What if only your spouse is on the mortgage or title?
Is there anything more romantic than purchasing a home together? Maybe there is, but certainly a goal of many couples is to buy a home together. For any number of reasons, only one of you may end up on the mortgage, or on the title, for that matter. If that’s the case for you, what do you need to know?
I asked Keith A. Schuman, a real estate attorney in New York City and an expert in residential law at Schuman and Associates, to break down for us what it means if you aren’t on the mortgage or on the deed to the property. Keith is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (B.A., summa cum laude) and Cornell University Law School (J.D.) and has extensive experience in transactional real estate work. He has represented developers, owners, operators, purchasers and sellers of commercial and residential properties throughout the United States. He has also represented landlords and tenants in commercial lease transactions, borrowers and lending institutions in commercial and residential re-financings, boards of cooperative buildings, and sponsors in the development of residential cooperatives.
If only your spouse is on the mortgage, can you be added later?
If only your spouse’s name is on the mortgage, you may be able to add your own name to the mortgage. To do so, you would need to contact your lender to make the request. Your lender will either decline to add your name, due perhaps to credit concerns, or agree to add your name by means of a simple mortgage modification.
The other method of adding your name to an existing mortgage is through a refinance. A refinance is where you get an entirely new loan for your home, and you would apply for the loan as a couple.
If only your spouse is on the mortgage, are you automatically on the title?
First, by way of definition, a mortgage is a security interest given to a lender as collateral for a loan, whereas title evidences one’s ownership of a property by means of an instrument called a Deed. You cannot give a mortgage unless you are on the title. So, if only your spouse is on a mortgage, you are not necessarily on the title, automatically or otherwise. You may, however, be on the title, but not on the loan as you’ll see below.
If only your spouse is on the title, how can you be added?
If you are not on the title and would like to be, it’s a simple process to be added. The title holder would execute a new deed to transfer his or her interest in the property to both him/herself and to you. An attorney would prepare the deed and necessary transfer tax forms for a cost of approximately $750, plus another $400 or so for filing the deed and for the real property transfer taxes filing.
What happens if only your spouse is on the mortgage, and they die?
Most mortgages contain an “acceleration clause” which provides that if the mortgage holder dies, the mortgage immediately comes due, meaning that the lender can call the loan, and the loan must be paid off immediately. But because of the Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982, and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, the remaining spouse may be added to the mortgage, and the bank can’t call the loan as due, regardless of the surviving spouse’s ability to repay the loan. The law applies to spouses as well as to anyone who inherits the property from the deceased mortgage holder.
If you are not on the mortgage, can you refinance?
In short, no. Only the spouse that is on the mortgage may refinance the mortgage.
What are the risks to a spouse who is not on the mortgage or the title?
If you are not on the mortgage, your spouse who is on the mortgage can borrow against the equity in your home without your consent or knowledge.
If you are not on the title, your spouse who is on the title can sell the property without your consent.
The spouse who is on the title can bequeath the property to someone other than their spouse in the event of his or her death. He or she could, for example, leave the home to their children instead of to you.
What are the benefits to a spouse who is not on a lease or title?
A lender will consider the combined credit scores of both spouses (or use the lower credit score) applying for a loan. If one spouse has good credit and the other has poor credit, or one spouse doesn’t meet the lender’s income requirements, they may not qualify for a loan, or only qualify for a loan with a less favorable interest rate. Accordingly, in those instances where only one spouse has good credit and income, some couples will apply for a loan only in the name of the more qualified spouse. In those instances, the benefit to the spouse not on the mortgage is that your household costs will be lower.
Another option is for you and your spouse to purchase the home together (with both spouses on the deed), but with only one spouse signing the mortgage note (the equivalent of an IOU). In those instances, both spouses are owners, and both will sign the mortgage documents, but only the spouse signing the mortgage note is obligated for repayment of the debt.
Also, if you have trouble paying your mortgage and miss payments, only the spouse who is on the mortgage note will have their credit affected.
Another benefit to a spouse who is not on the title is that they may not have liability if someone is hurt on the property (although most accidents are covered by the homeowner’s insurance). If someone is hurt, however, they can only sue the homeowner.
What are the state by state differences that affect spouses who are not on the title?
There are two different kinds of state laws which determine differences for spouses not on the title. Some states use a “common law” system of property ownership. For example, in New York, if your name is on the deed, you are an owner of the property and you are free to leave your ownership interest in the property to whomever you choose. On the other hand, in community property states (which include California and 11 other States), money earned by either spouse during marriage and all property bought with those earnings (including a home) are considered community property and deemed to be owned equally by the couple. Generally this applies no matter whose name is on the deed. Likewise, debts of either spouse incurred during marriage are generally considered debts of the couple.
(Related article: What does it mean to be a Guarantor? This article discusses the ownership rights (or, lack there of) of Guarantors of a loan vs. Co-Signers of a property)
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What if my husband’s name is on the mortgage and title, but I am the only one listed on the dead? This is in Maryland. Thank you.
Both myself & ex husband are on the deed to our home. Only he is on the mortgage. He filed bankruptcy. I have been making mortgage payments as per divorce order. If I assume the mortgage and am required to ‘buy him out’ do I still have to give him any money since the mortgage he held was discharged?
My husband and I have a mortgage on my home that I own. The bank failed to realize that I alone owned the property. My husband passed away. The loan shows me as a co borrower. The loan officer seemed totally panicked and all statements only come in his name. I live in Louisiana is the loan enforceable?
My husband has recently applied for a FHA mortgage… I refinanced a home that we own previously where I was the only one on the note but we were both on the deed. I foreclosed on the home and filed bankruptcy. The lender is saying this could affect his ability to get this loan now. Any insight on this?
What if my husband’s name is on the mortgage and title, but I am the only one listed on the deed? This is in Maryland. Thank you.
Correction….it would be on the title and deed, but not the mortgage.
Hi K Watt. I’m not a lawyer (that’s why we had our legal expert, Keith Schuman give us the details), but if you scroll up to the section “What are the risks to a spouse who is not on the mortgage or the title?” you can see the following: If you are not on the mortgage, your spouse who is on the mortgage can borrow against the equity in your home without your consent or knowledge. If you are not on the title, your spouse who is on the title can sell the property without your consent.The spouse who is on the title can bequeath the property to someone other than their spouse in the event of his or her death. He or she could, for example, leave the home to their children instead of to you.
