There’s nothing like buying your first home, and when you start earning a paycheck, it’s easy to start dreaming. “If I make $30k a year, can I buy a house?” “What sort of a house can I buy on my first paycheck?” The questions go on – but what could you get for $30k, on average, in the US?
Buying a house is possible if you earn $30,000 a year, but you’ll typically need to enter into a mortgage and make a reasonable down payment or deposit. However, there are a few more circumstances and scenarios to consider – let’s take a closer look!
How much house can I afford if I make $30,000 a year?
This is another way asking what mortgage can I afford on 30k? Without other debts, you could qualify for a home value as high $105,000. However with other debts, that could drop to as low as $50,000 or worse.
Let’s take a deeper look below. The maximum mortgage that you qualify for depends on a few factors:
- Your income levels
- How much debt you pay elsewhere each month
- The interest rate set by the mortgage lender
- Your credit risk
Mortgage without other debts
If we assume that you can qualify for an FHA mortgage with just 3.5% down payment, and that you have no other debt or car payments, the highest value of house you can buy is in likely in the $84,000 to $105,000 range. This corresponds to a maximum monthly mortgage of anywhere from $500 to $700 per month, plus $200 of housing expenses like insurance, utilities, etc.
Some lenders might be willing to qualify you for a home costing up to $120k, but they will charge you significantly higher interest rates.
You can try out different values in our housing affordability calculator. The chart below shows a sample of your monthly payments assuming your front DTI is set at 36% and back DTI is set at 41%. See more on DTIs below.
Mortgage with other debts
If you have mandatory loan payments, then your maximum mortgage capacity goes down significantly. Using the same values as discussed above, but now with $100 of credit card payment, $250 of a car loan, and $150 of student loan, the maximum value of a home you can afford drops to anywhere between $50,000 to $55,000.
If your monthly payments on other debts and mandatory expenses are even higher, your limits drop even more. At that point you’re better off reducing your debt and saving money to buy a home in the future.
Take a look at how your monthly payment chart (shown below) now changes dramatically. Notice how much of your monthly payments are going to debt. This constrains your ability to allocate that money to your home loan.
How to buy a house with 30k salary
As we saw above, debts can dramatically worsen your ability to get a mortgage. Aside from increasing your salary, your best bet to to afford your own home with $30k of annual income is to get someone, like a family member, to help you payoff your high-interest debts like credit card debt, collections, and car loans.
Once these are tackled, it then helps to put together a nice big down payment on the house. If you’re able to pull together anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000 for a down payment, your options do increase significantly.
If you or your spouse is a veteran or an active military service member, you can actually do 0% down with a VA loan. This might make the calculation a little bit easier for you.
Alternatively, if you can have a co-signer or a guarantor on your mortgage, that would make things dramatically easier. Your co-signer, who could be a spouse or partner, would then be able to include their income for the mortgage qualification. This boosts the value of the house you can buy. Of course your co-signer would be on the hook for the mortgage as well, so that comes with its own challenges.
Finally, if you do find yourself to be too stretched, it might perhaps be easier to save some more money and consider renting until you have the cash saved up. Alternatively if you have the option, a great idea would be live with parents or siblings and save even your rent payments! It might take some getting used to from all parties involved, but it’s probably the fastest way to save up for a down payment.
How much will a monthly mortgage cost on a salary of $30k?
It varies depending on a few factors:
- The value of the property you’re buying or are qualified to buy.
- How much debt you pay elsewhere each month
- The interest rate set by the mortgage lender
- Your credit risk
As we saw in the two examples above, what price of a home you qualify for can vary dramatically based on your personal situation. At the highest end of the range, your mortgage could be as high as $700 per month.
Let’s look at a specific example here though. For a home that costs around $105,000, with a 10% down payment, a 6.5% interest rate and a 30 year amortization period, your monthly mortgage cost will be roughly $598. Please use our mortgage calculator to play around with figures that are best suited for your needs.
It’s also important to remember that property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, mortgage insurance, and maintenance expenses will come on top of this mortgage payment.
With a down payment, can I buy a house making $30k a year?
A mortgage provider may let you buy a house on a $30k wage, providing your down payment is sufficient. For example, if you already have $28k in savings or gift and it’s a $140,000 property, you have enough to pay a 20% deposit. You could qualify for this property providing you have no other debt payments!
