Depending upon the state where the loan application is filed, some FHA loans require the husband to sign the loan agreement, even if he is not going to be buying the house. This is so the husband's income and/or debt can be factored into the mortgage equation. The non-purchasing spouse has to undergo a credit check and even though a bad credit score cannot affect the loan, the credit check is a requirement.
There are times when a husband's bad credit can prevent a wife from buying a house. However, if the wife completely removes the husband from the mortgage application and has good credit, she will be able to purchase the house, pending approval. The downside to this is the loan amount might not be as much as if the husband was also on the loan, since most mortgages are based upon debt-to-income ratios.
An area where a wife can have a house without any husband involvement is if the house is a gift to her. Even in community property states, inherited properties are considered to be "separate property."
Single women are able to buy houses without having a husband, with some lenders making it more convenient to do so. Some lenders allow counting child support as income and also allow divorced women to count as "first time buyers," even if the woman bought a previous home when she was married. In addition, there are some lenders that are letting women use different forms of credit history, such as wireless phone bills, since some women do not have a credit history outside of marriage.