Hope this is helpful!
My husband died 12/4/2019, i am not on the deed to the house which is paid for wantdo ido
my cousin and i inherited a relatives house. my cousin wants to buy it, but stated bank will only give her the loan if the deed is solely in her name. live in massachusetts
Wife, brother in law and I all live in the house. Only she’s on the mortgage and I’m on the title/deed before marriage (?..under county real estate data my name is under owner wire my wife). They both teamed up and said the bank owns it because it’s not paid off and she’s the only one that makes the payment. So according to them I don’t own it. Do I have any legal rights to this house? Can I give my brother in law a move out written notice? Since it’s only been him and I in this house and my wife has been traveling for work (only coming back every other weekend).
Hmmm. I would definitely have a lawyer sort this out – this seems complicated. If you are on the title, one would assume that you have ownership rights. As to whether you can give your brother a move out written notice, again, I’d rely on a lawyer for clarity on this as you don’t want to get into legal hot water with an eviction without being clear on what your rights are.
My husband has signed all documents for buying the house as well as signing the deed , but he said my name is on the deed even though I did not sign what rights do I have in case of divorce
My husband died March 24th 2016. We were under modification hadn’t had made our 90 days of payment when he passed away. The modification paperwork came on the 26th of March 2016. This was for his signature which was impossible because of his death on the 24th of March 2016. Mortgage lender told me that I had to start a new modification in my own name. I’m on the deed of trust, which now I have been put on as the owner of the property through affidavit heirship affidavit, it’s been filed with the court house of the house currently. It has been two years actually over two years I am on my 9th modification paperwork I have hired two different law firms and I’ve spent over $10,000 trying to get this modification or assumption modification as I file for both. My home is been up for auction 4 times! I have absolutely done everything I can do in the mortgage company is not helping me at all! Instead they have paid almost $40,000 of My Equity! My God in heaven this is my home now I’m on the title of this house but my husband was the only one on the loan. This in itself is questionable because I thought that we both were on the loan and actually found paperwork from where my husband tried to find out why my name was not showing on the mortgage note. They did not answer they said they could not answer that in writing. I believe that I am dealing with an unscrupulous lender who is doing everything they can’t eat up every dime of my equity in this house! I am a widow, a senior citizen, and I am a medical disability! One of the law firms to call the bloom law group was a scam and only stole $5,000 for me and didn’t do anything to help me! I have filed with the FTC over this matter! What can I do to make this lender JPMorgan Chase do the right thing by me and put me on the loan so I can make my payment. This is a devastating situation it has been 26 months since my husband passed away and I am still dealing with the insecurity and being unsure of what are they going to do next! I even had damage on my home from a hail storm and they are holding my $10,000 for my homeowner’s insurance and will not release the funds to put a new roof I’m living with mold in my home currently when they have my money and will not give it to me for home repair! I feel beat up and battered and emotionally devastated over all of this after 3 emergency room visits because of my blood pressure! Please what can I do to make these people stop harassing me and put my home in my name on the loan!
Hi – I am so sorry that you are having such a tragic, frustrating and tormenting time sorting out your mortgage modification. Have you tried contacting the CFPB? They have a consumer complaint process where they contact the lender on your behalf and investigate complaints, and they have been very effective in the past, and even have a public record of complaints (which you could search to see if there are similar complaints against the lender). Here is where you can submit a complaint: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/ and here is the complaint database: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/data-research/consumer-complaints/search/?from=0&searchField=all&searchText=&size=25&sort=created_date_desc. I know that issues with your home are very threatening to one’s sense of safety and financial security. I am so sorry it has caused you medical problems from stress.
My ex-husband took a HELOC loan against our paid off house in his name only. I signed the papers while we were married, not knowing that he could get the loan only in his name. A year later, he left me for another woman and we are now divorced. He set me up. He put all the accounts in his name only before I found out about the affair. Now I have no money and can’t take any funds from the house because he controls the HELOC. Is there anything I can do? I feel like this is fraud.
I am so sorry, Lisa. That is one of the worst stories I’ve heard to be honest, and I’ve heard a lot of bad ones. I am not a lawyer, so I would recommend contacting a lawyer. A HELOC does produce a lien on the property, so that if you sold the property, that debt would need to be paid first. As a HELOC is an open credit line, even if there is no money owed, I believe it still needs to be closed. What about the title to the house? Is that in his name only? If you properly own half the home, I would imagine a lawyer would be able to help you out here.
Two years ago my husband and I refinanced 3 rental properties into one mortgage. My name is on the mortgage with his but my name is not on any of the deeds.
Should the bank have allowed this? Were they required to do 3 new deeds with my name too? This is in PA.
Thank you for your help.
I’m on our deed but not on our mortgage, we are in Ca. He lost his job and is only 58, I’m 62. Can we apply for a home reversal if I’m not on the loan but on the deed. Afraid we will lose the home, have a significant amount of equity. Because he is having trouble finding a job we thought a reversal was our best way to go???
Hi Yvonne, I am not well versed enough in reverse mortgages to answer your question, but I do know that you want to make sure you talk to a certified counselor (it’s free!) before getting one. I also know that reverse mortgage brokers sometimes get exorbitant fees, such as 12% of the loan amount (!) so the industry is full of shady characters. BUT, you can get great information by going through the CFPB and HUD’s resources and I bet someone can answer your questions. Here’s the CFPB site: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/what-is-a-reverse-mortgage-en-224/ and to reach a counselor, you can call (800) 569-4287.
My home is in my name only, following the death of my husband several years ago, and remains in that married name (which is also the name by which I was known professionally). I have since remarried. We have taken a HELOC loan out jointly. We wish to refinance and roll the HELOC into the refinance. Am I correct that my current husband’s name would need to be on the deed to accomplish this (which I have no problem doing), since he is on the HELOC? And — My delay in changing my name on the deed is 1) it didn’t seem to matter at the time, and 2) when I checked with the probate court, the clerks insisted I needed an attorney to submit an affidavit of name change, which was not my understanding — was wondering if this was particular to my state, Alabama, or just the probate office. It has not been an issue with the lending institution thus far, either as my current mortgage goes or the HELOC.
