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What is a Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI)?

What is DTI?

A debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is the percentage of your monthly income that is used towards your monthly debt.

It is one of the key factors that lenders use to decide whether or not you qualify for a loan. Apart from your Credit Score and your Income, DTI can make or break your loan. Lenders use DTI to determine how well you can manage your bills. This way, they can estimate your ability to manage and pay back the money you plan to borrow through your mortgage.  

The lower your DTI ratio, the better your probability of qualifying for a mortgage. In other words, the lower the percentage of your income that is needed to pay off your debt, the better chance you have of qualifying for a loan. 

Types of DTI

To calculate DTI, add up your total monthly debt and divide it by your gross monthly income.

What is a Good DTI?

The maximum DTI ratio that is allowed varies from lender to lender. However, in general, 43% is the highest DTI a borrower can have to qualify for a conventional loan. On the other hand, for government-backed loans, some lenders may accept up to 50% DTI. 

A DTI that is 36% or lower with no more than 28% going towards housing expenses is what most lenders consider an ideal DTI to have.

  • Reminder: The lower your DTI, the better your chances of qualifying for a mortgage.

How to Lower Your DTI? 

If your DTI is too high, it is recommended that you wait to take out any loan as it’s likely you may not qualify. Additionally, it may be more difficult for you to keep up with the monthly mortgage payments if a majority of your income is already going towards paying off other debt.

Below are 5-steps you can take that may help lower your DTI:

  1. Reassess your budget to pay off your debt earlier
  2. Begin paying off your credit cards in full each month (Do not close your credit cards once they are paid off as this can hurt your credit score)
  3. Refinance or consolidate your current loans to reduce monthly payments
  4. Always keep track of your credit report and make sure all debt is accurate and up to date
  5. Let us know if you plan on living with a roommate, parent, or partner as we might be able to include some of that income when calculating your DTI