Trying to calculate how much mortgage you can afford is a little bit of a double edged sword. There’s the amount you want to spend, the amount of money a bank will lend you, and of course, the actual amount you can safely afford. Enter the Millennial Homeowner Mortgage Affordability Calculator.
This home Mortgage Affordability Calculator is unlike any other affordability calculator you might find online. This calculator is designed to give you the amount you can safely afford once you have factored in all of your regular expenses. We created it with the consumer in mind, because we know buying a home is a huge financial decision.
What Mortgage Can I Afford? This Calculator Tells You
Before we go any further, you should know how banks calculate the amount of home you can afford. That way, you can better understand why this calculator might produce a different mortgage affordability number than your bank.
Banks base how much mortgage you can afford on your gross annual income. Your gross annual income is your income before taxes, retirement contributions, and social security get deducted. It’s the amount you make before health insurance or vision insurance or disability insurance comes out of your paycheck.
I don’t know about you, but my gross annual income is a lot different than my net annual income after all of that is taken out!
So, why do banks base affordability off of gross income? Banks started doing this to make it “easier” for consumers to apply for a loan. The reason is people are more likely to know their gross annual income than they are to know their exact take home pay. People know in general that when they got their job, they agreed to a salary of $50,000 or $85,000 or more. It’s a more straightforward number than knowing every single deduction your paycheck has.
However, because the average person has so many expenses, especially if they have a family, it’s so important to understand your total monthly costs. That way, you won’t need to fill out a mortgage approval odds calculator. You will likely know, once you have a firm grasp of all of your expenses, whether or not a particular mortgage payment actually fits within your budget.
Remember, a home should be an exciting financial step. Ideally, you should be able to afford your monthly mortgage payment and expenses with some room to spare. It wouldn’t be very much to have a super nice house but not be able to afford to go on any trips or go out to eat! That’s why it’s so important to buy a home that you feel like you can truly afford, not the number a bank tells you that you can afford.
How is this Mortgage Affordability Calculator Different?
This mortgage affordability calculator is based on your take home income. (As stated, banks uses gross income, which is the amount you make before taxes and deductions.) This calculator also factors in all of your other expenses like housing, debt, and everything else.
If you want to dive deep into how much home you can safely afford, I strongly suggest you get our guide “How Much Home Can I Safely Afford?” In it we go into all the details and give you a worksheet to figure out your monthly mortgage payment.
Why does this form have so many more boxes?
Typical Mortgage Affordability Calculators (aka what you see on most bank sites) base their calculations on how much income you make BEFORE taxes and other paycheck deductions. They also want to know your debts because the bank wants to make sure you can safely repay them. It’s also how they calculate your debt to income ratio.
What is a Debt to Income Ratio?
A debt to income ratio is your monthly debt payments divided by your monthly gross income. In order to get a home loan, this number typically needs to be 43% or less.
But, that percentage doesn’t take other personal expenses into account. It doesn’t show that you spend $500 a month on private school for your kids. It’s not aware you have two aging parents who need help affording their nursing home expenses. It doesn’t know that you owe your uncle $4,000 from the time he helped pay for your college tuition.
All a debt to income ratio shows is your monthly debt payments divided by your monthly gross income. When you think about it, there’s still a lot more to consider financially when determining how much home you can really afford.
So, in actuality there might be a pretty large gap between what you can actually afford and what the bank is willing to lend you. Don’t be fooled. Use the calculator above to know how much you can safely afford before you take out a mortgage.
Remember, if you are using the banks loan affordability calculator, you are being told what the bank will lend you, not how much you can afford with your own unique financial situation.
What do I do after I have Figured out How Much Home I can Safely Afford?
Once you have used the calculator to figure out a safe amount that you can borrow, the next step would be to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This step is for those of you who are planning on buying a home soon. If you are just in the beginning stages of preparing for home ownership, then you can start to save up for your down payment before getting pre-approved. Your down payment should ideally be 20% of the cost of your home in order to avoid being charged what’s called private mortgage insurance (an extra expense on top of your mortgage for those who don’t put 20% down.)
Ultimately, we hope this calculator has been beneficial to you as you embark on your home buying journey. It’s so important to buy a house that comfortably fits in your budget with room to spare. Let’s be honest, home ownership and home repairs can get expensive, and it’s nice to have some extra cash flow in your budget to handle those unexpected expenses when they pop up.