I am the only one on the mortgage and the deed..partner and I broke up..I gave her 10k..she now says she owns half and wants more..getting a lawyer..we are in colorado..together when we bought the house but her credit was bad due to shortsale..nothing in writing anywhere stating she is part owner or that I will give money…can she come after my house..
That sounds like a sticky situation. You don’t mention if you were married or living together. If it’s part of a divorce, assets can be split regardless of whether one party has bad credit or not, but depends on the whole picture and usually a case by case (and state) basis. Lots of issues could come into play here.
I live in Florida & purchased my home by myself before I got married. I am now separated but not legally divorced. I had applied for a HELOC to do some renovations and sell my home. The bank states that I have to have my now separated husband sign the title for the loan. Is this right? His name was never on the title before or on the mortgage so why does he have to be added to title now? Is this the law in Florida?
I tried researching this but could not find any info.
It doesn’t sound right to me, though I’d consult a real estate lawyer (I am not a lawyer, unlike Keith, the lawyer we interviewed for this article). One of the risks of not being on the title or mortgage is that your spouse can apparently take out a HELOC without your knowledge.
Husband is only on the mortgage but we are divorcing. I sold my house and put that money down, can I make him sell it or buy me out?
Hi Ri! I believe that would be determined by the terms of the divorce. If you are splitting assets, typically the home is an asset, and would be divided according to the terms of the divorce. That can include either a buyout or, if there isn’t sufficient cash to buy out the other party, a sale of the home. I would consult with a divorce attorney.
My wife had a house before we were married Had to redo the mortgage but I not sure I am on the deed but we together have been paying on the mortgage and now she is dead am I Entitled to anything or does her kids get it we are in Texas
Hi Jimmy – I am sorry for your loss. I believe you can find out if you are on the deed from the county tax assessor. They should have this info, as they assess property taxes and would have the deed information. That would be my first step. If you aren’t on the deed then you aren’t technically an owner of the property, however as her spouse you would have rights. As laws differ from state to state, your best bet would be to consult with a local attorney who is familiar with laws regarding rights of spouses and real estate. It’s complicated, but it can be sorted. Just take it one step at a time.
Bought a house while married in MO. Husband’s name was on the note and deed, Wife’s name was only on the deed. Divorced and wife took over payments as an “authorized third person” due to at the end of a chapter 11 to which the wife payed solely 5 years and the bankruptcy is discharged. While trying to get her credit score up, ex husband drops off the map. We’re talking living on a hippy commune, and dodging court orders to sign a quit deed, child support, and legal fees. His SSN goes dead for 2.5 years. Wife continues to pay monthly mortgage, then when loan is sold to Ditech, bank stops taking payments and “loses” the authorization paperwork. Ex Husband is still off radar, what is any legal rights does she have to the home?
My ex-husband and I own a home in California, that we purchased during our marriage. There is a 1st and HELOC that are both over 22 months overdue. We are both listed on the 1st mortgage loan, but I am not listed on the HELOC. The house is being foreclosed on by the 1st mortgage holder. Once the foreclosure goes through for the 1st, will I be responsible for the HELOC?
If you are not named on the HELOC, I do not believe that it would be your responsibility, but I would consult a real estate attorney and even contact the bank that provided the HELOC and ask. You need to know what the bank that provided the HELOC intends to do, so that you can prevent yourself from being involved, if it is your legal right to not be involved. Here’s an article that describes what happens with HELOCs (read the section “What happens if you can’t pay back your HELOC”): https://www.homeownering.com/blog/2017/05/27/what-you-need-to-know-about-helocs/
I have a mortgage in my name only. I asked my husband to leave and he’s said to me that I would need to buy him out if I wanted him to leave. Is this true? Even if his name isn’t on the mortgage and I’m making all payments because he doesn’t work. Do I have to buy him out for him to leave?
Hi Sara, There are two considerations I can think of with this that are separate. One is, what is his legal right to stay in his home according to housing laws in your area. Two is, what is he entitled to financially, being your spouse. In other words, if you divorce, what would the financial details of the divorce be? I am not a lawyer, but these are the two aspects I would try to find clarity on. The first issue would be subject to local laws in your area, and the second would require a divorce attorney or mediator to sort out, I would think, since usually a home is one of the largest, if not the largest asset to consider in a divorce. I would imagine a good divorce attorney would also know the answer to the first issue about evicting a spouse.
My ex husband quit claim deeded a home to me only. I moved out due to the condition of the home. My ex husband had home foreclosed and the mortgage was only in his name. The foreclosing bank bought it out and is now pending sale. They just realized I have a deed in my name. Do I still have rights or an interest in that property ? We are in Ohio
My husband bought home 12 years ago, before we were married. Making husband he only one on both deed and mortgage. We been married 3 years. Now he has been wanting to get a refinance loan on the home and we are arguing because I am not comfortable signing the documents for new loan. I do not want to be liable if for some reason he could not pay on new loan. We live in California and he won’t refuses to sit down and explain everything to me. He will not give me any financial information, he’s become verbally abusive towards me for not wanting to sign. We haven’t lived together for 2 years. I am still working full time and he’s has since retired. He has purchased a corvette, travel trailer, remodeled parts of the home , gone on trips to Belize all without me. I do not know much about this as I have never got a lian wxcept for a car in 1984. So, I know my credit is great. He filed gr bankruptcy before we met. I do not know this credit scores now. He won’t tell me how much he has in his retirement bank or savings, etc… He says it’s none of my business. He gets frustrated at times and tells me he’s walking away from the house.. So, all this really makes me wonder. Why would I sign when he tells me that his private information is none of my business?
Please I am asking for any advice on this situation.. Can anyone help me out?.
My husband and i marriage was on falling apart before when we decided we needed to be on our own for things to get better. He didnt meet the qualifications for a loan, so i figured id get the loan and purchase the manufactered home, we were looking at, worst case scenario if we dont work out.. atleast i get to keep my home.
