If I co-signed a mortgage, how can I get off?

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If I co-signed a mortgage, how can I get off?

I co-signed my parents mortgage and now I want to get off so I can buy my own home. I know they need to refinance. What do I do if they don’t qualify for refinancing or won’t refinance?

Asked on February 19, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If they can't or won't refinance, you are, unfortunately, stuck: a mortgage is, among other things, a contact. Once you sign it, you are obligated to it. It can only be changed--which includes removing a person from it--with the consent or agreement of *all* parties to the mortgage, which includes the lender; the lender would have to agree to release you. But the lender has no reason to do that: releasing you offers it no benefit and in fact hurts it, by reducing the number of people responsible to pay for the mortgage and whom it could sue if not paid. In the future, never co-sign another's mortgage, unless it's a spouse or unless it's a home you are buying jointly (whether to live in  or rent out as an income property).


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