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The mortgage is due to be renewed in March as the product's life-cycle is naturally coming to an end, and so we figured now might be a good time to put my fiancée on the mortgage (as opposed to before or after).

The longest story short; I bought a house with my ex, we broke up, I bought her out, the lender took her name off the mortgage and I continued to pay the £700 a month by myself. It was a really easy process and took a single phone call.

A few years later, I'm now engaged and I'd like my fiancée to be on the mortgage. I understand she'll need to go through affordability checks, but I'm not sure what it means for the renewal.

Would it be better / easier to:

  • hold off, renew the mortgage (same lender, different product) and then add her?
  • look around now for a better product and add her at the same time?
  • look around now for a better product as a sole owner and then add her?
  • something else?

...or (what I imagine the responses will be) ask a financial advisor? I was hoping someone's had a similar experience before taking that route.

Update: Regarding @brhans comment about whether "adding her to the mortgage would necessarily give her any ownership of the property", I spoke to the lender today and it turns out you can't add someone to the mortgage without adding them to the deeds and vice versa.

They have in-house conveyancing solicitors that can arrange the transfer of the legal title of the property from my sole name into joint names - this is also known as a 'transfer of equity'.

The only complication now is preparing a declaration of trust (to protect my deposit and equity in case of a break-up), and then changing from tenants in common to a joint tenancy when we get married - another question for another time! Thanks all.

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    I'm not sure that you're clear on what end result you're aiming for here. Do you want your 'other half' to be partly responsible for the mortgage payments, or do you want her to have part ownership of the property, or both? I don't believe that simply adding her to the mortgage would necessarily give her any ownership of the property. – brhans Feb 27 '18 at 13:52
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    @brhans, both - she'll be paying 50% of the mortgage and own 50% of the property. The two answers below highlighted the same issue (that mortgage doesn't equal ownership) which is a great point, and something I need to take in consideration when remortgaging – trashpanda Feb 27 '18 at 14:07
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    "I understand she'll need to go through affordability checks" - Not necessarily. If you can satisfy the affordability checks on your own, then adding your fiancée just reduces the bank's risk. – Martin Bonner Feb 27 '18 at 14:42
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    @MartinBonner - I did consider that (and it would be ideal!) but all lenders in the UK are governed by the Financial Conduct Authority who are sticklers for affordability checks. They'd have a field day if the bank lent money to someone without checking they could afford to pay it back... even though I'm able to pay the mortgage by myself. – trashpanda Feb 27 '18 at 14:58
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    Ah. I had assumed the affordability checks were carried out on the borrowers as a group (rather than on each individual borrower). – Martin Bonner Feb 27 '18 at 15:02
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Presumably at the renewal time you will be investigating new products as well as whatever your current lender offers as the "standard" option. In my opinion it would make the most sense to just look around for the best options that include both of you, and ask your current lender for their recommendation for this as well. I definitely would not bother with a financial advisor in this situation.

One additional point is that you will need to get her added to the deeds of the house as well as to the mortgage. This will require a solicitor (but should be quite straightforward). You can decide to do this either as "tenants in common" or "joint tenants"; as joint tenants you would both own the whole house together whereas as tenants in common you each separately own a share of the property (can be 50/50 or any other split you want). This has different implications for inheritance tax, wills etc. as described here: https://www.gov.uk/joint-property-ownership

Whichever way you decide, you should consider what you want to happen in each of the following situations (not an exhaustive list): you split up (before or after marriage); one of you dies; both of you die; you have children and one or both of you die; one of you loses their job. This can seem like quite a morbid conversation but it's far, far better to have it now when everything is good than to have it acrimoniously in the future.

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    While considering these morbid subjects, the OP might want to consider writing wills. If either of them already have children, I would say writing wills becomes mandatory (and the discussion about how to split assets will be particularly complicated). If wills are written, be aware that they must explicitly be written "in contemplation of the marriage" - otherwise the marriage will revoke them. – Martin Bonner Feb 27 '18 at 14:46
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    Wills can also account for children that don't exist yet. And it might be morbid to think about, especially at a young age, but you don't want to risk the weird legalities that come into play. Suddenly your crazy brother gets the house instead of your fiance even though he's been living and paying for it for years, but since you died in a car crash on the way to the wedding, you weren't married and your fiance gets nothing! Wills are so important. – corsiKa Feb 27 '18 at 17:05
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While staying with your current lender may save a bit of time, this is a good opportunity to shop around, which could ultimately save you a lot of money in the long term. Note that you will be remortgaging (i.e. you already own the property to be mortgaged), and some banks have special offers for this kind of thing.

From a mortgage admin point of view, it makes little difference whether you add your partner now or later, as either way, she'll need to go through affordability checks, etc.

However, there is at least one good reason to apply together now:

If you're adding your partner to the mortgage, she must also become a part-owner of the house (banks typically require this), and so must be added to the Land Registry record. A solicitor can do this for you, and since you're remortgaging, you'll have one anyway (or even better, the bank will appoint one), which means that they can handle this work in addition to any remortgage admin.

Re financial advisor: there is a lot of online resource for this kind of thing, so it's worth spending a bit of time looking around. Also, there are broker/advisors who work for free (they're paid by the banks), and it could be worth having a no-obligation chat with one if you're still unsure.

  • Err. LTV is the ratio of the "loan" to the "value" (of the house). Income has nothing to do with it. (Unless the fiancée has some capital to increase the equity in the house, and hence reduce the size of the loan). – Martin Bonner Feb 27 '18 at 14:49
  • @MartinBonner: yeah...not sure what I was thinking of there. :-) – Steve Melnikoff Feb 27 '18 at 14:51
  • It seems to me that the lender might see having an additional person on the hook to pay the mortgage (with the additional resources to do so) as a reduced risk to them, and reward it with a slightly-lower interest rate than the OP can qualify for alone. Frankly, I was surprised to read that the lender took the ex off the mortgage so readily, for that very reason. – Monty Harder Feb 27 '18 at 17:51

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