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How to add someone to your mortgage

Whether you’ve been married recently or just decided you trust your spouse enough to give him the thrill of home ownership, adding your spouse’s name to a mortgage can be a bigger chore than you’d expect. Mortgage companies are generally careful about who they will loan money to, so you should expect a thorough review before adding your spouse to a mortgage. It may take patience and, most likely, a refinance of your home, but if you follow a few basic steps you’ll achieve your dream of gifting your spouse a portion of your home debt.

Review Your Spouse’s Credit Score

Before you’re surprised that a mortgage company is going to charge an exorbitant interest rate because your spouse has some unflattering credit issues, it’s prudent to help him check his credit report first. Americans are allowed one free credit report per year from AnnualCreditReport.com from each of the three major credit bureaus. If he’s already used his annual free report, have him request one from the major credit bureaus using a credit or debit card online.

Contact the Lender

Call your lender and tell them you’d like to add your spouse to the mortgage. They’ll nearly always demand a refinance because a loan is a legal contract between you and the lender, and you’re adding a name to the contract. If they are willing to simply add your spouse’s name, ask what paperwork they’ll need and gather the appropriate documents.

Choose a New Lender

Shop for mortgages through other lenders if yours demands a refinance. There is no sense in blindly entering a new mortgage without ensuring that it’s at a reasonable rate with appropriate fees. Websites such as bankrate.com will give you an idea of current interest rates on various popular terms, such as 15- or 30-year fixed rate loans. Once you’ve decided on a new loan, apply with your spouse jointly, assuming the credit score search didn’t show any potential problems for securing a new loan.

Present the Proper Documents

Hand over all the required documents to secure the new mortgage with your spouse. Usually this will include verification of income, debt and assets, so be ready to show them tax returns, income of both you and your spouse, and credit card, bank, brokerage and retirement fund statements for each of you. Many lenders have a checklist of items they need to streamline your search. Ask for one to quickly gather every necessary document.

Sign on the Dotted Line

Track the mortgage process to ensure it’s handled in a timely manner. Unless you’ve locked in your interest rate, an extended process may cause your projected rate and payment to jump if interest rates rise dramatically. Communicate with your lender regularly and ensure they have everything they need to process your loan. Once the loan is ready, meet with your lender to sign any required documents.

How to add someone to your mortgage

Generally, the only way to add another person’s name to any type of mortgage document is to refinance the loan. Some states use deeds of trust instead of mortgages to finance real estate transactions. In states in which you sign a deed of trust, also referred to as a mortgage, you are transferring the title to the property to a third-party trustee to hold as security until you pay off the loan in full. Lenders usually require that you add a co-borrower’s name to the property deed before refinancing the mortgage.

Quitclaim Deed

Use a quitclaim deed to transfer part ownership of the property to another individual. You can get a copy of the form from an office supply store or the county recorder’s office. Some county clerk offices allow you to download the form online. The information a quitclaim deed form requires varies by county and state.

Complete each section of the form. Give the address of the property, including the county where it is located. Provide the property’s legal description, which you can find on your mortgage or deed of trust document. You may also have to provide the parcel number, which you can find on your property tax bill. Include the date of transfer and the name of the person you’re adding to the title and to whom you are transferring part ownership rights.

Sign the deed in the presence of a notary public. The next step is to record the deed in the county clerk’s office in the county where the property is located. This makes it a matter of public record. The fee for recording a deed varies.

Loan/Mortgage Documents

Check your credit. Any borrowers who sign the new mortgage contract must have a good credit history to qualify. Request your free annual credit reports from the nation’s three leading credit-reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Examine each for mistakes. Dispute any errors you find.

Shop for a lower interest rate before refinancing the loan. Crunch the numbers to determine what it will cost you to refinance as well as the benefits of taking out a shorter- or longer-term loan.

