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How Do You Remove Someone from a Mortgage?

How do you remove someone from a mortgage? I would like to get my ex-spouse off the mortgage.

Harry Jensen, Trusted Mortgage Expert with 45+ Years of Experience
, Trusted Mortgage Expert with 45+ Years of Experience

While it is possible to remove someone from a mortgage, it is a very challenging process and there are several points to keep in mind. Removing someone from a mortgage is the same as modifying a mortgage which means you are changing a legal document that has been recorded by your local government. Most important, your lender must agree to the modification and they may or may not be willing to do that or even have the ability to that.

First, your lender must still own your mortgage. In many cases, lenders sell your mortgage to a third party such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac and then your loan is packaged into a mortgage-backed security. In this scenario, although you may make your monthly mortgage payment to your lender, they are only servicing your loan and do not actually own the loan. If your lender does not own your loan, it can be highly challenging if not impossible to modify your loan by having a borrower removed.

Second, if your lender owns your loan, they must agree to the modification which they may be unwilling to do because they may think that it increases their risk. In short, having two people responsible for repaying a mortgage is usually perceived to be better than one person. A mortgage with a sole borrower relies on one person and one income source to repay the loan as compared to a mortgage with co-borrowers that offer two potential income sources.

Additionally, if your lender is willing to remove the borrower then you must demonstrate your ability to afford the mortgage on your own. Similar to applying for a mortgage, the lender reviews your income, debt and credit profile to make sure that you have the ability to repay the loan as a sole borrower. If you cannot qualify for the loan own your own, the lender is highly unlikely to remove the other borrower from the mortgage.

Another point to keep in mind is that the lender may charge a fee to process the loan modification. Be sure that you pay the fee when the modification is completed and not upfront.

Finally, if the lender owns your loan, is willing to do the modification to remove the other borrower and you can qualify for the loan on your own, the last step is that other borrower must transfer his or her ownership interest in the property to you. This can be done through a quit claim deed. Although filing a quit claim deed is a relatively standard and simple process, it does require the participation and consent of the other borrower / property owner. If the other borrower is unwilling to relinquish their ownership interest in the property then you cannot remove them from the mortgage.

In closing, although it is possible to remove someone from a mortgage, the process can be difficult and time-consuming. Your first step should be to contact your lender to determine what is possible.

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About the author

Harry Jensen, Mortgage Expert

Harry is the co-founder of FREEandCLEAR. He is a mortgage expert with over 45 years of industry experience. Over his career, Harry has closed thousands of loans for satisfied borrowers and now offers his advice and insights on FREEandCLEAR. More about Harry

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