Getting a Single Mortgage When You’re Married

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Home Mortgage Application Getting A Single Mortgage When You’re Married

Author: Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

Updated: February 8, 2024

In this article we’ll explain why someone might need or want a sole mortgage when they’re married, the best steps to take during the application process and where you should look for guidance.

Can you get a mortgage in just your name if you’re married?

Yes, of course. Whilst the majority of lenders prefer that couples who are married or in a civil partnership take out a joint mortgage, there are many valid reasons why you may want one independently of your spouse or civil partner.

Your choice of lenders might be reduced in these circumstances, but there are specialist mortgage providers who will be able to accommodate your needs.

Before you move forward with a solo mortgage application, however, it’s important to understand that it may not always be necessary to opt for a mortgage in your sole name. In many scenarios, it can be beneficial to apply jointly with your partner, even if you’re concerned that their circumstances will negatively impact the application.

Get expert advice if…

  • You’re married and want a mortgage in just one name
  • You or your partner have bad credit
  • Either one of you already owns a property
  • You’re applying jointly but only one person is paying the deposit

Get matched with an expert in single name mortgage applications.

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Common reasons to leave a partner off the mortgage

Below, we’ll take a look at some of the most common reasons that people may want to take out a mortgage independently of their partner, and whether it’s beneficial for them to do so:

Your partner has bad credit

Having a bad credit record will not necessarily mean that your partner has to be left off of the mortgage. Depending on the significance and age of their credit issues, with the right guidance, it can be perfectly possible to attain a joint mortgage with a specialist bad credit lender.

Unemployed and/or receiving benefits

Being unemployed doesn’t usually mean that your partner shouldn’t be included on the mortgage. On the contrary, some lenders may consider their future income as an asset, especially if they’re unemployed temporarily and have a professional career to return to.

If your partner is in receipt of any benefits, some lenders will consider certain benefits as income for mortgage purposes. This means that you could potentially increase your affordability if you opted to apply jointly with them, even if they are out of work, it’s simply a case of seeking the right advice.

Low Income

A low income is better than no income, and unless your partner’s outgoings are higher than their income, it could still be beneficial to get a joint mortgage with them, as you are likely to be able to borrow more together than you could individually.

They already own a property

If your partner already owns a property, they can still be included on a separate joint mortgage with you, providing they’re able to meet the affordability criteria of both. They should also bear in mind that this would make them liable for the higher rate of stamp duty (an additional 3% on top of the standard rate), given that the new property would be classed as their second home.

If your partner’s existing mortgage is a buy-to-let, it could make the process a little easier, as affordability is not such an important factor with this type of mortgage. They could potentially switch their existing mortgage to a buy-to-let or let-to-buy mortgage if it’s currently residential.

Your partner is not contributing to the deposit

If your partner is not contributing towards the deposit, this does not automatically mean that you cannot buy a home jointly with them.

Although not all lenders are happy with one partner paying the entire deposit, some will allow this if a deed of trust is created to protect your investment. A broker will be able to recommend a suitable solicitor to provide you with legal advice on this.

To retain stamp duty benefits

If the property you’re planning to purchase is a buy-to-let or similar investment property, there are certain tax benefits associated with doing so in one name, and in these circumstances, lenders are often much more willing to accommodate a solo application from a married person.

The marriage is about to end

In this scenario, it may be that you want to keep the property and simply remove your partner’s name from the mortgage, which can be done through a transfer of equity and submission of a new mortgage application solely in your name. 

If the house is to be sold then you can wait for this to complete and then submit a new mortgage application on another property.

How to get a single mortgage as a married person

Step One: Seek the right advice

The key to finding out whether you’re better off getting a mortgage on your own or with your partner, is getting the right advice early on in the process. A mortgage broker with plenty of experience in arranging mortgages for married applicants in their sole name will be best placed to help you.

