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Real Estate Home Mortgages/Refinancing in one spouses name only


Thank you for taking my question.  My spouse and I could really benefit from a refinancing of our home/home equity loan ($168K financed to $210 value, 80%).  Combined annual income is $205K to $217K.

My credit score is in the low 700ís.  My wifeís is in the low 600ís.  Mortgage lenders are urging me to apply for the refinancing under my name only.

Is this a prevalent practice?  It seems very risky to me.  I would assume 100% financial commitment for the home that we jointly own.  I am particularly concerned about the implications if there should ever be a divorce settlement.


Dave, your concern is valid in that you would be the only person with recourse on the property, yet you own it jointly.  That could be messy in a divorce situation.  You could potentially have the home be in your name only, however common law and spousal rights may still give your spouse access to the house even if she is not on title.  

With that said it is fairly common for lenders to remove one of the borrowers if their scores are low and the other party qualifies on their own.  With her scores being in the low 600's you would likely see a a bit of an increase to the interest rate, or be forced to go from a conforming to an FHA loan which would carry monthly mortgage insurance at a high cost.  As a result, your lenders recommendation is valid and many consumers follow that recommendation.

I have always advised my clients to follow their instincts on this one.  If you feel there is a good chance that a divorce is forthcoming then you will want to consider the ramification of having the home loan in your name only rather heavily.  If you feel chances are low then perhaps its not as serious of a concern.  

For me personally I have always kept my mortgages and financing separate from my wife's. She has had mortgages in her name, and I in mine.  part of the reason is because I invest in real estate and we qualify for more financing that way, the other part is that I want us both to independently have strong credit should anything happen to the other party.  In my case I am not concerned about a divorce however, if I was I would probably reconsider the strategy.

I hope the insight helps.  Its impossible for me to tell you what to do, but hopefully the input will help as you make your decision.  One possible solution is to have the home financing in your name, and credit card and auto loans in hers to help offset the risk.  Just a thought.  
About Real Estate Home Mortgages
This topic answers questions related to purchasing a home, owning a home, home ownership, mortgage education, mortgage applications, and mortgage needs whether buying a first home or refinancing a current loan. Issues related to home ownership, home equity, mortgage education, refinacing options, home improvment finacing, first time home loans, home equity loans, vactation home loans, and mortgages for investment homes are dealt with here also. Though not the primary focus of this topic, Home Equity Lines of Credits (HELOCS), reverse mortgages, and calculating home equity may also be asked. If you do not see your home mortgae, home finacing, or home equity question answered in this area then please ask a question here

Real Estate Home Mortgages

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Mark Schow


Can: reverse mortgage, mortgages of all types, debt management and settlement, foreclosure problems, real estate investment strategies. Can't: real estate law, standard banking outside mortgage and debt.


2002-2004 President of the Utah Association of Mortgage Brokers (UAMB) 2004-2008 Board member UAMB, Fraud task force chair, PR chair, Legislative chair. 2002-2005 Delegate to National Association of Mortgage Brokers, Legislative committee. 1996-2008 COO Debt Free Living- Now Debt Fast Track. Founder of company- consumer debt elimination company. 1994-2008 President Secured Financial Freedom. Mortgage broker, serviced nationwide, 120 employees and handled real estate investment loans for the Carlton Sheets group and some Rich Dad clients. 2005-2011 ARES, LLC. Owner, Manager. Private money investments, business consulting. 2011- present, Reverse My Mortgage, LLC. Managing Member. Reverse mortgage education, marketing and sales. 2011- present. Salt TV Network. Financial contributor, Sales Manager.


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High School- Alta High graduated 1984 Brigham young University- 1986-1991 Business Finance Major

Past/Present Clients, Doreen Stein, PEI institute, Franklin Covey Coaching, Capital Financial Group, the rest are consumers- cannot give out names due to privacy but have had thousands of clients both for debt elimination and mortgage work.

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