October 21, 2019

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FHA Loan Questions: Non-Borrowing Spouse Debt

107FHA loan rules for calculating a borrower’s debt to income ratio are found in HUD 4000.1. There’s an issue some borrowers face when applying for an FHA mortgage that involves whether or not a non-borrowing spouse’s financial data needs to be included in the debt ratio calculation.

This issue affects borrowers in states that have community property laws. Such laws govern how a legally married couple’s debts and other financial affairs are viewed in the context of the legal relationship. The debts and financial obligations incurred by legally married couples in these states are often shared regardless of who actually takes out the loan, applies for the credit card, etc.

So in these states, certain extra considerations are required of the lender in the home loan application process. If you apply for an FHA loan in community property states, you may be required to furnish debt information for a non-borrowing spouse. According to HUD 4000.1:

“Non-Borrowing Spouse Debt refers to debts owed by a spouse that are not owed by, or in the name of the Borrower”. That is the FHA definition, which informs the following guidelines and instructions to the lender found in HUD 4000.1, page 180:

“If the Borrower resides in a community property state or the Property being insured is located in a community property state, debts of the non-borrowing spouse must be included in the Borrowers qualifying ratios, except for obligations specifically excluded by state law.”

Page 180 of HUD 4000.1 adds the following: “The non-borrowing spouses credit history is not considered a reason to deny a mortgage application”.

In such cases the lender is also required to verify the debts of the non-borrowing spouse, identify any of the debt that is excluded by law from being considered, and the lender must also pull the non-borrowing spouse’s credit report. Pulling the credit report, HUD 4000.1 states, is for one specific reason:

“The Mortgagee must obtain a credit report for the non-borrowing spouse in order to determine the debts that must be included in the liabilities. The credit report for the non-borrowing spouse is for the purpose of establishing debt only, and is not submitted to TOTAL Mortgage Scorecard for the purpose of credit evaluation. The credit report for the non-borrowing spouse may be traditional or non- traditional.”

Do you work in residential real estate? You should know about the free tool offered by FHA.com. It is designed especially for real estate websites; a widget that displays FHA loan limits for the counties serviced by those sites. It is simple to spend a few seconds customizing the state, counties, and widget size for the tool; you can copy the code and paste it into your website with ease. Get yours today:

http://www.fha.com/fha_loan_limits_widget

 

Joe Wallace - Staff Writer

By Joe Wallace

May 13, 2016

Joe Wallace has been specializing in military and personal finance topics since 1995. His work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and a member of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association. He was Managing editor for www.valoans.com for (8) years and is currently the Associate Editor for FHANewsblog.com.

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