Mortgage Basics: Loan Eligibility
“How much house can I afford?” It’s a critical question that every homebuyer faces, and one that many people answer by going to a lender and taking out the largest mortgage that the lender will approve. While this strategy will help you get the largest, most expensive house that you can qualify for, being eligible for a loan and being able to afford the property aren’t necessarily the same thing. (For more insight, see Mortgages: How Much Can You Afford?)
From a lender’s perspective, loan eligibility is based on a formula. The most common rule of thumb is that your monthly mortgage payment should not exceed 28% of your gross income. This calculation includes more than just the base price of the house. Consider, for example, a $50,000 gross income. Based on 28% of that amount, the mortgage payment would be $14,000 per year or $1,166.66 per month. That $1,166.66 needs to cover all four potential components of a mortgage: principal, interest, taxes and insurance, often referred to as PITI.
If your credit history is good, the lender may let you take out a mortgage with a monthly payment equal to 30% or even 40% of your gross monthly income. In our example, 40% would get you a yearly mortgage payment of $20,000 or $1,666.66 per month. The $500 per month difference would let you afford a more expensive home, but you should take a close look at your finances before making such a decision. … Read More