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When Applying For a Mortgage, How Much Can I Borrow?

he real estate market is full of bargains these days. Homes that sold for $500,000 a year or so ago can probably be picked up for less today because the housing market has become soft or has turned into what is known as a buyer's market.

So, when you're out there looking for a home, the big question is, "for my mortgage, how much can I borrow?" While the answer may be delightfully surprising, the real test comes when you figure out how much you can truly afford. Therefore, in this article we will give you the information you need to determine how large of a mortgage you can make the payments on and then you can go look for your dream house.

How much you borrow is up to you

The way the real estate mortgage market works today is anybody with decent credit can get a mortgage for just about any amount he asks for. It's really gotten crazy! Through negative amortization mortgages people have gotten mortgages for way more than they could afford and they were actually talked into this overextending of themselves by the lenders.

This is what you want to avoid. The lenders make more money for each additional dollar they lend you. Realtors have absolutely no motive to try to make sure you can make your mortgage payments because they get their percentage at closing. After that it's up to you. Personally, I believe the buyer having this information will make much better choices than a lender or a realtor would make.

The 28/36% rule

Back in the 1980's, they used to determine how large a mortgage a potential homebuyer could afford by using the 28/36% rule. Using this rule, the lender would first find out if the applicant had any debt before the purchase of the property. This debt would include car payments and credit card payments.

If the applicant had none, the lender would multiply the applicant's total monthly income by 36%. The monthly income would be the yearly income divided by 12. Though this might seem like an oversimplification, it is calculated that way instead of using 4 weekly paychecks as a month or 2 biweekly paychecks as a month because this amount would be smaller than the true monthly pay received.

So, if someone made $6,000 a month, it would be multiplied by .36, which would give an answer of $2,160 per month. This would be the amount of the monthly payment the applicant would be allowed to borrow up to. They would use this amount without adding on taxes or homeowner's insurance.

$2,160 a month would pay for a mortgage of $324,000, if the mortgage interest rate was 7% and the term of the mortgage was 30 years. The standard in the lending business is the mortgage can be up to 80% of the price of the property, so the price of the property could be as high as $405,000. Of course, the buyer would need an $81,000 down payment.

What about that car payment?

If the applicant had other monthly obligations, such as a car payment, the lender would use 28% of the monthly income. In this case, the applicant could make monthly payments of up to $1,680. If again, the rate was 7% and the term was 30 years, $252,000 could be borrowed.

I am a proponent of the 28/36% rule. It is more liberal than the old standard from the 50's, which was not to take on any larger monthly obligations than the amount of your weekly paycheck, but the 28/36% rule does give a proven guideline.

There is one last word of caution. Make sure to only apply for a fixed rate mortgage. These days, lenders will qualify people at some low introductory rate and then a year down the road the minimum monthly payment rises to well above the amount the applicant was approved for. Don't go there! Get a fixed rate mortgage only and there will be no future life ruining surprises.

The author, Ed Lathrop has developed EzCalculator, a Mortgage Calculator with a "pay off credit card debt" calculator, a free "student loan" calculator and the famous "How to Make $100,000 on Your Mortgage" calculator. Come visit this free site at Free Financial Calculator Also, print out a free amortization schedule of any mortgage at Free Amortization Schedule

Top Three Real Estate Secrets

Some real estate secrets are right out there in the open for everyone to see. The second secret below, for example, is simply to make low offers. Real estate agents and others will argue that you just waste everyone's time because low offers just aren't accepted, but common sense and experience say that they do sometimes work. Other secrets are not so obvious, as this first one demonstrates:

The Value Is In More Than The Property

Real estate prices are determined by the market. If buyers are paying $200,000 for similar homes in your area, that's probably about what you'll get, unless you make your property better in some way. If buyers will pay $10,000 more for a finished basement, for example, then it makes sense to finish that basement if the cost is say, $5,000. When you think "better" however, don't limit your thinking to the property itself. How else can you raise the price?

