Both of married couple’s credit reports are considered when applying for a home

Dear Experian,

If you are married can you join your scores together to get approved on a house loan?



Dear BRI,

When you apply for a mortgage or any other joint account, the lender will consider both your credit history and your husband’s. It is important that you both have good credit. If one or the other of you has any issues, it could impact your ability to qualify for the loan.

For mortgage loans, the lender typically uses a mortgage reporting company to get reports and credit scores for each of you from all three national credit reporting companies.

A mortgage reporting company blends the reports for each of you into a tri-bureau or merged report, but individual scores are still associated with each credit history. Some lenders then take the middle score as the credit score for that individual.

A poor credit history for one of you could result in the application being declined, or if you are getting preapproved, in qualifying for a lower amount or being required to pay a higher interest rate.

A mortgage reporting company may also use application processing systems that go beyond your credit histories. These systems consider all three “C’s”: Credit, Collateral, and Character.

That means that in addition to your credit history, they consider your savings and investments (collateral), your job history, whether you have owned a home, and how often you have relocated (character).

Experian does not provide the services of a mortgage reporting company and does not provide merged reports. Experian maintains separate reports for each individual. You can get a full view of your credit history by getting copies of your personal reports.

I recommend that you contact a mortgage lender and ask them to pre-qualify you so that you have a better understanding of how each of your credit histories would impact a potential loan. Many provide these services at no charge because they want your business when you make the decision to purchase a home.

Thanks for asking.

- The “Ask Experian” team

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