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Understanding Your Debt to Income Ratio

It is very common and usual for lenders to use debt-to-income ratios to determine your eligibility for a loan and how much they will lend you. The ratios most often used are the 28/36, however, some lenders use the 29/41 ratios. The 29/41 is generally used for FHA loans. So what do these figures mean?

The first number, 28 (often called the front end ratio) is the percentage of your gross monthly income not including other debt that you can spend on housing. This is your entire PITI number or principal, interest, taxes and insurance.

The second number, 36 (commonly known as the back end number) is the percentage of your gross monthly income that can be spent on housing plus revolving monthly debt and this is the total amount of debt, mortgage debt plus revolving monthly debt that you can spend. If you carry no other debt besides the mortgage you will be allowed to spend the full 36 percent of your gross monthly income on your mortgage payment.

If, however, like most people, you carry some debt and pay out 5-10 percent of your gross monthly income on debt, this will reduce the amount of money you will have available for the mortgage each month and the lender will loan you less money.

Remember that gross monthly is not what you take home each month. The term used for what you take home is your net amount. The net amount is the amount minus state, federal and other taxes. You will also need to take out any amounts for 401K contributions costs associated with benefits that you pay.

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