Can Someone Be Added to an Existing Mortgage?

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Got a search for that, and it occurred to me that it is a valid question. The answer is yes.

The degree varies. You can simply contact the bank to make yourself responsible for payment. They are usually happy to do this, although unlike revolving accounts you typically will not receive back credit on your credit score for the entire length of time the trade line has been open. Nonetheless, if the bank reports the mortgage as paid as part of your credit, it can help you increase your credit score, so long as the mortgage actually gets paid on time every month. One 30 day late is plenty to kill any advantage for most folks.

This is typically free. Hey, the bank has already funded the loan - the money is out there and they can't call it back, and another person has volunteered to be responsible for paying it back! This can be used as a way to start rebuilding credit after a bankruptcy or other financial disaster. A friend or family member qualifies for the loan, then adds the person looking to recover to the loan later.

If you want to go one better than that, you can actually modify the deed of trust to make yourself responsible for payment, although it really has no measurable benefit as opposed to simply agreeing to be responsible, and it costs money to notarize and record the modification.

It is entirely possible you'll encounter someone who is thinking only of the bonus they get for referring you to the loan department, or someone in the loan department who wants an easy commission. These folks will want you to go through a full refinance, and tell you that's the only way. To be 100% fair, many lenders don't go out of their way to tell their employees about this. Nevertheless, the lender loses nothing, as you're not taking anyone off, the people who qualified for the loan are still on it. You're only adding someone who, no matter how poor their credit and debt to income ratio may be, nonetheless is a legal adult and might have the money to make or assist in making the payment if something happens to all the other holders. Therefore, the lender can only gain in likelihood of the loan being repaid in full and on time, and that's what's important to them.

Unless you can get a better rate by doing so, I would advise against a full re-qualification for the mortgage just to add someone. It's a lot of hassle and expense for no particular gain. If you want to get me paid, I'm cool with that, but there are better ways to accomplish the gain to your credit at far less expense.

Note that removing someone from a mortgage is an entirely different matter. Before the lender agrees to let someone off the hook, they're going to want a full refinance - appraisal, title insurance, everything. If the people remaining on the loan can qualify on their own, then lender will let the other person (or people) off the hook through the mechanism of an entirely new loan contract. Otherwise, it's not going to happen.

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Got a search for that, and it occurred to me that it is a valid question. The answer is yes. The degree varies. You can simply contact the bank to make yourself responsible for payment. They are usually happy to... Read More

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on December 16, 2013 7:00 AM.

Efforts to Rehabilitate the Negative Amortization Loan was the previous entry in this blog.

Student Loans and Real Estate Loans: Default, Repayment vs. Nonpayment and Consolidation is the next entry in this blog.

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