How to use our home affordability calculator

Follow these four easy steps to figure out how much home you can afford:
  • Step 1: Enter your annual gross income

    Your gross income is the amount you earn each year before taxes or deductions. The mortgage affordability calculator will divide that number by 12 to come up with your gross monthly qualifying income.

  • Step 2: Add up your monthly debt

    Make sure you include your student loan, credit card and car loan payments, along with any other monthly expenses that show up on your credit report. Lenders divide your total monthly debt payments by your income to determine your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio — it’s one of the most important factors to help determine how much home you can afford.

  • Step 3: Pick a down payment

    Your down payment is upfront money you pay to buy a home. In general, the higher your down payment, the higher the home price you can qualify for. Most loan programs require at least a 3% to 3.5% down payment. However, some programs like those backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), offer no-down-payment programs to eligible borrowers. If you’re not sure, type in how much money you’ve saved or could save for a down payment. Don’t forget, you can also get a gift for your down payment.

  • Step 4: Choose your loan term

    Your loan term is how many years it takes to pay off your mortgage. LendingTree’s home affordability calculator reflects the house price you can afford based on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, as it offers the lowest stable payment. However, you can choose a 15-year fixed-rate term if you want to save money on interest and can afford a higher payment. The catch: You’ll qualify for a less-expensive home.

What the home affordability calculator
results mean

A home affordability calculator is a great starting point for determining the home price you might qualify for.

A home affordability calculator tells you:

  • How much you might be able to afford based on the income and debt information you provide
  • How much you can afford based on estimated property taxes, homeowners insurance and mortgage insurance (if applicable)
  • How much you can afford based on whether you can qualify for mortgage financing

A home affordability calculator doesn’t tell you:

  • Whether the lender will approve you for financing at the sales price shown
  • What your final mortgage interest rate or closing costs will be
  • How much your payment might vary based on your actual credit score

The bottom line: While the home affordability calculator gives you an idea of what you might qualify for, you’re better off getting a mortgage preapproval if you’re looking for a dollar amount based on your unique financial circumstances.


Our calculator is pre-set to a “conservative” 28% DTI ratio. You can slide the bar up to an “aggressive” 50% DTI ratio to see how much more home you can buy. However, be sure your budget can handle the extra debt — lenders don’t look at expenses like utilities, car insurance, phone bills, home maintenance or groceries when they qualify you for a home loan. Lenders may also require a higher credit score, or extra mortgage reserves to cover a few month’s worth of mortgage payments, if the high payment becomes unaffordable.

5 things that could change your home affordability calculator results

  • Your credit score

    Your credit score measures your current and past history of managing credit. A credit score above 740 usually helps you snag the lowest rate and monthly payment, which means you can potentially afford a more expensive home.

  • Your monthly income

    Lenders look for a stable monthly income, which means a salary or hourly wage will give you a home affordability number you can count on. If you’re self-employed or receive variable commission income, you’ll need to average out your income based on your tax returns for the past two years.

  • Your total monthly debt

    Lenders take a look at how much debt you have now, and how much you’ll have with your new mortgage payment. They take both of these sums and divide them by your gross monthly income to determine two types of DTI ratios:

      • Your front-end DTI ratio. This figure divides your new house payment by your income, and most lenders prefer that it doesn’t exceed 28%.
      • Your back-end DTI ratio. Lenders add all your debt to your new house payment and then divide it by your income, and most prefer a DTI ratio of about 43%.
  • Your loan term

    You’ll be able to afford a bigger home with a longer repayment term, such as 30 years. However, a shorter term can save you thousands in interest charges, if the higher payment doesn’t strain your monthly budget.

  • Your loan program

    Some loan programs let you stretch your DTI ratio out higher, even if you have a low credit score. However, they may have features and minimum requirements that could affect how much you can afford, which we’ll cover in the next section.

How much mortgage can I afford
based on my loan type?

How much house can I afford with a conventional loan? 

Conventional loans are popular for borrowers with credit scores of at least 620 and DTI ratios of 45% or less. Some conventional loan programs allow down payments as low as 3%, but you can avoid mortgage insurance if you make at least a 20% down payment. Conventional lenders often assess mortgage insurance to cover their losses if you default, and it’s usually part of your monthly payment.

How much house can I afford with an FHA loan?

First-time homebuyers with bumps in their credit history often choose loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to purchase a home. Borrowers with credit scores as low as 580 may qualify with a 3.5% down payment, while a score between 500 and 579 will require at least a 10% down payment. One big FHA loan drawback: You have to pay mortgage insurance regardless of your down payment, which may hamper your ability to buy a more expensive home.

How much house can I afford with a VA loan?

Many military borrowers choose VA loans to avoid making a down payment or paying mortgage insurance. While the VA doesn’t set a minimum credit score, most VA-approved lenders require at least a 620 score. VA-approved lenders also use residual income to determine how much you can afford, although the guidelines generally recommend a 41% DTI ratio. The residual income calculation determines how much free cash you have after deducting your monthly debts from your after-tax income, and may allow you to buy a more expensive home than with other loan programs.

How much house can I afford with a USDA loan?

Low- to moderate-income homebuyers searching for houses in USDA-designated “rural” areas may qualify for no-down-payment financing. The minimum score is typically 640, and buyers pay an annual and upfront guarantee fee instead of mortgage insurance. Strict income limits may cap how much home you can buy with a USDA loan, even if you meet the standard 41% DTI ratio requirement.