Apply for a refinance loan. Since you’ll be creating a new contract with the lender, this gives you the opportunity to add a co-owner’s name to the mortgage. If you’re approved for a loan, you and the co-borrower must sign a mortgage or deed of trust at closing, agreeing to the lender putting a lien on the property. The mortgage document also explains the lender’s legal rights if you default on the loan.

Provide documentation such as pay stubs and W-2 forms as proof of employment. Give the lender copies of your tax returns and a profit-loss statement for the past two or three years if you or the co-borrower is self-employed. Lenders look for stable income when determining your ability to repay the loan.

Use an online home value calculator to get a general idea of the value of your home. Divide the balance you still owe on your existing mortgage loan by the home’s appraised value to arrive at the loan-to-value ratio. For conventional loans, you need an LTV of 80 percent or less before a lender qualifies you and a co-borrower for a home refinance loan.

Sign the mortgage note, also known as the promissory note, at closing. The note states that you and the co-borrower named are responsible for repaying the mortgage loan. It outlines the terms of the loan and describes the actions the lender can take if you don’t make your loan payments on time.

Review and sign the mortgage contract or deed of trust at closing. While many borrowers think the mortgage contract is the loan, it’s a separate legal document you sign that puts up the property as collateral to secure the loan.

If you buy mortgage insurance or apply for a refinance loan through a special loan program such as FHA, VA or USDA, you can qualify with a lower down payment based on a loan-to-value above 80 percent.

Regardless of its value, real estate may be a significant part of your overall estate. As you consider who you want to inherit your home and other real property after you die, it’s important to consider both the various methods of transferring ownership to someone else and the potential implications of those methods.

How to add someone to your mortgage

Adding a beneficiary to a mortgage deed may not be possible in every state, although some states have enacted legislation allowing transfer-on-death deeds. With these, the property passes to your named beneficiaries, subject to any outstanding mortgage.

Other options include passing your real estate to one or more named beneficiaries through your will, adding beneficiaries as tenants in common, or adding them as joint tenants with rights of survivorship.

Transfer-on-Death Deeds

Depending on your state’s laws, it might be possible to add one or more beneficiaries to your property deed by executing and recording a transfer-on-death deed—also known as a beneficiary deed—or other similar instrument. Where available, these tools allow property owners to pass title to their real estate to the named beneficiary or beneficiaries outside of probate court. If there is a mortgage on the property, title generally passes subject to the mortgage and any other liens or interests.

Filing a beneficiary deed involves drawing up a notarized document that describes the property, lists the full names of your beneficiaries, and bears your signature. After creating the new beneficiary deed, submit it to the county’s recorder of deeds office. Note that while you can replace the beneficiary deed with a new version, making alternative arrangements in your will does not change or supersede what you publish in the beneficiary deed.

With a beneficiary deed, you—and any other current owners—retain full ownership rights over the property while you are living. Rights transfer only after death. In some states, you can designate whether jointly owned property should transfer when one joint owner dies or after both joint owners have died.

Passing Property Through Your Will

You can also pass ownership of your real estate to others by using a last will and testament that complies with your state’s requirements. However, doing so usually requires the property to go through probate, the process of administering your will through the court system.

During probate, the court appoints an executor or personal representative charged with, among other things, ensuring assets are distributed according to either your will or state law, if your will does not address distribution. Probate can be time-consuming and might be costlier than some other methods of transferring ownership of real estate.

Adding Your Beneficiary as a Tenant in Common

When people own property as tenants in common, each owner holds a divided share. For example, if you own property in your name alone and add your spouse as a tenant in common, you each own one half of the property. This means that when either of you dies, your share will likely need to go through a probate proceeding to transfer to the other spouse.

Adding Your Beneficiary as a Joint Owner with Rights of Survivorship

If you own property in your name alone but want to pass it to your spouse outside of probate court when you die, you may wish to add your spouse to the title as a joint tenant with rights of survivorship.

