How to increase your purchasing power

There are several factors that lenders take into consideration when determining how much they will lend you for your home purchase. The three most important factors are your income, debt and down payment. Any of these factors can greatly impact the amount of mortgage you qualify for. Lenders are primarily concerned with the percentage of your gross monthly income that goes to your new monthly housing expense plus your other monthly debts. As a general rule, no more that 28 percent of your gross monthly income should be going towards your monthly housing payment and no more than 36 percent of your income should be going to your housing payment plus other monthly debt. These guidelines vary by the amount of down payment you make and the loan program you choose.

If you have been prequalified and are not satisfied with the amount you qualified for, we've listed four of the most common obstacles to qualifying for a home loan and some possible solutions to each.

1. Excessive Long-Term Debt

a. Consolidate your debt by taking out one loan and paying off your bills with the money.
b. Pay off long-term debt by using some of your cash and making a lower down payment.
c. Selling an asset to pay off debt is another option.

2. Inadequate Income

a. Income from alimony, child support, bonuses, overtime or future raises might be considered in qualifying. If you overlooked any income, be sure to tell your loan officer.
b. Find a co-mortgagor who is willing to go on the loan with you to help you qualify.
c. Make a higher down payment.
d. Consider a financing option that will allow you to stretch  your purchasing power. Some of these options include FHA loans, adjustable-rate mortgages, balloon financing or a graduated payment mortgage.

3. Credit Problems

a. Pay off outstanding judgments, liens and collections.
b. Repair your credit file by contacting creditors and requesting that negative information be removed.

4. Lack of a Down Payment

a. Receive a gift from an immediate family member.
b. Ask the seller to carry back financing.
c. Sell or borrow against an asset.
d. Ask the seller to contribute toward closing costs.
e. Obtain a low-point or zero-point loan.
f. Consider financing options that offer lower down payments and help with closing costs.


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