Guide: How Much House Can You Afford and the Best Mortgage Affordability Calculator to Use
Are you fed up of paying for your landlord’s mortgage, and are you thinking about how much mortgage you can afford? Dreaming about how much house can you afford is exciting, but it’s also daunting. We are here to guide you along the way to answering the questions you might have including:
- How much house can I afford?
- What mortgage can you afford?
- What is the best mortgage affordability calculator?
- What is the usefulness of a down payment calculator?
When it comes to your own estimates of how much mortgage can you afford, you might be going on rule-of-thumb basics that you heard from a family member or on a news report—some say 2.5 times your salary, some say 4.
So you may have answered your own question, “How much house can I afford?” by multiplying your salary by three and are spending your spare time online looking at houses of that amount.
Rules of thumb are helpful, but when it comes to what mortgage can you afford, there are a few more factors that you should consider.
In this article, we will bring you through the good, the bad, and the ugly, so you will have a clear idea of how much mortgage can you afford and guide you through the best mortgage affordability calculator and down payment calculator for you.
How Much House Can You Afford? Where to Start
It is an exciting time for any person or couple if you are starting to look at what mortgage can you afford. It can be confusing when you start digging into it—you thought the mortgage affordability calculator would spit out the magic number, but you’re already confused by interest rates and insurance and more.
Image source: Bigstock
Don’t be disheartened if the answers to how much house can you afford are initially confusing. When you take the time to read through and understand the factors behind what mortgage can you afford, you will be in a strong, confident position.
So let’s dig in and get down to it—how much mortgage can you afford? If you break it down to the broadest issues, how much of a mortgage can you afford will depend on these three factors:
- Your annual income
- Your debts
- Your down payment
Most banks and many broker sites have a mortgage affordability calculator that will use these numbers to come up with a number for you. We will look into the best mortgage affordability calculator for you in the next section.
When lenders are calculating how much mortgage can you afford, they take into account a huge number of factors, but the basic logic is that what mortgage can you afford should allow you to continue repaying current debts, continue to reach your savings goals, as well as having a little bit left aside for property repairs and/or emergencies.
So thinking how much home can I afford based on income is a good place to start, but no matter how much you earn, there are other factors that the lender will be taking into account before they tell you how much can you afford in a mortgage. This might include:
- Student loans or other debts
- Utility bills
- Living expenses
These are just a few of the things lenders are looking at. In fact, banks and other lenders will be asking you a lot of personal questions. So when it comes to approaching a bank about how much of a mortgage can you afford, you should be prepared for sharing a lot of information.
When you are just looking for an idea of how much mortgage can you afford, an impersonal mortgage affordability calculator will be helpful. As you proceed deeper into the process of how much house can I afford, it is good to build a relationship and feel comfortable and happy with the bank you are dealing with.
The calculations of how much can you afford in a mortgage can be done with a co-borrower. The potential of how much of a mortgage can you afford can open up to new heights if you consider buying with a co-borrower. This could be:
- A partner
- A spouse
- A sibling
- A friend
If your rule-of-thumb calculations have left you feeling hopeless, you might know someone else who has the same ambitions as you and would be excited about coming together to see how much house can you afford together.
Another way to look outside the box is to think broadly about how much home can I afford based on income. Remember that income goes beyond your salary. Maybe you are getting alimony or some payments relating to children, perhaps you have an extracurricular online craft shop. Wherever there is money coming in, it will make a difference to how much of a mortgage can you afford.
However, as mentioned, even if you have a really promising income, if you have a lot of debt, this will also be considered when calculating how much house can you afford. Lenders will use an income-to-debt ratio as part of their formulas, which will look further than just, “How much home can I afford based on income?”
The interest rates globally, nationally, and locally will also have an impact on how much can you afford in a mortgage. This is where you will need to look very closely at the numbers offered by mortgage affordability calculator, which we will guide you through below.
Now, here is a helpful list of factors that you forgot about when you looked at how much home can you afford based on income. We recommend that you consider all of these factors to give you a true idea of how much house can you afford, as the mortgage is just the start!
- All income (salary and other money coming in)
- Income taxes (federal/state/tax)
- Property taxes
- Homeowners’ insurance
- Mortgage insurance
- Homeowner association dues
- The loan term
- Closing costs
How Much Mortgage Can You Afford? Could vs. Should
Ten years ago, when there was more money in the world, banks used different ways to calculate how much mortgage can you afford. With more money around, banks were taking more risks and not taking into account many of the financial factors that they do now when they tell you what mortgage you can afford.
The key word we would like you to take away from this article is afford. Bank of America has set a good guide to this, and we think they have some excellent advice for those of you looking at how much can you afford in a mortgage. Think about how much you should borrow, rather than how much you could borrow.
The lessons that we have learned from the property crash is that banks and lenders were giving people far more money than they could afford to repay. Don’t think how much of a mortgage can I get, think—how much of a mortgage can you afford.
