How much did you spend on your house?

posted 2 years ago in Finances
  • poll: Which one are you?

    We spent less than what the calculator says we could afford

    We spent about what the calculator says we could afford

    We spent more than the calculator says we can afford

    Other (explain)

  • Post # 2
    9355 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    View original reply
    dianaj17 :  mine was a little funny – I bought our house before we were even engaged but my now-husband was moving in right away as we had been renting an apartment together at the time. I bought it based on just my income knowing he would be paying rent so I felt comfortable going to the top of what the bank would give me. If I was planning on living alone or if we had counted his income I would have absolutely not gone to the max those calculators say you can afford. I could always pay for everything myself if necessary, but life would have been boring without much left over for fun stuff.  I also bought a house with extra bedrooms that I could easily rent (I live in an urban area with good public transit and amenities within walking distance) if things went sideways with the relationship lol. 

    All that to say – don’t push it. Those calculators say what you could spend, not what you want to. They assume you’re ok with being a little house poor. 

    Post # 3
    2972 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: January 2021

    It’s a tough balance to strike, but I’d try to stay well below your cap as much as possible but without compromising too much on the most important stuff. 

    Things worth thinking about are: 

    – How long do you intend to live in that house and what kind of life do you plan on building in it? If you’re going to have kids, you do need to consider things like schools, daycares, walkability, safety, etc. as well as the structural stuff like number of bedrooms and bathrooms, potential to add bedrooms, etc. 

    – Resale. Eventually you will sell that house. It may not be for several decades, but whenever that time comes even if it’s your kids selling it after you’re gone, you want it to be a good investment. Look for communities that suit your needs but are likely to develop and increase in value over the years. Look for things like future developments on the books, especially things like transit lines, schools, parks, etc. 

    – Does it feel like “you”? This one might seem a bit silly but you’re going to live in this house for a long time and build a life there. You want it to feel right. 

    My fiance and I lucked out hard when we started looking. We literally bought the first and only house we looked at lol but we were also super narrow in our search with the intention of gradually compromising on the negotiables if we weren’t able to find exactly what we wanted. 

    We did spend slightly more than we had intended, but we were well below what the bank was willing to give us and slightly below what most guidelines state for what is a responsible amount to spend on housing. But it checked every single box.

    It’s in a growing community with a future transit hub on the books right around the corner, a large yard, a double attached garage plus driveway, grocery store, pharmacy, restaurants, etc all within a few minutes walk. Brand new schools and parks (we aren’t having kids but we recognize the impact these things have to property values). 

    A big one too is an undeveloped basement. Our basement has the roughins for an eventual bathroom and logical space to put at least one bedroom, maybe even two or to turn the basement into a secondary suite. Developed basements bump property values nicely and we are handy folks so having that option to develop the basement eventually before resale is great! 

    Post # 4
    2972 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: January 2021

    When deciding what you can afford, I’d say it’s a lot more helpful do a deep dive into your existing expenses and spending habits as well as an analysis of any expected changes to those things, such as kids, pets, job changes, etc.

    Figure out what you actually spend and will expect to spend in the future on things like groceries, transportation, telecomms, clothing, vacations, leisure activities, gifts, investments otherand retirement savings, debt, etc and see what is left that would allow you to continue to afford these things without feeling stretched. 

    You want your house to suit your lifestyle, rather than forcing your lifestyle to suit your housing expenses. 

    Post # 5
    142 posts
    Blushing bee

    We were approved for around $350,000. Bought our house for $243,000.  I don’t understand some of those calculators because I feel like we’re already close to the max of what we can realistically afford.  Don’t let anyone else tell you how to spend your money, you know what you can and can’t handle.  We ran all the numbers ourselves multiple times over.  Add up your bills, figure out how much extra you have, decide how you want to divide it all.  But whatever comfortable mortgage amount you come up with, definitely expect to spend at least a little more than that to compensate for fluctuating taxes, utilities, and incidental expenses like updates and repairs, which I promise will eat up your first year in a new home.

    Post # 6
    7652 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2013

    We didn’t really look at the calculators because I heard they were inflated. We spent about 10% of our monthly guaranteed take home pay for our mortgage payments. This was with the thought that if one of us managed to lose our job we would still have a ton of wiggle room.

    We had the same thoughts on the school system but were wary about going too low with ratings because we want to make sure we won’t have issues reselling. 

