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Understanding Debt to Income Ratio for Homebuyers

Understanding Debt to Income Ratio for Homebuyers

Bob The Broker
Bob Friel
Published on July 12, 2023

Understanding Debt to Income Ratio for Homebuyers

Buying a house is one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your life. It’s a decision that requires careful planning, budgeting, and assessment of your financial capability. When applying for a mortgage, one of the primary factors that lenders will look at is your debt-to- income ratio or DTI. Your DTI can significantly impact your mortgage application’s approval and the amount you’ll be able to borrow. In this blog post, we’ll help you understand what DTI is, how it works, and how it can affect your home buying process.

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So, what exactly is a debt-to-income ratio? DTI measures your monthly debt payments against your monthly income before taxes. It gives lenders an idea of how much money you owe every month compared to your income. To calculate your DTI, add up all your monthly debts and divide it by your gross monthly income. The ideal DTI is below 43%, but some lenders can accept up to 50%.

DTI includes all your monthly debts such as car loans, minimum credit card payments, student loans, personal loans, and any other debt that regularly comes out of your income. It can also include the new mortgage payment that you’re applying for, including principal, interest, taxes, and insurance, and even HOA dues and mortgage insurance if necessary.

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When calculating your DTI, you must include your gross monthly income and any other sources of income that the lender will use to consider you a qualified borrower. If you’re self-employed, your lender will most likely look at your tax returns for the last two years to determine your monthly income.

For instance, suppose Jan makes $7,000 gross income every month. Her monthly debts include minimum credit card payments of $150, $300 for a car loan, $250 for student loan payments, and a new mortgage payment of $1,750. Add up all those debts, and her total monthly debts would amount to $2,450. Divide this by her gross monthly income ($7,000), and you’ll get her DTI of 35%.

Having a high DTI means that more of your income goes towards repaying your debts, leaving you with less disposable income to spend on everyday living expenses or emergencies. A high DTI can also affect your credit score and ability to borrow in the future. It can also result in lenders rejecting your mortgage application or approving it but at higher interest rates.

Your debt-to-income ratio plays a vital role in the home buying process. It determines the amount of mortgage loan you can afford and how lenders will view your financial capacity to repay the loan. It is essential to calculate your DTI before applying for a mortgage and ensure that it meets the lender’s requirements. If your DTI is relatively high, try paying off some of your debts and avoiding new debts in the meantime. Ultimately, a lower DTI means less financial stress, and that’s something that everyone wants, especially when it comes to owning a home.

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