How much Home can you afford?

 

This will depend on 4 main factors:

  •  Your credit: Credit reports are kept by the three major credit agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. A low credit score may hurt your chances for getting the best interest rate, or getting financing at all. So get a copy of your reports and know your credit scores.
  • Your Income: The rule of thumb is to aim for a home that costs about two-and-a-half times your gross annual salary. If you have significant credit card debt or other financial obligations like alimony or even an expensive hobby, then you may need to set your  sights lower.  Another rule of thumb: All your monthly home payments should not exceed 36% of your gross monthly income.
  • Your down payment amount:  You'll need to come up with cash for your
    down payment and closing costs. Lenders like to see 20% of the home's price as a down payment. If you can put down more than that, the lender may be willing to approve a larger loan. If you have less, you'll need to find loans that can accommodate you.  If you qualify, it's possible to pay as little as 3.5% up front. 
  • Closing costs + Pre payments: You will also need cash for the closing cost
    and prepayments. The closing costs include the appraisal fee, loan fees, title
    company's fees, inspection fees, and the cost of a title search. The pre payments are for Property taxes, Insurance and HOA fees. First-time homebuyers can withdraw up to $10,000 without penalty from an IRA. You can also receive a cash gift of up to $14,000.