bank account and I want to know if this would be ok for the FHA loan or if I have to be working as well. We live in Illinois. Please let me know.

    1. This sounds like a bit of a difficult situation, but I’m going to suggest you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts in order to make sure you get the best advice possible. You can reach them by calling (888) 980-6716. Have a good night!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  13. Hello,

    My ex wife bought a house when we were married, she is the only one on the mortgage but both names are on the deed of the property. The house is rented. We are divorced now. Now I am applying for a fha morgage with 3.5 down, would the bank have a problem with that?

    Thanks,

    Carlos

    1. Hi Carlos:

      It depends on whether you live in a community property state. Here’s the list. If you do, FHA considers you both liable on anything bought during your marriage. There are ways you may have avoided that depending on how the house was purchased at the time. If you’re fully divorced and she got the house, you should be able to do a quitclaim and get yourself off. If you don’t happen to live in a community property state, as long as she was awarded the house and you’re not on the mortgage, you should be good to go. Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  14. If my spouse’s paychecks are direct deposited into my bank account (not joint) could that then be considered part of my income?

    1. Hi Rachel:

      I want to make sure you get the correct information, and that’s more a question for one of our Home Loan Experts. You can get a hold of them at (888) 980-6716.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  15. Hi my husband and I are trying to apply for an FHA home loan. My credit score is much lower than his. My question is does he need me to apply with him? You have to have a credit of at least 500-580. We live in VA but wish to purchase a home in near by state of TN?

    1. Hi Allison:

      I can tell you that for an FHA loan we require a credit score of at least 580. You don’t have to be on the loan and Tennessee isn’t a community property state. Therefore, your debt doesn’t have to be taken into account. If your husband would like to get started, probably the easiest way to do it is to speak with one of our Home Loan Experts by calling (888) 980-6716.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  16. Will my husband’s current debts like cell phone, credit card, etc. count against me if they’re being paid out of my checking account? I am considering applying for a home loan individually due to my husband’s current job situation. Our living situation is I pay for rent, utilities, bills, etc. and we use his pay checks for living expenses, groceries, gas, etc. While the debts that are in my actual name are low on the DTI ratio, if lenders were to factor in his debts, I would probably finitely not qualify. Is that something that would happen? I live in Oklahoma and am looking to qualify for FHA loan. Thanks!

    1. Hi Angela:

      Since Oklahoma isn’t a community property state, his debts wouldn’t be counted in your DTI ratio if you applied for the loan individually. Hope this helps! If you’re looking to get started, you can do so through Rocket Mortgage to get an online purchase preapproval or complete refinance approval. If you would rather speak with one of our Home Loan Experts, you can get in touch with them by calling (888) 980-6716.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  17. We live in Texas and have a loan on my primary resident. My wife’s name is not on the primary mortgage.
    Now if she wants to apply for a home loan for an investment property will the Primary Mortgage be considered against her DTI, would you know please?

    1. Hi Ali:

      Investment properties are funded by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They don’t take your spouse’s debt into consideration when it comes to DTI. If your wife would like to get started, we can help her if she fills out this form or calls one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  18. Hi I am currently separated from my husband but I was told that because we are still legally married they need permission from him to run a credit check even though he would not be on the loan. Is this true?

    1. Hi Jessica:

      It may be true. It depends on what state you live in. Particularly if you’re in a community property state and still married, they would still need to check his credit for FHA or VA loans and possibly have him sign off on a few other things before you close. We generally recommend people go through the complete divorce process if at all possible before applying. I understand that’s not always possible. I hope this helps.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  19. I live in the state of NC. My husband owned a home before we got married & is now in the process refinancing. Closing will be on July 6 & the house/title is currently in his name. My name is not on the mortgage or deed. Do I have to have my name on the mortgage/deed in order for him to refinance? I am ok with not being on the loan, but shouldn’t my name be on the deed?

    1. Hi Kimberley,

      You don’t have to be on the mortgage or deed in order to refinance, however, if you want to be on the deed, that will be a decision you can make with your husband. Thank you, Allison.

  20. Hello…I’m buying my home to quicken loans … everything is doing great and I’m just sending some last documents… now… can I included my spouse name in the deed just to have his name in there too??? Loan is approved but I just wanna added him too?? I live in North Carolina … thank you 😊

    1. Hi Micah:

      Yes, you can add your spouse’s name to the deed. It doesn’t affect the mortgage approval. Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  21. Hi my husband and i would like to buy a house he qualifies for a good amount but we did not apply yet so we not sure if we will be approved,because i still have two loans that is arrears.Can he still apply solo or will he be declined because of my debts.

    1. Hi Elvina:

      Unfortunately, I can’t give you a definitive answer without knowing what type of loan you’re trying to apply for as well as whether you live in a community property state. The best way for you to move forward would probably be to just speak with one of our Home Loan Experts. You can get in touch with them by filling out this form or calling (888) 980-6716.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  22. My husband and I are looking to buy a house in Florida. I was the only one qualified because my husband has terrible credit. I have a question about debt ratio….are joint debts like utilities, cell phone, credit cards, cable, are they considered my debt? Or will this debt count? For example: if I pay 150 cell phone for both our phones, would they consider whole debt or half the debt?

    1. Hi Christine:

      I’m not sure the answer to that question but one of our Home Loan Experts should be able to help you. I just want to make sure you get the right information. You can get in touch with them by calling (888) 980-6716. They’ll be happy to go over this with you.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  23. I live in the state of Michigan. My husband owned a home before we got married. The house/title is currently in his name. He wants to refinance the mortgage, but I don’t want my name on the mortgage or deed. Do I have to have my name on the mortgage/deed in order for him to refinance? Can I sign something stating that I relinquish my rights to the house so my husband can refinance.

    1. Hi Karen:

      Michigan is not a community property state and you’re not legally required to be on the deed at all. He can refinance on his own. Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

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