There are many factors to take into account in determining how much you can afford, including the cost of the home, your savings for a down payment, property taxes, condition of the home, etc. A very basic rule of thumb is that you can afford a home 2 1/2 to 3 times your household income.
As a home owner, you will be responsible for your mortgage payments, insurance payments, taxes, heating, electricity and other costs of operating and maintaining your home on an ongoing basis. It is important to consider your budget and other ongoing items you may be responsible for such as car payments, student loans, etc.
Your monthly payments to the bank will consist of the following four components:
- Principal refers to the part of the monthly payment that reduces the remaining balance of the mortgage. Interest is the fee charged for borrowing money. The higher the rate the more it will cost to pay back the same amount of money.
- Taxes and insurance - As a homeowner you will be responsible for property taxes and hazard insurance. The bank will escrow for these expenses, which means that you will pay part of the amount each month as part of your mortgage payment.
Links contained here under Housing Counseling and Other Educational resources can help you determine how much you can afford, as can some preliminary calculations using the following website: