Money For Lunch – Top Factors to Consider When Calculating How Much of a Mortgage You Can Afford

Top Factors to Consider When Calculating How Much of a Mortgage You Can Afford

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Are you about to start the house hunting process and are wondering just how much of a mortgage you can afford? Most people will visit their bank, a financial institution, or a mortgage broker to find out what amount they can get pre-approved for, but there are other factors that can help determine what kind of mortgage you take on. Just because the bank gives you a large loan, doesn’t mean that will end up being a comfortable mortgage payment for you.

To give you a more accurate picture of what, in fact, is affordable in your budget and not leave you feeling “house poor”, here are some other factors you’ll want to think about.

Monthly Living Costs

A mortgage payment is obviously the biggest thing to consider when house hunting, but each home also has its own monthly living costs. This includes such things as condo fees, HOA fees, property tax, and your utilities. Sometimes these items will be listed on the brochure handout or the property listing, and other times it will be up to you to ask about them.

Once you’ve found out what all these living costs are, it’s a good idea to use an online tool such as a mortgage affordability calculator. These tools allow you to enter your living costs, and give you a much more accurate picture of your monthly expenses.

Additional Debt

Most people have debt, whether it be a car payment, a loan payment, credit cards or something else. Again, you want to factor in all these monthly payments when you are trying to figure out what you can afford. Ideally, you want to have as little debt as possible going into a home, but that’s just not always going to be the case. From a lender’s standpoint, this is the debt-to-income ratio that will factor into how large a mortgage you qualify for.

Your Lifestyle

Here’s a factor that people tend to overlook until they are actually in the home, and that’s your own lifestyle. Are you the type of person that loves dining out a few times a week, likes to have the latest gadgets, the newest trending fashion items, and enjoys twice-yearly vacations? If so, then taking on a smaller mortgage payment will probably be wise, so you can still enjoy that same lifestyle.

Your Commute Time

For those who work in a big city, homes are much cheaper outside of the city which is why so many people make the move. However, it’s also important to consider what your commuting costs will be. If you’re looking at a long drive to work, make sure you add the cost of fuel to your monthly expenses. Maybe you’ll be using public transportation instead, which again should be added to your monthly expenses.

Look at the Full Picture

How much you can afford to spend on your home should be about much more than just the mortgage payment itself. It’s best to factor in all your expenses, plus your lifestyle, so that you don’t end up shelling out more than you are comfortable with.

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