How Does My Existing Debt Affect Getting A New Mortgage?

How Does My Existing Debt Affect Getting A New MortgageCarrying debt is a common problem that people have. Some of the most common types of debt include student loans, credit cards, and motor vehicles. When you are interested in buying a new home, you often think about whether or not your debt is going to hurt your chances of qualifying for a new mortgage.

Fortunately, you may still get a new home with that debt. There are several factors that may determine whether or not you qualify.

Your Debt to Income Ratio

The debt to income ratio is a major factor that the mortgage lender is going to consider when deciding whether or not you will qualify for a new mortgage. In general, the magic number is 43 percent. If your debt exceeds 43 percent of your total income, the lender will have a hard time giving you that new mortgage.

For example, if you make $5,000 per month, you will want to have less than $2,150 in monthly debt payments. To make yourself a more attractive candidate for a mortgage, try paying off some of your existing debt.

Taking A Look At The Credit Score

The lender is also going to consider your credit score. The higher your credit score is, the more likely the lender will reward you with a loan. In order to keep your credit score high, make sure you manage your debt well.

Making your debt payments on time will keep your credit score high. Missing debt payments will lower your score. Manage your existing debt well and you will have a better chance of qualifying for a mortgage.

Making Sure You Can Handle A Mortgage

Finally, the lender is also going to take a look at whether you can take on the responsibilities of owning a home. The monthly mortgage payment isn’t the only expense you will be taking on. Some of the other issues you will have to handle include property taxes, maintenance costs, and homeowners’ insurance.

The bank or credit union will want to ensure you can handle these costs. To make these expenses easier to bear, it might be a good idea to pay off some of that existing debt.

Investing In A New Mortgage

Looking for a new home is exciting. You can purchase a house with existing debt as long as it is minimized and managed well. Think about these factors before investing in a mortgage. And as always, consult with your trusted local mortgage professional for the best advice on your personal situation.

Understanding Your Debt To Income Ratio

Understanding Your Debt To Income RatioWhen you are filling out a mortgage application, the lender will be asking you for specific financial information. One of the reasons they ask for this information is to enable the underwriter to calculate your debt to income ratio.

The debt to income ratio is what most mortgage lenders use to determine the level of risk they are taking when they agree to provide you a mortgage. Most mortgage lenders will use your debt to income ratio to determine your interest rate, down payment requirements, and in some instances, escrow requirements.

How Lenders Calculate Debt to Income Ratio

When your loan is being underwritten, the lender will look at both a “front-end” and a “back-end” debt to income ratio. There are two separate calculations for these ratios which are:

  • Front end – this calculation is based entirely on your housing costs. The lender will add up all housing costs including mortgage payments, interest payments on your mortgage, personal mortgage insurance, and insurance payments. The total will then be divided by your current monthly income before taxes and other deductions to find the ratio. Ideally, a lender would not want this number to exceed 36 percent.
  • Back end – the debt to income ratio on the back end includes all expenses including housing. Your lender will likely use your open credit accounts showing on your credit report which could include car loans, revolving credit lines, and student debt. For most mortgages, your debt to income ratio should be no higher than 43 percent.

Current Rent and Housing Expenses

If you are currently paying more than 36 percent of your total income for rental expenses, the lender may consider this when calculating your front-end ratio. For example, if your current rent payment is 40 percent of your total gross income and you can demonstrate you have been making payments on time, as agreed for a long period of time, the lender may be more flexible with the terms of your loan. Keep in mind however, you could pay an interest premium if this is the case.

The back-end ratios are also important. This is because for a lender to have your loan backed by a Fannie Mae, or other approved mortgage backer, your ratio would have to be lower than 43 percent. There are exceptions to this rule but in general, a borrower would face challenges obtaining a mortgage if their debt ratios are too high.

Lowering Debt to Income Ratio

There are two ways to improve your debt to income ratio. The first is to earn more money and the second is to lower your debt. Lowering debt can be accomplished by paying off some of your outstanding debt, putting a larger down payment on your home purchase, or taking a mortgage with a lower interest rate. For most consumers, paying off debt is the best way to lower their ratio.

Keep in mind, even if you have open credit lines that are not being used, your mortgage lender may take them into consideration when calculating your debt to income ratios. Before closing an account however, talk to your mortgage lender about what options you should explore. In some instances, a lender may offer you a shorter-term loan or a loan with an adjustable rate to help you qualify.

Borrowers should be aware that their credit scores are not tied to their debt to income ratios. However, a lower debt to income ratio combined with a higher credit score can make a big difference when it comes to what loan programs a lender may be willing to offer to you.

Contact us to find out more about debt to income ratio and other factors necessary to qualify for a home purchase or refinance.