Can I Use My Husband's Pay Without Having Him on a Home Loan?

Some borrowers are better off not using their spouse's income for a mortgage.

Some borrowers are better off not using their spouse's income for a mortgage.

You must have the complete package when applying for a home loan. Lenders look for sufficient credit, income and assets to qualify you for a purchase or refinance mortgage. As such, your husband's poor credit or unstable income can hurt your chances of getting a loan. If you choose to apply on your own, you'll have to forgo using his income, but there are other ways that his earnings can help you get that loan.

The Basics

Getting a mortgage as a married borrower without using your spouse's income has several benefits. His bad score can raise your interest rate or even keep you from qualifying altogether. Gaps in his employment history, fluctuating and unreliable income or an inability to document his earnings renders his income obsolete for underwriting purposes. As such, lenders allow you to leave him off the loan application, thereby qualifying you based solely on your income and financial merits.

Considerations

Although the lender calculates the loan payment based only on your income, it may consider how much you owe as a couple. In community property states and under certain loan programs, married borrowers are equally responsible for debts, even when their accounts are separate rather than joint. Combined monthly obligations can hamper the amount you can afford to pay. In addition to using just one income to qualify, this makes it that much harder to get a higher loan amount. In exchange for receiving the loan on your own, you must be ready to sacrifice borrowing power.

Effects

As a result of leaving your husband off of the loan, he may be kept off of title as well. The lender may require you to close the loan holding title by yourself. Community property states, however, require that a spouse not on title quit claim his ownership, effectively giving the spouse permission to buy or refinance without him. A husband who agrees to "quit claim" ownership to a property may be able to add himself back to title, with your permission, to become a joint owner after the fact.

Possibilities

If legally separated, your ex's income can help you qualify for a loan, even if he doesn't apply with you. For example, lenders can count separate maintenance, alimony and child support as income if you have received regular payments for a certain amount of time and can rely on the income for at least the first three years of your mortgage. You must provide a separation agreement, cancelled checks or other official documentation to prove the amount and stability of the income.

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