How to Put Your Spouse Name on Mortgage

    How to Put Your Spouse Name on Mortgage

    Whether you recently got married or have been together for years, putting your spouse’s name on the mortgage is an important financial and legal step for married homeowners.

    In this blog post, we’ll break down the process of adding a spouse to the title and loan documents step-by-step. This will give you an understanding of all the ins and outs of putting your spouse’s name on the mortgage.

    Let’s dive in.

    Why Add Your Spouse To The Mortgage?

    There are several key benefits to ensuring both spouses are on the mortgage:

    Shared Ownership: Legally, adding your spouse makes them a joint owner of the home alongside you. This provides protection if something were to happen to one spouse financially or medically.

    Protection of Assets: Should the home appreciating significantly in value, your non-owner spouse may have a claim to part of the equity even without being on the loan. Putting them on protects both parties’ financial interests in the home.

    Decision Making Power: Both spouses will have equal say and authority over major decisions regarding the home like refinancing, taking out another loan, or selling. This avoids potential disputes down the line.

    Inheritance Rights: If one spouse passes away, the surviving spouse automatically inherits full ownership of the home versus having to go through probate court.

    Better Financing Options: Lenders typically prefer both spouses be co-borrowers as it presents less risk. This may qualify you for lower interest rates or more favorable terms.

    In summary, adding a spouse to the mortgage strengthens your family’s legal claim and financial protections regarding your largest asset – the home. It’s wise to get both names on the paperwork.

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    Step 1: Consult Your Lender

    Before making any changes, the first step is discussing your intentions with your existing mortgage lender. Contact them to see if they allow adding a spouse to existing home loans. Most do, but confirm the process and any associated fees upfront.

    Your lender will also need to approve your spouse qualifying based on their own income, credit, debts, and other underwriting factors. Even if just joining the existing loan, they’ll undergo a similar financial review as the original approval.

    In some cases, it may be best to refinance into a new loan with both spouses as co-borrowers from the start. Let your lender advise on the best approach given your specific situation.

    Step 2: Gather Required Documentation

    Once you get the green light from your lender, the next step is collecting the necessary forms and paperwork:

    • Marriage Certificate: Provide a certified copy of your marriage license as proof of marital status.
    • Loan Application: Complete all sections of the application including your spouse’s financial details.
    • Title Search: Your lender may require an updated title search to verify ownership status.
    • Government IDs: Driver’s license, passport or other photo ID for both spouses.
    • Income/Asset Verification: Recent pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns as needed for underwriting.
    • Authorization Forms: Sign any forms allowing your lender to pull credit reports.

    Gathering these items upfront streamlines the process. Submit complete documentation packages to your lender for processing.

    Step 3: Title Company Involvement

    Adding a spouse to a mortgage title typically involves a title company. They officially record the changes to ownership at the county property records office.

    Title companies ensure no other claims exist on the property that could jeopardize your spouses’ legal stake. They’ll order an update to the title commitment and coordinate recordation of new title deed naming both spouses.

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    Your lender will provide title company contact details. Schedule an appointment for signing transfer documents and any notarization required. Title companies may charge a nominal fee for updating the title which you’ll be responsible for.

    Step 4: Credit Checks and Underwriting

    With paperwork submitted, the lender will order credit reports for the spouse joining the loan. They’ll review debt-to-income ratios, credit scores, employment history and more as part of the underwriting process.

    So long as your spouse’s finances are in good standing, underwriting approval should be straightforward. But be prepared for potential issues or requirements for things like proof of bigger assets if their credit is mediocre.

    Step 5: Signing Closing Documents

    Provided everything checks out underwriting-wise, the final step involves officially executing the loan modification. Your lender will schedule an appointment for electronic or in-person signing.

    Both spouses will need to sign amended versions of the original note, mortgage/deed of trust and any other loan documents reflecting the changes. This officially finalizes the spouse addition to both the title and loan itself.

    The lender then records the updated mortgage with the county. Within a few weeks, you’ll receive confirmation that your spouse has been added to the title and loan on file.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    There are several other common queries people have when adding a spouse to a mortgage. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

    Can I add my spouse partway through the loan term?

    Yes, lenders allow modifying existing loans to add a spouse at any time, not just at origination. So even if several years into paying, the process remains the same.

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    What impact does income have?

    Spousal income is included in the debt-to-income calculations. Both spouses must qualify based on total household wages. A lower earner may still be approvable with the other’s higher pay compensating.

    How long does it take to complete?

    The timeline can vary but typically 2-4 weeks depending on lender processing speed and title/recording requirements in your local area. Fully submitting complete docs upfront helps expedite matters.

    Will it impact my rates or terms?

    For most lenders, the modification to add a spouse is processed as a nominal administrative change and doesn’t trigger rate adjustments. Terms also stay the same barring other factors like switching to a new loan.

    What if we separated or divorced later?

    Like all co-owners, either spouse maintains rights to the property even post-divorce or separation. However, you may need refinance into a sole name to remove an ex from legal responsibility for the loan going forward if desired.

    By following the careful steps outlined, homeowners can smoothly add a spouse to both the mortgage title and loan documents. With solid preparation and paperwork, the approval process is typically routine when handled professionally in partnership with your lender.

    Don’t hesitate to contact them directly with any other specific questions as you go through the spouse addition process.

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