HOME BUYERS

What is DTI (debt-to-income) Ratio, and Why Does it Matter?

What is the debt-to-income ratio?

The debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is a measure of how much of your monthly income goes towards paying your debts. Lenders use it to determine how much of a mortgage you can afford to take on. When you are buying a home, your DTI ratio is an important factor that lenders like Treadstone Funding consider when evaluating your mortgage application.

To calculate your DTI ratio, you will need to add up all your monthly debt payments, including your proposed mortgage payment, and divide that total by your gross monthly income. The resulting percentage is your DTI ratio. For example, if your monthly debt payments total $1,500 and your gross monthly income is $5,000, your DTI ratio would be 30%.

Lenders generally want to see a DTI ratio of 45% or less. However, some lenders may be willing to accept a higher DTI ratio depending on your credit score, down payment, and other factors. It’s important to keep in mind that a higher DTI ratio may make it more difficult to qualify for a mortgage, and it could also result in a higher interest rate on your loan.

To improve your DTI ratio and increase your chances of being approved for a mortgage, you can try to pay off some of your debts, such as credit card balances or student loans, or you can try to increase your income by taking on additional work or negotiating a raise. However, in some cases it is beneficial to hold off paying down your debts before buying a home. To know for sure, shoot a message to one of our loan experts.

 

What is the maximum debt-to-income ratio for each loan program?

The maximum debt-to-income (DTI) ratio varies depending on the type of mortgage and the lender you are working with. Here are some general guidelines for DTI ratios for various loan programs:

  • Conventional loans: Most lenders want to see a DTI ratio of 45% or less, although some may be willing to accept a higher ratio depending on your credit score and other factors.
  • FHA loans: The maximum DTI ratio for an FHA loan is typically around 45%.
  • VA loans: VA loans typically have more flexible DTI ratio requirements than conventional loans. The maximum DTI ratio for a VA loan is generally around 45%.
  • USDA/RD loans: The maximum DTI ratio for a USDA loan is typically around 41%.

Keep in mind that these are just general guidelines, and the actual DTI ratio requirements may vary depending on the lender you are working with. The DTI ratio varies with other factors (not just loan program), so our loan experts can give you the exact information and requirements you need.

 

Why is a low DTI a good thing?

A low debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is generally considered to be a good thing, as it indicates that you have a good balance between your debts and your income. Lenders typically prefer to see a low DTI ratio because it suggests that you will have sufficient income to make your monthly mortgage payments and pay your other debts.

Because of this, having a low DTI ratio may make it easier to qualify for a mortgage and may result in a lower interest rate on your loan. Similarly, having a low DTI ratio can help you to maintain a healthy financial situation in the long term. A higher debt-to-income ratio may be indicative of a tighter personal budget, and less flexibility to handle unexpected expenses or emergencies.

Overall, it’s a good idea to aim for a low DTI ratio when you are buying a home, as it can improve your chances of being approved for a mortgage and help you to manage your finances more effectively in the future.

 

What else should I consider?

In addition to the debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, there are several other factors that lenders consider when evaluating a mortgage application. These include:

  • Credit score: Your credit score is a measure of your creditworthiness and is an important factor that lenders consider when evaluating your mortgage application. A higher credit score can make it easier to qualify for a mortgage and may result in a lower interest rate on your loan.
  • Down payment: The amount of money you have available for a down payment can also be an important factor when you are buying a home. Lenders like Treadstone do loans for as little as 0% down, but the bigger the down payment, the more favorable your loan terms may be.
  • Employment history: Lenders will want to see a stable employment history when evaluating your mortgage application. A consistent employment history can help to demonstrate your ability to make your mortgage payments on time.
  • Debt load: In addition to your DTI ratio, lenders will also consider your overall debt load when evaluating your mortgage application. This includes all of your outstanding debts, such as credit card balances, student loans, and car loans.
  • Property type: The type of property you are buying can also be an important factor when you are applying for a mortgage. Some properties, such as manufactured homes or properties in a flood zone, may be more difficult to finance than others.

 

Shopping for homes?

If you’re starting to shop for homes, a mortgage pre-approval is the first thing you’ll need to get started!

Treadstone Funding has one of the strongest pre-approvals in Michigan, and they’re free! Get in touch with us to kick off your home purchase.

Lenders generally want to see a debt-to-income ratio of 45% or less.