This will put you into a powerful position when you are shopping around for what mortgage can you afford. If you are in the confident position of knowing how much of a monthly repayment you can comfortably make, you will be able to make better decisions when banks are trying to tell you how much mortgage can you afford.
Bank of America gives the really solid advice that if you think should, not could, this will make you:
- Better informed
- Stronger decision-maker
- More successful homeowner
So, do your budgeting (we’ll guide you through finding a mortgage affordability calculator for you below). If, when you are asking banks how much mortgage can you afford, the answer is much higher than you had budgeted, take a step back and look at it.
Learn the lessons of the people of the economic boom who assumed that banks were giving out mortgages based on a real calculation of how much house can you afford. Don’t presume that the bank is looking out for you and how much can you afford in a mortgage—make those confident calculations yourself. Now let’s show you how!
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Mortgage Affordability Calculator: Which One Should You Use?
A good place to start when researching how much house can you afford or what mortgage you can afford is to use a mortgage affordability calculator. There are a lot of choices when it comes to finding the right mortgage affordability calculator for you.
If you use a search engine such as Google and enter search terms such as:
- How much mortgage can you afford?
- How do I find a mortgage affordability calculator?
- How much of a mortgage can you afford?
Some of the top sites offering information on how much mortgage can you afford include:
Some of the top bank sites that come up when looking at how much house can you afford include:
- Bank of America
- Scotia Bank
Below we will have a quick look at the sites and their usefulness when it comes to finding out what mortgage can you afford.
Zillow Group’s Mortgage Calculator Review
This site is helpful in giving a really broad understanding of the factors that affect how much home can I afford based on income. The calculator is easy to understand and use, and it nicely breaks down the costs beyond just what mortgage you can afford while giving a broader view of the costs involved.
Image source: Zillow Group
This site seems to really be on the side of the buyer, not hiding any of the forgotten costs that can distort how much home can I afford based on income. These were discussed earlier including property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, mortgage insurance, and closing costs.
Some other great features the site has which helps users to understand how much house can you afford include:
- A payment calculator
- An amortization calculator (what the loan actually costs)
- Debt-to-income calculator
- A refinancing calculator (see what refinancing could do for you)
Furthermore, Zillow Group does a help review of the costs of buying vs. renting, so you can step back from thinking about how much mortgage you can afford and have a look about whether buying is really the best option for you.
Bankrate Mortgage Calculator Review
Bankrate offers a simple, easy-to-use tool with their mortgage affordability calculator, which will not only tell you how much can you afford in a mortgage, but give you a clear break down of the money that is going in and out of your account on a monthly basis.
Before you get the magic number on what mortgage can you afford, may have to do a little bit of digging before you can fill in every element of the calculator, such as having an idea about interest rates, how much homeowners’ insurance will be, various tax costs, and a decision on the length of the loan you are willing to take.
In this way, this particular mortgage affordability calculator is more advanced than others, but it will put you in a strong position of understanding the elements that will affect how much of a mortgage can you afford.
Bankrate also has some really useful alternative calculators including:
- A rent vs. buy calculator
- A down payment calculator
Smart Asset Mortgage Calculator Review
An interesting aspect of the Smart Asset tool is that it breaks down the costs by your location and also includes handy hidden extras such as closing costs and cash reserves when it helps you find out how much can you afford in a mortgage.
It uses helpful imagery to help users understand the costs and, as well as helping you calculate how much of a mortgage can you afford, it has other helpful data such as:
- Average home costs in your area
- Crime data in the area
- Real estate taxes in the area
Scotiabank Mortgage Calculator Review
Image source: Scotiabank
The image above is the first thing you will see when you visit the Scotiabank mortgage affordability calculator. Although it may seem confusing, it is good that the user is forced to understand how mortgages work. It can be tedious and difficult to get your head around, but it is very important to have a solid understanding of these terms so that you can make an informed decision about what mortgage you can afford.
But don’t be deterred by big words. Again, like Bankrate, it will be helpful to users to have a basic understanding of mortgages and the terms of the loan, especially the length of the loan. In other words, this mortgage affordability calculator will be looking at what mortgage you can afford, rather than how much house can you afford.
This mortgage affordability calculator will make you think about every single cost, including heating costs! It leaves no stone unturned in examining affordability.
Conclusion: How Much House Can You Afford and the Best Mortgage Affordability Calculator for Your Needs
At AdvisoryHQ, we know that this is a scary and exciting time for you if you are starting the process of calculating what mortgage you can afford. Our top tips for guiding you through this process are:
- Estimate how much can you afford in a mortgage on actual affordability, not trying to get the biggest mortgage that a bank will offer you.
- The cost of a mortgage is not just how much you have to repay the bank every month—do not forget that you have to include tax and insurance costs.
- Take the time to understand the terms and conditions of mortgages.
- Think about your debt, your current spending, and any savings/down payment you have available to you.
The great news is that there are great tools, sites, and banks that want to help you to find out the answer to how much house can I afford. Best of luck with your search!
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