In contrast to owning property as tenants in common, ownership structured as joint tenants with rights of survivorship means you each own an undivided interest in the property. When one joint tenant dies, ownership of the entire parcel passes to the remaining joint tenants.

Before you add adult children or others as joint owners, talk to a tax professional or an estate planning attorney to evaluate the potential pros and cons. There may be disadvantages that outweigh the potential benefit you hope to achieve.

Because of the complexities involved in real estate, you might be better off working with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction who is knowledgeable about estate planning and real estate transactions, rather than trying to navigate the process yourself. Doing so may cost more, but it will provide you with peace of mind that your assets have been set up properly and as you wish.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

When you close on a home, you have no idea what the future will bring. Whether you stay in the house for a few years or a few decades, your circumstances will likely change. If you later get married or find a life partner, adding someone to a mortgage without refinancing isn’t possible, but you can add someone to your deed.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)

You cannot name additional parties on your mortgage loan, but you can add someone else to the property deed.

Adding a Name to Mortgage

Over the course of your time in a home, your circumstances may change, leading you to want to share the mortgage with someone else. But adding a co-borrower to an existing mortgage isn’t an option, as lenders issue those loans based on the creditworthiness and financial circumstances of the person named on the loan. If you want to share your loan with someone else, you’ll need to refinance in both your names, which will require going through the approval process again.

Instead of adding another person to your mortgage, often the best option is simply to put the deed in both names. You may still want to consider refinancing, but this will at least serve as some protection for both parties if something happens to the original mortgageholder.

Add Partner to Mortgage

Typically, if you’re interested in adding someone to a mortgage without refinancing, that person is a life partner or spouse who has moved in with you. Both of you may want to combine your finances, which may include sharing the debts that come with homeownership. It’s probably no surprise that lenders aren’t eager to add names to a loan without going through the same process you went through when you put a contract on the house.

The easiest method of adding a co-borrower to an existing mortgage is simply to refinance. In addition to having your partner’s name on the loan, this will also allow you to take advantage of a lower interest rate or get a reduced monthly payment. Whether you opt for this route or not depends on factors like how long you plan to remain in the house and what the current interest rate is.

Add Beneficiary to Mortgage

Another instance that inspires adding a name to a mortgage is if you’re considering what will happen after you’re gone. It only becomes more complicated when you realize the many things that can happen to a home after someone dies. You don’t need to add an heir to your mortgage before you die since it will usually automatically transfer to your heirs. However, if you have unpaid debts, your creditors may come after your estate to pay those debts.

Adding someone to a mortgage without refinancing could seem like a viable option to ensure your house ends up in the hands of a child or spouse. Since lenders won’t do that, it may be wise to refinance the loan in both your names before you die. You can also consider simply deeding the home to your beneficiary in your will, although it’s important to note whatever choice you make, your heirs should refinance the loan in their names to take over the mortgage.

Mortgage Versus Deed

Instead of adding a co-borrower to an existing mortgage, the best course of action is usually to add the person to the property deed rather than the loan. Whether you refinance the home or not, this is a wise course of action since it puts the property in both names. If something happens to the person whose name is on the deed, the surviving property owner will be able to stay in the house.

It’s important to note that by not adding a name to a mortgage and instead adding the name to the deed, your lender’s interest in your property will come before your partner’s. In other words, if you default on your loan, all parties could lose the house, no matter whose name is on the deed. Having a spouse’s name on the deed but not the loan could also come back to haunt you if you later divorce since your spouse could end up with the home while you’re still paying the mortgage.

More Articles

The Name on the Title for My House Is Different Than the Mortgage →

Can the Bank Call the Mortgage if My Husband Dies? →

Remove a Co-Borrower From a Home Title →

  • LegalBeagle: How to Add a Beneficiary to a Mortgage Deed
  • FreeCreditScore.com: Can I Add My Spouse to My Home Loan?
  • Interest.com: Dying with a Mortgage: What Happens to Your Home?

