Home and Garden

How Much House Can I Afford?

how much house can i afford

 

In order to determine how much house you can afford most lenders use pretty much the same calculations. They take your income into account along with all of your current ongoing payments and how much down payment you will be making in order to come up with a figure.

There are some slight differences from lender to lender. Some will allow you to make a monthly house payment of up to 33 percent of your monthly income while others will allow as little as 25%. Typical is between 28 and 30 percent.

They also limit how much you may have in total ongoing monthly payments. That number includes your house payment, auto payments, credit card minimum payments, furniture payments, student loans and anything else that won’t be paid off within a few months. That number is typically no more than 36% of your monthly income so you can see that only a few debts can dramatically reduce what a lender will loan you.

In most cases you will also need some kind of a down payment. Lenders want you to have something to lose in your house if you stop making payments. It is possible to get 0% down payment loans which are typically guaranteed by the government if you are a veteran or a first time home buyer but these loans result in complications that don’t often occur with normal loans. For example, the seller may be required to pay a huge amount of money to the lender for loan insurance or they may have to make repairs to their home that wouldn’t be required with a normal loan. For loans not insured by the government (normal loans) a lender will require between 5% and 20% of the selling price as a down payment. Most loans made with less than 20% down will require you to buy mortgage insurance.

Of course, your credit rating is also a consideration for a lender. You may be able to afford a $500,000 house based on your income, expenses and down payment but if your credit is damaged a lender will either refuse to make any loan at all, be willing to lend you less than you qualify for or may require a larger down payment.

So if you are planning to purchase a house sometime in the future, take a look at your finances today. If you are paying more than 8% of your income for regular monthly payments (not counting rent or a current mortgage), perhaps you could eliminate some of those bills before you are ready to buy a house. If you have only a small or no down payment in your savings you could start saving today. If you have no credit or bad credit you could work on improving that situation now.

But now you most likely want to just see how much house you can afford, right? Use our calculator below to determine that and play around with the numbers to see how a larger down payment or lower monthly bills might change the amount of house you can afford!

mortgage calculator © Calculators4Mortgages.com

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Posted by admin - April 18, 2012 at 8:54 am

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Wood Floor Refinishing Tips?

Wood Floor Refinishing Tips

Do you have old wood floors in your home that are scratched or the finish is worn out? You can in many cases make those old floors magnificent again! This is often a repair that can be done by a handy non-professional. You may want to consider hiring a professional, however, if your wood needs more than basic refinishing. Are there areas that need major repair? Termite damage or bleach stains? It is possible to hire an expert to fix just those problems and then refinish your wood floor yourself.

The first of our wood floor refinishing tips is to make sure you have everything you need before you begin the job. Nothing kills the feeling of accomplishment on a home repair like having to stop six times to run to the home center for something. Here’s a basic list of what you’ll need:

1. A large, wide push broom (for the main floor)
2. A regular upright straw broom (for corners)
3. A shop vacuum
4. Several dust masks
5. Plastic sheeting to block doorways and keep sawdust out of other rooms/areas
6. Ten to fifteen rags
7. Paint thinner, small can
8. Workman’s gloves
9. A floor sander and edger if necessary (Orbital sander preferred, drum sanders are hard to control)
10. Sandpaper that fits the rental sander (Grits 36, 60, 80, and 100). Ask if they take back unused sandpaper!
11. Wood Stain
12. Brushes
13. Rollers with handle that’s long enough to prevent bending over
14. A finish of either floor wax (less refinishing/more upkeep) or polyurethane (most popular)

Ask an employee at the place where you are renting the sanders how much sandpaper, stain, and finish you’ll need. You will, of course, have to know how many square feet of wood floor you are refinishing and approximately how much wood you’ll be removing. If they can’t answer your question, you may want to consider doing business with someone else. You may need expert advice half way through the job!

