How much house can I afford? (And why can’t my loan officer give me a number?)

Joe Meli
Published on September 9, 2016

How much house can I afford? (And why can’t my loan officer give me a number?)


I get this question all the time. I’m just going to paraphrase here:

My loan officer isn’t giving me a solid number of how much I can qualify for. He keeps asking me for a specific address but I’m early on in my search and I’m trying to get pre-approved first. What price range should I be looking?

This is a common question and this has to do with your home search when you’re looking to buy a home. A lot of first time homebuyers have a certain amount they can qualify for but they are told it depends on the property that are looking at.

The reason is because there are more factors than the price of the house when it comes to qualification.

When you get pre-approved for a loan you are being pre-approved for a monthly mortgage amount. That amount will be a percentage of your income minus your debts. However as far as price of the home, you were told you qualify for one price in a certain school district and another price in another.

The reason is because your monthly payment is based off of more factors than just the price of the house. The price of the home just reflects the principal mortgage payment you’ll make. You’ll also have monthly interest, taxes, and HOA fee.

In an area with lower taxes you will be able to afford a higher purchase price. Likewise, if the community has a monthly HOA payment, that will also reflect how much of the purchase price you qualify for.

We will work through these numbers with you, and try to determine a reasonable range you should be looking in based off of your goals and what you qualify for. Your agents familiarity with an area will be an asset when it comes to figuring this out.

When it comes to making an offer on a house you want to ask your agent for an estimate of closing costs. That will give you an estimated monthly payment for that property and will be a similar number that your mortgage broker will be using to determine if you qualify.

sean deminski headshot

Sean Deminski, Licensed Agent | Marketing Specialist


Sean is an expert marketer here at Select SMART Realty and specializes in taking a expert “Value Driven” approach to marketing listings and working with buyers. His specialties are photography, videography, design, and web marketing, assuring you have the ABSOLUTE best marketing and exposure for your listing guaranteed. Sean uses every available tool to make sure the story of your home is being told and positioned higher than any other house on the market. With his unique “Value Driven Approach” he doesn’t just give you a list of marketing items, but a complete marketing strategy and campaign that addresses every aspect of your home sale from listing to close.

He is also co-author of the book The Value Driven Approach to Sell Real Estate, “A practical guide to protect yourself from real estate greed and bank in extra $30,000 profit by thinking like the great Warren Buffett”. And through his “Free Book for Charity” campaign, seeks to inspire an extra $10,000 in donations this year to local charities and non-profits in the Chester County Area.