Mortgage Qualifying 101 – Why can’t you use my spouses income?

Mortgage and Lending with Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc

frequently asked questions



When qualifying for a mortgage, the borrower(s) need to meet three main qualifications.

  • Income – There are specific front and back end ratios depending on the mortgage program. And sometimes you can exceed such ratios with compensating factors.
  • Credit – Mortgage programs now require credit scores, aka fico scores.  You also need to show good credit performance on how you can handle your credit or that you have established credit.
  • Assets – Depending on the mortgage program, you might need assets to close and or to show a specific number of reserves.


I want to talk about a specific issue when there could be more than one person on a mortgage when it comes to mortgage qualifying or income qualifying. Many will state that they should be able to qualify for the mortgage because their spouse also has a job and makes money. Unfortunately this doesn’t apply if that person doesn’t meet the basic credit requirements. And if you think about it, it kind of makes sense.  Why would someone lend another money if they didn’t show any credit worthiness. Yes, we know there are circumstances, which some loan programs are more lenient on. But it all starts with the credit scores now. Many lenders and loan programs now require a 640 credit score. Some will go down to a 620 and there are some still advertising to 580. All I can say, even if someone could do your mortgage below a 620, it’s going to be very very costly. How costly? Interest rates usually higher by one percent or more with higher points. And don’t fall for the trap when the loan officer says, “don’t worry, you can refinance to a lower rate in 6 months.” Sorry, my crystal ball broke decades ago.


There are two other things to think about when it comes to mortgage qualifying with income and or credit. You can read about non occupant co-borrowers and community property states here for the other requirements. Non-Occupant Co-Borrowers & Community Property States.


Realtors - If you have a client asking you this question, you can send them to this post, instead of trying to explain it.


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Copyright © 2011 by Jeff Belonger of Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc

Comments (6)

William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX


I was really enjoying this until I got to:

"How costly? Interest rates usually higher by one percent or more with higher points."   You pay for mistakes and/or non-conformity, but 1% over today's low rates can hardly be considered costly!

"And don't fall for the trap when the loan officer says, "don't worry, you can refinance to a lower rate in 6 months." Sorry, my crystal ball broke decades ago."  Is great advice! Don't ever accept a loan who's current payment or maximum payment is not some thing you can afford.

Paying more than your neighbor doesn't make a loan costly!



Dec 24, 2010 03:07 AM
Marilyn Boudreaux
Marilyn Boudreaux, Century 21 Bono Realty - Lake Charles, LA
Lake Charles LA Century 21 Realtor

I bookmarked to come back to this and will share on my business page, thanks Jeff!

Merry Christmas can't wait to see your pictures posted of Eva & Joey :)

Dec 24, 2010 03:08 AM
Adam R. Cohn
We actually get mortgages closed FAST!

Great blog Jeff,  Have a happy holiday and a successful 2011!

Best Wishes,


Dec 24, 2010 03:08 AM
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans


BILL... .  well, in most cases, it's close to 1 1/2 percent... I just threw 1% to make a point. But yes, you know how many have said.. hey, you can just refinance later...  not looking out for that borrower now. And Merry Christmas to you and Brenda...

MARILYN... if you wouldn't mind, click the link below and if you could share the link from that page, I would appreciate it. And there will be plenty of pictures... ps.. not a bad memory, but it's Ava. ;o)Merry Christmas to you and your family.

ADAM...  thanks for the compliment and happy holidays to you and a successful 2011 also. thanks


Dec 24, 2010 03:22 AM
Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond

Merry Christmas Jeff!  Great info as always...

Dec 25, 2010 12:05 AM
Charles Perkins
Charles G. Perkins, CPA - Burien, WA

Great information.  With the rule changes and tighter policies even those that have borrowed many lonas may be surprised with some of the conditions.

Dec 25, 2010 05:02 PM