Name on Mortgage and Title - can I add my wifes name later? Can we use middle names on the tile?

Asked by Mike, Arlington County, VA Fri Jan 2, 2009


This spring I am hoping to buy a home with my wife. I have a few concerns and would like any helpful advice.

We have been to 4 leading banks and they all quote different terms and rates which I understand. In one case tehy want to take both our credit scores and base our combined credit rating on it. Though my wifes is not bad, I am 35 points higher and fall into a good bracket.

My questions are -
1. Should the mortgage be on just my name to get a favorable interest rate?
If yes, how would this affect my wife who will be a home maker? Should something happen to me, will she have legal issues in getting the home? Will the interest rate on the mortgage rate stay as is or will she have to refinance the home and end up with a higher interest rate?

2. If for reasons she is not on the tile either, can she be added at a later date and is there a fee involved with it or any refinancing required?

3. What are the pros and cons of being and not being on the mortgage & title

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Hawleyg58, Home Buyer, New York, NY
Tue Oct 3, 2017
My middle is put as first can I void lein holder by my name being wrong on paper work.
0 votes
Pvarnell99, Home Buyer, Shreveport, LA
Mon Jun 8, 2015
you should be able to put her on the deed and not on the loan
0 votes
Regina Lawre…, Agent, Prince Frederick, MD
Fri Jun 5, 2015
Regina Lawrence, Real Estate Agent Maryland

You can purchase the house in just your name since your wife credit is low and have the title company add your wife's name to the deed at settlement. In case something happens to you the house will go to your wife, because her name will be on the deed.
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pepperjust, Home Owner, Ward, AR
Mon Jan 20, 2014
my house is paid for. my question is can i transfer my title to my chrilden?
0 votes
You can do what ever you want with it. Get some tax advice about giving something of value to your kids.
Flag Mon Jan 20, 2014, Home Owner, 98148
Wed Oct 16, 2013
How to remove your spouse's name, who passed away, from the title?
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rsnider43, Home Owner, 43830
Sat Oct 27, 2012
Can I change the name on my mortgage title without refinancing,it would be the same name , I would just leave off my business name.
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Maryann Warr…, Agent, Key Largo, FL
Mon Oct 22, 2012
You need to contact an experienced real estate attorney for answers to these important questions.
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Bbasinger, Home Buyer, Arlington, VA
Mon Oct 22, 2012
I would like to add my son's name on a title that all ready has his mother and my name on it. Where should I go to do this? Bob
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delaine camp…, Agent, Alexandria, VA
Sun Mar 6, 2011
Once you are on the mortgage you will stay on the mortgage unless you refinance the home and do another mortgage without your name. You pay the fees to refinance. Your profession has nothing to do with whether you are on a loan or not. You are therefore responsible for the mortgage payments and the loan. If you are not on the mortgage note, then you are not responsible for the loan, although if the "estate" passes then you would have to deal with mortgage company.

Not a lawyer or legal expert. You can always call the mortgage company and ask them specifics.
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Sara, Home Owner, New Jersey
Sun Mar 6, 2011
can I have my name taken off the mortage since I am only a homemaker ?
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delaine camp…, Agent, Alexandria, VA
Sat Jan 22, 2011
Hello Mike. You have some good questions, some of which will have to be answered by a lender. Us real estate agents can't provide you "legal" advice, which some of this is (title and deed stuff), but I can tell you what I know. The attorney who is doing your settlement can provide answers to all of this for the most part, so you should get in touch with him/her to ask these questions as well. At least I know the attorneys at the title companies we use around here do stuf like that for my clients.

Here's what I can say:

1. Should the mortgage be on just my name to get a favorable interest rate? You will need to ask the lender this. Each lender handles this differently. You should ask about the rate for the loan with you as the single applicant and with both of you as applicants. If she has no income it probably doesn't matter if she's on it, since she has no income to qualify for or to be responsible for the loan. If her name is on the loan, you are both responsible for the loan. What you do on the loan doesn't have to be how you take title to the property or how the Deed reads. Ownership of the property is related to the deed. Who owes the bank money is about the loan. Mak sense.?

If yes, how would this affect my wife who will be a home maker? Ask the lender. Here's my position on it. You should take out enough life insurance to make sure that the home can be paid in full upon your death and that the mortgage can be covered in case of permanent disability.
Should something happen to me, will she have legal issues in getting the home? You should make sure the deed and title to the home in as "Tenants by the Entirety" That is ownership type reserved for married couples. If something happens to one, the surviving spouse is heir to the home. Google it to learn more or ask the settlement attorney.
Will the interest rate on the mortgage rate stay as is or will she have to refinance the home and end up with a higher interest rate? Ask the lender.

2. If for reasons she is not on the tile either, can she be added at a later date and is there a fee involved with it or any refinancing required? Yes you can add her later, but there's no reason not to put her on it when you buy the place. And yes, there is a fee for anything and everything related to property LOL

3. What are the pros and cons of being and not being on the mortgage & title. Title is related to ownership, Mortgage is related to who owes the bank money. Ask yoursel fthis: Who is going to pay the mortgage and if you die, who is going to continue paying it, pay off the house, or be able to sell the house and pay off the lender and pocket any proceeds. Again, think abou tthe "loan" and think about "the ownership

Hope this helps. Consult your lender and your settlement attorney.
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Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Sat Jan 22, 2011
All these questions are GREAT !.