I successfully did everything it took & met all the req’s to get the mortgage loan all by myself, but at closing i noticed his name was on all the closing docs & also on the property title along with my name. From the moment he saw that, he went back to his ways, & things are back rough with us. We agreed its not going to with us, and considering getting a divorce. But what about my house? Why was his name automatically added on the property title? To me, Unless hes sharing the financial responsibility (mortgage loan) with me, i feel like only then he should be on the deed. Now he doesnt want to leave the house, because he says his name in on the deed. How can i get him off the deed? Or get him out my house? Divorce will take to long, i need to figure out something asap. Even if we wait and divorce, who will end up getting the home? I paid for everything, from emd, down payment to closing costs .. & theres proof of that because the mortgage loan is only on my name.
I own the home and the mortgage is just in my name too. I no longer work, but we have a small rental income from our in-law unit and my husbands works…but he isnt an “owner”. We have appr 600,000 in equity and just want an equity line to pay off some bills and get funds for sons college. Will lenders consider husbands incomes for us to qualify? Thanks…
Would there be any reason why a spouse would NOT be able to be added to a deed when it is being transferred to a son or daughter?
My signature is on the note only and I had no ownership rights to a home purchased during a marriage originally by husband only. During a refi and a cash out HELOC I was listed as a co borrower on the note for the debts but not added to mortgage agreement or title. This is in Indiana and I don’t believe is legitimate. Any help is appreciated.
Hi Andrea, I guess my question would be: was it a cash out refinance (where you assume an entirely new mortgage to replace the mortgage you had)? A cash out refinance is one where you take a new mortgage that is more than the money you owe on the home, take the extra cash in the form of a check, and pay down the new mortgage as generally your only loan on the home. A HELOC is a loan that you can get in addition to a mortgage, that uses the equity you have in the home as collateral and is paid off separately from the mortgage. Here’s more on a HELOC: https://www.homeownering.com/blog/2017/05/27/what-you-need-to-know-about-helocs/. If you did a cash out refinance where you are listed as a co-borrower, I would be surprised that you would not be listed on the primary mortgage. That seems wrong. If you were listed as a co-borrower on a HELOC, that would not change your status on the main mortgage or on the title. As state laws differ, I would definitely recommend consulting a real estate lawyer as this seems tricky and you want to be able to protect your individual rights and know your risks. You also might consider being added to the title, depending on what you discover is best for your circumstance.
I don’t know if the second loan is a HELOC actually. I only know that there is the first loan that paid for the entire mortgage for 64000 and a second simultaneous loan for 12000 in equity. Both of which were done with a security instrument and a promise note. My signature is on the notes only and the explanation is that since I’m not on title and have no ownership to the property and never did. My confusion is then about the terminology of co borrower. I believe that with no ownership being secured by me for the loans I would then be considered a guarantor instead. A guarantor requires a guarantee agreement and that doesn’t exist either. So there is a great deal of bewilderment here and my ex husband and I live in separate states and have no communication with each other. I have no communication with the bank either. I sit in the dark waiting for foreclosure.
Did you live in the house or are you living in the house now? I also live in IN but am not a Lawyer. Separate property becomes Marital property if they are mixed or commingled during the marriage… I am at the other end of the spectrum … my name only are on note and mortgage and my house is in foreclosure. My husband moved out and thinks he’s free and clear… not so. On the other hand, if say the house had 100,000 in Equity… he would get half… $50,000… and he signed nothing!
However, you say you are waiting for foreclosure which means nothing is currently being paid…meaning the banks will foreclose (they don’t care who owns it).
Not knowing everything and being self taught, my advice to you (even if you can’t afford a lawyer) to go to the country courthouse where the property is located. All county court houses have pro bono lawyer and other specialist.
(If you have signed copy of note bring it with you, if not don’t worry). Everything should be recorded with the clerk. See what documents they have WITH the help of the clerk and a pro bono lawyer. My feeling is that you absolutely have a right 1. You are on note and if it’s only to an equity line… no worries… it’s marital property-totally commingled especially if you are living or were living there but also because you are married… signing a note for equity or refinance made the house “marital property”.
The court can also tell you if house is in foreclosure…or if you have access to a computer you can look it up on mycase.IN. gov
Put in your ‘county’
Click on ‘civil’
Click on ‘party’ and put either ‘your name’ or your husband’s name in spaces
Click “all” for ‘cases’
For ‘date’ (to narrow it down put 1/1/2018 to 11/21/2018 (or today’s date)
If nothing comes up… yay
STILL GO TO COURT HOUSE THOUGH!!!
Hello I’m from Canada, Me and my Husband is planning on getting a house. Is it possible that we can put the mortgage under his name since he has the bigger income and a good credit history and I’m just starting mine. We just talk about me paying for some bills instead, like for the electricity, water etc. Will it be possible that we can both entitled for the house? Even it’s under his mortgage name and the one loan for it. Will it affect me as well if he won’t be able doing the payment cuz we’re married or file bankruptcy just incase. How does it work? Please let me know.
Hi Jennylyn, the way I understand it (and I am not a lawyer) is that when you buy a home, the person on the mortgage is automatically placed on the title, but that you can add names to the title through a separate process. I am not familiar if laws or the process are different in Canada than the US, though. Look at the article in the section where it says “If only your spouse is on the title, how can you be added?”. In the US, you may add someone to the title through a process. Hope this helps!
I received a large settlement,, and paid cash for the house,, can she get a mortgage with out my name on it..??? And I can not get any information about mortgage w/out her written permission!!!! Is this legal in PA???? And did I F-UP and trust someone for over 30 years to get ROYALY SCREEWED??? I pay the morage EVERY MONTH,,, but she uses her and my joint account,, and only her name as Borrower,I don’t exist on morage l,,,,
HELP ME,,,can’t afford a attorney
Hello – I’m married and living in NY with only my name is on the title and mortgage. I bought the house after I was married, but since my wife wasn’t working, she was not included in the mortgage app, so the lawyer didn’t add her name to the title. Can I sell the house without my wife’s consent and am I required to share any profit with her? She is planning on moving to California, but wants to wait until our daughter finishes college in 3 years to get divorced.
