Sufficient income to support the monthly mortgage payment,
Enough cash to cover the down payment, Sufficient cash to cover normal closing costs and related expenses (explained below)
A good credit background that indicates your payment history or "willingness to pay"
Sufficient appraisal value, which shows the house is at least equal to the purchase price
In some instances, a cash reserve equivalent to two monthly mortgage payments Closing costs, or settlement costs, are paid when the home buyer and the seller meet to exchange the necessary papers for the house to be legally transferred.
On the average, closing costs run approximately 2% to 3% of the house price. This percentage may vary, depending on where you live.
Closing costs include the loan origination fee (if not already paid), points, prepaid homeowner's insurance, appraisal fee, lawyer's fee, recording fee, title search and insurance, tax adjustments, agent commissions, mortgage insurance (if you are putting less than 20% down) and other expenses. Your mortgage professional will give you a more exact estimate of your closing costs.
Points are finance charges that are calculated at closing. Each point equals 1% of the loan amount. For example, 2 points on a $100,000 loan equals $2,000. Companies may charge 1, 2 or 3 points in upfront costs in addition to the down payment. The more points you pay, the lower your interest rate will be. In some cases, you may be able to finance the points.
So How Much of a Mortgage Can You Afford?
There are two basic formulas commonly used to determine how much of a mortgage you can reasonably afford. These formulas are called qualifying ratios because they estimate the amount of money you should spend on mortgage payments in relation to your income and other expenses.
It is important to remember that the following ratios may vary and each application is handled on an individual basis, so the guidelines are just that -- guidelines. There are many affordability programs, both government and conventional, that have more lenient requirements for low and moderate income families.
Many of these programs involve financial counseling for low and moderate income people interested in buying a home and in return, offer more lenient requirements.
Generally speaking, to qualify for conventional loans, housing expenses should not exceed 26% to 28% of your gross monthly income. For FHA loans, the ratio is 29% of gross monthly income. Monthly housing costs include the mortgage principal, interest, taxes and insurance, often abbreviated PITI. For example, if your annual income is $30,000, your gross monthly income is $2,500, times 28% = $700. So you would probably qualify for a conventional home loan that requires monthly payments of $700.
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