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With the prices of houses rising significantly faster than salaries, it has become increasingly difficult for individuals to buy a house on their own. Consequently, most people now opt for home loans. To enhance the loan eligibility, once can opt for a loan with the longest available tenure or, additionally, get someone to join you as a co-borrower.
Persons who are generally accepted as co-borrowers
When it comes to adding a co-borrower to a home loan, lenders give first preference to the borrower’s spouse. It is presumed that the income of both individuals will be pooled for the purpose of household expenses, including for paying the home loan EMIs. The second category includes sons, daughters and parents. This is also considered as a relatively strong relationship, from a financial point of view. Please note that in case you add your parents as co-borrowers, their age shall be crucial in determining the overall eligibility.
The lender will only take the remaining years of their earning life into account, while computing the overall eligibility. So, in case your parents have already retired, including them as co-borrowers will not help you, as they do not have any income to help you service the home loan.
Few lenders will be willing to let a daughter join as a co-borrower because the dynamics change once the daughter gets married and her ability to help you in servicing the home loan does not remain certain.
Lenders have to take this reality into account. In case a son or daughter joins you as a co-borrower, the lender would insist on them being the first owner of the property, to ensure that the loan is serviced properly.
Persons who are generally not accepted as co-borrowers
Brothers and sisters of an applicant are generally not accepted, as co-borrowers for a joint home loan. However, if the brother/sister is able to convince the lender that the incomes of the siblings are pooled together, then, the application may be considered. This may be possible, if the brothers/sisters are staying together and are past their general marriageable age. However, the decision is made by lenders on a case-to-case basis.
People who are not eligible to be joint borrowers for a home loan
Banks generally do not approve of friends, partners or unmarried couples living together and other relatives, to join as co-applicants to a home loan. Lenders avoid granting home loans in such cases because these relationships are not considered to be strong. However, lenders may grant business loans to people who are partners in a business.
Tax benefits for joint borrowers
A co-borrower’s eligibility to claim tax benefits is not automatic. A co-borrower may not necessarily be a co-owner of the property. All the joint borrowers can claim the tax benefits, only if they are also co-owners of the property and are actually servicing the home loan. The ratio in which you can claim the tax benefits for the home loan, shall be according to the ratio in which you are servicing the home loan. This may be different from the ratio in which you own the house property, as each co-owner may not service the home loan.
(The author is a tax and investment expert, with 35 years’ experience)