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How To Find Your Debt-To-Income Ratio

by Niz Brown 09/17/2018

You know when you buy a home that your credit score matters, but do you see all of the numbers that matter to your financial picture when you’re buying a home? Your debt-to-income ratio is one of the most critical figures that will influence if you can get a mortgage and what type of rate you can get. 


What Is A Debt-To-Income Ratio?


This number is exactly what it states: the ratio of debt divided by your gross monthly income. Your credit report doesn't include any of this income information. This number is actually the best way to see if you’re living within your means or not. This way, your lender will know your monthly debt payments along with your monthly income.  


If your ratio of debt is high, you may not get a loan or get less desirable interest rates than if you had lower amounts of debt. Even if you have a high credit score, your debt-to-income ratio could affect these things. In reality, a higher debt ratio will make it harder for you to pay back your debt, so it’s important to you. 


How It’s Calculated


You can use an online tool to help you calculate your debt-to-income ratio. You can also use a simple formula if you’re up for doing some math yourself:


Divide your monthly debt payments by your monthly gross income then multiply that number by 100. For example:


Student loans: $400

Car loan: $300

Rent: $700

Income: $4,000 


1400/4000= 0.35 x 100= 35%


Household Ratio


You should also be aware of something called your household ratio. The household is the amount of home-related expenses which includes property taxes, prospective mortgage, home insurance, and more. These costs are divided by your monthly income to get this ratio as well. Obviously, your household debt adds to your financial commitments and is also put into consideration by your lender.    



What’s A Good Debt-To-Income Ratio?


It’s ideal that you keep your ratio less than 36%. Your household ratio should be even lower than this. It’s great to be debt free, but in the real world, that’s not always possible. Your best bet is to be responsible with your finances and work on paying your debt down as much as you can. Then, little by little all of the critical numbers that are required to get a mortgage will fall into place.  

    


About the Author

Author
Niz Brown

Born in San Pedro, California, as a first generation Croatian, I graduated from California State University at Long Beach with a degree in Mathematics and Chemistry and then earned a teaching credential from San Francisco State University. In 1960 I married native San Franciscan Jim Brown. Jim, was a high school teacher before becoming the owner/chef of La Lanterna Restaurant in Kentfield from 1985-1992. He is now retired. I combined substitute teaching in Marin County with the rearing of our four children, all of whom are grown and have settled in Marin. I became intrigued with the world of homes when we acted as the general contractors in building our own home in Woodacre and another home in the San Geronimo Valley. I began to work the carpet business, and became licensed to sell real estate in 1976. I was an associate realtor with other companies before becoming an independent broker and opening my own office in downtown Larkspur in 1991.

Decades of experience in real estate, plus a passion for details, executed in a creative manner allows me to serve in an exceptional manner. I advise my clients on the preparation of a property for sale and use my skills to assist sellers in arranging for staging, clean up, etc. Then I begin the marketing by having the home professionally photographed I create a property website and create fliers and print advertising. The MLS places the listing on all media site. Then when a offer comes in, the negotiation skills and attention to the details of the transaction take over. Other agents often say "you have the nicest listings". I care deeply about the quality of service I provide. When it comes to representing buyers I am patient and tenacious. I am just as excited as the buyer when we find the right home. I love my job!

I network with agents from diverse brokerages. I operate a "bus tour" with 25 professionals from 15 different brokerages. Operating my bus tour is my way of establishing close relationships with colleagues and gives me the opportunity to serve more effectively. Real estate is a unique community of competitors who work together with love and respect and cooperate to serve our clients.

I have developed a passion for photography and painting larger-than-life images of flowers. I am a signature member of the National Watercolor Association. At close of escrow each of my clients is given a choice of one of my prints for their home.