Stephanie Faris has written about finance for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2013. She spent nearly a year as a ghostwriter for a credit card processing service and has ghostwritten about finance for numerous marketing firms and entrepreneurs. Her work has appeared on The Motley Fool, MoneyGeek, Ecommerce Insiders, GoBankingRates, and ThriveBy30.

How to add someone to your mortgage

The process of adding someone to a mortgage is quite common, so it’s usually a straightforward process. The most common scenario is adding a long-term partner, but that’s not the rule of thumb.

Here’s a general overview of adding someone to your mortgage, and a couple of key points I believe you should be aware of before taking the step.

How to add someone to your mortgage

Adding someone to an existing mortgage

If you want to add someone to your existing mortgage you need to contact your mortgage lender to arrange it. They’ll send you documents to complete, it will be a similar process to a new application, so they’ll need to verify affordability, credit history and identity of the person you wish to add some to the mortgage.

Bear in mind that there might be costs involved, which typically includes arrangement fees, legal fees and possibly even additional stamp duty fees. Yeah, more tax… it never stops.

Remortgaging to a joint policy

Another option is to remortgage and apply for a joint mortgage, this will essentially entail signing up for an entirely new mortgage policy.

If you’re not tied into the fixed-term with your current lender, then remortgaging should be relatively straightforward. You can look for a new mortgage policy either with your current lender or a new lender altogether (transferring the debt). You can compare the market with Habito (a free online specialist mortgage broker, who search the whole market).

If you are tied into a fixed-term, then remortgaging (in order to add someone new onto the policy) probably won’t be the best option, because you’ll likely be subject to early repayment charges. In this case, you could either add someone to your existing policy (as already discussed) or wait until your fixed term expires, and then look at remortgaging to a joint mortgage.

Married couples & their rights…

It doesn’t really matter whose name the house is under when it concerns married couples. Both involved have rights to the property, so each individual would have a claim on the property irrespective of whose name or names appear on the deeds. So there’s no real need to add your partner on the mortgage if you’re married.

In the event of death of the deed holder, the property will automatically pass from one spouse to the other, and provided life cover was in place to repay the mortgage there would be no advantage to adding a partner to it.

Adding a non-married partner to your mortgage

If you’re not married but you want to add your partners name onto the mortgage, by doing so the property will ensure you both get fair rights if the property is sold.

However, if you initially purchased the property (before meeting your partner) and have built up equity over the years, it’s wise to protect your investment in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Under a tenants in common arrangement each half of the couple own a defined share of the property agreed at the outset. If you have a joint agreement you will jointly own the property in full. My advice would be to speak to a solicitor about arranging either of these arrangements.

Be careful before adding your partner to your mortgage

I always suggest proceeding with caution when it comes to adding a partner to a mortgage. I know it’s a negative way of thinking but you should always consider “What if shit happens?

Yes, you could be in the best relationship of your life, but that doesn’t mean circumstances won’t change. Trust me, I’ve had a girl tell me she loves me one week, only to tell me she wants to see my corpse scrapped across the M24. It happens. It’s life.

On that note, I would personally arrange a tenants in common agreement if I’ve built up equity in a property by myself.

Sure, my partner may get offended, but I’d feel a lot safer. If at any point we split up, why should she taste the fruits of my labour? Not going to happen.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many people take gigantic hits when it comes to separation and real estate. One person is usually laughing to the bank, while the other is sitting there with their head buried in between their legs, wondering why the hell they didn’t protect their asses.

If your partner has put in an equally invested into the property, or is willing to do so, then adding them to get a 50% share seems fair.

Tenants in common – get what you deserve

If your partner will eventually invest 20% of the property’s value, while you’re investing 80%, then you can arrange it so you’ll get the same shares back if you decide to sell the property. Of course, the slicing of the pie can get more complicated, but that’s just the general principle.

