Can I Rely on What the Lender Says

Yes.

And no.

Yes, in the sense that today lenders use highly sophisticated computer models based on hundreds of thousands of actual case histories to determine what makes a successful borrower. Where you fit in that financial profile determines the maximum amount that you can borrow. And if you fit the profile of a successful borrower, chances are excellent that you will be one. On the other hand, if you fit the profile of someone who's likely to lose the property to foreclosure, then you might reconsider renting.

However, the one thing the computer and the modeling and the profiling can't tell you is how big a monthly payment (and how big a mortgage and price) will be within your comfort level. For example, the computer may spit out that you can afford a $3000 monthly payment. But, you know from experience that making a house payment of more than $1500 would keep you from sleeping at night. Who's right? You or the computer?

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