How To Calculate Your Debt-To-Income Ratio For A Mortgage

There’s a lot that goes into the home buying process, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. One criteria mortgage lenders use to assess your mortgage application is the debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Your debt-to-income ratio is a comparison of how much you owe (your debt) to how much money you earn (your income). The income you make before taxes (your gross income) is used to measure this number.

A lower debt-to-income ratio tells lenders you have a healthy balance between debt and income. However, a higher debt-to-income ratio indicates that too much of your income is dedicated to paying down debt. This could make some lenders see you as a risky borrower. While the DTI isn’t the only factor used to assess how much you can borrow, it’s still important to understand before you begin the home loan process.

Subscribe to the Select Newsletter!

Our best selections in your inbox. Shopping recommendations that help upgrade your life, delivered weekly. Sign-up here.

What is a good debt-to-income ratio?

A debt-to-income ratio of 20% means that 20% of your income is going toward debt payments. This includes cumulative debt payments, so think credit card payments, car payments, student loans, personal loans and any other debt you may have taken on.

According to a breakdown from The Mortgage Reports, a good debt-to-income ratio is 43% or less. Many lenders may even want to see a DTI that’s closer to 35%, according to LendingTree. A ratio closer to 45% might be acceptable depending on the loan you apply for, but a ratio that’s 50% or higher can raise some eyebrows.

Simply put, having too much debt relative to your income will make it harder to qualify for some home loans. That’s why many common forms of debt — like student loan debt or credit card debt — can be a major barrier to homeownership.

Mortgage lenders want to make sure borrowers haven’t overextended themselves in terms of how much debt they can afford to take on. This is why having a high DTI could cause lenders to decline your mortgage application.

How do you calculate debt-to-income ratio?

The formula for calculating your DTI is actually pretty simple: You’ll just need to add up your total monthly debt payments and divide it by your total gross monthly income.

Let’s say you have a student loan payment, a car payment and a credit card payment that total to $1,000 per month. Your gross monthly income is $5,000. When we divide 1,000 (your debt) by 5,000 (your gross income), we get 0.2, which is 20%. So in this case, your DTI is 20%.

How do you lower your debt-to-income ratio?

Marcus by Goldman Sachs Personal Loans

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    6.99% to 24.99% APR when you sign up for autopay

  • Loan purpose

    Debt consolidation, home improvement, wedding, moving and relocation or vacation

  • Loan amounts

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Origination fee

  • Early payoff penalty

  • Late fee

Alternatively, you might consider using a balance transfer credit card to move your balance over to a new card with a 0% intro APR offer. This way, you can have an extended period where you aren’t being charged interest on your payments and can pay down the principal debt faster.

The Citi Simplicity® Card offers a 0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers from the date of your first transfer (after, 17.74% – 28.49% variable APR; balance transfers must be completed within four months of account opening).

Citi Simplicity® Card

  • Rewards

  • Welcome bonus

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% for 21 months on balance transfers; 0% for 12 months on purchases

  • Regular APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    Introductory fee of 3% ($5 minimum) for transfers completed within the first 4 months of account opening, then up to 5% ($5 minimum).

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Another solid option is the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. It offers an introductory 0% APR for 15 months from account opening (after, 19.24%, 24.24%, or 29.24% variable APR ). In addition, this card offers a welcome bonus: you can earn $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first three months.

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

On Wells Fargo’s secure site

  • Rewards

    Unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

  • Annual fee

  • Intro APR

    0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate

  • Regular APR

    19.24%, 24.24%, or 29.24% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Introductory fee of 3% for 120 days from account opening, then up to 5% ($5 minimum)

  • Foreign transaction fee

  • Credit needed

Mortgages and DTI

When applying for a mortgage, you should also consider all the costs that come with purchasing a home, including private mortgage insurance (PMI) (if you put down less than 20%, homeowner’s insurance), property taxes, interest, lender fees, inspections, appraisals, closing costs and more.

Needless to say, it’s an expensive process. But you can make it a little more affordable by choosing a lender that offers ways to help you save. For example, Ally Bank doesn’t charge certain lender fees such as an application fee, origination fee, processing fee or underwriting fee. This can help you save some cash on the upfront process.

Ally Bank

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    Apply online for personalized rates; fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages included

  • Types of loans

    Conventional loans, HomeReady loan and Jumbo loans

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Minimum down payment

    3% if moving forward with a HomeReady loan

Pros

  • Ally HomeReady loan allows for a slightly smaller downpayment at 3%
  • Pre-approval in just three minutes
  • Application submission in as little as 15 minutes
  • Online support available
  • Existing Ally customers can receive a discount that gets applied to closing costs
  • Doesn’t charge lender fees

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer FHA loans, USDA loans, VA loans or HELOCs
  • Mortgage loans are not available in Hawaii, Nevada, New Hampshire, or New York

PNC Bank also offers a few specialized loan options designed to help certain members of the community save money on their home purchase. This lender offers a loan option for medical professionals who are looking to buy a primary residence only. With this loan, medical professionals can apply for as much as $1 million and won’t have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), regardless of their down payment amount. 

PNC Bank

  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR)

    Apply online for personalized rates; fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages included

  • Types of loans

    Conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans, USDA loans, jumbo loans, HELOCs, Community Loan and Medical Professional Loan

  • Terms

  • Credit needed

  • Minimum down payment

    0% if moving forward with a USDA loan

Pros

  • Offers a wide variety of loans to suit an array of customer needs
  • Available in all 50 states
  • Online and in-person service available
  • Pre-approval in as little as 30 minutes

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer home renovation loans

Bottom line

Taking on a mortgage is a hefty responsibility, so lenders want to make sure you aren’t biting off more than you can chew when it comes to your current debt responsibilities. This is why they calculate a debt-to-income ratio to judge how much of your income goes toward debt payments.

Of course, the DTI isn’t the only criteria a lender will look at, so don’t feel too discouraged if your DTI is a little higher than most lenders prefer. Calculating your DTI sooner rather than later will allow you ample time to pay down debt or increase your income so you can lower that DTI.

Catch up on Select’s in-depth coverage of personal financetech and toolswellness and more, and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

Maria Flores

Next Post

Hollywood talent agencies seek new deals tied to Netflix advertising model

Mon Jan 2 , 2023
The inventive expertise powering reveals on Netflix’s new ad-supported assistance should really receive more income if their series are well-known with viewers, the main of a person of Hollywood’s top rated talent organizations has argued, a go that would characterize a significant shift in the streaming pioneer’s model. In November, […]

You May Like