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Before you begin the search for your dream home, decide how much you can comfortably spend. Mortgage lenders most often will take into consideration all of the following:

  • The size of your down payment
  • Your job stability
  • Existing debts
  • Credit references and,
  • Payment history.

Knowing your credit status and how credit agencies rate your credit also may be a deciding factor, especially when you begin talking to lenders. There are three main credit-reporting agencies that will, for a small fee, send you the most current credit report on file.

Lenders usually use the following two qualifying guidelines to decide how much of a loan you can manage:

  • Your monthly housing expenses – mortgage payment, property taxes, insurance, etc. These expenses should total no more than 28 percent of your monthly gross income.
  • Your monthly living expenses and any long-term debts – utilities, car and school loan, child support, health and car insurance, etc. These expenses should be no more than 36 percent of your monthly gross income.
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