What’s a debt-to-income ratio, and why you need a low one to buy a home

This article is too good not to be shared so it’s copied from The Washington Post.

When it comes to qualifying for a loan to buy a home or to refinance your mortgage, there are plenty of numbers to consider, such as your credit score and the appraised home value. Perhaps one of the most important numbers is your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which compares the minimum payments on all debt you must make each month with your gross monthly income.

“The DTI ratio is one of the most important considerations lenders take into account when evaluating the risk associated with a borrower taking on another payment,” says Paul Buege, president and chief operating officer of Inlanta Mortgage in Pewaukee, Wis. “The lower the DTI ratio a borrower has, the more confident the lender is about getting paid on time in the future based on the loan terms.”

It’s not just the lender who benefits from knowing your DTI, says Buege.

“Calculating your DTI ratio can help you determine how comfortable you are with your current debt and whether you have enough income to take on a mortgage payment,” he says.

Your DTI tells a lender what percentage of your income is being consumed by debts, says Joseph Mayhew, chief credit officer of Evolve Mortgage Services in Frisco, Tex.

“Lenders like to see low DTI ratios because it means a borrower has excess income to cover unforeseen emergencies and to save for a rainy day,” says Mayhew. “As DTI ratios go higher, lenders become less willing to lend. In the eyes of a mortgage lender, a high DTI can signify poor credit management, living beyond your means and difficulty saving money for the future.”

How to calculate your DTI

A simple DTI calculation is to divide your total monthly obligations by your total monthly income to generate a percentage, says Mayhew. For example, if your total monthly debts are $1,000 and your total monthly income is $4,000, your DTI would be 25 percent.

However, not every monthly bill is included in your DTI.

“Lenders typically look at installment loan obligations, such as auto and student loans, as well as any revolving debt payments such as credit cards or a home equity line of credit,” says Buege. “Alimony and child support payments are also included. When calculating DTI ratios, lenders don’t include utilities, cable and phone bills or health insurance premiums. Medical bills are generally not included. Everyday items like food and gas are also not included when calculating DTI ratios.

Your mortgage payments, including principal, interest, taxes and insurance, are contained in the DTI calculation, but auto insurance and life insurance payments, 401(k) contributions, income tax deductions and college or private school tuition payments are not, says Mayhew.

What’s a good DTI?

While an ideal DTI would be 25 percent or less, says Buege, the lower the DTI the better. Various loan programs have different DTI ratio requirements.

“For consumers with a good credit history, stable income and a down payment of 5 percent or more, most lenders will easily lend up to 45 percent DTI,” says Mayhew. “Those with smaller down payments or problems in their credit history may find themselves limited to a DTI around 38 percent.”

If your DTI is between 45 and 50 percent, many lenders will still approve a loan, says Mayhew, but they will require a perfect credit history, a larger down payment of 20 percent or more and plenty of cash in the bank for an emergency. Applicants with a higher level of debt will usually need to reduce their debt and/or increase their income.

What does debt to income ratio mean for a Mortgage Loan Approval in Kentucky?

via What does debt to income ratio mean for a Mortgage Loan Approval in Kentucky?


How does your debt to income ratio play into a Kentucky Mortgage Loan Approval for FHA, VA, USDA and Fannie Mae Mortgage Loans

When it comes to getting approved for a Kentucky Mortgage loan, lenders will look at your current gross monthly income versus your current debts to qualify up to your maximum spending limits for a mortgage loan. Also called your dti or debt to income ratios.

There are two ratios they use: Front end ratio and back-end ratio

The first ratio is measured using your new house payment, taking into account your principal and interest payment, property taxes and home insurance premiums along with the mortgage insurance. That ratio typically needs to be less than 1/3 of your gross monthly income to fit most KY mortgage programs for FHA, VA, USDA and Fannie Mae guidelines.

I have attached below a picture with  a general overview of qualifying ratios for a Kentucky Mortgage loan approval when it comes to income vs debts or debt to income ratios.

Debt-to-Income Ratio Guide for Kentucky FHA, VA, USDA and KHC Loans: 

Acceptable Ratios
Housing Debt to Income
Conventional 28% 41-50%
FHA 29% 41-56.5%
Higher ratios may be accepted with compensating factors: low loan value, large cash reserves after closing, high credit scores, etc,

So for example, let’s say you make $3000 gross a month, then your max house payment on the new loan would equal about $1000 for your new house payment.

Your current rent payment, utility bills, car insurance, cell phone bills, don’t go into account when figuring your max ratios.

The second ratio, called the backend-ratio measures your new house payment, plus your current monthly debts listed on the credit report.  Most Kentucky Mortgage programs will want to cap this at 45% to 50%, with some going a little higher with compensating factors.

For example, let’s say you make $3000 gross a month, and your new house payment is $1000, taking you up to your max limits on the front end ratio of 1/3.  and let’s say you have a $300 car payment, $100 in credit card payments and $150 student loan payment.

What is your maximum qualifying house payment with a back-end ratio of 50% with the current debts above? Let’s look at the math: Take $3,000 x 50% =$1,500 — this is going to be your max limits on the backend ratio with new house payment and current debt load. So let’s see what this amounts to:


So if we take the $1500 minus your current monthly bills on the credit report, this is going to equal a max house payment of $950. As you can see, even though the front end ratio allows for $1000 max house payment, the back-end ratio is going to be $950, so you would go with the lowest of the two.

If you pay or receive child support  or child support this can be added or deducted to affect your max qualifying ratios for a mortgage loan, along with 401k loans.

As stated above, car insurance, cell phone bills, current rent payments, utility bills, insurance, does not come into play when qualifying for a max mortgage loan approval.

Curios about how much you would qualify for a mortgage loan in Kentucky?

Call, text or email me your questions and I would be glad to help you.

American Mortgage Solutions, Inc.
10602 Timberwood Circle Suite 3
Louisville, KY 40223
Company ID #1364 | MB73346

Text/call 502-905-3708

If you are an individual with disabilities who needs accommodation, or you are having difficulty using our website to apply for a loan, please contact us at 502-905-3708.

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