What is the Best Co-Borrower Definition?

Co-borrowing is a process that allows two or more individuals to apply for a mortgage together. This can be done in a variety of different situations, whether it be two married people, individuals living together or related in some way, or even friends! You will still have your credit score and debt ratio, but the lender will add up both of them when determining whether you qualify for the home loan. 

If one party doesn't make enough money, they may get an income verification letter from their employer. The lender might also require each party to contribute a certain amount of funds towards paying down the balance on the loan if they don't want it shared 50/50 between all parties involved. 

In this article, we'll cover how co-borrowers work and what qualifications are needed. 

Co-Borrower Definition

A co-borrower is someone who has a joint responsibility to pay back the loan. Joint responsibility means that both parties are equally responsible for paying it off, and if one party defaults on payments, then the other person will be liable for them as well.  

Some people might think of this as a gamble because if you don't know your partner's financial situation, then they could default on payments and take away all of your credit. This type of lending is typically done by family members or friends with good intentions. Still, in most cases, there are better options available than sharing loans with a friend or family member due to their lack of reliability.

A co-borrower agrees to be responsible for the loan in case of default and will need to provide financial information, including income, assets, and liabilities. This individual can help you qualify for more homes than you might have been able to buy on your own.

 If one or both of the borrowers dies, becomes disabled, or declares bankruptcy, the other borrower's credit rating is also impacted as they are now financially responsible for that debt.

For example, if you have a mortgage and want to share your house with a roommate, they would be considered co-borrowers. Co-borrowers will typically make monthly payments alongside the original borrower to pay off the balance. 

You can also be both an owner and co-owner (i.e., joint borrowers) if you are buying property and renting from one another. The advantages of this arrangement include splitting costs between two or more people and reducing risk by diversifying investment portfolios across properties owned by different individuals who get paid back based on their share of ownership in each property.

What’s the Difference Between a Co-Borrower and a Co-Signer?

co-borrower vs. co-signer
Icons by Bismillah from NounProject.com, Bank by Prachova Nataliia

Understanding the difference between the co-signer and co-borrower definitions can be confusing. Many people think that there is no difference between being a borrower or a co-signer. However, it can be very important to know the difference when you're considering getting a mortgage or other loan. 

A co-borrower is a person who has applied for and been approved to take out a mortgage with the primary borrower. A co-signer is an additional person, typically family or friend, that agrees to help pay off the debt in case of default from the primary borrower, but is otherwise not involved in the monthly payments of the loan. 

Co-borrowers are becoming more popular because they can better qualify for loans than those without any income. However, there are some risks involved in being a co-signer, as you will be liable if anything goes wrong with the contract.

How Does It Work

Co-borrowing is a term that many people are not familiar with. It can seem confusing and difficult to understand, when it's a relatively simple concept. Co-borrowing is when two or more parties take out the same loan for different reasons, such as one person needs money for their tuition while another has an expensive wedding coming up in six months. 

The first borrower then pays off this amount before paying back the other party's portion of the loan. Hence, everyone benefits from co-borrowing instead of just one person getting all the money for themselves! 

Once the creditor authorizes the mortgage and releases the money, each borrower is responsible for making repayments. If one of the co-borrowers fails to make timely payments, the lender has the right to demand full repayment from any partner. If one of the co-borrowers fails on the joint loan, it will eventually show up on each borrower's credit history.

The great thing about co-borrowing is how much easier it makes purchasing big-ticket items like houses since you have someone else helping pay for them. The benefits of this type of loan include lower interest rates and fees than those associated with other types of loans, which in turn allow for higher purchase prices. Aly Yale talks about a co-signers rights in her article "Cosigner Rights: What you need to know".

When is a Co-Borrower a Good Option?

Some people are not able to qualify for a mortgage on their own. They have bad credit, too much debt, or insufficient income or savings. In order to get the best rate and terms, some borrowers will need to find someone else who can co-sign on a loan with them. This may be an immediate family member like a parent or spouse, but it could also be a close friend or coworker that they trust.

A co-borrower can be a good option for someone who is not able to qualify alone. If you have a high income and the other person has a low income, that would make it easier to qualify for a mortgage. It also makes sense if one of you will be living in the home while the other is paying rent elsewhere. Other situations where co-borrowers make sense are when one partner's credit score is lower than average or uneven incomes from both partners.

This person needs to qualify for the loan themselves, but they agree that if the borrower cannot repay it, they will take over repayment. If you have a co-borrower on your mortgage and something happens where you can't make payments anymore, like losing your job or needing surgery and having no health insurance, your co-borrower will then shoulder monthly payments until the loan is fully paid. 

Benefits of Co-Borrowing

Co-borrowing is a great way to get your foot in the door for buying a home. If you have good enough credit but not quite what lenders are looking for, co-borrowers can help improve your chances of getting approved. 

Co-borrowing has benefits that go beyond just borrowing money for a mortgage loan. Although this option is not for everyone, there are some definite benefits associated with it: 

  • Co-borrowing can offer peace of mind when purchasing high-priced items such as cars and houses because there will always be someone else who is equally responsible for making the monthly payments. 
  • If you have bad credit, co-borrowing can help you establish more favorable terms in your loan agreement than what lenders would typically offer, which may lead to lower payments each month.
  • Adding the credit and revenue of two co-applicants might result in a larger amount borrowed, similar to interest rates, enabling access to higher quality properties. This is because the loan will be repaid with two earnings.

Disadvantages of Co-borrowing

For many people, the idea of co-borrowing is an enticing one. It can be a great way to build a strong financial future for you and your family. However, some disadvantages come with this arrangement as well. 

Here are some things you should consider before making any decisions on co-borrowing:   

  • You share responsibility for the repayment of the loan 
  • Your credit score will go down if your partner misses payments 
  • If something happens to your partners, like death or disability, then it becomes difficult to repay the debt 
  • There is no guarantee that both partners will have the same income, or goals for the property 
  • Co-borrowing often requires more paperwork than just applying for loans alone 
  • The borrower must pay the additional interest from a traditional home loan to co-borrowing, anywhere between 0.25 and 0.75%.
  • Co-borrowers are responsible for paying back debt if the primary mortgage holder defaults or dies. This includes any future appreciation in home value that would have gone towards the deceased person’s share of ownership and all accumulated personal property taxes on both halves of equity until their portion is paid off.


Borrowing money is an essential part of life, but people often turn to family and friends for help. This can lead to resentment and hurt feelings. What if you could borrow money from someone who didn't know you? That's where co-borrowing comes in. Co-borrowing is a new worldwide lending platform that connects borrowers with investors looking for strong returns on their investments - no matter the size of the loan.

Check out the 4 Types of Real Estate Co-ownership here. If you are interested in learning more about co-ownership, go to the Cher website.