When you’re in the market to buy a home, one of the crucial factors lenders consider is your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. This ratio is a key determinant of your financial health and plays a significant role in the home buying process. In this blog, we’ll delve into what the DTI ratio is, why it’s important, how to calculate it, and tips for improving it.

Let’s get you pre-approved for a new home today (888)416-0920 or apply now.

What is Debt-to-Income Ratio?

The debt-to-income ratio is a financial measure that compares your monthly debt payments to your gross monthly income. In simpler terms, it’s a metric that lenders use to gauge your ability to manage monthly payments and repay debts.

Why is DTI Ratio Important in Home Buying?

  1. Loan Approval: A lower DTI ratio enhances your chances of loan approval. Lenders perceive a lower DTI as an indicator of a borrower’s ability to take on additional debt without financial strain.
  2. Interest Rates: Often, a lower DTI can qualify you for better interest rates. This can lead to significant savings over the life of your mortgage.
  3. Borrowing Limit: Your DTI ratio influences the amount a lender is willing to loan you. A high DTI ratio might limit how much you can borrow, affecting the type of home you can afford.

How to Calculate Your DTI Ratio

To calculate your DTI ratio, follow these steps:

  1. Calculate Total Monthly Debt: Add up all your monthly debt payments. This includes credit card payments, car loans, student loans, and any other debts.
  2. Gross Monthly Income: This is your total monthly income before taxes and deductions.
  3. Divide Debt by Income: Divide your total monthly debt by your gross monthly income.
  4. Convert to Percentage: Multiply the result by 100 to get a percentage. This is your DTI ratio.

For example, if your monthly debts total $1,500 and your gross monthly income is $5,000, your DTI ratio is 30% ($1,500 / $5,000 = 0.30 * 100 = 30%).

Ideal DTI Ratios for Home Buyers

Generally, lenders look for a DTI ratio of 36% or less, with no more than 28% of that debt going towards servicing a mortgage. However, some loan types are more lenient. For example, on FHA loans  we may allow DTI ratios up to 56.99%.

Tips for Improving Your DTI Ratio

  1. Pay Down Debt: Reducing your overall debt is the most effective way to lower your DTI ratio.
  2. Increase Income: If feasible, seek ways to increase your income through a higher-paying job, side gigs, or overtime.
  3. Avoid New Debt: Don’t take on new debts, like a car loan or large credit card balances, before applying for a mortgage.
  4. Refinance Existing Debts: Consider refinancing high-interest debts to lower your monthly payments.
  5. Budget Wisely: Adopt a budget that prioritizes debt repayment and prudent spending.


Your debt-to-income ratio is a crucial factor in the home-buying process. Understanding and managing your DTI ratio can significantly increase your chances of qualifying for a mortgage and owning the home of your dreams. Remember, the key is maintaining a healthy balance between your income and your debts. Happy house hunting!

Let’s get you pre-approved for a new home today (888)416-0920 or apply now.

About Brian Birk