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 Buying a Home
  Home Affordability
To determine how much of a home you can afford, you need to calculate your expected monthly payment.

Most of your payment will go toward loan principal and interest, also called P+I. However, your monthly payment is also likely to include amounts for property taxes and homeowners insurance. Because of these extra payments, your monthly P+I payment is sometimes called your P+I+T+I payment.

If you plan to make a down payment of less than 20% of the home purchase price, you will also have to add an additional amount for private mortgage insurance (PMI). Lenders require PMI to insure against the higher risk of default that occurs with loan-to-value ratios greater than 80%. (An LTV of 80% is equal to a down payment of 20%.)

Your housing ratio is your total monthly payment divided by your monthly gross income. Generally, the ratio should not be more than 28%. For example, if your monthly P+I+T+I payment is $1,400, your monthly gross income should be at least $5,000.

Your debt ratio is the sum of your P+I+T+I and any other credit card or loan payments, divided by monthly gross income. Debt ratio will obviously be a higher percentage, since most people have other loans or credit card debt. Generally, your debt ratio should not be more than 36%. In this example, with monthly gross income of $5,000, your total loan payments (including the proposed mortgage loan payment) should not be more than $1,800.

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