back to top

About Us

Tips & News

Buying Together: How Income and Credit Impact Your Ability to Buy

Most people buy a home with someone else, though there are more single homebuyers than ever before, especially women. Often, it’s a married couple buying a home, but there are also many unmarried couples and partners who aren’t romantically involved who are taking the homebuying plunge together.

When you buy a home with someone else on the mortgage, it changes everything. Here’s how buying a home with a partner impacts your mortgage application.


Did you know that even if you’re married, your credit score and your spouse’s credit score are entirely separate? This is true no matter how long you’ve been together and even if you share all of the same accounts and loans.
If you want to use your spouse’s income to qualify for the loan, you’ll also have to use your spouse’s credit, for better or for worse.

How Lenders Use Two Credit Scores

Lenders use both partners’ credit scores, but a common myth is that they take the scores and average them, which isn’t the case. Instead, they do this:
Each applicant has three credit scores (one from each major credit bureau), and the lender looks at all of them. Let’s say the first applicant’s scores are 750, 730, and 715. Let’s say that the second applicant’s scores are 650, 630, and 615. The lender goes with the lowest middle score, which is 630 for this application.
Your loan’s interest rate will be based off of that lower credit score, and if you have very different scores, it can have a substantial impact on what kind of home you’re able to afford together.

If Your Partner Has Poor Credit

If your partner has poor credit, you have a few options when you’re applying for a loan.


Using a partner’s income can really increase your chances of getting favorable loan terms and qualifying for the house you want.
The more income you use to qualify for the loan, the greater the dollar amount you’ll qualify for. This is because lenders won’t allow you to allocate too much of your income to your mortgage payment.


Your debt-to-income ratio (commonly called DTI) is the amount of debt you pay every month (including auto loans, credit card debt, personal loans, and your new mortgage) divided by your gross monthly income. This number is the number one way lenders verify that you’ll be able to repay the loan.
For example, if you have $10,000 in income every month but have $3,000 in monthly debt payments, your DTI is 30%.
An ideal DTI is 36% or under, though many lenders and loan programs will allow higher DTI ratios. Conventional programs allow upwards of 50%, government loans like FHA and VA allow 55% and even higher in some situations, but most jumbo loans are limited to 43% maximum.
Remember though, these percentages represent all ALL your debt combined. So the more credit card, auto, installment, student loan, or other debt you have, the smaller your mortgage payment can be, and the less of a loan you’ll be able to qualify for.

If Your DTI is Too High

If your DTI is higher than the guidelines allow for the loan program you’re interested in, you have a few options:

A Final Word About Buying Together

Buying together can be complicated, and no mortgage scenario is exactly the same. If you’re not sure what’s right for your situation, I hope you’ll give us a call! We’re here to help you figure it out.

“CSMC Mortgage took great care of us and our home buying needs. Tony was more than we could have ever asked for, he went above and beyond for us and we couldn’t have been more grateful for all his hard work. CSMC Mortgage has a great and friendly staff, I would highly recommend them to anyone looking into buying a home.”

- Jannet A.

“With this being my first home purchase, my loan officer was very good at explaining everything to me and helping me with all my needs. Thank you for having such great people in the right place!”

- Cathleen H.

“Baret Grigorian was amazing!! From start to finish Baret was there to help in every way. I never felt like I had to call him to follow up on my loan transaction and he always kept me informed. He was able to get me great financing rates, a lower payment AND money back! Thank you Baret!! I look forward to working with you again in the future!!”

- Kenny D.

“David Honda and his team rocked!! They had great technology that took so much of the pain of home buying away. They were attentive to our specific needs and were on top of our loan process! David was always available, even when he was in Hawaii, and super responsive! Thanks David, Melissa and the team for an easy and great home buying experience.”

- Raymond F.

“Faye helped me purchase my first home last year. She was very professional and worked very quickly to help me procure financing. She made herself available around my schedule and took the time to explain my options for financing to help me get the lowest rate possible. Would highly recommend her to anyone looking for someone that is professional, highly knowledgeable, polite, and responsive.”

- James Z.

“These folks are conscience and easy to work with. The “calm” as the “storm” of home loans rolls through! I would not use anyone else. They make sure ALL your questions are answered, be that what competitors may have offered, or ads you may have heard or seen. What a pleasure to do business with. Thank you team CSMC.”

- Michael G.

“I had the best experience with CSMC Mortgage. Buying a home is very stressful with all of the paperwork that has to be filled out. Faye was amazing! I have given several people her contact info, who are scared to take the step to homeownership. She took ALL of the stress away for me. I honestly, didn’t have to do much. She accommodated my crazy work schedule and help me get things done in a timely manner. She made me feel so comfortable and at ease. There were no surprises when it was time to sign and pay. I highly recommend her to anyone in need of her services and guidance. I can’t thank her enough.”

- Lisa M.

“This review is about Mark and Darci Richardson from CSMC Mortage in Simi Valley. This team is the BEST! For the past 12 years our home was "underwater" due to the "crash" in 2007, and unable to do anything with the mortgage except pay it. These two kept on top of things and finally the house qualified to REFI. We just completed everything and it closed last week... and they saved us over $900 a month!! That's a huge savings for a couple of senior citizens! We are SO happy now and finally can breathe. Thanks to Mark and Darci and CSMC Mortgage for following through, jumping through all the hoops necessary and helping us out! I can't recommend them more... they are the BEST!!!”

- Shari S.