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How Much Home Purchase Price Can You Afford?


How Much Can You Afford When it Comes to Buying a House?

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There are three financial requirements that everyone must meet in order to purchase property:

    1. You must be approved for a mortgage.
    2. You must be able to afford the down payment, the closing costs and any other fees that may apply.
    3. You must be able to pay monthly housing expenses.
Once you know that you meet the first three criteria the next step is to figure out how much home you can afford. One good barometer you can use, to estimate the maximum you can afford, is between two times and two and one-half times your gross annual incomes. This is also dependent upon mortgage interest rates, as the lower the interest rates are the higher the purchase price could be.


Your Housing Expense Ratio

PITI - Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance is a general rule of thumb that takes into account the ratio between your total gross monthly income and your prospective monthly mortgage payment, taxes, PMI, private mortgage insurance, and your home owners insurance. About 30% of your total gross monthly household income is considered allowable for these expenses. This percentage is known as the housing expense ratio. Example: If your gross monthly income is $3,200, your allowable expendable amount is $960.

Your Debt-to-Income Ratio
The bank allows you to apply a certain percentage of your total gross monthly income for other debts, too. Any payments you make on an ongoing basis such as loans, credit card/revolving charge payments, alimony, etc. are in this category. Your combined monthly recurring debt plus total monthly housing debt can be no more than 40% of your total gross monthly household income in most cases. This percentage is known as your debt-to-income ratio.

Your Assets
You will need to have saved money for other aspects of the home purchase other than just your mortgage's down payment. Depending on the geographical location of the property and various legal and filing fees you will need to meet closing costs and fees. Surveys, appraisals and environmental testing are just a few of the obvious ones.

Gifts may be applied toward a portion of your down payment and closing costs as long as they are from an immediate relative, and you are not required to repay them.


How To Evaluate Your Mortgage Loan Options

The two most common types of mortgages are FRMs, fixed rate, and ARMs, adjustable rate. FRM mortgages are just that, they stipulate that your monthly principal and interest payment will be constant for the life of your loan. An initially lower interest rate is characteristic of an ARM. Changes in your interest rate, which will occur at a previously agreed to point in time, will depend upon current economic indicators. These three indicators are:

    1. The index.
    2. The margin.
    3. The number of years to the maturity date.


Note: Do not be surprised at how a small change in the interest rate, at the adjustment date of an ARM, can greatly change your expected monthly payment. You must also be able to fully understand how the difference in terms of 10, 15, 25 or 30 years will also affect these payments. The longer payments are spread out over the course of a loan the higher the interest payments, and conversely, the shorter terms are the lower interest rates will most probably be.

Always compare APRs, annual percentage rates . The APR takes into account both the interest rate and the fees a lender will charge. These factors will give you the true and accurate cost of purchasing a new home.

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