Deciding how much house you can afford is a personal decision. Many factors come into play.How much can I borrow? How much can I put toward my down payment? What size monthly payment can I afford?
There are no black and white answers to these questions. Its a matter of give and take. If you plan on a 25 year mortgage, you can probably make a lower down payment and still manage the monthly payments. If, on the other hand, you plan on a 15 year mortgage, youll probably want to make a larger down payment to keep your monthly payments in line with what you can afford.
How large a down payment can I make?
Many buyers look at their cash on hand as their only source for their down payment. This simply is not the case. One way to fund or partially fund a down payment is by using a gift. Parents, grandparents and other family members are often eager to help by making a cash gift toward the purchase of your home. There are also down payment assistance charities that can help you. And, of course, if you are selling a home, the equity youve built up can be applied to your down payment.
What size monthly payment can I afford?
When determining what size monthly payment you can afford, youll want to consider what other monthly expenses you have. Tangible expenses such as car payments, day care and utility bills, all play a role in how large a monthly payment you can afford. There are also the intangible expenses or lifestyle expenses that youll want to consider. Things such as dining out, travel and when you buy your next car can effect how much you can afford. Are you willing to curtail or delay some of these expenses in order to afford a larger monthly payment?