Select A Department:

Courses in this Department

How Ready Are You to Buy a Home?

Determining Your Dream Home and Finding It!

Factory Built Homes Are Worth a Look

Purchase Manufactured Homes with FHA Loan

How to Buy a Foreclosed Home

Pros and Cons of Corner Lots

Know the Neighborhood Before You Buy

Tune in to an Open House on the Radio

Finding a Qualified Broker or Agent

Shopping for a Loan and Choosing a Lender

How to Improve Your Credit

How to Survive the Loan Application Process

Making an Offer and Signing Contracts

Cancel Your Contract in 3 Days

Understanding the Closing/Settlement Process

Choosing Home Inspection and Settlement Professionals

Double Check Your New Home - The Walkthrough

Know Your Consumer Rights

Seniors Have Many Housing Opportunities

Preparing for the Big Day -- Relocating Moving

Make Your Home Your Castle - Cost Effective Redecorating Ideas


How Much Can I (We) Afford?

You may be surprised. Pull together the assumptions listed below and then use our handy calculator at the bottom of the page.

Calculate Your Monthly Payment

Grab your pencil. It will only take a minute. The amount of loan principal and interest you'll pay on a monthly basis is determined by:

  1. the total loan amount;

  2. the interest rate, and

  3. the repayment period, or term.

The higher the interest rate, the higher the payments. Generally speaking, the longer the repayment term, the lower the payments. Interest rates vary according to the type of loan, and whether it is a fixed or variable rate loan. For purposes of comparison, let's use a 30-year term, fixed-rate mortgage.

Check the Interest Rates
They are available everywhere.

Find the real estate section of your local newspaper or call a mortgage lender. You will find the figure in the top column of interest rate charts.

Pick a Price
It doesn't have to be exact to work the problem.

By this time, you've probably been gazing wistfully at the real estate ads in newspapers, or visited a couple of open houses, enough to know approximately how much homes are listed for in your area. Pick a price. Subtract 10 percent (for the down payment) for the total loan amount.

Example: What's the monthly principal and interest payment on a $90,000 home at 8% interest? Subtract $9,000 and round off for a loan amount of $80,000. As you can see, the monthly payment at 8% interest is $587.

Run the Numbers

Plug your assumptions into this handy calculator to figure out how much house you can afford.

Less Than Expected?
Don't jump on it yet...

After calculating the numbers, you might be thinking, "Wow, that's less than I am paying now!" Okay, but don't run to the nearest real estate agency just yet. Remember that you'll pay property taxes and homeowners insurance on top of that figure. Tax rates are set locally and both the insurance premium and tax payment will vary according to the cost of your home. In addition, you might need to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) if you put less than 20% down.

To cover these expenses, multiply the purchase price by .002% (two-tenths percent), and add that figure to your monthly principal and interest payment, just to be safe. In the above example for a $90,000 home, that equals $180 on top of $587 for a total monthly cost of $767. Remember also the additional expenses of maintenance and repair.

On to the Lenders...

After a little self-examination, you are ready for the professionals.

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