How To Calculate Debt To Income Ratio

How To Calculate Debt To Income Ratio For Mortgage Refinance

Mortgage refinancing can be a smart financial move that allows homeowners to take advantage of lower interest rates or access equity in their homes. However, before applying for a mortgage refinance, it is essential to understand your financial health and assess your ability to take on additional debt. One crucial aspect that lenders evaluate is your Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI). In this article, we will explain what DTI is, why it is important for mortgage refinancing, and guide you through the process of calculating your DTI ratio.

What is Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI)?

Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI) is a financial metric that compares your monthly debt payments to your gross monthly income. It is expressed as a percentage and provides lenders with insights into your ability to manage your current debt obligations while taking on additional monthly mortgage payments. A lower DTI ratio indicates a more favorable financial position, as it suggests that you have a higher capacity to repay your debts.

Why is DTI important for mortgage refinancing?

Lenders use the DTI ratio to assess the risk associated with approving a mortgage refinance application. It helps them determine whether you have sufficient income to cover your existing debts along with the new mortgage payment. By evaluating your DTI ratio, lenders can make an informed decision about your ability to handle the financial responsibilities of a mortgage refinance.

Calculating Debt-to-Income Ratio

To calculate your DTI ratio accurately, you need to gather some financial information. Start by making a list of all your monthly debt payments, including credit card bills, student loans, car loans, and any other outstanding debts. You should also determine your gross monthly income, which includes all income sources before taxes and deductions.

Once you have gathered this information, follow these steps to calculate your DTI ratio:

  1. Step 1: Calculating monthly debt payments: Add up all your monthly debt payments. Include both revolving debts with minimum monthly payments and fixed installment debts.
  2. Step 2: Determining gross monthly income: Calculate your gross monthly income, considering all sources of income. This may include your salary, bonuses, commissions, rental income, or any other regular sources of money.
  3. Step 3: Calculating DTI ratio: Divide your total monthly debt payments by your gross monthly income and multiply the result by 100 to get your DTI ratio as a percentage.
See also  The Key Factors Taking Out a Loan

For example, if your monthly debt payments amount to $2,000 and your gross monthly income is $6,000, your DTI ratio would be (2000/6000) * 100 = 33.33%.

Understanding acceptable DTI ratios for mortgage refinancing

Different loan programs have varying acceptable DTI ratios for mortgage refinancing. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Conventional loans: Most conventional lenders prefer a DTI ratio of 36% or lower, with the front-end DTI (housing expenses) not exceeding 28% and the back-end DTI (including all debts) staying below 36%.
  • FHA loans: The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) allows for higher DTI ratios, typically up to 43%. However, borrowers with higher DTI ratios may need compensating factors such as a higher credit score or a larger down payment.
  • VA loans: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also considers higher DTI ratios, with no strict limits. However, borrowers with higher DTI ratios may need to demonstrate additional residual income to qualify.

Understanding the acceptable DTI ratios for the loan program you’re interested in is crucial when considering mortgage refinancing.

Improving your DTI ratio for mortgage refinancing

If your DTI ratio is higher than the acceptable thresholds for mortgage refinancing, there are several strategies you can employ to improve it:

  • Paying off debts: By paying down existing debts, you can reduce your monthly debt payments, which will lower your DTI ratio.
  • Increasing income: Finding ways to increase your income can positively impact your DTI ratio. Consider taking on a side gig, negotiating a salary increase, or exploring other avenues to boost your earnings.
  • Co-borrower or cosigner: Bringing in a co-borrower or cosigner with a lower DTI ratio and a stable income can help improve your overall financial picture and increase your chances of qualifying for mortgage refinancing.
See also  Demystifying Student Loan Interest

Factors to consider before refinancing

Before moving forward with a mortgage refinance, it’s important to consider various factors:

  • Interest rates: Evaluate the current interest rates to ensure that refinancing will lead to significant savings over the long term.
  • Closing costs: Understand the closing costs associated with refinancing and calculate how long it would take to recoup those costs through lower monthly payments.
  • Loan terms: Assess the impact of changing loan terms, such as moving from a 30-year to a 15-year mortgage, and determine if it aligns with your financial goals.
  • Credit score: A higher credit score can result in better refinancing terms. Take steps to improve your credit score before applying for a refinance.

Considering these factors will help you make an informed decision about whether mortgage refinancing is the right choice for you.


Calculating your Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI) is an essential step when considering mortgage refinancing. By understanding your financial position and assessing your ability to take on additional debt, you can determine whether refinancing is a viable option for you. Remember to calculate your DTI ratio accurately and compare it with acceptable thresholds for different loan programs. Additionally, consider improving your DTI ratio through debt reduction or income increase. By carefully evaluating your financial situation and the various factors involved, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your long-term goals.


1. Can I calculate my DTI ratio on my own, or should I consult a professional?

Calculating your DTI ratio is relatively straightforward and can be done independently. However, if you feel unsure or have complex financial situations, it’s advisable to consult a financial professional who can guide you through the process and provide personalized advice.

See also  Student Loan Repayment Strategies

2. What is a good DTI ratio for mortgage refinancing?

A good DTI ratio for mortgage refinancing depends on the loan program you’re considering. Generally, lower DTI ratios are preferred, with most lenders favoring ratios below 36%. However, FHA loans may allow for higher ratios, while VA loans have more flexible guidelines.

3. Can I refinance my mortgage if my DTI ratio is high?

Having a high DTI ratio may make it more challenging to qualify for mortgage refinancing. However, it’s not impossible. Exploring strategies to improve your DTI ratio, such as paying off debts or increasing income, can increase your chances of refinancing successfully.

4. Will refinancing my mortgage affect my credit score?

Refinancing your mortgage can impact your credit score, but the effect is typically minimal and temporary. The credit inquiry and the new loan may cause a slight dip in your score, but as you make timely payments on the refinanced loan, your score can recover and potentially improve over time.

5. How often can I refinance my mortgage?

There are no specific limitations on how often you can refinance your mortgage. However, it’s essential to consider the costs associated with refinancing and the potential savings you can achieve. Refinancing too frequently may not be financially beneficial in the long run unless there are significant advantages in terms of interest rate reduction or accessing equity in your home.

Check Also

Three Business Loans Digital Age

ContentsThe Evolution of Three Business Loans in the Digital AgeTraditional Business LoansOverview of Traditional Business …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *