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Pros / Cons to not have spouse on mortgage

I am the sole bread winner for our family so to qualify for a mortgage, my income will be the only factor. With that said, is there a benefit to not have my spouse on the mortgage (but yes on the title)? For example, if I lose my job and foreclose, it will be only my credit that gets ruined, right? My wife would be free and clear so technically, we wouldn't be as hard hit if we decided to buy something in the future on her name alone.

Thoughts?
  • July 12 2011 - US
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Answers (5)

I do not agree with leaving her off either . If something were to happen to him she would have to qualify for a mortgage .With her just entering the work force it would be hard. She would not get the benefit of the mortgage points going on her credit as well.

If you are going to be buying cars together sending kids to school and just doing life together you will want her scores to be as high as yours.

  • January 15
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I cannot say I agree with the previous comments completely for a couple reasons.  1).  Unless you know your wife is going to go to work in the future and is going to generate an income sufficient to purchase a home on her own there is no way she would be able to qualify for a mortgage (good or bad credit).  2).  And, this is a bigger issue as far as I am concerned.  While it is true that the fact your wife does not work and does not have income to contribute to the mortgage qualification process; it is not true that there is no benefit.

First, if your wife is on the mortgage she is benefiting from the current and active use of credit; thus maintaining her credit scores, etc.  None of us like to contemplate tragedy or disaster; however, stuff does happen.  What if something were to happen to you?  If your wife does not have active credit and is not on title on the property she would be literally starting from scratch financially.

Also, depending upon where you live it really does not matter if she is on the mortgage or not as she may be liable for the repayment anyway (if you live in a community property state such as California).  

Consider all your options and talk with an accountant or financial planner.  Personally, I recommend that unemployed spouses are always on the mortgage and title UNLESS there is something in their credit/income profile that prevents the transaction from being successful.

Best of luck!

Deborah Garvin
[edited by Zillow moderator to remove phone number.  Please refer to Good Neighbor Policy. ]
NMLS 279125
  • July 13 2011
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Thank you all for your answers. I think the first time home buyer issue is not a big deal. The goal is to have a fall back. Of course, I'm not planning on ever needing it but it's nice to be aware.
  • July 12 2011
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If your wife is added to title after you finance your home she will no longer be a first time homebuyer.  If your goal is to protect her credit and ability to qualify in the future, then I would leave her off the mortgage and off the deed.  If you do this and she does try to purchase in the future she will be eligible for first time homebuyer programs.

Regardless of whether she is on the deed for this home or not, if she attempts to purchase on her own in the future, her credit and income alone will be the factors considered by a mortgage company, just as yours are for this home purchase.

When I do a loan for home buyers when only one spouse has an income, I typically recommend they purchase on their own as adding the other spouse does not improve their qualifications.
  • July 12 2011
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Profile picture for shapiroamg

You are correct. I think leaving her off the mortgage, but on the title is ok. Check with your attorney too to confirm that your state allows this.

  • July 12 2011
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