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What Can I Afford?

How much should you borrow? How much home can you afford to own?

Knowing what you can afford is the first rule of home buying, and that depends on how much income and how much debt you have. In general, lenders don't want borrowers to spend more than 28 percent of their gross income per month on a mortgage payment or more than 36 percent on debts.

It pays to check with several lenders before you start searching for a home. Most will be happy to roughly calculate what you can afford and pre-qualify you for a loan. The price you can afford to pay for a home will depend on six factors:

  • Gross income
  • The amount of cash you have available for the down payment, closing costs and cash reserves required by the lender
  • Your outstanding debts
  • Your credit history
  • The type of mortgage you select
  • Current interest rates


Another number lenders use to evaluate how much you can afford is the housing expense-to-income ratio. It is determined by calculating your projected monthly housing expense, which consists of the principal and interest payment on your new home loan, property taxes and hazard insurance (or PITI as it is known). If you have to pay monthly homeowners association dues and/or private mortgage insurance, this also will be added to your PITI.

This ratio should fall between 28 to 33 percent, although some lenders will go higher under certain circumstances. Your total debt-to-income ratio should be in the 34 to 38 percent range.

Would you like to know how much you home you can afford? Just fill out the form below and we'll have one of the trusted lenders in our preferred mortgage bankers group review your situation and get right in touch with you. Don't worry: this service is free of charge, without obligation, and your personal details will be kept strictly confidential at all times. We will never, ever share your confidential information with anyone but one of the qualified lenders in our preferred lender group.

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