First Time Homebuyer Information & Education

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Can I afford to buy a home?

Can I afford to buy a home? - Can I afford to buy a home? There are many different factors that go into deciding if you can afford to purchase a home. The most important factors are what is my present income and how much do I have saved. Borrowers can qualify for many different loan purchase programs however they must decide if they can afford it.

As far as most banks loan qualification guidelines are concerned, home owners should have debt payments, including mortgage and other necessary housing expenses, of no more than approximately 45% of gross income. However, since poeple have different spending habits, homeowners should decide for themselves how much of a mortgage can they afford.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your mortgage payment approximately the same as your current rent payment. If you have been able to pay a rent payment every month, then you should be able to afford a mortgage payment of the same amount.

Regardless of where you live, how much you earn or what type of house you are shopping for, as soon as you find out how much the seller is asking, your first reaction might be something like, “Wow! That's expensive!” Your initial assessment is correct. With prices rising quickly, particularly in areas like New York and Boston, even starter homes can carry hefty six-figure price tags. Your next reaction is likely to be, “Can I afford that?”

Generally speaking, most prospective homeowners can afford to mortgage a property that costs between 2 and 2.5 times their gross income. Under this formula, a person earning $100,000 per year can afford to mortgage between $200,000 and $250,000. But this calculation is only a general guideline.

Ultimately, when deciding on a property, you need to consider a few more factors. First, it's a good idea to have an understanding of what your lender thinks you can afford - to gain a precise idea of what size of mortgage their clients can handle, lenders use formulas that are much more complex and thorough. Secondly, you need to determine some personal criteria by evaluating not only your finances but also your preferences.

In considering whether you can afford to buy a home understand that there are loan programs to help people in your situation. Home ownership is at an all time high because lenders have made borrowing money more affordable than ever.

Many brokers are able to perform a rent vs. buy analysis that will not only compare your monthly payments, but also the potential tax savings, the appreciation of the home, and other factors you may not have considered. In many cases it is actually cheaper in the long run to purchase a home than to continue renting.

When considering to buy a home and figuring out how much you can afford, it is a good idea to sit down with your spouse and calculate your total monthly expenses. This should include all of your monthly bills such as car payment, credit card payments, cell phones payment, personal loans, cable/satellite television bills, etc... This way you can calculate how much you can comfortably afford to spend on a monthly mortgage payment and not fall into the trap of buying a home that is out of your price/payment range. Many homeowners and potential homeowners can qualify for homes and monthly payments that are much, much more expensive than what they can comfortably afford, while living the same lifestyle that they are used to. Please remember just because you can qualify for a $400,000 home does not mean you have to buy a $400,000. Buy a home because it meets your needs and most importantly it is within your budget comfortably. Allowing your home to own you instead of you owning your home has been an increasing trend over the past few years with the availability of all of the new mortgage programs and competitive underwriting programs available out there.

Can you afford to continue renting? Home ownership is the most popular investment tool. With a mortgage you gain equity be paying down principle as well as through property appreciation. You can also use the interest paid on your mortgage as a tax deduction. To determine if you can afford a home you need the experience and expertise of both a good loan officer and a good real estate agent. Together they will help you determine how much you can afford and if there are homes in your area that meet your preference and price range.

When someone asks "can I afford to buy a home?", he or she is often thinking of the short term of 1 or 2 years.
Instead, try thinking of the long term.
In many parts of the country, over a period of several years, homes increase in value by at least 5% a year. So, home owners have an asset that is growing.
At the same time, if their mortgage has a fixed rate, their housing expenses are staying relatively constant, unlike renters, who are seeing an increase in housing expenses generally of 3% to 5% a year.
So, in the long term, home owners have less money going out and an asset increasing in value.

Investing in a home is still one of the safest places to invest your money. Real estate will almost always appreciate and give a good return on the initial investment.

Why should you pay for someone else's mortgage? In a sense that is what you are doing when you are renting. Contact your mortgage professinal to see what price range of home is right for you and let your money work for you and not your landloards,

Be sure to take into consideration ALL of your income and expenditures. Some of those may not actually go on your application and be used for qualifying, but they will affect how comfortable you are with your mortgage payment. For example, do you contribute regularly to your church or favorite charity? Some people pay a set amount weekly or monthly, and while those donations don't count as a debt, they do impact what you can realistically afford to pay.

Can I buy a home even if Ive had credit problems? - Your credit history is only one factor in qualifying for a loan, and having made some late payments doesn’t have to keep you from buying a home. Many programs grade not only on your FICO score, but other factors such as how much you have in liquid assets or "reserves" such as retirement funds, life insurance, 401k, IRA, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and money market funds. Even your checking and savings accounts play a huge role. Someone who has consistently made payments on time in the past may have more financing options than someone who has not, but that doesn’t mean a mortgage is off-limits if you’ve had credit problems. In fact, FHA offers a variety of mortgage options to help people with less-than-perfect credit become homeowners and leave credit challenges behind.


Information listed above is to be used for educational purposes only and is not guaranteed

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