"What does this mean? And will I be responsible for the payments?"
Becoming a co-signer on a mortgage should always be looked at as a short term obligation, with the goal of helping your friend or family member get into their home. It may be helpful to draw up a basic agreement with the other party to clearly outline the length of the obligation, and setting a specific date in the future at which point the loan must be refinanced to remove you as cosigner.
Most financial professionals will advise against co-signing a note for someone. there is just to much of a financial risk involved for you as the co-signer.
Co-signing a note can be useful to establish credit. Be aware the the co-signor can be responsible for the entire debt.
This means that you are signing for another person and stating that if for any reason they default on the loan you will be responsible for the note, your credit will also be effected in the event of late payments or foreclosure.
Your credit report will also reflect this as a mortgage.
Since you are jointly responsible for the mortgage payment this may affect your ability to qualify for new loans in the future.
Be sure to know the risks for co-signing on any type of loan. When you co-sign, you become equally responsible for the loan, no matter if you are just trying to help a friend get qualified.
Co-signing on a note is a good way to help someone establish a credit history. This should only be done with extreme caution, however. Any missed payments will effect both the signer's and the co-signer's credit report.
Most problems with co-signing occur when the two parties are only somewhat acquainted (for example, they have worked together for one year)...in this case, the two parties may move on to different jobs and never talk again, but both are still equally responsible for the debt.
If you Co-sign for a note then you are agreeing to pay the debt if they dont. If they walk away from the debt you are left holding the bag. Make sure you review the risks involved prior to co-signing. It can be a big obligation.
It is a great idea if you and the co-signer are completely aware the benefits AND risks.
Ask your mortgage professional to explain the timeframe in which you can be relieved of your obgligation. This can be done by having the primary borrower refinance in the near future into soley their name.