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Helping Someone Else Get a Mortgage Loan: Should You Cosign?

by The Urban Specialists 04/25/2021

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Should you cosign on a mortgage loan to help someone else buy a house? 

Hopeful home buyers who lack the necessary credit history, W-2 income or overall income versus their debt can face problems getting a mortgage lender to approve a loan. Borrowers with a 43% or higher debt-to-income ratio may learn their income doesn't suffice. Yet if a cosigner steps up, promising to pay the mortgage if needed, the loan might be approved.

If you are the one who steps in, it's highly likely that your name will actually be on the title. Most lenders want it that way, so the asset can be pledged as collateral by both of you.

Are You Prepared to Do More Than Simply Cosign the Loan? Should You?

So, if the mortgage company asks you to serve as a co-borrower, not just a cosigner, understand the lender's expectations. Does the lender expect you to become a co-owner? If so, your name will appear, along with the primary borrower's, on the deed — even if you never set foot in the house and don't expect to pay anything.

If the person you are helping ever gets in a bind and can't make a mortgage payment, you'll be second in line to pay. And your credit report will be dented if you don't.

Were you a mere cosigner, you'd be asked to pay the debt but never have a claim to the value of the home. In other words, mere cosigners get liability for the debt — without the asset. 

What Does a Good Outcome Look Like?

Of course, you want the person you're helping to enjoy living in the home, to pay the monthly mortgage and, ultimately, to apply for a new loan that refinances the debt and turns the primary borrower into the sole borrower and the sole owner.

Even if you are 100% sure all will go as planned, it's a good idea to have a lawyer draw up a binding agreement that memorializes the primary borrower's intent to let you off the title, deed, mortgage and homeowner's insurance policy by a date certain after closing on the home. It will keep the primary borrower focused on making regular mortgage payments and developing strong credit, anticipating the refinancing application process. 

When the primary buyer successfully refinances the home mortgage, it will be time for you to take your name off the title. You can sign a quitclaim deed to release yourself from ownership.

Then you can congratulate yourself for enabling someone to buy a home. And congratulate the new homeowner for keeping both of your credit ratings as strong as your relationship.

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The Urban Specialists

CITY RESOURCES The great thing about urban centers is just how much stuff you find around you. Your favorite restaurants, cultural activities and museums are within walking distance of your front door. It's convenient and adds to how much you get out of your place. For more info on New Haven, check out these links: Info New Haven Visit New Haven We are passionate about the environment. We are eager to help you to add value to your current home, save money on utilities, make your lives more energy efficient and eco-friendly, and generally live a "greener" lifestyle, all without sacrifice. For more info on green living in New Haven, visit these sites: CT DEEP Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven USGBC's Green Home Guide We care about historic properties and their communities and wish to encourage preservation of our community's architectural and cultural history. For more info on New Haven preservation, check out these links: CT Trust for Historic Preservation New Haven Preservation Trust Historic Homes Downtown Areas Neighborhoods Green Homes Bethany Branford Guilford Hamden New Haven North Haven Orange West Haven Woodbridge Olivia C. Martson Olivia Martson is a long time resident of New Haven. She lives and works in downtown New Haven and is thoroughly familiar with the pros and cons of urban living. From 1992-1997, she served on the New Haven Board of Alderman as the elected representative for Ward 2, the downtown neighborhood immediately west of Yale University. Fore more : Biography - http://media.mlspropertyfinder.com/418613/preview.jpg