Budgeting for Home Ownership

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April 28, 2021

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When it comes to home buying, there used to be an old saying. “Don't be house-rich but cash-poor.” The goal is to not create a situation where you are inadvertently creating a financial hardship – even if things look good on paper and a lender will loan you the money.

Person pushing buttons on calculator with clipboard and house figurine in background

How Much Are Closing Costs?

Buyers need to have cash on hand for closing costs which can amount to between 2% and 5% of the purchase price, depending on which state you live in. Additionally, the more you can put down for a down payment, the less interest you'll pay over the life of the loan, and the smaller your monthly mortgage payment will be.

What is PMI?

If your down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price, you will likely incur the extra expense of PMI insurance.  Paying PMI usually results in a monthly payment that is anywhere from 0.5% to 1% of the loan amount, on top of your monthly mortgage payment. How much you pay in PMI will depend on the size of the home, your credit score and home appreciation potential.

The 28/36 Rule

While budgeting for homeownership, make sure to factor in your other monthly or potential expenses – not just your mortgage payment. This includes insurance, utility bills, repair and maintenance costs, and any credit card payments. Accounting for these expenses will help in determining how much you can truly afford. Of course, what’s "affordable" will vary with each individual, so it’s a good idea to have a firm handle on your finances no matter what.

To help you do that, an effective method of calculating your homebuying budget is called the “28/36 Rule.” This rule states that your mortgage should not be more than 28% of your gross income each month, and no more than 36% of your income should be debt. 

Perform these upfront calculations to help avoid financial trouble down the road. This will help ensure that your dream purchase is one that you will always enjoy and never regret.

How Much House Can I Afford?

Bottom line? Don’t buy more house than you can realistically afford. Use our mortgage calculators to nail down your budget and get into your home today.

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