The 28/36 rule

What is a manageable mortgage payment? A rule of thumb among mortgage lenders is the “28/36″ measure of how much of your total pretax income goes to paying back loans: no more than 28 percent for monthly housing expenses( property taxes, homeowners insurance, homeowner’s dues, and mortgage), and no more than 36 percent for all debt ( car, home, student loans, credit cards). This “debt-to-income” guideline means on a 30 year mortgage of $180,000 at 4.5% will be a payment of $912 and you will need a household income of $52,000 to meet the guideline.

Banks also take into account the “loan to value” ratio of how much of your own money you are putting down. This assumption is that people will be more likely to keep up payments on a home that is worth more than the mortgage. The classic 20 percent down payment. Plus , you now have “skin” in the game.

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