As mentioned, you can define share of the property at the outset, which I think is the fairest way of doing it- you get back what you put in.

Disclaimer: I’m just a landlord blogger; I’m 100% not qualified to give legal or financial advice. I’m a doofus. Any information I share is my unqualified opinion, and should never be construed as professional legal or financial advice. You should definitely get advice from a qualified professional for any legal or financial matters. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.

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How to add someone to your mortgage

Is closing day the last day to get your name on a mortgage? Technically, yes. Lenders don’t want to add another person to an existing lending agreement because they don’t have a way to assess risk without restarting the application process.

However, there are some ways around this problem that can allow you to add a co-borrower to your mortgage. There are also ways to share ownership with another person even if you can’t add them to your mortgage right now. Take a look at how to add someone to a mortgage.

The Rules of Adding Someone to a Mortgage Loan

First, adding someone to a mortgage is easy if you’re adding them as a co-borrower when applying for the mortgage. In fact, applying for a home mortgage with a co-borrower can actually increase your chances of being approved while boosting your borrowing power because you’re bringing two incomes into the picture. It gets more complicated if you’re trying to add a co-borrower after you’ve purchased a house. That’s because you can’t technically add a co-borrower to your mortgage without refinancing your mortgage; this essentially means going through the closing process again.

The general rule is that you need ​20 percent ​equity when doing a conventional refinance. That drops down to just ​5 percent​ equity for an FHA refinance. Approval isn’t guaranteed just because you’ve already been approved for a mortgage on the home in the past. If you’ve had a decrease in income since your closing, you may not be in a position to get approved.

You have to submit a new mortgage application when you apply for a refinance. Your lender will be looking at your credit score, employment status and debt-to-income ratio. If approved, you may actually be able to save money on interest over the life of your loan if you can refinance at a lower interest rate. In many cases, your monthly payment will be lower after refinancing; however, you will still need to pay closing costs and fees for a refinance.

Deciding on Adding a Spouse

So, can you add your spouse to your mortgage? It’s important to consider how important adding a spouse to a mortgage is to you before refinancing. With closing costs totaling as much as ​5 percent​ of your loan balance, this isn’t a decision to take lightly. Do the math to see where you come out financially after refinancing.

It’s not legally or financially necessary to add a spouse to a mortgage right away because you can technically refinance at any point down the road when the numbers look better for you. Keep in mind that you don’t have to stick with your existing lender when you apply for a refinance. While most people do go to their current lender first, you’re free to shop around for the best rates and terms.

Can Someone Be on the Title Without Being on the Mortgage?

Yes, adding someone to the title for your home without refinancing to include them on the mortgage is an option. This is something that is often done with a spouse, child or parent. The benefit to adding someone’s name to a title is that the home will legally transfer to that person after your death.

Getting this done is often just a matter of contacting your title company. While you can create a verbal agreement with the understanding that the person being added to the title will contribute to mortgage payments, they aren’t under any legal obligation to do this unless they are a co-borrower. Only by adding someone to your mortgage through a refinance can you make the other person legally responsible for the mortgage debt.

Contact your lender. There’s no harm in asking your bank or mortgage company if you can simply add a person to your mortgage. Be prepared for them to say no, however—in fact, this will be their answer in most cases. Instead, they will likely make you refinance your home, in effect taking out an entirely new mortgage.

How long does it take to add someone to your mortgage?

Mortgage underwriting usually takes up to a few weeks. If your lender requests more information or documents from you, respond in a timely manner to help the process along. Sign your documents and pay closing costs. You will now have added this person to your mortgage.

Can you add another name to a mortgage?

You can add another name to a deed to real property, but not to a mortgage to the property. The house does not have to be paid for in order to add another name to the deed. You should consult an attorney to prepare a new deed adding the additional name.

Can you add your daughter to your mortgage?

