How Does a Co-Applicant Help When Getting a Loan?

Two signatures are better than one for loan approval.

Two signatures are better than one for loan approval.

You can’t always get what you want -- by yourself. A loan with a co-applicant is like a partnership, in which the credit and assets of each applicant count for the loan approval. Co-applicants give the lender two chances to collect on the loan, because it can pursue either applicant or co-applicant for payment. A co-applicant who adds another income might be just what you need to get your loan approved.

Approval

You’re more likely to meet approval standards for a loan if you apply with a co-applicant. A husband and wife are the usual co-applicants, sometimes called co-borrowers. Finance companies and banks follow percentages for loan approvals and you must fall below the debt-to-income ratio limit. Long-term debt should be no more than 36 percent of gross income for a mortgage loan, according to Bankrate.com. If you can’t qualify because you have too little income or too much debt, you and a co-applicant may qualify together and your loan application will zip through the process.

Greater Loan Amount

If your income is too low to qualify for the amount of money you’re requesting, you can reduce the loan amount requested or add a co-applicant. A co-applicant with a steady income and few long-term debts can boost the total income calculations so you qualify together. You’ll qualify for a larger loan to buy a more expensive car, house or boat than you would be able to purchase alone.

Lower Interest

Some finance companies use risk-based interest rates. These companies consider your assets and credit score to set the interest rate. If you apply for a loan with a strong co-applicant, you'll likely get a lower interest rate than if you apply alone. Question the interest percentage and get the best rate you can. Having a co-applicant and shopping around may save thousands of dollars over the course of a loan.

Co-applicant or Co-signer

A co-applicant applies for the loan with the borrower and has access to the loan proceeds. A co-signer agrees to pay only if the borrower defaults on a loan. The co-signer has no right to the loan proceeds or purchases made with the proceeds. For example, if co-applicants get a car loan and purchase a vehicle, they are both on the loan for payment and likely are both on the title for ownership. A car loan with an applicant and co-signer will have only the applicant’s name for payment of the loan. The co-signer won’t see the loan proceeds and the car title won’t show his name.

Mortgage Considerations

If you are applying for a mortgage loan, you and your co-applicant may realize tax benefits from being co-borrowers on the loan. Mortgage interest on a residence is deductible on federal income taxes. If you have a co-owner on the title to the property, some lenders require that person to be a co-applicant on the mortgage loan.

About the Author

Linda Richard has been a legal writer and antiques appraiser for more than 25 years, and has been writing online for more than 12 years. Richard holds a bachelor's degree in English and business administration. She has operated a small business for more than 20 years. She and her husband enjoy remodeling old houses and are currently working on a 1970s home.

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