Names That Need to Be On a Mortgage

Mortgages help millions afford comfortable homes in their own name.
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Mortgages and deeds aren't exactly like ham and eggs. A deed identifies ownership of a property, but others can file a claim against that ownership through a lien. You can't transfer the property until the lien is satisfied. Mortgage lenders file liens to protect their interest in the property. However, there's no automatic link between a deed and a mortgage: You can be liable for the loan without having an ownership stake in the property. In other words, the names on a mortgage and the names on a deed aren't always related.

Can You Get a Deed in Your Name With a Mortgage Balance?

Deeds and mortgages aren't always linked. You can, for example, inherit property and get the deed in your name despite having a mortgage on your primary home. If your primary is secured by a mortgage, the deed will usually be in your name, but the lender will file a lien against the property to protect its interests. Thus, if you try to sell the property, a title company will flag it and block any transfers until the lien is cleared. If you default on a mortgage and the lender forecloses, that lien allows the bank to evict you and seize the property.

Does Mortgage Life Insurance Require a Husband & Wife's Names to Be on the Mortgage?

A mortgage life insurance policy pays out when an insured person dies. Generally, the deceased person's name was already on the mortgage, so the insurance will pay out to satisfy his debt. A person with no legal mortgage can't, as a matter of pure logic, get mortgage insurance. Therefore, a mortgage life insurance policy could be in the name of either a husband or a wife, regardless of whether it contains both names.

Does Assuming a Loan Take the Previous Owner's Name Off the Mortgage?

Assuming a mortgage -- that is, agreeing to buy out the original owner's equity and take over his payments -- may or may not remove the previous owner's name. It depends on whether the assigned mortgage replaces or just amends the old one. Most lenders don't allow assigned mortgages; the new borrower must negotiate his own new loan. In any case, provided the lender agrees to the assignment, the previous owner is no longer liable for the debt.

Can You Cosign for a Mortgage & the Deed Stays in One Person's Name?

A co-signer represents extra insurance that a debt will be repaid. That extra signature should add a strong credit history to the deal. A co-signer's name doesn't need to appear on a deed, although a wise co-signer will insist it does. That way, he protects himself if the original signer defaults and the property goes into foreclosure. The co-signer could also put his name on a lien against the property. If he does have to pay to keep the mortgage current, the lien is his best way to get his money back if the owner tries to sell the property.

Can You Take a Name Off of a Mortgage?

Generally, no. The only ways to remove someone's name from a mortgage loan are to refinance, sell or declare bankruptcy. As long as the mortgage debt exists, the original mortgagees remain liable for it even if a divorce is in play.

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