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Learning Center Experience
By Dr. Ana Machuca, Full-Time Faculty Published March 2014
How much home can I afford?
How much house you can afford is usually determined by
your debt-to-income ratio. There are four components that make up the mortgage
payment: principal, interest, taxes, and insurance (PITI). A general rule is that these items
should not exceed 28 to 30 percent of the borrower’s gross income. Some lenders
may go as far as 40 percent with a high enough down payment and good credit.
Some of the items considered as debt by the lenders are the mortgage, car
payment, credit card debts, child support, and alimony. For example, if you
earn $60,000 a year, that is $5,000 a month multiplied by .30 (30 percent
debt-to-income ratio) = $1,500. Therefore, after the mortgage, car payment,
credit card debts, child support, and alimony your total debt in this income
category should not exceed $1,500. If you already pay $300 for a car payment
and $300 in credit cards, then you can afford a monthly payment of $900. If
there are two incomes, you would combine them and do the math again. The best
people to help you make this decision are your realtor and your mortgage
What are closing costs?
Closing costs are costs associated with processing the
loan that are paid on the date you close on the home. These costs can include taxes
owed by the owner, processing fees, lender fees, insurance payments owed by the
owner, title searches, attorney fees, title company fees, appraisals, and
surveys. The buyer does not pay the realtor commissions. These closing costs
are usually 3 to 5 percent of the cost of the house. Many times if you buy a
new house from a builder, the builder will pay most of these costs. Sometimes
you can also negotiate the payment in full or a contribution from the seller in
What is included in my monthly payment?
Your monthly payment will consist of principal, interest,
taxes, and insurance (PITI). Mortgage insurance is added if applicable. Your
lender will collect your home insurance for your designated insurance company
and your property taxes each month and put the money in an escrow account where
it will be held until payment is due. Once payments are due, your lender will
make the payments on your behalf to ensure their investment is not in default
of payment. Both the taxes and insurance amounts are estimated until the bills
are processed and paid by the lender. Usually at the end of the year your
lender will do a reconciliation of your escrow account and issue you a refund
or send you a bill for any differences found.
Dr. Ana Machuca is a full-time faculty member at Kaplan University. The views
expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent
the view of Kaplan University.
By Cynthia Waddell, PhD, CPA, CFE
By Jerry Taylor
By Geoffrey Vanderpal
By Dr. Denise Schoenherr
By Stanley W. Self, CFE
By Rachel Byers, Full-Time Faculty, School of Business
Accounting firms are taking advantage of some emerging trends.
Change is the name of the game in wealth management!
Most people do not realize there are a variety of jobs in this field.
According to the BLS, employment of insurance sales agents is projected to grow.
Access definitions and FAQs related to accounting.
Access definitions and FAQs related to investments and wealth management.
Access definitions and FAQs related to real estate.
Access definitions and FAQs related to risk and insurance.
Kaplan Real Estate Education's Toby Schifsky looks at the factors to consider when pursuing a real estate career.
Toby Schifsky talks about the importance of goals and action steps for achieving them.
Access preparation and practice advise from Kaplan Financial Education experts Mary Orn and Julie Ramsey.
Maylee talks about her experiences with Kaplan Financial Education and preparing for her exams.
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