Hi Bill, is your wife on the title? If not, according to the article “If you are not on the title, your spouse who is on the title can sell the property without your consent”. As for the profit, I’m not sure what a divorce lawyer would say, and the state that you live in may also play a factor in deciding how proceeds are split.
I’m on the dead and we brought home while married but my names not the mortgage but all my money is put into home and lots of equity in home I do not want to refinance or sell home , can he sell or do any thing with our home with out my signature in Florida …. I’m on social security and disabled and do not want to leave my home and would like to ask judge to keep it and for him to relocate and keep other properties we owne and advice would be helpful
Hi Stephens – if your name is on the title, according to the article then your husband can’t sell or give away (to an heir, etc.) the home without your knowledge, but since you are not on the mortgage he could potentially refinance or take out a loan (second mortgage) on your home without your knowledge, as I understand it. I would definitely consult with a real estate lawyer to see what your rights are in terms of keeping the home and having him relocate.
Hi, I live in Florida, my husband passsed in June 2016. He did not leave a will. Our home is still mortgaged but my name is not on the mortgage but is on the deed and I have been paying the mortgage. Now the problem is that the house needs repairs and I submitted a claim to the insurance company which was paid, but, check was made out in the mortgage company’s name, my name as well as my deceased husband’s name.. Check was sent to the mortgage company where they reissued another check in the name of the the company that will be doing the repairs on the house, my name as well as my deceased husband’s name is also on the check. Now check cannot be cashed because all three signature is needed.. What can I do to handle this situation in order to get the repairs done.. Thank you.
I am so sorry, Dawn. That sounds like a nightmare. And, my condolences to you. It really sounds like the first step could be to get your name on the mortgage just to avoid problems related to this happening again. According to the article “If only your spouse’s name is on the mortgage, you may be able to add your own name to the mortgage. To do so, you would need to contact your lender to make the request. Your lender will either decline to add your name, due perhaps to credit concerns, or agree to add your name by means of a simple mortgage modification.The other method of adding your name to an existing mortgage is through a refinance.” If the bank with your mortgage doesn’t have a process for this that is satisfactory to you, you may need to engage a real estate lawyer. As for getting the check into your hands, I would try to speak to someone senior at the mortgage company and have them go through your options as your situation is very understandable – your husband is unable to sign! Maybe there’s a path they can identify for you to both get your name on the mortgage and reissue the check so that you don’t have future problems.
Hi. My fiance and myself have decided to split up. We own the house that I grew up in. She is the only one listed on the mortgage, but we are both listed on the deed. She wants to buy me out of the house. I put $40,000 down on the house and she has agreed to give me the original down payment and a 50/50 split of the appraised value of the house. It’s a amicable split, however, I’m wondering the best way to due this since she is the only one listed on the actual mortgage? Thank you in advance.
Hi Joe, That’s great that you have an amicable split. Certainly makes things less stressful. If you are planning on keeping the home, then you’ll want to get yourself on the mortgage. The easiest way to do this may be to refinance the home, which means getting a whole new mortgage, in your name. Alternatively, you could try to add your name to the current mortgage by contacting the bank, but then I believe your fiance would still be on the mortgage, and I don’t think you want that. Also, if you are strictly splitting assets, you may be looking at splitting the equity in the home (appraised value minus what you owe to the bank), instead of splitting the appraised value. The money you owe to the bank isn’t an asset, it is a debt. Since you are recouping your $40,000, the equation to split the remaining assets would be Appraised Value – $40,000 (your down payment) – Remaining Loan Balance on the mortgage = Current Equity. There may be other reasons that you want to split the appraised value of the home, but that would be how to split the actual assets at this point in time.
If i was never married and bought house with boyfriend my 2 kids and i have lived here for 4 yrs and paid all bills he has left my name is not on deed but is on lease how can i get my name on house ive paid 20000 plus
Hi Christine, That sounds very frustrating. It is terrible to have an issue with not being on the deed when you have paid so much money. I am confused by your mention of a lease, though. A lease is generally something you have if you are renting a property from someone else. Can you clarify what the arrangement is? If you bought a home together where does the lease come in? Thank you.
I am about to ask for a loan but there’s a section that asks me if I rent, own, and own with mortgage. The mortgage and deed is under my wife’s name. What do I put in that section? Thanks!
Hi Paul, I think most folks in your position would say “own with mortgage”, due to lack of any other semi-appropriate option. Though technically, the deed and mortgage are in your wife’s name, as you mention. Since you don’t want to get in a situation where you’ve put a wrong answer on a loan application, is there someone at the bank/lender you are wishing to obtain a loan from that you could ask? Lenders often have different criteria for approvals.
Before marriage my fiancé at the time couldn’t refinance his mortgage because he was making less therefore I signed to be on mortgage but without rights to property.
After marriage with our lawyer I was added to title of our matrimonial home.the bank is not aware of this change.
What would happen if we divorced? I signed that quitclaim deed before marriage, but was added to title afterwards and it’s our matrimonial home!
Hi Jen, It sounds like you are listed on the mortgage and on the title now, correct? So, in the event of a divorce you would be entitled to joint ownership of the house and also have a join responsibility for paying the mortgage. It would likely be up to you and your spouse to determine if one of you would remain living in the home or if you would sell the home. Usually what happens in either case is that, based on the terms of the divorce, the assets are split according to the divorce agreement.
Hello. We live in Delaware. We have some financial issues we’re trying to work out and need some help. About 17 years ago, my girlfriend at the time got pregnant and she bought her first home. We moved in together. I was never put on the title or deed. She suffered bad back issues after the birth of our son and found it difficult to work. So for 3/4 of the time there, I paid the mortgage. I found a new home a couple years ago and I got a mortgage for the new home. She handled all the calls to the lender and when we went to settlement her name was on the deed. She used the same lawyer that helped her with her settlement. I assumed the mortgage. I’ve been paying the mortgage for the other home now for two years and can’t get it rented yet because we need money for renovations. I heard about a HELOC, but were thinking we won’t qualify because she’s unemployed and has no income. What are some of the options we have? I suggested to put my name on the deed then go to get a HELOC with me because I have the income and strong credit. Will this work?
