Understanding Debt to Income Ratios

by Jacqui Zuzgo 12/20/2020

Image by Mimzy from Pixabay

As you start your journey to home ownership, one of the terms you may hear from your mortgage lender is debt to income ratio. Many people have never heard this term before, but it is an important aspect of obtaining a mortgage. Your mortgage lender wants to make sure you are not going to default on your mortgage payments. While your current credit history plays a role in this determination, your debt to income ratio also is considered.

Your debt to income ratio is the percentage of your gross income against the amount you are obligated to pay monthly. This means your credit card bills, car loans, life, health, and other insurance premiums may be considered, along with your anticipated mortgage payment and taxes. Generally, a lender will want your debt to income ratio to be at or lower than 43 percent of your income.

Calculate Your Ratio Early in the Process

Potential homebuyers can easily determine what their debt to income ratio is based on current mortgage interest rates and the amount they are seeking to borrow to purchase a home. To calculate the ratio, you will need the following information:

  • Total annual salary — since a lender will review your taxes for the past three years, the best method is to use your most recent tax return and get your gross annual income before taxes. Once you have this number, divide it by 12 for calculating your gross monthly income.
  • Monthly debt ratio — you will want to determine what debts you are obligated to pay monthly. This should include student loans, car payments, and any other debt which you expect to pay for at least five years including personal loans. Using a mortgage calculator, determine what you anticipate your mortgage payment will be including property taxes and insurance. Make sure you include all costs associated with your mortgage when using a mortgage calculator. The totals you get here will generate the total amount of your monthly debts.
  • Final calculation — the final calculation will be determining your debt to income ratio. This is your total monthly debt divided by your gross monthly income is equal to your debt to income ratio.

High debt to income ratios can impact your ability to secure a mortgage. However, an important thing to remember is that some lenders do have some flexibility when using debt to income ratios. There are lenders who are exempt from the “ability to repay” rules for qualified mortgages. Talk to your mortgage lender about your debt to income ratio if the numbers are problematic. They can provide you with the available mortgage options based on your ratio.

About the Author
Author

Jacqui Zuzgo

I have been a REALTOR® in Massachusetts since 1984 and hold both a salesman and broker license. I am currently affiliated with Five College REALTORS® located at 190 University Drive, Amherst, MA. Over my career, I have consistently been a Top Producer in the Pioneer Valley and have gained a reputation for being a strong-minded, no-nonsense negotiator in the industry. I also frequently rank highly on Boston’s Top 20 for sales in Western Massachusetts. Some of my best qualities include my listening and communication skills. I have time and again proven to work well under pressure with exceptional attention to detail. My commitment to my clients and professionalism is obvious in every transaction.

Representing both buyers and sellers in Hampshire and Franklin Counties, as well as assisting in relocations throughout the United States and globally has helped me embrace the need for quality performance and develop an acute and sincere sensitivity to people's needs. Honing in on what matters most is almost a sixth sense. Communication and awareness of the situation at hand produce a final result that has undoubtedly led to the large referral business I maintain.

Education has been a theme throughout my 30 years of experience. Well versed in technology and holding key designations have proven to be assets to my performance and dedication to the Real Estate field. My never-ending enthusiasm, availability, knowledge and drive make for a seamless transaction every client, every time.

I am a native of the Pioneer Valley. I am committed to sharing all the area has to offer in making your transition, whether long distance or short, a satisfying experience.

Education:

  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst - Bachelor of Science 1983
  • Top Individual Seller for Residential Sales in the Pioneer Valley since 2006.
  • #1#1 Realtor in the entire Franklin/Hampshire Counties for Millions Sold since 1999.
  • Highest producer in sales since 2004 in Franklin/Hampshire Counties.
  • ABR®– Accredited Buyer's Representative
  • CRS – Certified Residential Specialist (only 3% of REALTORS® hold a CRS)
  • e-PRO – Digital Marketing, Certified e-PRO Realtor®
  • GRI – Graduate, Realtors® Institute
  • SRES– Seniors Real Estate Specialist®

Biographical Highlights:

Life long, active member of the community, born & raised in the Pioneer Valley. Graduate of University of Massachusetts, Amherst, BS 1983.

Current Committee Involvement:

Member of the local Chamber of Commerce - Post Board of Director's member Volunteer for the Road to Recovery.

Greenfield Community College Foundation Board Member 

Greenfield Savings Bank Corporator

MLS Professional Standards Committee Member

Have a question for Jacqui? Jacqui's email: [email protected]