Can a Spouse's Debts Be Disregarded?

September 18, 2000, Reviewed January 27, 2011

"My fiancée has good income and good credit. I am a college student with a lot of debt, and no income because I won't be out of school for a year. If we buy a home now, will my debts figure into the amount of house we can buy?"

If your fiancée buys the home in his name, qualifying for a mortgage with his income, he is the borrower and your debts are irrelevant because you are not part of the transaction.

If you buy the home jointly, the lender will require your name on the mortgage. The mortgage creates a lien against the property. Without both names, the lender would not be able to foreclose in the event of default.

The question is whether, in the event that you buy the house jointly, the lender will require that your name also be on the note. The note is the obligation to repay. Lenders differ on this. If the lender requires that you be on the note, then your debts would be counted in qualifying for the loan.

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