I Make $65,000 a Year. How Much House Can I Afford?


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I Make $65,000 a Year, How Much House Can I Afford?

On a salary of $65,000 per year, as long as you have very little debt, you can afford a house priced at around $175,000 with a monthly payment of $1,517 with no down payment. This number assumes a 6% interest rate and a standard debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of 36%. Your homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, and private mortgage insurance would be included in your monthly payment.

But there are many factors that go into home affordability beyond your $65,000 salary. Let’s take a look at how they play in concert with one another.

What Kind of House Can I Afford With $65K a Year?

Not everyone who earns $65,000 will have the same housing budget. You may qualify for a larger (or smaller) home mortgage loan, depending on a number of qualifications. These include:

  •    Your DTI ratio
  •    How much your down payment is
  •    The cost of taxes and insurance where you live
  •    What interest rate you qualify for
  •    What type of loan you’re getting
  •    If your lender is willing to underwrite a higher DTI level

When all is said and done, earning $65,000 may qualify some people for a home priced as high as $250,000. And if you’re buying with a partner who also has income, that changes the picture as well. You’ll need to understand how the factors on the list above affect what kind of loan you qualify for.

Understanding Debt-to-income Ratio

Your DTI ratio, quite simply, is all your monthly debt payments added together and then divided by your monthly income. If you have a lot of debt, the ratio is high. If you don’t carry a lot of debt, the ratio is low. When you’re trying to get a loan, the lower, the better.

What lenders look for is your ability to repay a mortgage. Every debt that you carry and need to repay each month takes away from what you could be putting toward a mortgage. That’s why they aim for a DTI less than 36%. It is conservative, but it ensures the borrower can meet their obligations.

For a $65,000 annual income with a monthly income of $5,416, a DTI of 36% works out to be $1,950. Your mortgage payment and all of your monthly debts, such as credit card payments, student loans, and car payments should fit within the $1,950 budget.

How to Factor in Your Down Payment

A down payment can increase home affordability in a big way. The more you’re able to put down, the higher purchase price you can qualify for. This is true especially for down payments over 20%. If you have the ability to put down that much on a home, you don’t have to pay for mortgage insurance each month, which qualifies you for a higher-priced home.

Factors That Affect Home Affordability

A number of factors beyond your down payment and DTI ratio affect how much home you’ll be able to afford. You’ll want to take a close look at:

  •    Interest rates Lower interest rates qualify you for a higher purchase price on a home. This is why borrowers seek out a mortgage refinance when rates are low. This is also why you’ll want to take great care of your credit score.
  •    Credit score When your credit score is stellar, you’ll qualify for the lowest interest rates your lender can offer. This will save you a significant amount of money over the life of a loan, not to mention help you qualify for a higher mortgage. Paying less in interest means you can pay more for a home.
  •    Taxes, insurance and homeowners association dues Your lender will take these numbers into account when determining how much they can lend you.
  •    Loan type How much house you can afford can depend on the loan type.
  •    Lender Your lender can help with home affordability. Some lenders make it possible to qualify for a higher mortgage by increasing the allowable DTI ratio — in certain cases it can be as high as as 50%.
  •    Location If you’re really looking for home affordability, you might want to consider a more affordable area. Check out a list of the best affordable places to live in the U.S.

How to Afford More House With Down Payment Assistance

Another of the tips to help you qualify for a mortgage: A down payment assistance (DPA) program could help you afford more house. DPAs assist with the down payment or closing costs associated with buying a home. Sometimes they come as a grant you don’t have to ever repay, and sometimes they’re underwritten as a second mortgage that may or may not need to be repaid (depending on the program).

You’ll see DPAs offered by housing authorities, either at the state or local level. You may need to be a first-time homebuyer or qualify with lower income to take advantage of these programs.

How to Calculate How Much House You Can Afford

There are some generally accepted guidelines that can help you get an idea of the amount of mortgage you’ll be able to qualify for.