Hi Raul, You may be able to be added to the deed. Here’s is some information on that (from the article): “If you are not on the title and would like to be, it’s a simple process to be added. The title holder would execute a new deed to transfer his or her interest in the property to both him/herself and to you. An attorney would prepare the deed and necessary transfer tax forms for a cost of approximately $750, plus another $400 or so for filing the deed and for the real property transfer taxes filing.” Certainly, a HELOC is a totally viable route to go. Here’s an article on it that shows the pros and cons: https://www.homeownering.com/blog/2017/05/27/what-you-need-to-know-about-helocs/. If she is unemployed then you are right, she would likely not be able to qualify, as the borrower needs to be able to show ability to pay, etc. Hope this helps.
Thank you for whatever help you can provide.
You are most welcome.
Hello there. My uncle and Aunt they bought a house 10;yrs ago for me and my husband.they are siblings. We started making the payments since the first month they bought it. 4 years ago they signed a grant deed for me and my husband they gave us the house but they still in the mortgage loan. Now my uncle’s wife because he is married said that our house belongs to her. I want to know is she has any rights over the property. We are in California state
Hi Liliana, If you are on the deed and your uncle’s wife is not, then you should technically have ownership rights. Where it gets a little sticky is if your uncle and uncle’s wife (the mortgage holders) were to die, the mortgage could come due, unless you have inheriting rights that can be established, or, you are also on the mortgage. If you are on the mortgage also, then this would not be a concern (I don’t believe).
For ownership, there are differences in how property rights are dealt with that vary from state to state. For example, from the article: “For example, in New York, if your name is on the deed, you are an owner of the property and you are free to leave your ownership interest in the property to whomever you choose. On the other hand, in community property states (which include California and 11 other States), money earned by either spouse during marriage and all property bought with those earnings (including a home) are considered community property and deemed to be owned equally by the couple.” To be sure, I would consult a local real estate lawyer, but I think you are in the clear. If you are not on the mortgage, you might consider adding yourself if possible to prevent issues if one or both of the mortgage holders dies.
Can someone help with this question I have about a guarantor on a home purchase?
I am going to be signing as a guarantor with my brother on his home purchase where he is the primary buyer. My question if I go through a divorce or separation in the future am I still responsible for splitting the property with my wife in case of divorce or am I safe if I am a guarantor? I know that sometimes in cases of divorce you have to split the property with wife as well.
I would appreciate if anyone could kindly answer my question.
Hi Asif, this is a great question. We are going to post an article on this as I’m sure others have similar questions. It should be up shortly and I’ll come back and post the link. It gets into guarantor risks and rights. Edited to add: Here is the article. A guarantor has no ownership rights to the property, only obligation to cover the mortgage debt, should the need arise. If you are a co-signer, and on the deed, then you have ownership rights to the property. In the event of a divorce, ownership of the home would be determined by divorce law in your state. Does that help?
My wife and I recently got a new house 6-21-19. Sadly we are filing a divorce. How can I get my name off the house
That sounds really tough. There are two things to consider, the first is whether you on on the mortgage also, and second is to verify that you are in fact on the deed. If you are on both the mortgage and the deed then you’ll need to contact bank that issued the mortgage and ask them what the process is to remove yourself from the mortgage. To remove yourself from just the deed, you’ll want to make sure you file the proper paperwork with the county office that holds the deed, and I would strongly suggest you have a real estate attorney help you so that it is filed correctly.
Hi, we leave in Florida. Me and my husband recently bought a house. Both of our names are on the mortgage but only his name is on the Deed.
Later he said it was not intentional and signed the Quit Clam Deed to changed it to both of us but since we have a big mortgage that would be costly and I am holding to the Quit Claim for now and have not recorded it yet.
Does it make any difference to me if my name is not on the deed?
Hi Mia. If you are not on the deed then you don’t technically have ownership of the property. From the article above “If you are not on the title, your spouse who is on the title can sell the property without your consent…The spouse who is on the title can bequeath the property to someone other than their spouse in the event of his or her death. He or she could, for example, leave the home to their children instead of to you.” The benefit to not being on the title could be that you “may not have liability if someone is hurt on the property (although most accidents are covered by the homeowner’s insurance). If someone is hurt, however, they can only sue the homeowner.”
So what that means is if I am not yet on the deed if god forbid anything happen he can leave the house to only his and our children or even his child from previous martiage in his will but if I am on the deed he will not be able to make any decision for my share of the house?
Thank you so much
It is correct that if you are on the deed then he cannot make independent decisions as you are a co-owner. In terms of leaving the house to his family members and not to you, it is possible he could do this if you are not on the deed. However it would also depend on your local real estate laws and possibly property laws relating to marriage if he is your husband. When in doubt, consult with a local real estate attorney.
Hello my name is yoly ! I’ve been married for almost 8 yrs and my husband has his house which he bought 2 yrs prior to our marriage ! He refinanced well we where married and his name is the only one on title ! But he makes me pay half of his mortgage he says I live in the house also if we divorced am I in title to 50/50 although I’m not on the loan or property! In California
What if my husband and I owned a home together and both names were on the mortgage. Could he leave the home to someone else in his will leaving me without a home??
Hello I live in mass and I’m getting divorced my ex wife is on the deed and would no put me on because she said they wouldn’t because my credit wasn’t good we Inquired the property after we got married wouldn’t it be community property
Hi Matt, Sorry to hear of your circumstances. That must be really frustrating. Not being added to the mortgage makes sense if your credit is not as good, but as you can see from the above article, you can be added to the deed/title with a simple legal procedure, usually a form is filed, regardless of your credit. Now that you are getting divorced, I think the most relevant part of the article is in the last paragraph: “Some states use a “common law” system of property ownership. For example, in New York, if your name is on the deed, you are an owner of the property and you are free to leave your ownership interest in the property to whomever you choose. On the other hand, in community property states (which include California and 11 other States), money earned by either spouse during marriage and all property bought with those earnings (including a home) are considered community property and deemed to be owned equally by the couple.”, so it will depend to an extent on the laws in your particular state. If MA is a community property state, then you should be entitled to your share, but if it is common law state, then it is less clear. In any case, you should consult a real estate lawyer, and a divorce lawyer in your state, I’d imagine, would also be familiar with property laws.
