Figuring Out How Much You Can Afford When Buying a Home

Determining your budget is a crucial step in the homebuying process. It ensures that you’re looking for homes that you can comfortably afford without straining your finances. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to determine a budget for purchasing your next home.

1. Assess your financial situation

Income and expenses: Start by examining your monthly income and expenses. This includes your salary, any additional sources of income, and regular bills such as utilities, groceries, car payments, and student loans.

Savings and debt: Consider your savings, including any down payment funds, emergency fund, and retirement accounts. Also, calculate your total debt, including credit card balances, personal loans, and existing mortgage or rent payments.

2. Calculate your debt-to-income ratio (DTI)

Your DTI ratio is a critical factor in determining your home buying budget. Lenders use this to assess your ability to manage mortgage payments. To calculate it, divide your total monthly debt payments by your gross monthly income and multiply by 100 to get a percentage. A DTI below 43% is often considered favorable for securing a mortgage. However, the lower your DTI, the more flexibility you have in your budget.

3. Estimate your down payment

Determine how much you can put toward a down payment. The larger your down payment, the smaller your monthly mortgage payments will be. A common down payment is 20% of the home’s purchase price, but there are mortgage options available with lower down payment requirements.

4. Factor in closing costs

Be sure to account for closing costs when determining your budget. These typically range from 2% to 5% of the home’s purchase price and cover various fees like inspections, appraisals and legal expenses.

5. Consider future expenses

Think about your future financial goals and obligations. Are you planning to have children, save for their education, or invest in home improvements? Make sure you can comfortably afford your mortgage payments while pursuing these objectives.

6. Get pre-approved from a lender

Contact several lenders and get pre-approved for a mortgage. This process will give you a clear idea of the amount a lender is willing to loan you based on your financial situation. However, remember that just because a lender approves you for a certain amount doesn’t mean you have to spend the maximum. It’s essential to stay within a budget that suits your comfort level.

7. Determine your budget

Based on the information gathered, determine a budget that you are comfortable with. Remember that owning a home comes with additional costs like property taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities. Make sure your budget accounts for these expenses.

8. Shop within your budget

Stick to your budget when looking for homes. This will help you avoid the temptation of buying a property that may be financially burdensome.

9. Be flexible

While it’s important to have a budget, it’s also wise to be flexible. The housing market can be competitive, and you may need to adjust your expectations based on the available options.

Being financially responsible in the homebuying process will help ensure that you find a home that you can comfortably afford and enjoy for years to come. Contact DRG today to get started!


Are you ready to learn more about the current market, explore your homeownership options, and find out how much home you can afford? Reach out! To schedule a meeting with Joe Grunnet, click here.

Joe Grunnet
DRG Owner/Urban Realtor

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