Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.
It is fun to talk about and think about, right? The age-old practice of finding just that right person who you can live with happily-ever-after.
One of life’s little surprises that can happen along the path of romance is when you are surprised to learn that the person you like (or maybe even really like) just happens to have a horrible credit score.
Have you ever noticed how dating sites will gather all kinds of information on you including height and weight, religious preferences, occupation, salary range, hobbies and a few more “important” things?
Care to take a guess what I have yet to hear of a dating site collecting?
A credit score.
Somehow, some way, a credit score is still way-too-personal for people to be comfortable talking about it with someone they might date.
And in the event that your dating activities lead to a more serious relationship, when it comes time to buy a house, you will become really familiar with just what kind of credit your partner has and what it means for your financing choices.
Are Two Credit Scores Better Than One?
A commonly held belief is that “two credit scores are better than one” but that isn’t completely true. When two people apply for a mortgage loan, the lender will use the lowest of the two middle credit scores for qualifying.
Which means if one partner has credit scores that look like this:
610 618 645
And another partner has credit scores that look like this:
720 735 739
The most important number is 618 — which is the lowest of the two middle credit scores. And in this example, 618 is below the minimum credit score for most lenders for getting an FHA loan.
Does It Ever Make Sense for Two Scores?
After seeing the above numbers, you may find yourself asking whether it will ever make sense to apply for a mortgage with a partner.
The answer is yes.
Applying for a mortgage with another person makes sense when it comes to income qualifying. In today’s world many find that they need two incomes to pay the bills; qualifying for a mortgage is no different.
Many couples find that the only way to prove enough income to qualify for a mortgage is if they both apply for the loan.
Which brings me to my last thought:
In the event that you are interested in dating and possibly even finding a long-term partner, will they find you more attractive if you lose 20 pounds and use Rogaine for your bald spot, or if you get a raise at work and pay down debt to raise your credit score 20 points?
Maybe that is a question worth asking on the second date.
Justin McHood works for Academy Mortgage and is based in Chandler, AZ. He is a contributor to Zillow Blog and has conversations about mortgages whenever he can. Learn more about Justin at http://www.mortgagecommentator.com.