    FWIw, I think the mortgage debt to income ratio is very high in the one you posted so I would look at other calculators.

    ETA: I agree with other posters about looking at your budget now. What are you currently paying for rent? Do you have enough for a down payment while avoiding a PTI? How much will it leave to create a maintenance/repair fund? Are you getting saving goals right now?

    Post # 7
    485 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2019

    We spent waaay less than we could “afford”. I wanted to spend as much as we could afford (according to the calculators) on one salary- my husband’s (which is less than mine). I figure this gives us a good cushion for savings and future childcare costs, and will make it feasible for one of us to be a stay at home parent if we want that.

    It worked out and we were able to get a house that met all our needs. It’s not the biggest house but it’s big enough for us (and up to three kids if we get creative), it’s in a beautiful and safe neighborhood, huge yard, cul-de-sac street, centrally located within 15 minutes of downtown and 20 minutes of both our jobs, and completely updated/ move in ready. It took us almost 6 months of hunting to find this house, but the effort was worth it! The biggest downside to our house is that it’s not in the best school area. But, we don’t even have kids yet and I can see us moving in 5-6 years anyway, so having the best schools wasn’t a requirement for us.

    Post # 8
    2068 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2018

    My husband purchased his sister’s house for about $460,000 a few years ago. We did a major renovation and the house is now worth about $540,000. I am a huge HGTV junkie as well and am obsessed with decorating and renovating. That said, we definitely do not want to be house poor. We could technically afford $700,000 or more, but I want to save money, have enough for international travel, going out, renovating, etc. Husband pays the mortgage entirely on his salary and we save a lot of mine. The house is a bit small, but I am much more comfortable with this than buying a huge, expensive house and then worrying about money or feeling guilty about other purchases.

    Post # 9
    5243 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: October 2017

    I bought my house when I was single, I was preapproved for $100k but knew that it would be out of my range, my house was $75k

    Post # 10
    10355 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: City, State

    We are buying in the same price range as you which is under what we supposedly can afford. I could probably afford a pricier house but property taxes suck and make the payments jump into a range that makes me want to throw up. In another three years when our cars are paid off and our kid is in school we could afford a damn mansion but i’m impatient. 

    We made an almost 50% profit off our current house and our new house is about five minutes up the road in a nicer part of the neighborhood. All the houses around it are selling for much higher than what we’re paying and it hit most of my requirements (of which there were many after 6 months of looking). 

    Of course we are a week out from closing and haven’t got a clear to close yet so it’s possible we may end up homeless living under a bridge and turning tricks for Jack N The Box tacos. 

    Post # 11
    1269 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: July 2019

    I moved into the house my husband bought before we met, but I’ve also bought a house in the past (both in the same neighborhood). We each spent way less than what we were approved for. My approval was more than twice what I ended up buying my old house for.

    According to the Zillow calculator, we could “afford” a house that costs more than double what my DH paid for our current house. Our monthly mortgage payment is about 10% of our monthly gross income. We do pay more each month than we’re required to, so that we can get it paid off sooner. We are able to live comfortably without ever feeling overextended.

    We live in an area with high property taxes, but the school district is great. Our neighborhood is safe and family-friendly, and convenient for both of our work commutes. It’s over 2000 square feet with 4 bedrooms on a .35 acre lot, so plenty of room for the two of us, my two stepkids, and two dogs.

    Post # 13
    10355 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: City, State

    Can I just move in with you? 

    View original reply
    mimivac :  

    Post # 14
    262 posts
    Helper bee

    According to that calculator, our house is 1/7 of what we can afford. I would hate to be house poor.

    This is our second house, and the one we’ll stay in until our children are grown and out the door. We live in a great school district, which was my number one priority when buying. Our house is the perfect size for our large family — it would be considered large compared to national averages, but we use every room and we have 4 kids. Many of our friends are buying huge houses now, twice the size of ours, and I just think about cleaning all those bathrooms and want to die a little inside. And bonus, because we paid off our mortgage all that money we were putting into the mortgage now goes into our kids’ college funds.


    Post # 15
    4058 posts
    Honey bee

    I think those calculators are a bit useless, and its more helpful to look at each individual house and what it would cost for mortgage, taxes, insurance, and maintenance. For example, we spent under what that calculator says, but we are stretched in our house as we have land, high taxes, high insurance, and high maintenance costs for a historic home on acreage. We could spend way more and have less monthly costs when the factors above change.

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