I messaged last night but no response my wife and I are getting divorced the house is in her name she would not put me on it when we got it together after marriage we live in mass does community property apply in this case since we got house after we married she has been divorced before so she is playing games what can I do to get what is owed to me
Hi Matthew, Sorry for the delay in your comment appearing. I think I’ve answered your question as a response to your last message. We approve each individual comment to reduce the amount of spam on the site, but this also causes delays depending on when the comments come in. It’s a balancing act! Thank you for your comment.
Here’s my story and I hope someone can put this together so it makes good sense or at least some sense as to where I am in an alright spot with this…… My wife and I married a few years back, I was renting the house we currently live in and had joint ownership of until today. We did a complete gut and remodel to the home and a 700 SF Addition to the home after we purchased it. In the beginning we were both on the title (after-all we are married) so that’s how marriages work right? Let me point this out that I rented this house for many years before my wife came here and we married…. I worked everyday as I still do to this day and my wife has never worked since arriving here, she came with nothing and I supported her for a little while until her parents passed away and she got a windfall from them and from those proceeds is where the funding came to buy , remodel, and add the addition. So about a year and a half goes by and today wanted me to sign off of the title and give complete ownership to her and I did. She said (and it’s in her will) also drafted today that I would have right of survivorship meaning that after she dies (if she dies first) that I would be allowed to stay in the house until I either died, moved out or went into a nursing facility in the future. I’m only 61 and in good health so that could be many years if not decades in the future for me. When I was out of the house it would then go to her 2 kids which I don’t have an issue with BUT !…………………… Here’s where I am feeling defeated: What if she decided tomorrow to file for a Divorce? Where would I be? I wouldn’t have a pot to piss in nor a window to throw it out of! Am I right? She also has an investment account that her parents left to here and it sits with an investment firm where she has her 2 kids listed as beneficiaries on that account. She told me (verbally) that because I relinquished my share in the home that she would add me as a 1/3 beneficiary on that investment account….. Once again if she Divorces me that goes away too and here I’ll be holding a sign for spare change like many others are and have been doing. I’m asking you guys what do you think this sounds like to you? It sounds to me that her 2 grown adult kids are more important than her spouse is………. I also have a daughter (38) that kind of distanced herself from me because of an evil mother and my current wife insisted I disallow any claims from her against our house in the event of my death… She has NEVER even met my daughter but wants her to have no legal claim to anything here…… Her 2 kids are (24) & (34) and do nothing but play video games all the time and the one is a big Pot Smoker who can’t stay away from the stuff…..Anyways what does this sound like to you and would you have done what I did …………I mean I gave everything I had away and will be left penny less if she ever decides to say I’m Done
My husband and i planning on buying a house but my credit not that great. So he’ll get it with his credit. He said that he will put my name on the deed. Will i have ownership as well? And while im on the deed if he pass can he leave the house to one of his adult children will they get Ownership of the property? Florida Thank You
My husband made me sign papers giving him the house. Like I signed the house over to him. Since we are still married, can he legally kick me out?
Hi Brooke, that sounds tricky. By “signed the house over to him” I am assuming that you are no longer on the title/deed and that only he is. Whether he can kick you out may get into laws that govern the particular state you are in. I would consult an attorney who knows your state laws.
I have a question. My partner and I (two guys) have been together for 7 years. 3 years ago we purchased a home together the mortgage was in both names and benefited from the tax deductions. Now there is a change he recently accepted a job in Tampa Florida so we have to relocate. I currently work in federal government so I will have to give up my job and income to move. I would like to know since i wont have an income and florida is cheaper my partner can apply for the mortgage himself. I guess i want to know what my options are in order to make sure i am secure with having some sort of equity or my name on the deed or something thanks if you can help
Hi Marco, according to the article, even if you are not on the mortgage, you can get your name added to the title/deed. That will assure you ownership.
I live in New York and purchased my home before I got married, so the mortgage & title/deed are both under my name. I’m under the assumption to add her to the tile/deed would require an attorney… at a cost. If I should pass away before my wife are there any disadvantages to her getting the house through the my estate? Or is there something else I am missing?
Hi Edwin. I think that’s a question you’d want to ask a New York attorney as different states have different laws concerning property transfer. Certainly, if your wife were added to the title, she’d be assured ownership upon your passing.
My husband and I live in Georgia. He is getting ready to do a loan to pay off the mortgage. I am not on this loan, If he passes, am I responsible for paying off this loan,
although I haven’t signed anything. I am on the deed to the house?
Me and my husband have a mortgage?
He and I signed papers but I guess this was the deed
Part I assume..My husband kicked me out of our home
May 6 2019 and he apparently got into some trouble
And was arrested on May 19 2019? The last mortgage
Payment was in April 2019? So this is September and
I’m sure there’s some legal process getting ready to
Happen,,My husband told me to not come back on
The property,So I didn’t, I still had lots of my stuff at the
Home and it apparently was taking away by his family
I couldn’t afford a attorney because I’m on disability
And it’s under a 1000.00 dollars a month, most of that
Is in Medicare and another part of insurance with
Humana which helps out on some of the cost, I’m
Disabled, Don’t have any vehicle and live with a younger
Sister and her family and I pay nothing to stay with
Them, I still had a lot of important documents and
Stuff in our home and I’m afraid that someone will
Get our social security numbers and such..I don’t
Have any keys to the home and I was and am scared
To go back..like I said? All appliances and furniture
Is gone,I went to a Salvation Army in my town which
Our property is also and I had seen my living room
Suit..My father-in-law said or told my brother-in-law it was taking to the dump? That was a lie! I have no
Proof of anything..I called the mortgage company
Today and she said I wasn’t on the loan,But don’t know
About the deed, I called the court and left message for
Them to call me back and never did, I will call Monday
My husband is in the local jail in the County where our
Home is, And my husband has some serious charges
And could get a lot of time if he’s convicted of his
Charge’s,, I’m still married legally,But separated from
Each other,Our relationship hasn’t been all that great
For many years,,I still care about him and what happens
To him…But he probably cares less about me or he
Wouldn’t have thrown me out and gave up on our
Relationship of 30 + year’s.. I put a lot of money into
Our home after I quit work because of my disabilities
My stocks, retirement,and a few others..I was scared
To contact anyone on or in our mortgage company
Because I didn’t know what to do and I have a
Comprehension problem.. I can spell read write, but
It’s the understanding part that’s wrong… I’m embarrassed and ashamed, plus I didn’t have any of
The mortgage Information and all of that was at our
Home,,Which I think my father-in-law got it, He’s apparently the power of attorney for my husband,That’s
What he told my brother-in-law? If I’m on the deed since
I’m not on the title or loan of our home,Am I entitled
To any fund’s,I can’t afford the home and don’t like it
There to begin with, if the home doesn’t get foreclosed
Soon which it’s very close for them to be doing
Something..I don’t know much about any of this stuff
Husband took care of everything..Can or am I entitled
To any funds or what should I do or what can I do.. I really could use the money..can I sale the house
With my husband being incarcerated? What can I do
I need answers ASAP please.. Thanks to everyone
Who can help me.godbless
Hi , I am at Boston Massachusetts, I bought two houses before my marriage and am the only one listed on all house documents , one is paid off , another one is still on mortgage. my question is if I am allowed to sell or give any one or two of my houses to my son or mum without my wife’s consent? Here is Boston Massachusetts. Real appreciate.
