Determine how much home you can afford, including a down payment and closing costs
How much can you afford?
Lenders will calculate a ratio of your income to the monthly cost of the home. There are two main ratios lenders look at: Housing Expense Ratio and Debt-To-Income Ratio.
Housing Expense Ratio Compares housing expenses to pre-tax income
Target: under 28-31%
Most traditional lenders want a ratio under 28%, but the highest a lender will accept is a 31% ratio for loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Debt To Income Ratio Compares housing expenses AND other monthly expenses to pre-tax income
Target: under 36-43%
Most traditional lenders want a ratio under 36%, but the highest a lender will accept is a 43% ratio and for loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
You will also need to start saving – not only for your down payment, but also for closing costs which can run between 2-5% of your loan amount.
Ideally, lenders want a down payment of 20% of the home’s sale price but you can go as low as 3.5% with a Fannie Mae loan. However, loans with less than 20% down will have additional costs like PMI. These mortgages can take longer to close and are more likely to fall through, so some sellers may be reluctant to sell to a buyer with a low down payment.
One of the biggest mistakes homebuyers make is not budgeting for closing costs. These are extra costs like fees and taxes, inspections, appraisals, and surveys.
YELLOW provides an estimate of these costs for every listing. Click on the 'Cash to Close' link in the listing page to get an estimate of the closing costs.
Get your finances in order
Get a mortgage preapproval