How to Get Your Name Off a Mortgage That You Co-Signed For

Refinance a mortgage to remove the co-signer.

Refinance a mortgage to remove the co-signer.

Having your name on someone else’s loan is a big responsibility. If you co-signed on someone’s mortgage, you’re responsible in full if that person stops paying. To remove your name from a mortgage, the original borrower will need to refinance the loan in only their name, which will require paying closing costs and meeting the lender’s credit and debt-to-income ratio requirements.

Mortgage Co-Signer Release Option

Having your name on someone else’s loan is risky, but it’s a step many people take to help out a child, a spouse or some other loved one. If someone can’t qualify for a mortgage alone, a co-signer can help get that person into a home until circumstances improve. You’ll need to look at how much taking a name off a mortgage costs, then find out what steps are necessary to get your name off the loan when the time comes.

Removing a name from a mortgage after divorce is a different situation, but the reasons for doing so are similar. If your name remains on the loan when you’re no longer living in the home, you’ll be responsible if your ex-spouse suddenly stops paying. You’ll need to file paperwork, and your spouse will have to refinance the loan, which will require paying closing costs and possibly even cashing out your part of the equity, depending on what your attorneys work out.

Removing Yourself as Co-Signer

Before you can even begin the process of removing your name from a mortgage loan, you’ll need to make sure the other party will qualify alone. This means checking credit scores and debt-to-income ratios, then approaching the lender to make sure you can proceed. Taking a name off a mortgage cost can be quite expensive, though, since the only option is to refinance the loan in the other person’s name.

Similar to removing a name from a mortgage after divorce, taking yourself off as co-signer requires the other party to be able to prove reliability to the lender. To remove your name from the loan, the borrower will typically need to have lived in the home, making reliable payments, for at least two years. The borrower should be more than happy to take the loan over in full, as it will help with qualifying for loans in the future, but a solid credit score will be required.

Co-Borrower Removal Options

Removing a name from a mortgage after divorce can be a bit more complicated, but it’s usually wrapped up in the divorce proceedings. Your attorney should address how your shared home will be handled. You’ll have two major options: sell the home and split the proceeds or remain in the home and buy out the departing spouse’s interest in it. If you choose the latter option, the remaining spouse will have to refinance so that the loan is only in one name and you’ll also need to remove the departing spouse’s name from the deed.

Although there is no mortgage co-signer release option, some lenders will allow the remaining spouse to apply for a loan assumption rather than going through the refinance process. This will also require the departing spouse to request a release of liability to serve as legal protection in the event the assuming spouse defaults on the loan. You won’t have to pay closing costs in this scenario, but you will have to pay 1 percent of the loan amount plus administrative fees of up to $500.

Removing Name From Other Loans

Although taking a name off a mortgage costs money, with other types of loans it can be simpler. If it’s a student loan, for instance, you can obtain a co-signer release request form after a minimum period of time has passed with regular on-time payments. The requirements for qualifying for this vary from one lender to the next, so read your paperwork or contact your lender for information.

Even if the mortgage co-signer release option is available to you, you won’t necessarily be approved. Only a percentage of all requests are approved, thanks in large part to ambiguous rules that give lenders the right to reject requests liberally. In that case, the student’s only option will be to refinance the loan or pay it off if the co-signer wants out.

Tip

  • Even after your name is removed from a mortgage, the information will stay on your credit report, which can work in your favor if the other person paid his mortgage on time regularly.

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About the Author

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.

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