When a married opposite-sex couple goes into a financial institution to get a mortgage, it’s automatically assumed they will both be on the loan. However, when a same-sex couple applies for a loan, that’s not always the case. In fact, even in states where gay marriage is legal, a lender may not immediately realize that a same-sex couple is applying as a couple.
There really isn’t a huge advantage to being married or applying as two single individuals. However, when a same-sex couple who is not married applies to buy a home together, they do need to realize that both of them will have to supply all of the income information necessary. Both credit reports will be pulled, and the income and debt both individuals bring to the table will be fully considered when determining how much money they will be able to borrow.
This means you’ll need to go through both your own credit and your partner’s to make certain you are both in a financial position to purchase a home. You’ll need to make certain that the lender knows you’re applying as a couple who are, for all intents and purposes, married even if the state doesn’t recognize your union.
There is one exception where married individuals have a guaranteed advantage over couples who are not married, regardless if they are straight or gay, and that’s when the couple is applying for a VA mortgage. The VA will assist veterans and, in some cases, surviving spouses get a home loan with specific rates and terms. The VA guarantees that a percentage of the loan is covered, thus allowing the lender to offer better terms that they may not otherwise offer. If you’re a veteran, your spouse may be listed on the mortgage even if he or she isn’t a veteran. If you’re not married, however, both applicants must be veterans in order to qualify for a VA loan.
Unmarried same-sex couples, though, do have one possible advantage—if one person has bad credit and the other makes enough money to qualify for a mortgage on his or her own, there may be no need to list the other person. While this does create some ownership problems that have to be dealt with via something like a domestic partnership agreement, it can help get more favorable loan terms.
Before you apply for a mortgage, you should talk to a gay or lesbian real estate agent. He or she will be able to walk you through the mortgage application process and give you a checklist of everything you’ll need when you visit a lender. Your realtor will also understand any particular state laws or special mortgage rules that apply to married and unmarried couples.