The higher the down payment and the lower your other debts, the more likely you’ll get favorable mortgage rates. You are simply paying a large chunk of the overall cost upfront, giving your lender greater confidence. Of course, remember that mortgage lenders will want to make money on interest, too!
Your eligibility will vary depending on a few factors. For example, your mortgage provider will require a healthy credit history before you can set up a loan. This means you’ll need to prove you’ve paid essential bills on time and that you have debt under control.
It’s unlikely you’ll achieve a mortgage with a $30k salary if you have been through collections, or have bankruptcies and court judgements showing on file. You’ll need to try and improve your credit score before you can expect a loan as large as a mortgage to be easy to access.
What else might a mortgage lender check?
Lenders look at a variety of criteria to gauge your credit worthiness, offer you a competitive rate on your loan, and ensure that you are not overstretched. Let’s take a very brief look at some key terms.
Your debt-to-income ratios
The DTI, or debt-to-income ratio, tells you how much your paycheck pays off monthly debt. To calculate your DTI, simply take your gross income and divide it by how much you pay off to creditors each month. The strictest mortgage lenders will generally look for a back DTI below 36% and front DTI below 28%.
The front DTI is used to calculate what proportion of your income is used for your home. This includes things like mortgage payment, utilities, property taxes, HOA fees, and potentially even home insurance. Each lender may have their own criteria and some may include all of these expenses while others may exclude some. It’s best to discuss with your prospective lenders to understand what they include.
The back DTI takes into account all your home payments PLUS other debt payments, which includes your monthly credit cards, student loans, car payments, collections, etc. As all these other items are also mandatory payments and represent cash outflow from your income, its important for a lender to ensure that you have enough left over to cover your other needs and wants in life – like food, clothing, education, etc.
This tells them you still have the income to put towards mortgage repayments and live on effectively. You can find a lender willing to stretch beyond 36%, but they will charge you more in interest to do so, as their perceived risk is also highert!
Mortgage lenders want to know your monthly salary to see if you can afford their repayments. As with DTI, this is so there’s zero risk of you defaulting and leaving them without the cash they demand.
Naturally, the higher your salary, the more likely you can buy a house on a paycheck of $30k per year. But keep in mind that lenders will also have a formula for this!
Some lenders might look at your residual income, sometimes also referred to as discretionary income. This is the amount that you have left over after paying your income taxes, mortgage payments, property taxes and utilities, and other mandatory debt payments (credit card, car loan, etc.). Some lenders may have a minimum requirement to ensure that you are not overly stretching your monthly income.
Is $30k saved enough to buy a house?
Yes – you’re in a great situation! If you budget $4k in closing costs, you have $26k left over for a down payment. That would let you qualify for a home worth up to $520,000. Of course there are other factors that the lender will check – like how much you have in other debt, monthly car payments, etc – before giving you the final answer. But you’re in a solid position if you have $30,000 saved up for a home! Try out out housing affordability calculator to play with some values.
How much house can I afford on $35,000 a year?
The answer really depends on how much you have in total monthly debt payments, car payments, living expenses, and other cash savings. If you are debt-free, and have saved up $7.5k for a down payment, the highest value house you can buy is around $125k. Some lenders might be willing to go as high as $145k, but you would be really stretching yourself and have a very high mortgage rate! Try out out housing affordability calculator to play with some values.
How much house can I afford if I make $32,000 a year?
The answer really depends on how much you have in total monthly debt payments, car payments, living expenses, and other cash savings. If you are debt-free, and have saved up $7.5k for a down payment, the highest value house you can buy is around $110k. Some lenders might be willing to go as high as $130k, but you would be really stretching yourself and have a very high mortgage rate! Try out out housing affordability calculator to play with some values.
Is $30,000 enough for a down payment?
Yes – you’re in a great situation! If you budget $4k in closing costs, you have $26k left over for a down payment. That would let you qualify for a home worth up to $520,000. Of course there are other factors that the lender will check – like how much you have in other debt, monthly car payments, etc – before giving you the final answer. But you’re in a solid position if you have $30,000 saved up for a home!
Is $30,000 a year a good salary?
$30,000 may be a good salary depending on where you live and your expected outgoings. However, the lowest state average salary is held by Mississippi, which is around $40-$40,000 per year. Make sure to check local house prices!
If you want to know more about yearly salaries, check out my guide on whether or not $100k is a good salary.
3000 a month is how much a year?
$3,000 a month in salary or income is equal to $36,000 a year.