How to get a joint mortgage pre-approval

Published August 30, 2021
by Better

Oval Image Next to Dark Yellow Half-circle Within Light Yellow Background of Three-person Family Making a Meal together

What You’ll Learn

Why lenders pre-approve both borrowers for a joint mortgage

What a joint mortgage can mean for your borrowing power

How to get pre-approved for a joint mortgage

The majority of people who buy a home do so with a partner, so it stands to reason that a good number of people would be interested in getting a mortgage together. After all, if you plan to share the home, it can be helpful to share the responsibility of paying it off. In fact, buying or refinancing a home with someone is so common that asking if you have a co-borrower is a standard question in a Better Mortgage online pre-approval.

Why do you need a joint pre-approval?

When you and a partner decide to share financial responsibility for a mortgage, your lender needs to be confident that the two of you will pay back the loan. You see, when co-borrowers get a joint mortgage, both people are legally responsible for the entire loan (not 50% of the loan each). That means that if you get a joint mortgage with a co-borrower and that person goes broke or leaves town; the lender will try to collect the entire mortgage payment from you. A joint pre-approval is a lender’s way of being confident that both co-borrowers will pay the mortgage back. Needless to say, it’s equally important that you trust your co-borrower.

The benefits of a joint mortgage

These are the top 3 reasons to consider getting a joint mortgage:

  • Together you could potentially buy a more expensive home than you could buy alone

  • You may be able to get a more favorable interest rate by getting the mortgage with a co-borrower

  • Both borrowers can improve their credit score with consistent on-time payments

As you can imagine, 2 incomes combined can buy more than one income alone. From the lender’s perspective, this means as co-borrowers, you will be more likely to qualify for a larger mortgage.

Regarding the interest rate you’ll be offered, whether this is a benefit to you depends on who has the higher credit score. When lenders evaluate the creditworthiness of co-borrowers, they typically offer interest rates based on the lowest credit score. The person with the lowest credit score presents the biggest risk to the lender, and a higher interest rate helps lenders offset this risk. So if you have a low credit score, but your co-borrower has a substantial income, and their credit score is good, a lender may be more willing to offer the two of you a better rate than if you’d get if you applied for the mortgage by yourself.

If you or your co-borrower have a limited or insufficient credit history (a common reason why people are declined a mortgage), making consecutive on-time payments on a joint mortgage is a straightforward way to boost your credit scores.

How to get a pre-approved for a joint mortgage

To get pre-approved for a joint mortgage you’ll need to know the following information (at the very least):

  1. Your combined total household income
  2. Your combined assets
  3. Your social security numbers

This information is so the lender can perform credit checks on both of you and evaluate your combined credit history. Ideally you’ll both have credit scores of 620 or more and a combined debt-to-income ratio of 50% or less.

A joint mortgage pre-approval from Better Mortgage takes as little as 3 minutes. It gives you an accurate estimate of how much you can borrow and what interest rates we can offer. Plus, if you’re looking to buy, you’ll also receive a no-commitment pre-approval letter to show sellers you mean business.

Interested in more?

Sign up to stay up to date with the latest mortgage news, rates, and promos.

I'm buying a home

I'm refinancing