How (And Why) Does Your Relationship Status Affect Your Ability to Obtain a Mortgage Loan?

Many couples wonder how their marital status affects their ability to get a loan from a lender. The first thing you should know is that lenders are prohibited from denying you a loan because you aren’t married, or if you are divorced. However, it is true that whether you are married or not has the ability to help you get a mortgage; likewise, it can also hinder it. images

For example, if your spouse has terrible credit, or a lot of debt, this could certainly affect your chances in qualifying for a mortgage. Also, when you are divorced, the monthly payments you make to your spouse could definitely lower the amount that a lender will give to you for the mortgage. Each borrower is reviewed based on financial data, history, and their credit score. The lender doesn’t care if you are married or not, they just want to make sure you’ll be able to pay the bill. Here are some ways that being divorced or married can either help or hurt your chances to qualify.

Married: Generally spouses apply for a loan together. Not always, but many do. Due to the fact that they are applying together, the two incomes combined mean that lenders will probably be able to approve them for a larger loan. Not to say that a single person can’t or doesn’t make as much money as a couple’s incomes combined, but for the most part, married people who both work have more money in the bank than a single.

However, being married can also be the root of some cons. For example, when you apply for a loan together, the bank is reviewing both your credit scores and history. If you both have great credit, then this is a win-win. However, if one spouse has less-than-stellar credit, it’s not good news. Even if your FICO is 745, but your spouses is 615, they’re going to go with the 615 when determining your loan amount and interest rate. One alternative is applying for the loan by yourself, and leaving your spouse out of it. However, if you apply solo, you can’t factor in your spouse’s income too. It would be as if you were not married at all when applying for the loan.

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Divorced: Lenders won’t hold your failed marriage against you when you apply. However, they look at your income and debts just like they do for any other persons relationship status to determine if you can afford the house payments or not. Therefore, if children are involved, they are going to look at how much you are paying on either child support or alimony each month as those payments factor into your DTI, or, debt to income, ratio. Lenders would rather that your mortgage payment not be higher than 44% of your total monthly income.images-1

However, if you are receiving alimony rather than paying it, you can use this income to help you qualify. Note that you have to have been receiving the payments for at least six months. They will also require that you show your divorce papers to them.

Single: Being single doesn’t matter, as long as you have enough of an income to qualify for the loan. The only downside to being single when applying for a mortgage is that you can’t combine your income with another persons, meaning you might not be able to qualify for as much money.

Comments 2

  • It seems unfair that the alimony i pay to my ex wife can determine whether or not I get a mortgage to buy a new house. Especially when she gets to stay in the old one.

    • Hi Tom,

      This is a complaint from many ex-husbands. However, the law is the law and it isn’t changing for the foreseeable future. Your best bet is to accept that you might not qualify for as much of a loan as you would have if you were still married. The world can be unfair!

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