Lenders use a ratio called "debt to income" to determine the most you can pay monthly after you've paid your other recurring loans.
How to figure the qualifying ratio
Most underwriting for conventional loans needs a qualifying ratio of 28/36. FHA loans are a little less restrictive, requiring a 29/41 ratio.
The first number in a qualifying ratio is the maximum percentage of your gross monthly income that can go to housing costs (including mortgage principal and interest, PMI, homeowner's insurance, property taxes, and homeowners' association dues).
The second number is the maximum percentage of your gross monthly income that should be applied to housing costs and recurring debt. Recurring debt includes payments on credit cards, auto loans, child support, and the like.
- Gross monthly income of $8,000 x .28 = $2,240 can be applied to housing
- Gross monthly income of $8,000 x .36 = $2,280 can be applied to recurring debt plus housing expenses
With a 29/41 (FHA) qualifying ratio
- Gross monthly income of $8,000 x .29 = $2,320 can be applied to housing
- Gross monthly income of $8,000 x .41 = $3,280 can be applied to recurring debt plus housing expenses
If you'd like to run your own numbers, feel free to use our Mortgage Qualification Calculator.
Don't forget these are just guidelines. We'd be happy to pre-qualify you to help you determine how much you can afford.