Due-on-sale clauses allow mortgage lenders to call in their loans if the homes backing them are transferred to others. You may be able to add another person such as an adult daughter to your mortgaged home’s title, though. First Time Home Buyer?

Contact your lender. There’s no harm in asking your bank or mortgage company if you can simply add a person to your mortgage. Be prepared for them to say no, however—in fact, this will be their answer in most cases. Instead, they will likely make you refinance your home, in effect taking out an entirely new mortgage.

Can a cosigner get a mortgage for an adult child?

Krop says that financial advantages for a cosigner don’t exist. But, if it’s for your adult child, you are providing the opportunity for them to own a home when no one else would give them the chance. “I’ve only cosigned an auto loan for my brother-in-law,” he adds.

Can you get a mortgage without your spouse?

In a common-law state, you can apply for a mortgage without your spouse. Your lender won’t be able to consider your spouse’s financial circumstances or credit while determining your eligibility. You can also put only your name on the title.

How to add someone to your mortgage

Moving in with a partner is an exciting milestone. So if you’ve decided you want to get it in writing, then here’s what you need to know.

Adding someone to your mortgage involves changing the legal owners of your property, known as a ‘transfer of equity‘. To get started, speak to your mortgage provider and let them know you want to add someone on.

They’ll carry out eligibility and identity checks to make sure the new person can afford the repayments – just like when you first applied for your mortgage. This includes:

  • credit checks
  • ID checks
  • affordability checks.

This is so that they can make sure the person you want to add fits their criteria. Your lender can refuse anyone if they don’t think they’re suitable.

However, most lenders are open to this because it often provides more security when more than one person is liable for the repayments.

There are two options when it comes to adding someone to your mortgage:

  • tenants in common – each person owns a percentage of the property
  • joint tenants – you own equal parts of the property.

You’ll need to speak to a solicitor to decide which is the best option for you both.

Who can I add to my mortgage?

It’s doesn’t have to be a partner that you add to your mortgage. You can add up to three additional people, including your children as long as they’re over 18 years old.

Can I change the lender?

Yes, but check that you’re not tied-in to an initial fixed-term period. If you switch during this time, you might be charged early repayment fees, which wouldn’t make it worth changing lenders. In this case, you’d be better off adding your partner to the existing mortgage and then looking for a better deal when the fixed-term is over.

Can I remortgage?

Remortgaging is another option. The advantage of this is that you might be able to find a better deal with a different lender. If you’re not tied into a fixed-term period, then you’re free to look for a better deal on a joint mortgage.

Try using a mortgage repayment calculator to see what you could afford.

Will I have to pay any fees?

Yes, there are usually fees involved. If your lender agrees to add your partner, there’ll be an admin charge to cover the cost of carrying out the checks and issuing paperwork.

Normally you’ll have to pay arrangement fees, and if you exit a mortgage while still in a fixed-term period then there may be early repayment fees as well.

Check your existing mortgage terms and conditions to be sure. If there are no early repayment fees you could save money by switching to a joint mortgage with better terms.

Any changes to your mortgage require the property deeds to be amended so you’ll need to budget for a solicitor. If you want a tenants in common agreement, there’ll be a fee for this too. You might also have to pay a stamp duty fee, so check with your solicitor about this.

Will my credit history be affected?

If you add your partner to your mortgage, then this will be recorded on your credit files – this is called financial association. If the other person’s credit history isn’t great, then it could affect yours as well. Check you both have a healthy credit history before trying to change your mortgage or taking out a new one.

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

How to add someone to your mortgage

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How to add someone to your mortgage

Many of our Better Mortgage customers buy homes with a significant other, family member, or even a close friend by their side. If you’re in the same boat, you might be wondering if you should include that certain someone in your mortgage application as a co-borrower. Let’s discuss whether doing so is right for you.

What is a co-borrower?

