If you are applying for a joint mortgage on your property with your spouse or partner, the name that goes first could have more of an impact than you might think. A 2010 study by the Woodstock Institute showed that mortgage lenders were inclined to show favoritism when men were the lead borrowers on joint applications. The study was undertaken within the Chicago area and it tracked joint applications for refinancing as well as home purchases. Over 250,000 applications were studied in the year 2010. Surprisingly, the study showed that home purchase applications that listed the female partner as the primary borrower were 24 percent less likely to be approved. When it came to mortgage refinancing, the application would be 39 percent less likely to be approved if a woman was in the primary position. The study was controlled in order to account for the size of the loan and the borrower\’s income. What Does This Mean? The researchers at Woodstock are still carrying out more studies and analyzing their findings, but they say the results so far are quite troubling. They theorize that the discrimination might be totally unconscious and a symptom of wider discrimination against women. Many lenders have declined to comment, but Terry Francisco, President of Bank of America, claimed that there was no policy in the mortgage underwriting process that would differentiate based on the order of the applicants names in the documents. The findings are not complete enough at the moment to draw any conclusions. Additional data will be collected, such as age, credit scores, property values and much more in order to provide a more full and complete picture. Increase Your Chances of Getting Approved Regardless of the findings of this study, there are a number of ways that you can make your mortgage application more likely to be approved no matter what your gender. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Don\’t change jobs right before applying. Lenders want to see financial stability, so it is better if you have been with the same employer for as long as possible.
- Repay your other debts, including your store cards, credit cards, overdrafts and more.
- Check your credit report. If there are any errors that are making your credit score lower than it should be, you may be able to correct them.
- Avoid making any large purchases on your credit cards while you are applying for a mortgage. When the lender looks at your credit, this could affect their calculations of your debt to income ratio.