In many cases, you can apply for a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC) without your spouse—but you might need their consent.
Your home state might require lenders to get your spouse’s permission. This allows them to create a valid lien on your property, so they can foreclose on your loan if you don’t repay it.
Applying for a home equity loan may be beneficial in certain situations—for example, if you have good credit and your partner has poor credit.
In this guide:
- Why apply for a home equity loan or HELOC without your spouse?
- When a lender might approve a loan or HELOC without their spouse
Why apply for a home equity loan or HELOC without your spouse?
A borrower might not want to apply for a home equity loan or line of credit with a spouse because they think adding them could hurt their approval odds. This could be true if the spouse has a high debt-to-income (DTI) ratio or poor credit.
A borrower also might not want to add a spouse to their home equity loan or HELOC if the home is their sole property.
Perhaps the borrower and spouse can’t agree as a couple about taking out a loan, so they wonder whether applying without telling their spouse is wise. (It isn’t. More on that below.)
When a lender might approve a married person for a home equity loan or HELOC without their spouse
Lenders will often allow you to apply for a home equity loan or HELOC without your spouse, but they may require your spouse to sign certain documentation..
We’ve researched several scenarios below to determine whether a lender may approve you without your spouse.
If one spouse has good credit and the other has poor credit
If you have bad credit and your spouse has good credit, or vice versa, you may decide it’s best for the spouse with good credit to apply on their own. They’ll likely have better approval odds if they meet other home equity loan and HELOC requirements.
Lenders allow this, but many require the spouse with poor credit to sign documents agreeing to let them foreclose on the home if the person with good credit doesn’t repay the loan.
The couple is separated
If you and your spouse are separated and want to apply for a home equity loan or HELOC, whether you can do so depends on the terms of your separation agreement.
The property is in one spouse’s name
If a person purchased a home before marriage and never added their spouse to the loan, they can apply for a home equity loan or HELOC alone.
But depending on where you live, you still may need your partner’s consent.
One spouse makes all the income
If you earn all of your household’s income, a lender may allow you to apply for a home equity loan or HELOC without your spouse, depending on where you live. (More on this below.)
One spouse wants to tap into their shared home equity but the other doesn’t
If you and your spouse can’t agree on whether it’s a good move to take out a home equity loan or HELOC, the person who wants to move forward may do so without informing their spouse—if the lender doesn’t require spousal consent.
But we don’t recommend this as an option. If you do this and your partner finds out, it could destroy your marriage.
Will lenders tell me if my spouse applies for a HELOC without me?
Whether a lender will inform you if your spouse applies for a home equity loan or HELOC without you depends on its policies and where you live.
For example, if your spouse lives in Texas and applies for a home equity loan without you, lenders must get your permission in writing. This allows them to foreclose on the home if the loan isn’t repaid.
Do any lenders have less strict requirements about spousal consent on a home equity loan or HELOC?
Many lenders require spousal consent, but not all. Lenders’ policies vary depending on marriage property laws in your state. You can find links for more information about every state in the table below.