If you’re tying the knot in the near future, you’re probably more interested in place cards than paperwork right now, and to be fair we can’t blame you – it’s been a slightly bumpy ride for many engaged couples recently, so no wonder you’re excited. However, it’s worth taking a moment to understand how your marriage could affect your mortgage to make life easier further down the line.
Whether you already own property together or are saving for your first home, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to know:
If I change my name, am I legally required to update it on my mortgage?
Gone are the days when couples would be expected to enter into marriage before living together, so there’s a good chance you may already have bought a home. If that’s the case, you’ll be pleased to know that the process of getting your name changed on an existing mortgage is actually very easy. And while it’s not a legal requirement, it’s certainly a good idea.
Firstly though, you should be contacting the DVLA and the Passport Office (with whom you are legally required to update), as well as the Electoral Roll. Your new ID will also make it easier to get your name changed with other organisations such as utility companies, insurance providers, and of course, mortgage lenders.
This guidance stands whether you’re taking your partner’s name, or they’re planning to take yours. Double barrelling both names has become a more popular option over the years too; if this is you, remember you’ll both need to update your names.
It’s only your legal name that needs to be taken into consideration however. If you’ve opted to keep your maiden name for professional purposes for example, this shouldn’t affect things. Equally, both of you may choose to keep your own surnames entirely, in which case you won’t need to make any updates.
No doubt your to-do list feels never-ending at this stage, and while it’s not crucial to make these changes the second you touch down from your honeymoon, it is important to consider, as if you decide to remortgage later down the line and haven’t updated your name, this could lead to issues or delays with your lender. Simply put, it’s not worth the hassle!
Adding your new bride or groom to your mortgage
While adding your new husband or wife to an existing mortgage is a common occurrence, it’s not quite as straightforward as a simple name change. Whichever party is being added to the existing mortgage will need to undergo a full assessment – as if they were applying for a brand new mortgage – and that means going through the same income and affordability checks as the original mortgage holder, as part of a legal process known as a transfer of equity.
Just as if you were applying for a new mortgage, it’s a good idea to be aware of whether or not you’re likely to be accepted before you apply. If you or your partner don’t meet your lender’s criteria, they are under no obligation to accept you just because of your new marital status, so check your credit score, and consider working on trying to improve this first if either of you have any concerns.
Looking to buy property after you’re married?
If getting a mortgage together is still a couple of years down the line for you, why not use this time to get your finances in shape? Minimising credit card bills and student debt is a good place to start, as well as making sure you haven’t got any outstanding CCJs or unpaid bills in your name. Cancelling unused store cards is also a good way to show prospective lenders you’re a responsible borrower.
You may also wish to look into your credit rating to check who you’re linked with. If either of you have ever sought finance with someone else in the past, you become linked with that person, and if their rating is bad, you could become guilty by association. Luckily it’s easy enough to unlink yourself from financial associates.
When the big day has finally come and gone, remember to order additional copies of your marriage certificate. You’ll need this for processing name changes (such as with your mortgage lender), and having more than one certificate speeds things up, allowing you to make multiple updates at the same time rather than constantly having to wait for your documents to be returned, as many organisations won’t accept photocopies.
Make sure one of these organisations is the Electoral Roll too. Not only is being listed on the Electoral Roll good for your credit rating, if you apply for credit using your new name, but haven’t yet informed them of your name change, your lender may be unable to find your credit report which will hold up your application.
All things considered, it’s worth the minimal time and effort required to let your mortgage provider know you’ve changed your name. If in the future you decide to move or remortgage, you’ll be thankful you did it. In the meantime, happy wedding planning, and enjoy your big day!