Ratio of Debt-to-Income

Lenders use a ratio called "debt to income" to determine the most you can pay monthly after your other monthly debts have been paid.


How to figure the qualifying ratio

Typically, underwriting for conventional mortgage loans requires a qualifying ratio of 28/36. An FHA loan will usually allow for a higher debt load, reflected in a higher (29/41) ratio.

The first number in a qualifying ratio is the maximum amount (as a percentage) of gross monthly income that can go to housing costs (this includes principal and interest, PMI, homeowner's insurance, taxes, and homeowners' association dues).

The second number in the ratio is the maximum percentage of your gross monthly income that can be applied to housing costs and recurring debt together. Recurring debt includes payments on credit cards, vehicle loans, child support, and the like.

For example:

28/36 (Conventional)

  • Gross monthly income of $3,500 x .28 = $980 can be applied to housing
  • Gross monthly income of $3,500 x .36 = $1,260 can be applied to recurring debt plus housing expenses

With a 29/41 (FHA) qualifying ratio

  • Gross monthly income of $3,500 x .29 = $1,015 can be applied to housing
  • Gross monthly income of $3,500 x .41 = $1,435 can be applied to recurring debt plus housing expenses


If you'd like to calculate pre-qualification numbers on your own income and expenses, please use this Mortgage Loan Qualification Calculator.

Remember these are just guidelines. We'd be thrilled to help you pre-qualify to help you figure out how large a mortgage you can afford. At Metro Mortgage, we answer questions about qualifying all the time. Give us a call at 866-300-1550. Ready to begin? Apply Online Now.

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