They’ll be able to offer bespoke advice about which option would be most beneficial in your exact circumstances. They can then either help you to access a lender who will accept your solo application or help you to find a lender who will be able to provide a joint mortgage, taking into consideration any concerns that you may have about your partner’s mortgageability. Get in touch to be matched with one of the expert brokers that we work with.

Step Two: Prepare your documentation

Based on the advice from your mortgage broker, you should be able to make an informed decision about whether you would prefer to proceed with a mortgage in your sole name or apply for a joint mortgage with your partner. This will give you an idea of the sort of documentation you will need to gather in readiness for your application. Preparing things like your proof of income and credit records in advance will always be beneficial.

Step Three: Obtain a decision in principle

Once you have the necessary documentation to support your application, you can ask your broker to obtain a decision in principle (or agreement in principle) for you. This mortgage pre-approval provides a more accurate idea of the amount you’ll be able to borrow, which can help you narrow down your search. A decision in principle is also increasingly required by estate agents in order to put in an offer on a property.

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Things to consider

If you’re married or in a civil union and are planning to purchase a buy-to-let or commercial property, you’ll probably benefit from taking out a mortgage in your sole name.

If you’re planning to buy a residential property independently, however, it’s important to consider the following drawbacks:

  • Your choice of lenders will be smaller, given that many, especially high street banks, will be unwilling to provide you with a sole mortgage if you are married or in a civil union
  • If your partner is not included on the mortgage deeds, the lender will be unable to include their income on your application, which usually means you won’t be able to borrow as much
  • Your partner would likely be viewed as a financial dependent if they are not contributing to the mortgage, which could impact your affordability
  • If your partner is contributing towards the deposit but not being included on the mortgage, fewer lenders will accept your deposit, as it would be deemed as gifted. It may be possible to overcome this by asking your partner to sign a waiver of rights to the property, but not all lenders will allow this. It’s essential that you seek advice from a broker if you’re looking for this type of complex arrangement.

Get matched with an expert broker

Whatever your needs and circumstances, we can match you with an expert broker who has plenty of experience in that area. If you’re concerned about how your partner’s credit history could affect a joint application, we can put you in touch with a broker that specialises in bad credit mortgages. If you need a lender who will consider a gifted deposit from your partner, we’ll introduce you to someone with experience in that specific field.

Whether you eventually decide on a solo or joint application, the trusted whole-of-market brokers that we work with will know which lenders can help, and having strong working relationships in that field will ensure that they get you the best rates possible for your circumstances. Both our broker matching service and your first consultation will be completely free of charge, and there’s absolutely no obligation, so call now on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry and we’ll match you with your ideal mortgage broker today.

Get matched with an expert in single name mortgage applications.

Get Started Phone Icon 0808 189 2301

FAQs

It depends entirely on your circumstances, if you’re married or in any form of relationship with someone who you’ll be sharing a mortgage and home with, they may be considered a dependent if they have no income, which can affect your affordability.

Of course, getting a mortgage with two incomes rather than one is typically easier from an affordability perspective, but whether you’re married to the other applicant won’t make it any easier or harder than if you’re an unmarried couple.

There is no legal obligation for you to inform your mortgage lender if your partner moves in with you, however, if you have married or formed a civil union with that partner, it may be best to do so as they will automatically inherit some level of ownership, even if they are not contributing to the mortgage.

If you’re married or in a civil union, you have a legal right to reside in their property and own a share of the property whether you contribute to the household or not. You won’t always own 50%, but this is a key area to discuss with your partner and a solicitor.

If you’re cohabiting, you currently have no automatic legal rights to the property if it’s in your partner’s sole name. It’s possible to have a cohabitation agreement drawn up, which will offer you some legal protection if you were to contribute to the household for a certain period and then move out, for example.

If you get divorced from the person you have a joint mortgage with, it’s possible to do a transfer of equity to have the mortgage changed into just your name. However, you’ll need to be able to afford to buy out your partner and prove that you can afford the remainder of the mortgage repayments on your sole income.

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About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for Online Mortgage Advisor of course!

Read more about Pete

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

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