Your mortgage broker is person AND title company can answer all your questions provide guidance what works best for your family

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
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Kat, Home Owner, New York, NY
Sat Jan 22, 2011
just put the mortgage in your name and then add her to the title after the closing any lawyer would love to make a quick buck to do this.
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Robin Silver…, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Garden City, NY
Sat Feb 6, 2010
Mike, there are a few more bits of information that would be helpful to fully answer your question. Please give us some details, what exactly is your score according to the lenders, and what is your wife's? By the way, if you use a mortgage broker, or better yet a banker that also brokers loans, they would be shopping for the best rate and program for you. It may be that you could pay 1/4 point to get the same deal, and have your wife's name on the "note", which is really what you are talking about. The "mortgage" document technically is the document that has the names of those who are on title. Title and deed, for these purposes to make things simpler, are the same. The deed tells you who the property was transferred to you from, the names of those who are now on title, and the property description, basically.
As far as what names can be on the documents. Because you need to sign so many documents at closing, I advise my clients to use whatever name they want as long as that is how they normally sign their name. For those who are used to just signing their first and last name, no middle initial, there is nothing more annoying that signing your name 100 times and making sure to remember your middle initial, or worse yet, to sign your full middle name.
If you are going for an FHA loan, you cannot have your name on the note, and your wife's name on title at closing. However, because you mentioned the credit score issue, I am assuming that is not the case. If you are going for a conventional loan, you can put your name on the note, and have your wife's name with yours on title. If you take title as joint names with rights of survivorship, she will inherit your share of the house. If you take title as tenants in common, there could be other issues because your other heirs will also inherit from your share.
I do not recommend you taking title in the name of the trust when you purchase because then your choice of lenders will be much more limited.
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Sat Feb 6, 2010
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Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Thu Feb 4, 2010
Why wouldn't you spring $200 for an attorney on this one, given that the stakes are so high?
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Dan Chase, Home Buyer, Texas City, TX
Thu Feb 4, 2010
Ask about getting the title put into a trust. That way you kind of own it but not exactly. You control it and can sell it or anything else. Done right with the correct kind of trust another person can be placed in the trust so they in effect are now owner of the property. A lawyer would have to explain it better.
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Mike Brasco, Home Seller, Jacksonville, FL
Sun Jan 3, 2010
You can deed the property to whomever you wish, just keep in mind you will be responsible for the mortgage.
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Mike, Home Buyer, Arlington County, VA
Sat Jan 3, 2009
Thanks for your answers.

I have been trying to read up books as well. We plan to go with my name on mortgage. We are being offered better rates not a remarkable difference.

And on the title or Deed with both our names. I have been getting conflicting answers on using her middle name on the title - it is a legal middle name which she preferes to use (instead of her first name), including banking. Why are we getting answers saying a middle name along with the surname can/ cannot be used opposed to the first name and surname? Any insight is appreciated.
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delaine camp…, Agent, Alexandria, VA
Sat Jan 3, 2009
It's best to work with the Lender and a settlement attorney to get the "legal" answers to these questions.
It's not the Title you would have the names on really, it's more the "Deed" and how you want to hold that.
Also, if you want to take a person off a mortgage or add them later, yes, I believe you have to refinance and there are fees to that.
I bought a place with my Fiance and he was on the mortgage, but not on the Deed. However, if one spouse has bad credit, the other good, and one can qualify without the other, you can just put one person on the mortgage, but if you are married you should still put both people on the Deed. This is in case something happens to one of you, the property would automatically pass to the other. If your name is not on the Deed, you have no ownership in the property. Regardless if you are on the mortagage. At least that is my understanding through my own personal experience. Call a settlement Attorney at a local Settlmenent Company or a Real Estate Attorney.

Delaine Campbell, MBA, REALTOR
Certified Residential Specialist
Long and Foster Realtors
Historic Old Town Alexandri, VA
(703) 518-8740
"Because I'm Always At Work For You!"
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AJ Heidmann, Agent, Arlington, VA
Fri Jan 2, 2009

#1) If her income isn't needed and there is an appreciable difference in the rates/terms that you would receive, then just put yourself on the mortgage. You can always include your wife's name on the title to the property at settlement. If the mortgage holder were to find that you had died, your wife would almost certainly have to qualify for a loan based on her ability to repay the loan at whatever the then current rates are. In reality, if your wife continues to make the mortgage payments on a timely basis after your death, it is highly unlikely that the holder of mortgage would ever know the difference. The question is could she continue to pay? If she will continue to be a home maker, it makes a good case for some life insurance.

#2) She could be added later for a nominal fee to re-record, but just do it at the original settlement to avoid the hassle & expense.

#3) If you were the only one on the mortgage, you would solely be responsible for making the payments, but your wife would own part of the property should there be problems with your marriage down the road. Not a subject any married couple would like to ponder, but that is the real possible downside that we see.

#4) You can certainly use your middle name or initial if you choose, but would recommend that you use your full legal name.

Hopefully, this answers your questions, but let us know if something was missed.

Now I'll get on my personal soapbox. Due to how the Regional Contract for real estate is written here in Northern Virginia, I would highly recommend that you use a local lender and from personal experience I would suggest it be a direct lender over a broker, though other agents & lenders will differ on this. I highly recommend Graham Setliff at First Savings Mortgage, , just to see if you might find more favorable rates/terms.

Best of luck and let us know how it turns out
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