Let’s start off by discussing what exactly it means to be a co-borrower. While you’ll often hear “co-borrower” used to refer to anyone who’s on the mortgage, lenders make a few more distinctions within that term. To start, a co-borrower is any additional borrower listed on the mortgage whose income, assets, and credit history are used to qualify for the loan. Both co-borrowers on the mortgage are equally responsible for mortgage payments and typically have ownership of the house (i.e. they’re both on the property’s title). Having a co-borrower is not a requirement for getting a mortgage, but it can be helpful in that together, you and your co-borrower may find it easier to qualify for a mortgage (or a larger one) than you might have individually.

Co-borrowers are usually spouses or partners, but you can be “co-borrowers” with someone you are not married to, like a relative or friend. In this case, you’ll be referred to as co-applicants. The relationship and process are essentially identical to that of co-borrowers, but your lender will account for your separate finances by issuing you and your co-applicant individual loan applications for the same mortgage. It’s also possible to have a co-borrower that doesn’t live in the home that the loan is for — they are referred to as a non-occupant co-borrower.

You can also have a “co-borrower” who is not on the title and therefore doesn’t have ownership of the home — co-signers are equally responsible for the mortgage as the actual borrower, while guarantors are only responsible for the loan in the event that the primary borrower can’t repay it. A common scenario for this is a parent who co-signs or guarantees for their child, whose mortgage application benefits from their parent’s added income, assets, and credit history.

Types of “Co-borrowers”

How to add someone to your mortgage

When does adding someone to the loan make sense?

Adding a co-borrower (or co-applicant, co-signer, or guarantor) can be beneficial as doing so could bring additional income and assets to the table. The combined income between the two of you may allow you to qualify for a larger loan amount, since you can afford higher monthly mortgage payments together.

Having a co-borrower may also help your ability to get approved for a mortgage in the first place by improving your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Your DTI is all your monthly debt payments divided by your gross monthly income. Learn more about DTI here.

A high DTI is the #1 reason mortgage applications get rejected. 1 By combining you and your co-borrower’s debt and income, you may be able to reach a low enough DTI to meet lenders’ borrowing criteria. (At Better Mortgage, we are able to offer loans with DTIs of up to 50% for creditworthy borrowers.) So if your co-borrower has a higher salary and/or less debt, that may make your “blended” DTI ratio much lower (and more favorable to lenders). Here’s an example:

How to add someone to your mortgage

How do lenders consider co-borrowers’ credit?

In terms of credit, conventional lenders are required to use the lower credit score between the two of you for loan qualification and underwriting. That means that if one of your credit scores is below the lender’s required minimum score, you still will not qualify for a loan, regardless of how high the other co-borrower’s score is. That also means that the lower of two scores will be used when determining how low the rates available to you are. So if your potential co-borrower’s credit score is significantly lower than yours and you don’t need their additional income to qualify for the loan you need, it might be best to not add them to the mortgage.

A co-borrower’s credit history can be useful if the other borrower has little or no credit history. This is often the case amongst young first-time home buyers. When lenders are deciding whether or not to approve them for a loan, the addition of a comprehensive credit history from a co-borrower can be beneficial.

Alternatives to co-borrowers

If it doesn’t make financial sense to add someone to your mortgage through all of the ways we’ve just discussed, you can always just add them to property’s title and not the mortgage. Doing so allows someone who is not liable for mortgage payments still have ownership of the property. So for example, if your spouse has a significant amount of debt or a low credit score that would hurt the mortgage application (or if they just don’t want to be financially liable for the loan), they can still have ownership interest in the home if their name is on the title.

So what’s the verdict?

Deciding whether or not to add someone else on your mortgage application is a big decision. Not only do you have to determine if doing so will strengthen your mortgage application, but you also have to make sure that you are both willing to share the risk of default on the mortgage and the general risks of homeownership. Keep in mind that you can always refinance your home down the road and add or remove co-borrowers or co-signers from the mortgage and/or title.

Start your application to see how much you and your co-borrower a qualify for.