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Home Affordability Tips

TIP 1: start saving money

First tip, start saving your money
for the down payment and closing costs. You will need at least 5% of the home purchase price for your down payment, and another 5-6% of the home purchase price for closing costs.

Set up a spending plan where you can set aside savings:
Link to our Budget Planning Module

We have more information on costs: view the costs of a mortgage

tip 2: review other help options

Note that the IRS allows first-time home buyers to use retirement savings for purchasing their first home:

If you qualify, additional sources of money for purchasing a home can come from:

  1. federal government programs: link to HUD
  2. State or local government agencies: view your state
  3. government agencies: FHA / VHA / RHA
  4. employers and/or private foundations
  5. family members donating a "gift":

    usually the mortgage lender requires a gift letter verifying that the gift is not a loan and that you do not have to repay it.

tip 3: view mortgage loan options

Depending on your financial status, you may qualify for mortgage loan products that require little or no down payment:

Review mortgage product: zero-down mortgages
Review mortgage product: government loans

tip 4: watch the interest rates

Depending on the market, you might be able to afford a home mortgage if interest rates are low and dropping.

Keep your eye on the movement of interest rates and be ready to start the process your application if interest rates meet financial hurdles.

View how best to negotiate your mortgage rates:
click for mortgage interest rates

This will be a good time to run some numbers to see how much you can afford:
click here for mortgage calculators

tip 5: clean up your credit report

Make sure that you have a clean credit report prior to submitting your mortgage application. It will prevent delays and non-approvals:

We have some valuable quick notes for review:

what's in your credit report
checking your credit report
repairing your credit report

Review mortgage loan products for individuals with less-than-good credit: click here for a-minus mortgage loans

  • Note: the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate. Lower interest rates may put you in the affordability range.
tip 6: maintain good debt ratios

Lenders require mortgage applicants to be within certain "housing" and "debt-to-income" ratios.

Run your numbers:
link to calculate your ratios

Some lenders will increase both the housing ratio and debt-to-income ratio for qualified applicants: view getting qualified for a mortgage loan

tip 7: reduce your outstanding debts
tip 8: seek what you can afford

Use the calculator below to estimate how much home you can afford.

Note that this calculation does not take in the cost of your escrow payment. See Understanding the True Cost of a Mortgage

Monthly Affordability Calculation
Enter the amount you want to pay per month (excluding escrow):
Enter the number of months to repay:
Enter your estimated loan rate (APR): %
Loan Amount to Borrow:
tip 9: understand mortgage process

Before you submit your mortgage application, review these steps about the mortgage lending process.

It will give you understanding how the process works so that you can negotiate the best terms for your financial needs:

click here for our quick review: 10-step mortgage lending process

tip 10: manage - payoff your mortgage

After you close on your mortgage, budget the money you need to:

Mortgage Loan Application