How Much Mortgage Can You Afford?

by Elayne Jassey 10/22/2018

There are so many factors that go into finding and securing the financing to buy a home.   While lenders require quite a bit of information for you to get a loan, you still need to be aware of your own financial picture. Even if you’re pre-approved for a certain amount of money to buy a home, you still need to dig into your finances a bit deeper than a lender would. The bottom line is that you can't rely solely on a lender to tell you how much you can afford for a monthly payment on a home. Even if you’re approved to borrow the maximum amount of money for your finances to buy a home, it doesn’t mean that you actually should use that amount. There are so many other real world things that you need to consider outside of the basic numbers that are plugged into a mortgage formula.   


Run Your Own Numbers


It’s important to sit down and do your own budget when you’re getting ready to buy a home. You have plenty of monthly expenses including student loan debt, car payments, utility bills, and more. Don’t forget that you need to eat too! Think about what your lifestyle is like. How much do you spend on food? Do you go out to the movies often or spend a regular amount of cash on clothing? Even if you plan to make adjustments to these habits when buying a home, you’ll want to think honestly about all of your needs and spending habits before signing on to buy a home. 


Now, you’ll know what your true monthly costs are. Be sure to include things like home insurance, property taxes, monthly utilities, and any other personal monthly expenses in this budget. If you plan to put down a lower amount on the home, you’ll also need to include additional insurance costs like private mortgage insurance (PMI).


The magic number that you should remember when it comes to housing costs is 30%. This is the percentage of your monthly income that you should plan to spend on housing. Realistically, this could make your budget tight so this is often thought of as a maximum percentage. By law, a lender can’t approve a mortgage that would take up more than 35% of your monthly income. Some lenders have even stricter requirements such as not allowing a borrower to have a mortgage that would be more than 28% of monthly income. This is where the debt-to-income ratio comes into play.


As you can see, it’s important to take an earnest look at your finances to avoid larger money issues when you buy a home.  


About the Author
Author

Elayne Jassey

 

Your Neighborhood Expert!

Hi, I'm Elayne Jassey and in addition to my passion for real estate, I have a passion for my family, people, competitive games and Stamford! I have loved living in Stamford, Connecticut for the last 35 years. During that time I raised two daughters here and became quite involved in our local civic life. I was very active in Board of Education affairs during all the years my daughters spent in the Stamford public schools, and my early experience as a middle school teacher gave me a great appreciation for the strengths of the Stamford schools. I am currently a member of our Downtown Committee and I'm delighted to have participated in processes that have resulted in everything from encouraging the University of Connecticut to move into their new-in-town branch location, to bringing the excitement of the area's largest Thanksgiving Day Parade, complete with soaring balloons and marching bands, to town. 

I suspect the greatest joy in my professional life is that I meet and work with so many different and interesting people. I enjoy my customers and I am pleased that I build close relationships with them that I maintain for years. These relationships have resulted in a high degree of customer loyalty, and most importantly many close and rewarding friendships. In fact, I continue to work with people I listed, rented or sold properties to when I first entered the profession, and now I have begun selling to the next generation in their families! 

When not spending time with my family or savoring time with my granddaughter as she explores the world, I love to play games. Whether participating in a hard-fought game of Scrabble, playing cards or coming up with the answers in word games and puzzles, I am energized by good competition and problem-solving. In fact, I find creating a successful real estate transaction is a composite of all the things I most enjoy. It combines the problem-solving excitement of detective work with the joy of matchmaking. Each new customer presents a unique set of needs and goals, a special personality and a sense of individual style, all within clearly defined financial strictures. Understanding all these factors and fitting the pieces together successfully is the challenge that makes the selling of real estate so special to me. And it allows me to use my considerable energy, enthusiasm, and entrepreneurial spirit to work hard at meeting my own personal goals. 

People often say that I am a very lucky person. I agree. I live in a community I love. I am surrounded by family and friends, and work in a profession that still engages me deeply. And I've noticed that the harder I work, the luckier I am!