What is Debt-To-Income? How does it work?

What is a Debt-To-Income Ratio?

A debt to income ratio is a calculation that compares one’s monthly debts to their monthly gross income. It can be used as an indicator of one’s ability to manage their personal finances and repay debts. A high debt-to-income ratio suggests that the person could have difficulty paying all of their bills on time. This blog post will go into more detail about what this number means and how you can get it calculated for yourself. There are two types of DTI ratios.

Front-End DTI – Front-End DTI only includes housing-related expenses. This calculates how much of your gross income is spent on housing costs.

Back-End DTI – Back-End DTI includes all of your required monthly debts. In addition to your housing-related expenses. For example, this will include your credit cards, student loans, auto loans, etc.

Why is it important?

Your debt-to-income ratio is an important number because it tells you how much money can go toward your monthly mortgage payments. The lower the number, the better off you are financially. If your DTI is too high, then you will have a hard time qualifying for a loan or even getting approved by lenders. It’s also important for people who are looking to refinance since they need to be able to afford this payment as well if they want their interest rates and monthly costs to stay low.

This blog post was written with homeowners in mind but could be useful information for anyone trying to understand what this term means and why it’s so crucial when it comes down to making life-changing decisions about mortgages and refinancing. 

How do you calculate your debt to income ratio?

Many people are surprised to learn that there is a formula for calculating your debt-to-income ratio. The equation is as follows: (debt) / (income). From this, you can see that having large debts with smaller incomes will result in higher DTI ratios. However, it’s important to note that DTI ratios should only be used as an indicator of whether or not someone has the ability to make payments on their current debt obligations. 

What does this mean for you? If you’re trying to calculate how much house you can afford based on income and other financial factors, then the calculation should help inform your decision-making process. 

Debt-to-Income Ratio example.

How does this ratio work? Say your monthly gross income is $5,000 and you have a car loan with payments of $500 per month; that’s 10% of your income. If you also owe $1,000 on other credit cards, then 20% of your monthly earnings are going toward paying off the total debt. There are some programs that allow for a higher DTI ratio, but in general, most lenders want your debt-to-income ratio at or below 43%.  

The impact of a high debt-to-income ratio on the mortgage process.

If you’re looking to buy or refinance a home, it’s important to know how your debt-to-income ratio can affect the mortgage process. The higher your debt-to-income ratio is, the less likely you are to be approved for a loan. It’s best to keep this in mind before starting the application process and ensure that all of your debts are listed on your application form. This way, there won’t be any surprises later on down the line! 

What does this mean? A high DTI indicates that the borrower is more vulnerable to economic downturns because their monthly expenses would exceed their income if they lost their job or had another financial setback. What does this mean for me as an applicant? If I have too much debt and not enough income to support my debt, then the chances of me getting approved for the mortgage drop.

Strategies for improving your DTI. 

There are many reasons that you might want to improve your debt-to-income ratio, but there are some steps that can be taken right away. The first step is to pay off debts as quickly as possible. Even if the interest rate on your debt is low, it’s still money wasted when you could have put it towards something else. If someone has multiple loans with high-interest rates, they should prioritize paying those off first so all of their efforts goes towards one direction instead of being spread out over several places. You may get an additional job or increase income from current jobs, stop taking out new credit cards/loans, and only use what you need in order to maintain good standing with creditors.


A DTI is a ratio of what you owe (your debt) and your monthly income. If this number is too high, it can make qualifying for a mortgage difficult or impossible. It’s important to know how much you spend each month as well as the amount that goes towards paying debts like credit cards and car loans every month before applying for any loan products such as mortgages, student loans, etc. The impact of having an unhealthy DTI on these types of financial transactions will vary depending on the type of product being applied for but in general, it’s best not to have more than 36-43% total debt-to-income ratio when considering any type of loan application so keep this in mind if you’re thinking about applying for a mortgage. 

We understand that everyone has different needs when it comes to their finances so we offer many different loan options at competitive rates with flexible terms so our clients can find something that works best for them! 

Call 1 (888) 524-4513 now to speak with one of our Loan Officers who will be happy to answer all your questions about Handshake Home Loans Inc., including which home loan might work best for your situation!

Visit our website right now for more information about how much money you could save by purchasing or refinancing your home with Handshake Home Loans Inc. 


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