Hello. Before my husband and I married, he bought a house, all documents had his name on them. He died two years ago and through probate, my name has been added to the deed. I would like to refinance and need to know how to go about doing this since the mortgage is in his name and the current lender has added Estate of… to the mortgage name. Also, how do I go about getting the title changed over to my name? I live in Oklahoma.
Hello, My ex husband and I bought a home in Arkansas in 2007. I am the only one on the mortgage but we are both on the deed. In our divorce I was granted the home and custody of the 2 children. In our divorce we agreed I would keep possession of the home until the youngest turned 18 or if he attended college 22. At that time it will be sold and The equity split between the two children. I remarried, and so did he. My new husband and I have remained in the home for the past 9 years. We have taken on all of the financial burdens of home maintenance, a new HVAC, new roof, remodel of the master bathroom, painting exterior and in interior ect. We have some major costly repairs that need to be addressed, we have about 50% equity in the home as of now. I inquired about a refinance as I am the only one on the mortgage, and they said he would have to sign as well because he was on the deed. He will not sign. We need a new septic system and we need the foundation issues under the house fixed, as well as new a/c duct work. This is about $40,000 in repairs. I can not afford my mortgage payment plus and additional payment. (I have a 20 year loan). If these things do not get fixed, we can not sale the house for what it is worth because it will not pass an inspection therefore a bank will not loan on it, and most if not all the equity would be lost selling to a cash buyer that “flips” property. Are there any options for my husband and I, besides trying to amend the divorce in court? I am at a loss. Thank you.
I bought i house a month after being married, i have the plans before he show up in my life, he is not in the mortgage only in the title he was threatening me that he will find a lawyer to take the house from me in the court. Can you please advise what i can do.
Hi,my name is on the deed and title of the house but not on the mortgage!.What it is mean if we divorce?I don’t want to keep the house .Illinois .We don’t have children together.
So what that means is if I am not yet on the deed if god forbid anything happen he can leave the house to only his and our children or even his child from previous martiage in his will but if I am on the deed he will not be able to make any decision for my share of the house?
Thank you so much
my name on mortgage but not the deed i signed it over to my x and then eded up being her husband can she do that he wasnt even there to sign but his name was on the deed ?and can i get money out of the mortgage need some hlep in my situtation need some money
i wanted to move back to the house she gonna move anyway she said need 40000 down but my credit keeping me from doin that ….what should i do should i just sign the mortgage oveer ?
she on the deed and im on the mortgage i singed a quit deed to her i didnt read it but found out its her husband name on the deed is that legal need it back to me how if i already signed it help please
Hi, my son and his wife have a house in GA. It is in her name only, and her salary pays the mortgage. If she pre-deceases him, and there is no will, does he automatically get the house if he’s able to pay the mortgage?
I’m not on title or mortgage , not common Law, I put in provable 400K X girlfriend 40K X ties my hands when covid hit not using equity to finish and rent out to avoid foreclosure , goes behind my back and signs allowing bank to handle completely and signs waving lawyer representation but hires lawyer to keep me at bay she states she paid 135 K deposit this was given to her by mother with letter to bank that was false I paid it 90 days prior to close she recieved no money from mother house has offer on it bank excepted still to go before judge for approval can I stop this proving mortgage fraud or any other way so I keep my house I’m desperate
I was married for 36 years left back in 2016 because he was gambling and we were about to be evicted. I found a place for rent for me and my niece and nephew who ive had custody of for since they were 8 weeks old and they turned 18 in October. The lady offerered for me to do owner financed and buy it its just in my name we have not been together here at all maybe total of 1 out of 5 years even had a restraining order over a year on him. He is suing me for equiptable distribution wants half of my equity and my 401k I have had my job for 14 years in healthcare he is not working in a year and a half and has two other law suits now and trying to get disibility and he is not disable. i have literally made my self sick worrying about this we went to mediation and he wanted 43000 so we are going to have to go before a judge. divorce was approved in august and we are in NC what is the possibility that it will be in my favor.
Can I add my name to my house title after the death of spouse without having a laywer?
My husband bought a home before we were married. He is the one who makes the mortgage payments. We live in California, if something were to happen to him what would happen to the house. Will i owe the mortgage debt?
Hi Dawn, according to the article, “What happens if only your spouse is on the mortgage, and they die?
Most mortgages contain an “acceleration clause” which provides that if the mortgage holder dies, the mortgage immediately comes due, meaning that the lender can call the loan, and the loan must be paid off immediately. But because of the Garn-St. Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982, and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, the remaining spouse may be added to the mortgage, and the bank can’t call the loan as due, regardless of the surviving spouse’s ability to repay the loan. The law applies to spouses as well as to anyone who inherits the property from the deceased mortgage holder.” I guess if you didn’t or couldn’t pay the mortgage, the bank would likely foreclose on the property but if you did want to keep the home there are some protections to be added to the mortgage and the bank can’t immediately call the loan due. I hope that is helpful. For more information, you may want to consult with a real estate lawyer in your state.