UMH Blog

How Much Home Can You Afford?

Applying for a new home loan can seem confusing. The more you know the more confident you’ll feel about the process. Here are a few basic questions most first-time homebuyers should ask.


For starters, mortgage lenders weigh factors such as income, assets and down payment as well as your other outstanding debts and obligations, including car loans, student loans, credit card debt and child support.

Traditionally, mortgage lenders have used something known as the 28/43 rule to determine how much mortgage you can qualify for. This refers to two income ratios that provide guidelines for your maximum monthly payment:

  1. Your mortgage payment should be less than 28% of your pre-tax income.
  2. Your entire debt load including mortgage, credit cards, and other monthly payments shouldn’t top 43% of pre-tax income.


Lenders will generally review your FICO Score to better understand their risk and the interest rate they plan to offer. In other words, raising your credit score has real-world effects on your lifestyle beyond just being approved or declined. A lower rate means lower monthly payments.

Lenders look for a minimum FICO credit score of around 580-600 to qualify. “But that’s not to say someone with a lower score won’t qualify,” says Kyle Plunkett, UMH Loan Originator. “There’s no hard-and-fast rule on credit scores and qualifying for a mortgage.”

Federal law allows you to get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months. To get yours:


If you’re saving and planning for your first home, US Bank suggests:

  1. Saving for a larger down payment to lower your monthly payments.
  2. Reducing your monthly debt and paying your bills on time for at least a year to boost your credit score.

Manufactured homes situated in land-lease communities offer a way to get more house for your money. Homes from companies like, are easier to maintain and provide better value, since they are built indoors using efficient construction techniques. Additionally, these home are not subject to property taxes and loan closing costs.