Q: A couple of years ago, my mom placed me on the title with her on a property she co-owns with another person. She lives in the front of the house and he lives in the back. I found out I was on the title when she decided to refinance the house and I had to sign off on the paperwork to do so.
I didn’t pay attention to what I was signing at the time and I think I may have signed on the new refinanced loan. I have checked my credit report and it doesn’t show up there. Is there some way to find out if I co-signed? Is there any recourse I have in this matter? My mom and I are not on good terms and I want out of this whole mess. I don’t want this affecting my credit in the future as I am only 24.
A: You should have known what you were signing. My general advice is if you don’t understand what you are signing, don’t sign it. Now that you have signed this document, whatever it is, it will be difficult for you to get out of the mess.
It’s entirely possible that you are a co-borrower on the new loan. You can call the closing agent that took care of the refinancing and request copies of some of the documents.
On the other hand, it’s possible that you did not become a co-borrower, but rather signed only the mortgage to permit the lien of the lender to be placed on the home. If you only signed the mortgage, you do not have the responsibility to repay the loan, but, rather, to abide by the mortgage terms to maintain the property, pay the taxes and maintain the insurance on the home.
If you only signed the mortgage and did not provide credit information to the lender, your credit history will generally not be affected by the loan. However, if your mother and the co-owner stop paying the mortgage, and the loan goes is in default and the lender has to foreclose on the property, your name would become part of the foreclosure proceedings and that could affect your credit.
If you want out, you must have your name removed from the title and have the lender release you from the mortgage. Lenders generally won’t release a party to a mortgage unless the loan is paid off in full. In that case, the only way out for you would be if your mom refinances again and at that time your name is taken off the title and you do not sign any of the new loan documents.