Quitclaiming Property with a Mortgage

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I am currently living with my parents and they wish to deed of gift their house to me but they still have a remaining mortgage on it. Is it possible to do this or do they have to pay off the mortgage first? Thanks

They can gift the house to you without paying off the mortgage. However, the mortgage still has a valid lien on the property, and must be paid or the lender can and will foreclose.

The mortgage will still be in the names of the people who signed the paperwork (your parents) and therefore any credit benefit or dings will also belong to them. You could find yourself in the unenviable position of being unable to refinance, despite having made the payment for however long, because you're not getting credit for making those payments. Read the contract: it is possible that the loan is assumable. Even if it isn't, it's possible the lender will agree to add you to the list of those responsible (This can only help them; they're not letting your parents off unless/until you do a full refinance. Of course, adding you to the loan doesn't earn anyone a commission, so they might tell you that you need to refinance as it gets them paid, or helps them make a quota)

Quitclaiming is both legal and extremely simple, but has potentially severe tax consequences. Please check with an accountant in your area first. I'd also tell you to check with a lawyer, because each state has its own laws about the effects of how property is held. Nor will quitclaiming the property help if the purpose is to shelter assets from legal action, and if this is to enable your parents to qualify for Medicaid, all fifty states have "lookback" periods of at least thirty months (sixty months is most common), where the state will recover the value of any assets disposed of in that time frame.

If you are the party quitclaiming a property on which there is a mortgage, be advised that you are still responsible for payment of that mortgage. The lender has your signature on a contract that says, "I agree to pay" They may or may not have other signatures, but if they do all it means to you is that other people will join in your misery if the payments aren't made on time. This happens all the time. Husband and wife divorce, one keeps the property, the other quitclaims but is still on the mortgage. Time goes by, and the ex-spouse who retained the property and the mortgage fails to make all of the payments on time. Bad consequences ensue for the "innocent" ex-spouse. I have seen this feature used maliciously by vengeful ex-spouses. I would advise requiring a spouse who retains the property to refinance solely in their own name, and if they are unable to qualify, requiring the property be sold. The other spouse is also entitled to a share of equity in many states.

If the property ends up being sold through a Short Payoff, the lender is almost certainly going to drag the "innocent" ex-spouse (whose signature is still on the dotted line) back into the situation. Basically like being an Alabama fieldhand prior to the Civil War or a male whose girlfriend decides not to have an abortion (Admittedly she puts up with nine months of pregnancy, but thereafter puts the child up for adoption and walks away - he gets hit with a lien for child support from the county for 18 years). Despite not having lived in or owned the property for years, the non-resident ex-spouse is still tied to that property by that piece of paper they signed. The ex-spouse wasn't the owner, so they had no ability to control or influence the sale, but they're still on the mortgage, so the lender can get their money out of them.

Finally, for as long as you remain responsible the mortgage, it will hit your debt to income ratio. This can mean that you will not be able to qualify for another mortgage. In my experience, it is rare that it does not. You are obligated to make those payments, so it's a part of your credit-worthiness. Especially considered in conjunction with likely alimony and child support in the case of a divorce, you may have difficulty qualifying for another property, even ones that would have been well within your means before.

Caveat Emptor

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2 Comments

steve shutt said:

Why would the opposing lawyer call mine and say "she is off the mortgage note".

Background:
Trying to enforce marriage settlement agreement.
(1)
She wants me to sell the house (at a loss of 50%).
(2)
I want her to pay (Appendix A) the funds due to me. (the money to be used to refiance the house).


Clearly, her father, a real estate agent for over 20 years, knows that while you can remove a name from the mortgage, you can not remove a name from the promisary note without refinancing.

So what game is her lawyer up to?

Dan Melson Author Profile Page said:

Lawyers will do whatever they think is in their client's interest. This includes some severely scummy behavior, on the theory that making them do what they're supposed to isn't cost effective.

Please be civil. Avoid profanity - I will delete the vast majority of it, usually by deleting the entire comment. To avoid comment spam, a comments account is required. They are freely available, and you can post comments immediately. Alternatively, you may use your Type Key registration, or sign up for one (They work at most Movable Type sites) All comments made are licensed to the site, but the fact that a comment has been allowed to remain should not be taken as an endorsement from me or the site. There is no point in attempting to foster discussion if only my own viewpoint is to be permitted. If you believe you see something damaging to you or some third party, I will most likely delete it upon request.
Logical failures (straw man, ad hominem, red herring, etcetera) will be pointed out - and I hope you'll point out any such errors I make as well. If there's something you don't understand, ask.
Nonetheless, the idea of comments should be constructive. Aim them at the issue, not the individual. Consider it a challenge to make your criticism constructive. Try to be respectful. Those who make a habit of trollish behavior will be banned.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on March 31, 2014 7:00 AM.

Title Insurance, Unpaid Liens After The Sale, and Subrogation was the previous entry in this blog.

Getting Another Mortgage Loan After A Short Sale is the next entry in this blog.

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