Buying a manufactured home can be both exciting and terrifying. Deciding on how much you can “afford” is often limited by how much someone will lend you. Home lenders look at factors like income, job stability, debt, credit score, down payment, and others before approving a loan. However, in addition to the lender’s criteria, consider the following issues when contemplating your ability to purchase a new manufactured home.
- Income—Are you relying on two incomes just to pay the bills? Is your job stable? Can you easily find another position that pays the same, or better, wages if you should lose your current job? If meeting your monthly budget depends on every dime you earn, even a small reduction can be a disaster.
- Expenses—The calculation of your debt-to-income ratio will include most of your current debt expenses, but what about other expenses you haven’t generated yet? Will you have kids who go to college someday? Do you have plans to buy a new car, truck, or boat? Does your family enjoy a yearly vacation?
- Lifestyle—Are you willing to change your lifestyle to get the house you want? If fewer trips to the mall and a little tightening of the budget don’t bother you, applying a higher debt-to-income ratio might work out fine. If you can’t make any adjustments—or you already have considerable credit card account balances—you might want to play it safe and take a more conservative approach in your house hunting.
- Personality—No two people have the same personality, regardless of their income. Some people can sleep soundly at night knowing that they owe $1,000 per month for the next 15 years, while others fret over a payment half that size. The prospect of refinancing the house in order to afford payments on a new car would drive some people crazy while not worrying others at all.