Once you have all of the supplies that will be needed, the next step is to clear everything out of the room or area where you’ll be refinishing your wood floor. Remember that there will be sawdust in the air so you might even want to remove pictures, mirrors, and other items from the walls. It typically pays to cover the openings to adjacent rooms with plastic sheeting in order to confine the dust to the area where you’ll be working.

Now you’re ready for our actual wood floor refinishing tips! You will certainly want to get the floor ready for sanding by removing any carpeting, removing carpet tacks and strips, and making sure that anything sticking out of the floor (like nails or staples) are either pulled out or pounded down below the point where you intend to sand. Otherwise, you will rip up the expensive sandpaper!

Insert the coarsest grit of sandpaper onto your orbital sander. The lower the grit number is, the more coarse the sandpaper. So if you bought grits–—36, 60, 80, 100 as recommended above, you start with #36. Always move the sander in the same direction as the grain in the wood. Never sand against the grain when refinishing a wood floor. Pushing and pulling tends to work better than swinging the sander from side to side. Keep the sander moving. If you concentrate too long in one area, your floor may end out concave in areas. If you do accidentally put a gouge in your wood floor, use long strokes of the sander until it eventually evens out. And don’t forget to use those filter masks! Your lungs are worth more than a new floor!

Once any big nicks or gouges have been removed and your wood floor looks reasonably even, vacuum up all of the sawdust and change to the next size sandpaper (#60). This time will require much less sanding. You are simply making the floor a bit smoother rather than removing imperfections in the floor.

Then vacuum again and change to #80 sandpaper … vacuum and change to #100 sandpaper … and the sanding of the main floor is complete!

If the orbital sander you rented didn’t refinish the floor’s surface all of the way to the edge of the floor, you now have to follow the identical sanding procedure with your edge sander. Start with #36, vacuum, change to #6, vacuum, etc. The final vacuuming is very important as you want a perfectly clean surface before you apply a stain or a clear finish. You should also use a rag after vacuuming that is first soaked with water, wrung as dry as possible, and then soaked with paint thinner and wrung until wet but not dripping.

Before you begin actually applying a finish to your wood floor, there are two additional things to consider. Floor finishes create hazardous fumes so you need to open window and doors if necessary to get adequate ventilation. You also have to consider whether you want to stain your floor or you want to maintain a more natural look. In both cases you will still have to apply a finish coat.

If you decide to stain your wood floor, first try a small area in an unseen corner of a closet or in the most unseen location possible. Stain dries to its final hue in less than 15 minutes so you’ll be sure that you like the finished product. Once your happy with the stain finish, use a brush to apply a first coat if you want a darker finish or with a rag if you want a lighter finish. If you use a brush you should still go over it with a rag to just smooth everything out and avoid dark and light spots. Whether using a rag or brush, be sure to apply the stain in long strokes with the grain. Never apply stain or final finishes against the grain!

You may have to apply a second coat of stain to achieve the look you want for your wood floor. Sometimes you only need to touch up the lighter spots. Of course, you should let the first coat dry completely before applying the second coat.

Whether your wood floor refinishing included applying a stain or you just want a natural look, you still have to apply a finish coat of floor wax or clear polyurethane. Be sure to stir, not shake, the polyurethane as shaking it will create bubbles that will dry in place on your floor! Again, only apply your finish “with” the grain. If you feel that the floor needs a second coat, wait at least 3 hours before applying it and be gentle walking on the floor. Polyurethane dries very slowly so you will have to wait at least 10 hours and as long as 72 hours before allowing normal “traffic” on the floor or moving rugs and furniture back into the room or area after the final coat.

Refinishing your wood floor is a lot of work but if you have a decent foundation with no wood rot or other major problems, wood floor refinishing is a relatively cheap way to add a beautiful detail to your home that is easy to maintain!

Thank you for visiting our Wood Floor Refinishing Tips post!

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Posted by admin - January 7, 2012 at 10:43 am

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How to Remove Candle Wax from Carpet?

