Few spending choices in life are as smart as buying a home. That fact has been on full display in the United States as the housing market has boomed, rapidly increasing the wealth of homeowners. Unfortunately for renters, it has been a wealth wave they missed. But it’s not too late, said David Bach, author of the best-selling “The Automatic Millionaire Homeowner: A Powerful Plan to Finish Rich in Real Estate.” “We’re seeing home ownership become accessible to more people,” he said in an interview. Homeownership, however, may not be for everybody.
How much house can I afford? In his book, Bach takes guidelines from the Federal Housing Administration, the agency that helps people buy homes by guaranteeing loans. The rule basically is that the principal, interest, taxes and insurance payments should not exceed 29 percent of your gross income. And your total debt, including the mortgage, car loans, credit cards and the like, should not exceed 41 percent. That means if you have no debt, you could technically afford a mortgage and associated monthly costs of up to 41 percent of gross income.
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