Can I afford a house?
When buying a home – aside from the neighborhood, school districts, and cool things nearby – you also want to make sure you purchase a home you can comfortably afford.
To answer this question, it’s important to be aware of the ins and outs of your monthly budget. Then we will want to ask…
How much should I spend on a home?
First and foremost, this depends on how much money you make. There’s a recommendation that 28% of your monthly gross (before taxes) income goes towards your mortgage payment, which includes insurance, taxes, and HOA fees.
Everyone’s situation is different, so this may vary person-to-person. For example, an extension to the “28% rule” is the “28%/36%” rule. This suggests that no more than 36% of your gross income goes towards debts, and 28% of that is your mortgage payment. With that in mind, if you’re debt free, you could possibly put more towards your mortgage without spreading yourself too thin.
How much do I need for a down payment?
Next, you want to consider how much you can afford as a down payment. This is a lump sum that you pay upfront when you buy the home, and it goes directly to the value of the home to reduce the amount you have to borrow. It is typically recommended that you put at least 20% down when buying a home. This helps you avoid Private Mortgage Insurance, or PMI, which is protecting your lender in case you are no longer able to make your mortgage payments. It’s best to avoid PMI if possible.
You also want to take into account the interest rate and mortgage term. Mortgages typically come in 15-year and 30-year terms. 15-year terms will come with a lower interest rate, but your monthly payment will be higher.
Lastly, homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, and HOA fees are often bundled in with your monthly payment.
The calculator below allows you to enter all of these numbers to see what price of home you can afford. It will also estimate your monthly payment and let you know if PMI is a part of that depending on what percentage of the home’s value your down payment will be.
- Monthly Gross Income – Your monthly pre-tax income. You can find this on your most recent paystub.
- % of Monthly Income Towards Payment – The percentage of your monthly income you are comfortable with spending on a mortgage. Check your budget to get this number.
- Down Payment – Money paid upfront that goes directly towards the cost of the home. It is recommended to pay at least 20% of the home’s value as a down payment.
- Interest Rate – The interest rate applied to the mortgage.
- Mortgage Term – How long you will be paying back the mortgage, typically 15 or 30 years.
- Monthly Insurance Premium (optional) – The monthly cost of homeowner’s insurance. The average in the US is $109 per month.
- Monthly Property Taxes (optional) – The monthly cost of property taxes. The average in the US is $206 per month.
- Monthly HOA (optional) – The monthly cost of HOA fees, if applicable.
- PMI (included in payment) – If your down payment is less than 20% of the home’s value, part of your payment will be covering PMI. This reduces the amount of home you can afford, and it is a considerable expense that should be avoided if possible.
- Total Monthly Payment – The total estimated monthly payment. This covers Principal & Interest on the mortgage, insurance, taxes, HOA fees, and PMI, if applicable.
- Affordable Home Price – The total cost of a home you can afford.