In addition to your monthly mortgage payments, there are many things to factor in when determining how much you can afford, or even if you can afford to buy a home at all. There is a down payment for the loan, closing costs, moving expenses, plus purchases and maintenance for the new home. Generally, your annual gross income multiplied by 2.5 will give you an approximate amount for the price of home you can afford. It could vary depending on how much you have as a down payment, your debts, financial situation, and credit history/rating. Your debts, including alimony and child support, should not be more than 30 to 40% of your gross income.
Lenders want to make sure you have the ability to pay your loan. As a general rule of thumb, you can figure that your monthly mortgage payment should be equal to or less than 25% of your gross monthly income. This also will vary depending on circumstances.
You will need money for a down payment and closing costs, plus any move related expenses and maintenance or repair costs for your home.
» Down Payment – Your down payment is a percentage of the property value and is usually from 3 to 20%, or more if you want a lower loan amount. This can vary by the type of mortgage you obtain. Also, if your down payment is less than 20%, you may be required to pay mortgage insurance (PMI or MI).
» Closing Costs – these are settlement costs involved in purchasing your home. They range from 2 to 7% of the property value and include such things as points (a percentage paid for securing a particular interest rate), financing fees, taxes, title insurance, pre-paid and escrow items, and your down payment. You will receive an estimate of these costs prior to closing.