To figure out where you stand on the debt-to-income ratio, you must first understand the meaning of the figure. Most lenders use the ratio 28/36.
The first number, which is also referred to as the front-end ratio, is the percentage of your gross monthly income that you could comfortably afford to spend on your housing payments or mortgage. This figure includes the money you spend on property taxes and insurance as well as the loan payment itself.
The second number, which can also be referred to as the back-end ratio, is the percentage of your gross monthly income that should be spent on all long-term monthly debts combined.
Use the following guidelines to find out where you stand:
To get a more accurate mortgage estimate, tally up your monthly bills - which include car payments, credit cards, child support, alimony, etc. - and subtract this amount from the figure you just came up with. However much money is left over is the amount you should truly be spending on your housing payments per month.