When buying a home, there are many questions and concerns that come about especially when it comes to finding out how much payments will be.

The Lawhead Team would like to share some helpful information to help home buyers figure out how much they can afford for a down payment and monthly payments as well as some of the other costs which are incurred when purchasing a home.

To buy a home, you need both a down payment and a monthly payment.  It is important to find out the most you can afford for a monthly payment first before you start looking at homes so you don’t waste your time looking at homes you can not afford.  You also don’t want to pass up homes you thought you couldn’t afford but which actually might be within your reach.  In order to figure out your monthly payment, a good rule of thumb is to figure it will be between 0.75% to 1.15% of the purchase price.

Here is a quick rule of thumb: Most people can afford a home which costs up to three times their annual household income.  If you have little or no debt and can put 20% down, you can probably buy a house worth close to four times your annual income. For example, if you and your spouse make $60,000 a year you can probably buy a $180,000 home if you have moderate debt (debt payments of less than 12% of your income) and a $240,000 home if you have little or no debt and can make a 20% down payment.

If you are single and make $35,000 a year, you can probably afford a home that is about $105,000 and in most parts of the country you can’t buy a home that cheap.  Being married allows a couple to combine their incomes to better afford a home.

First things first, you need to have saved enough money for a down payment.  Most down payments are 20% of the price of the home, however you can also qualify for loans like FHA loans where you only have to put 3% down. If you can put 20% or more down, you are almost certain to qualify for some kind of loan.  The bank will be willing to loan more money than otherwise and you wont have to pay for Private Mortgage Insurance.

PaymentsIf you buy a duplex or a home with a garage apartment this increases your buying power.  When purchasing a home with a rental unit attached to it, you can count the rent you’ll receive as income.  This will allow you to buy a substantially more expensive home than otherwise.  Once you subtract the rent you will receive, you will end up having a cheaper monthly payment.

When looking at a 30 year loan vs. a 15 year loan, it is important to consider what you can afford a month and base that on the time frame of the loan.  The advantage of a 30 year loan is that the monthly payments are lower and you can qualify for a much larger loan and buy a much larger or nicer home.  The downside is that you have to make payments for double the time than a 15 year loan.  You will also pay a lot more interest over time with a 30 year loan however in most cases it is still best to go with a 30 year loan than a 15 year loan.

On top of the down payment and monthly payments, you will also have to pay the closing costs.  You can either pay the closing costs from your savings (which lessens the amount you have for your down payment) or you can have the closing costs added to the loan (which is called “rolling the closing costs” into the mortgage).

Should you have any questions about what to be ready to pay for when you start looking for your new home, The Lawhead Team is always available to answer any questions you may have.