How Much House Can You Afford? Calculating Your Monthly Income

When a loan officer pre qualifies you, he works backwards to figure your maximum
mortgage amount. You can do the same thing. The first step is to determine your
monthly income. It isn't quite as easy as it sounds. Lenders only count income they can
document through paperwork.
If you are a salaried employee, and don't earn bonuses, it's easy. Get out your
paycheck. If you get paid twice a month, multiply by two. If you are paid every two
weeks, then you multiply by 26 (the number of pay periods in a year) and divide by
twelve. Unless you're a teacher. Teachers don't always work year round and they have
special rules.
If you are an hourly employee who works a straight forty hours a week and don't earn
overtime income, then it's easy, too. Look at your paycheck, multiply your hourly rate
by 40, multiply that total by 52, then divide by twelve.
If you earn overtime, bonuses, or commissions -- it isn't as easy. Lenders don't give
you credit for what you are currently earning. They average your income from those
sources over the last two years, then add that to your regular salary or hourly monthly
income. If you want a shortcut that is usually close, get out your W2 forms for the last
two years. Add them together and divide by twenty-four. That is your monthly income.
If you are a teacher, a nurse, a seasonal employee, in construction, or earn only
part-time income -- you can use that shortcut, too. Add the figures from your last two
years W2's, then divide by 24. It generally gets you close.
If you are self-employed or receive 1099 income, then you need a two-year track
record. Lenders go by what you declare to the IRS as income, since that is
documenaeble. Since some self-employed people overstate their expenses, this may
understate your income. Look at the Schedule C of your tax returns for the last two
years and the number at the bottom that says "profit" is your annual income. You can
add any depreciation to that figure. Add them together and divide by twenty-four.
There are variations and exceptions (like those who own their own corporations) but
the above should cover most people.

This has some very important points for those that are self employed. I have worked
with many self employed people that were surprised at the requirements lenders
imposed on them.

If you are on salary -- Currently lenders are getting skittish and requesting pay stubs to
process your loan and additional pay stubs to close your loan so please keep good

Also is good to know lenders use only the 43% of you Income to qualifies you.
What this means? The 43% of your income must be enough to cover the Mortgage
payments, Real Estate Taxes, HOA, Hazard Insurance and the other debts in your
Credit Report as Auto Loans, Credit Cards etc.
Content Copyright 2009. Urban Marketing Solutions Inc.. All rights reserved.
By Zuhanny Sanchez
Loan Specialist