How to Remove Candle Wax from Carpet

We all love the aroma from our decorative candles. Unfortunately, the hot, melted wax from them can really make a mess on clothing and upholstered furniture. And if you accidentally knock a candle onto your carpeted floor … ughh! But there is a procedure that’s easy and will either totally remove the wax or, at least, greatly improve the situation. Simply follow these east steps:

  1. Use a butter knife to scrape off as much of the wax as possible. This is just a preliminary step so don’t overdo it to the point where you’re damaging the cloth or carpeting!
  2. Freeze the remaining wax with an ice cube. Then you should be able to scrape off some more with the butter knife.
  3. Pre-heat an iron to the low or delicate setting.
  4. Lay 2 or 3 paper towels (depending on their thickness) over the remaining wax.
  1. Apply the iron gently to the paper towels. The wax will melt and will “wick” up into the paper towels. When this happens, move to a fresh area. Don’t try to remove too much wax with the same area of the paper towels.
  2. All of the wax should now be removed but the fibres of the cloth or carpet may still be stained. Clean those stains as you would any other type. Use a spot cleaner and scrub the stain.

Some additional tips:

  1. If the carpet is shag or just relatively plush, you may have to brush the weave to various angles to “get to” all of the wax.
  2. While an iron works best, a hair dryer can also work. Just lay the paper towels on the wax and heat them with the hair blower on a medium heat setting.
  3. Some people swear that paper bags (like those from a grocery store) absorb the wax better than paper towels. Newspaper is also said to work better than paper towels. Just be sure to use all white or mostly white paper! We don’t want to add more stains from the ink in the newspaper!
  4. Be patient! It may take considerable time for the wax to melt and wick up into the paper. Don’t be tempted to raise the heat setting on the iron or you may end out with a burnt carpet or sofa!

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Posted by admin - January 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm

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How to Clean a Mattress

How to Clean a Mattress

Ok … so you bought an expensive mattress and your child or pet used it as a bathroom. Or maybe your husband spilled some gravy on it (bet he heard about that one). You can buy a new one or, perhaps, clean it to your satisfaction.

First, let’s try doing it ourselves! Get some dishwashing soap. You know … the kind you use to hand wash dishes. Mix a couple of teaspoons into 16 ounces or so of luke warm water. Apply the mixture sparingly on the stain. I find that I prefer to use an old spray bottle to do this. An old glass cleaner bottle will do nicely! Don’t soak the mattress, just get the stain good and damp. Scrub the stain well with a sponge or a bristle brush but be careful to not harm the fabric. Then absorb as much of the moisture with paper towels as possible. If you’re not happy with the results, try repeating the process a time or two.

If that didn’t work, you can try removing the stain with a steam-cleaning machine. You can rent a steam cleaner at grocery stores, home centers, moving truck rental locations, some drug stores, and other general rental centers. Just make sure that the cleaner has a hand attachment. This might also be a good time to remove those nasty carpet stains and stains on your furniture! Don’t be afraid to use a generic steam cleaning shampoo with your rental! Many manufacturers talk like only their cleaner is safe to use in their machine. Of course, their brand costs five times what the generic does! Just make sure that you get a “non-foaming” detergent made for steam cleaners.

And then there’s the final alternative … the professional mattress cleaning service! Let me tell you … professional equals big bucks (usually). If you have a $3,000 mattress, this is probably a good value way to go. If the mattress cost $500 or less, you may end out spending a reasonable percentage of that to get the old one cleaned! Beware of offers like, “We professionally clean your mattress for $19.95”. That’s almost certainly a “come on” offer to get in your door. Then they’ll tell you that your particular mattress needs all of these “extras” and the price will be $249.99. Oh yeah … they can’t guarantee results at that price either.

So we’ve got the mattress cleaned. How about we keep it that way. If you expect that the bed wetter or late night eater is probably going to goof up again eventually, why not invest in a mattress pad. Then the stains happen to an item that can be popped into the washing machine! You gotta love that! I mean, who needs all this frustration anyway?

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Posted by admin - January 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm

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