Determining a Mortgage You Can Live With

There are a few basic formulas commonly used by lenders to determine how much of a mortgage you can reasonably afford. These formulas are called qualifying ratios because they estimate the amount of money you should spend on mortgage payments in relation to your income and other expenses. It is important to remember that these ratios may vary from lender to lender and each application is handled on an individual basis, so the guidelines are just that - guidelines.

Generally speaking, to qualify for conventional loans, housing expenses should not exceed 26 to 28 percent of your gross monthly income. Monthly housing costs include the mortgage principal, interest, taxes and insurance. For example, if your annual income is $30,000, your gross monthly income is $2,500, and $2,500 x 28 percent = $700. So you would probably qualify for a conventional home loan that requires monthly payments of $700.

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU SELECT A HOME THAT WILL MEET YOUR FAMILY'S NEEDS AND KEEP YOU HAPPY FOR YEARS TO COME.
When budgeting to buy a home, it is important to allow enough money for additional expenses such as maintenance and utilities. If you are purchasing an existing home, gather utility cost averages and maintenance costs from previous owners or tenants to help you better prepare for homeownership.

Generally speaking, if your finances are in decent shape, you could look for a home priced at two to three times your gross yearly salary. And while using mortgage calculators can give you a rough idea of how large of a mortgage you might qualify for, talking to a lender or mortgage broker in person will give you a more accurate figure.