The 28/36 Rule: This rule states that your home payment should not be more than 28% of your income and your total debts should not exceed 36% of your income. It’s also known as the front-end (28%) and back-end ratio (36%).

Front-end ratio (28%): At 28% of your income, a monthly housing payment from a monthly income of $5,416 should be no more than $1,517 ($5,416*.28).

Back-end ratio (36%): At 36% of your income, your debt-to-income ratio on a monthly income at $5,416, should be no more than $1,950 ($5,416*.36).

The 35/45 Rule: If your lender is more flexible, they may instead follow the 35/45 ratio, which allows for a higher mortgage payment. It’s just like the 28/36 rule, but this one allows your housing payment to be 35% of your monthly income. Your debt-to-income ratio can be as high as 45%. With a monthly income of $5,416, the housing allowance (35% of your income) increases to $1,895 and the total monthly debts (45% of your income) increases to $2,437.

Home Affordability Examples

Making $65,000 a year gives you around $5,416 of monthly income, but there’s a lot of varying situations. Some people have car loans, student loans, or credit card debt. Each of these affect home affordability. Your lender’s job is to help you afford a mortgage and still meet all your monthly debt obligations.

In these examples, we use the 36% debt-to-income ratio to determine payments and home affordability. (Keep in mind that your lender may be able to qualify you for a higher amount if they’re willing to accept a higher debt load.) For each example, taxes ($2,500), insurance ($1,000), and APR (6%) remain the same for a 30-year loan term.

Example #1: Some Debt, High Down Payment

Monthly credit card debt: $50
Monthly car payment: $300
Student loan payment: $200
Total debt = $550

Down payment = $20,000

Maximum DTI ratio = $5,416 * .36 = $1,950
Maximum mortgage payment = $1,400 ($1,950 – $550)

Home affordability = $180,000

Example #2: Thrifty Saver

Monthly credit card debt: $0
Monthly car payment: $0
Student loan payment: $200
Total debt = $200

Down payment: $20,000

Maximum DTI ratio = $5,416 * .36 = $1,950
Maximum mortgage payment = $1,750 ($1,950 – $200)

Home budget = $197,000

How Your Monthly Payment Affects Your Price Range

The monthly payment you’re able to qualify for directly affects how big a mortgage you can get. With a lot of monthly debt payments, it might be tough to qualify for the home you want. Interest rates also play a huge role in what your monthly payment is going to be. Even after you’ve bought a home, you’ll want to take care of your credit so you can refinance into a lower rate when interest rates drop.

Types of Home Loans Available to $65K Households

Different types of mortgage loans can affect home affordability. This is due to the fact that they have different interest rates and different requirements for down payments, mortgage insurance, and creditworthiness.

  •    FHA loans Federal Housing Administration loans come with required mortgage insurance, but if you have a situation where you need credit flexibility, FHA is the way to go. FHA loans allow for credit scores as low as 500, though you’ll still need to find a lender that’s willing to work with you.
  •    USDA loans United States Department of Agriculture loans offer no-down-payment options and competitive APRs—but only for those who live in the right areas. They’re specifically for rural communities, but there may be some areas near you that qualify.
  •    Conventional loans Conventional financing is usually one of the least expensive in terms of financing costs, but your finances need to be in order to qualify.
  •    VA loans Like USDA loans, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs loans have no-down-payment options, flexible credit requirements, and the lowest interest rates out there. If you’re a qualified servicemember or veteran, you’ll generally want to go with a VA loan because they’re so much better than the other options.

The Takeaway

Affording a home in this market is tough no matter what salary you make. If you make $65,000 a year, you’re earning more than the average single. Yet you may still have a few steps to take before you can afford a home: Think about paying down debt as this makes a big impact on how much home you can afford. Also think about making moves to improve your credit score, find down payment assistance programs, or locate a lender who can work with your situation. With the right moves, a home is within reach on a $65,000 salary.

