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When you’re gearing up to buy a house and you turn to lenders to sort out your finances, it’s easy to wonder: do they really get what I can afford? Sure, they’ll crunch numbers based on your income and expenses, but they don’t have the full picture of your spending habits. Only you know if your income can comfortably cover your lifestyle, including housing costs and all the extras like new furniture, appliances, and maintenance.

Now, let’s talk about the magic numbers lenders use. You might have heard of the 28/36 rule—it’s kind of like the golden ratio in the mortgage world. Basically, lenders typically cap your housing expenses at 28 percent of your gross monthly income, and your total debt load (including things like credit card payments and car loans) at 36 percent.

Up in Canada, they’ve got a similar setup. Buyers can usually borrow up to 32 percent of their gross monthly income, with a total debt load not exceeding 40 percent.

But here’s the kicker: with interest rates on the rise, lenders are starting to loosen the reins a bit. Some are willing to stretch that housing loan to as much as 50 percent of your gross monthly income. Sounds tempting, right? But before you jump on board, take a step back and really think about whether you can handle it in the long run.

It all comes down to knowing your spending habits inside and out. Are there areas where you can tighten the purse strings to make room for that mortgage? After all, it’s not just about keeping a roof over your head—it’s about having peace of mind and keeping your home in tip-top shape. So do some soul-searching, evaluate your finances, and make sure you’re setting yourself up for success. Your future self will thank you!