You can raise your price by making the property easier to buy. This is one of the most overlooked real estate secrets. I once bought property for cash and sold it for 30% more a few weeks later simply because I sold it with easy payments. No cash? You might refinance your home to raise the cash. A $18,000 lot, for example, paid for with money borrowed on your home at 6%, might be sold for $24,000, with 9% interest, if you make the down payment and monthly payments low enough for the buyer.

The other way to make it easier for the buyer and so raise your price, is to sell on a lease-option. The buyer pays higher than normal rent, with part of that rent applying towards the down payment if he chooses to exercise his option to buy. The price is typically set according to what the house will be worth at the end of the option period (two years is common). With a non-refundable deposit or "option fee" and high rent, you do well whether or not the house is bought.

How much more can you ask when you make buying easy? It depends on a lot of factors, of course. Here is an example: a couple years ago, we wanted to sell a mobile home (with a lot) that we owned. Because these are difficult to finance, we figured we could get about $36,000 cash. We sold it for $45,000 however, by letting the buyer make a reasonable down payment and then making payments to us directly. We also are making thousands from the interest over the years.

The Secrets Of Low Offers

Making low offers can be a great way to get cheap real estate. But don't expect to make a few really low offers and snag a great piece of real estate at half-price. Be realistic in your offering prices, and use this two-step plan to make this strategy effective:

1. Find sellers likely to accept a low offer.

2. Make a lot of offers.

Start by identifying "motivated sellers." This can mean looking in areas that are temporarily slow markets, but primarily you are looking for sellers that need to or want to sell fast for some good reason. These reasons can range from needing to move for a job to just being tired of owning a rental.

Make a lot of offers. Most sellers - even motivated ones - will say no to an offer that is 15% to 20% below their asking price. This is what you'll often have to aim for, though, if you intend to flip the property for a profit, because transaction costs (commissions, taxes, closing, etc.) can eat up 10% of the value. This strategy will annoy real estate agents, by the way, and may even embarrass you. That is the price you pay for getting a great deal.

On the other hand, if you don't have a property in your hands by the time you've made 100 offers, you may be going too low on your offers, or targeting the wrong properties.

Counting Backwards

When doing fixer upper for a quick profit, you have to start at the end and figure backwards. The "end" is the sales price you are likely to get when you sell. Subtract all costs and your desired profit from this figure to determine how much you can offer.

For example, decide what a potential fixer-upper needs and then - with help if necessary - determine what it will sell for once you do the planned improvements and repairs. Let's suppose that this is $225,000. Now you have to figure as carefully as you can what every single costs will be. These costs include buying costs, repair and improvement costs, utilities, taxes, interest on loans, sale's commission, advertising costs, selling costs, and anything else you can think of.

All of those costs AND the profit you want for your effort have to be subtracted from the projected sales price. This is how you arrive at the maximum price you can offer. This procedure is often ignored by investors even though it is one of the simplest and most important real estate secrets.

Copyright Steve Gillman.

Would Getting Some Free Money Help You In Buying Your First Home?

Would getting some free money help you in buying your first home.

How about some free Money? What is free money?

Most of us do not realize that we could be eligible to receive some free money.

Usually it means grants or other programs where you don't have to pay back the money you receive.

How do you find the money?

This is the biggest challenge to those that think they might qualify for money for a home in some way.

But the key to getting this money is not a secret. If you are an organized person who can follow instructions, you can find money to help you purchase your home.

Great programs that help thousands of families realize their dream of home ownership by assisting them with the down payment and closing costs are available through government and community action groups.

Buying your first home with a low interest loan and some free money could help you realize the dream of home ownership.

To get started you first must determine how much home you can afford.

One of the best things you can do is to get pre-qualified then you will be able to determine how much house you can afford. It is very easy to do and will speed up the negotiation process

By being pre-qualified you will be able to act immediately if you find the perfect home in your price range. This really is one of the best things you can do.

There are five things the lender will need to have to pre-qualify you for.

• Your annual household income

• Your current debt balances (credit cards, car loans, etc.)

• Your work history

• Amount in savings &

• Amount in your checking account.

Having this information available can help you with buying your first home and securing a low interest loan.Ben Bassey


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