Who can cosign on a mortgage?

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When it comes to obtaining a mortgage, some individuals may find it challenging to qualify on their own due to various factors such as limited credit history, low income, or high debt-to-income ratios. In such cases, having a cosigner can be a viable option. But who can cosign on a mortgage? In this article, we will explore the qualifications and responsibilities of a cosigner, as well as the benefits and potential risks involved.

Qualifications of a Cosigner

Creditworthiness: One of the primary qualifications for a cosigner is having a strong credit history and a good credit score. Lenders typically require a cosigner to have a credit score in the range of 700 or higher. This demonstrates to the lender that the cosigner has a proven track record of managing credit responsibly.

Income and Debt-to-Income Ratio: In addition to a good credit score, a cosigner should have a stable income and a low debt-to-income ratio. Lenders want to ensure that the cosigner has the financial capacity to repay the mortgage if the primary borrower defaults. Typically, lenders prefer a cosigner’s debt-to-income ratio to be below 43%.

Relationship: While there are no specific restrictions on who can cosign on a mortgage, lenders often prefer a cosigner to have a close relationship with the primary borrower. This could be a family member, such as a parent, sibling, or spouse. However, friends or other individuals with a strong financial standing may also be considered.

Responsibilities of a Cosigner

Joint Liability: When a person cosigns on a mortgage, they become equally responsible for the repayment of the loan. This means that if the primary borrower fails to make the mortgage payments, the cosigner is legally obligated to step in and fulfill the financial obligations. It is crucial for the cosigner to understand the potential risks involved before agreeing to cosign.

Credit Implications: As a cosigner, the mortgage loan will appear on your credit report, and any missed or late payments can negatively impact your credit score. It is essential for the cosigner to monitor the loan’s progress and ensure that the primary borrower is making timely payments. Failure to do so can have long-term consequences for both parties’ creditworthiness.

Benefits of Having a Cosigner

Higher Chance of Approval: Having a cosigner with a strong credit history and income can significantly increase the chances of mortgage approval, especially for borrowers with less-than-ideal credit or financial situations. Lenders may be more willing to offer favorable loan terms when a cosigner is involved.

Better Interest Rates: With a cosigner, borrowers may qualify for lower interest rates and more favorable loan terms. The cosigner’s strong credit profile can help offset any potential risks associated with the primary borrower, making the mortgage more attractive to lenders.

Potential Risks for Cosigners

Financial Responsibility: Cosigning on a mortgage means taking on a significant financial responsibility. If the primary borrower defaults on the loan, the cosigner is legally obligated to repay the remaining balance. This can lead to financial strain and potential damage to the cosigner’s credit if they are unable to meet the repayment obligations.

Strained Relationships: Cosigning on a mortgage can sometimes strain relationships, especially if the primary borrower encounters financial difficulties and is unable to make the required payments. It is essential for both parties to have open and honest communication about their financial expectations and responsibilities.


In conclusion, a cosigner can play a crucial role in helping individuals secure a mortgage when they may not qualify on their own. However, it is important for a cosigner to meet specific qualifications, including having a good credit score, stable income, and a low debt-to-income ratio. Cosigning on a mortgage comes with responsibilities and potential risks, so it is crucial for both the primary borrower and the cosigner to fully understand the implications before entering into such an agreement.


– Bankrate: www.bankrate.com/mortgages/what-is-a-cosigner/
– Investopedia: www.investopedia.com/mortgage/real-estate-financing/should-you-co-sign-mortgage/
– The Balance: www.thebalance.com/should-you-co-sign-a-mortgage-315695