This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891  Opens A New Window.(Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

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*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

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¹FHA loans are subject to unique terms and conditions established by FHA and SoFi. Ask your SoFi loan officer for details about eligibility, documentation, and other requirements. FHA loans require an Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium (UFMIP), which may be financed or paid at closing, in addition to monthly Mortgage Insurance Premiums (MIP). Maximum loan amounts vary by county. The minimum FHA mortgage down payment is 3.5% for those who qualify financially for a primary purchase. SoFi is not affiliated with any government agency.
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5 home loans that may include home renovation costs

5 home loans that may include home renovation costs

Did you know you can use a home loan for renovations? Renovation home loans cover the cost of purchasing and renovating a home. If you’re familiar with construction loans, renovation loans are similar. Also called “one-close” loans or renovation mortgages, renovation loans can offer buyers simplified financing for transforming a fixer-upper into an attractive, modernized home.

A renovation home loan combines the cost of a home purchase and money for renovations in one mortgage. There’s only one closing and one loan when buying a new home or refinancing an existing home. The lender has oversight of the renovation funds, including the budget, vetting of the contractor, and disbursement of funds for renovation work as it is completed.

The borrower, their property, and their lender must all meet criteria set out by the remodel home loan program to qualify, which can present a challenge. Qualifying lenders in particular can be hard to find. That’s because most lenders must maintain a custodial account for the renovations over the course of an entire year, which requires extra work and resources. However, if you can find a lender that can handle the process, renovation loans can be a convenient way to improve a promising fixer-upper.


Most mortgages will not include renovations in the loan amount. Renovation mortgages are niche products serviced by a fraction of lenders. Buyers and properties must also meet certain requirements, which we’ll outline below.

There are several different types of home loans you can apply for that are eligible for adding renovation costs to the mortgage.


An FHA 203(k) is a mortgage serviced by the Federal Housing Authority in which the cost of repairs is combined with the mortgage amount. It’s different from a traditional FHA loan that does not include improvement expenses, but qualifications (credit score, down payment, etc.) are very similar.

Interest rates and terms are also similar to what you see in a standard FHA loan. However, you can expect additional lender fees to cover the extra oversight needed on a renovation loan.

The amount you can borrow is equal to either the value of the property plus the cost of renovations or 110% of the projected value of the property after rehabilitation. Borrowers must use an FHA-approved lender for this type of mortgage.

Eligible properties must be one to four units. Repairs can include those that enhance the property’s appearance and function, the elimination of health and safety hazards, landscape work, roofing, accessibility improvements, energy conservation, and more. A limited 203(k) is also available for repairs costing $35,000 or less.

Andrii Dodonov/istockphoto

The Homestyle Renovation loan from Fannie Mae takes into account the value of the property after renovations are complete. The amount of allowable renovation money can equal 75% of the value of the property after renovations are complete.

In the world of home loans, the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) is the percentage of your home’s value that is borrowed. Many lenders limit your LTV to 80% to 85%.

A HomeStyle loan allows an LTV of up to 97%. This means it’s possible to put as little as 3% down. Some investment properties are also eligible for this type of loan. Renovations are eligible as long as they are permanently affixed to the property. Work must be completed within 15 months from the closing date of the loan.


The Freddie Mac CHOICERenovation program is virtually identical to the Fannie Mae HomeStyle program. This renovation loan is for buyers who want a loan with more flexibility than an FHA renovation loan.

Like HomeStyle, renovations that are permanently affixed to the property are eligible in one- to four-unit residences, one-unit investment properties, second homes, and manufactured homes. The maximum allowable renovation amount is 75% of the “as-completed” appraised value of the home — meaning the appraised value of the home before renovations but accounting for all planned changes. The maximum loan-to-value (LTV) ratio is 95% (97% for HomePossible or HomeOne loans).

The Freddie Mac CHOICEReno eXPress Mortgage is an extension of the CHOICERenovation mortgage. The CHOICEReno eXPress mortgage is a streamlined mortgage for smaller-scale home renovations. Renovation amounts are limited to 10% or 15% of the “as-completed” appraised value of the home. Borrowers need to work with an approved lender to apply for one of these programs.


A USDA Purchase with Rehabilitation and Repair Loan assists moderate- to very-low-income households in rural areas with repairs and improvements to their homes. Buyers can secure 100% financing with this loan.

For very low-income borrowers, there’s a separate loan you can qualify for with a subsidized, fixed interest rate set at 1% with a 20-year term. This makes borrowing incredibly affordable.

To apply, you must have a household income that qualifies as low to moderate in your county per USDA standards. The property must be your primary residence (no investments), and rehab funds cannot be used for luxury items, such as outdoor kitchens and fireplaces, swimming pools and hot tubs, and income-producing features. 

Manufactured homes, condos, and homes built within the last year are not eligible.

(Learn more: Home Affordability Calculator


The VA allows qualified service members to bundle repairs and alterations with the purchase of a home. As with all VA loans, 100% financing is available on these low-interest loans.

Alterations must be those “ordinarily found” in comparable homes. Renovations are also required to bring the property up to the VA’s minimum property standards.

The loan amount can include the “as completed” value of the home as determined by a VA appraiser. Leftover money from the home loan after renovations are complete is applied to the principal.


While a renovation home loan is a great way to finance a renovation, it’s not your only option for borrowing money for home improvements. Nor is it the most flexible. Alternative loans — such as cash-out refis, home renovation personal loans, and home equity loans -– have a lot more flexibility.

Cash-out Refinance

cash-out refinance is where you replace your old mortgage with a new mortgage, and the equity (here, the “cash”) is refunded to the homeowner. You will have closing costs with a new mortgage, but you won’t have separate financing costs for the money you’re using for renovations.

Personal Loan

Personal loans are often used for a home remodel or renovation. Because the funds are not secured by your property, you’ll likely have to pay a higher interest rate. The bright side of funding this way means you won’t lose your home if you stop paying back the loan.

This type of loan comes with a shorter repayment period, higher monthly payment, and lower loan amount. You can find these loans through banks, credit unions, and online lenders.

Home Equity Loan

home equity loan is a secured loan that uses your home as collateral. That means the lender can foreclose on the home if you stop paying the loan, and so interest rates are typically lower. A home equity loan also comes with a longer repayment period than a personal loan.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

A HELOC is a line of credit that lets homeowners borrow money as needed, up to a predetermined limit. As the balance is paid back, homeowners can then borrow up to the limit again through the draw period, typically 10 years. The interest rate is usually variable, and the borrower pays interest only on the amount of credit they actually use.

After the draw period ends, borrowers can continue to repay the balance, typically over 20 years, or refinance to a new loan.

Private Loan

A private loan is a loan made without a financial institution. Loans made from a family member, friend, or peer-to-peer source are considered private loans. Qualification requirements will depend on the individual or group lending the money. There are some serious drawbacks to obtaining funding from a private source, but these loans can help some borrowers in buying a home.

Government or Nonprofit Program

It is possible to finance the cost of remodeling with the help of government programs. Federal programs like HUD have financing options for renovations, as do some state and local government agencies.

(Learn more at: Personal Loan Calculator


Homeowners have a lot of options for financing renovations, especially in an era when home equity is higher than ever before. Renovation home loans allow borrowers to purchase and renovate a property with one loan, but that’s not the only way you can remodel a fixer-upper. Some alternatives to renovation home loans include home equity loans, HELOCs, and personal loans.

This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

SoFi Mortgages
Terms and conditions apply. Not all products are offered in all states. See SoFi for more information.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891  Opens A New Window.(Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi. Equal Housing Lender.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.



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