U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > New Jersey
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
Old 02-16-2010, 12:26 PM
15 posts, read 151,572 times
Reputation: 16


Just curious what folks out there who earn $100k year (and not much more) are able to afford in terms of housing, or have any suggestions. I've run the typical calculators online, but am hoping to get some "real" data for a reality check as I (hopefully) look for a SFH...

A few things about my situation:
- I earn almost exactly $100k/yr and am the sole source of income.
- I support a wife and two pre-school kids.
- I am NOT handy in the slightest bit.

Given the property taxes in NJ, the calculators are putting me between 375k to 450k for the price range (monthly payments ranging from 2300-2750). In Central and Northern NJ, that's not getting you very much house. Throw in thing like retirement savings, kids' college savings, etc., and I'm looking further in the upper 300s. Not thrilled with the options.

Thoughts anyone?

Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Old 02-16-2010, 12:35 PM
239 posts, read 526,304 times
Reputation: 217
I say 300k but I am cheap
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2010, 12:47 PM
101 posts, read 420,178 times
Reputation: 57
property taxes make a difference- for a 350k house, you could see anywhere from 5k a year (Whippany/Hanover) to 13k (Oranges) - Its worth considering before you lock into an area.

You may be looking at a good time to buy though- house prices seem to be at more reasonable levels, interest rates are about as low as they can get...

You didn't say how steady your income was or how much savings you have(to cover mortgage payments in case you are out of work) - I would take this into account.

I would say you are being pretty reasonable- I would have mentioned daycare costs- but you have a stay at home parent.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2010, 12:53 PM
Location: Edison, NJ
89 posts, read 400,710 times
Reputation: 35
"not thrilled with the options"

Welcome to my world! My wife and I make $120K gross but after $85K in law school debt, savings, etc. I'm in your same boat. I hate the idea of renting in my middle 30's but I'm not going to spend $375K for a 3BR, 1BA ranch or cape with window AC and pay $5-7K in property taxes per year!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2010, 12:54 PM
1,173 posts, read 4,116,377 times
Reputation: 1330
How much are you putting down? That's going to greatly impact the size of the payments you will be making. Also what other debt/obligations do you have student loans? Car payments? Credit card bills? Medical bills? Outstanding taxes? Preschool costs? Is your gas comsumption going to go up? etc.??

After that how much is left? There maybe enough for a mortgage payment on a large house but is there enough left to heat that house? Furnish it? The larger the house the larger the bills.

Instead of using those calculators you should take a look at your current situation, how much do you pay for housing now? How much more can you afford? Are you leaving some extra for repairs and maintenance?

Our household income is a lot higher than yours but we kept our budget much lower, a lot had to do with the fact that we were putting very little down (FHA) but we also want to be able to pay stuff off not just get stuck paying the minimum on all our other bills.

Good luck and keep looking there ARE deals to be had!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2010, 01:00 PM
1,977 posts, read 6,834,033 times
Reputation: 1158
IMO I wouldnt go above 350k in todays economy. Especially if you have a decent amount of outstanding debt already (1 or more car notes, cc balances, studen loans, etc). Since my wife lost her job last year it has been ROUGH. Max UE will pay is like 2100/month regardless of what you made and how many dependants you have. It has taught us a very hard lesson about not only planning for today but the possibilities of tomorrow as well.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2010, 01:10 PM
530 posts, read 2,588,242 times
Reputation: 556
Yes, as someone else asked how much are you putting down? Do you have any other debt? Car payments?

I make roughly the same, my take home is about $6,000/month. I would target a monthly payment, including taxes, of no more than $2,500/month. That assumes you don't have any major monthly expenses other than the standard grocery bills and also assumes a car payment of about $400/month.

Just my opinion. And then back into what you can afford using whatever monthly figure you are comfortable with. But I definitely wouldn't go over $2,500/month assuming you are taking home about $6,000/month.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2010, 01:11 PM
9,124 posts, read 32,776,875 times
Reputation: 3540
I'd check with the mortgage brokers you might be considering- the debt ratios today are much different than they were a few years ago, and I'd bet you'd only be approved for a mortgage of $250-300k. That probably makes you even less happy about your options, especially since you're not handy and will likely end up in an older home that needs work in that price range.

As others have said, you've got to consider your actual expenses as well- not just what some "online calculator" says. Taxes on a small house in just about any town in NJ are going to run you $5-6k/year, so that alone is $450-500/month on top of the mortgage, insurance, etc., for the house, and any other debt you have.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2010, 01:26 PM
1,340 posts, read 3,316,096 times
Reputation: 450
My situation puts my wife & I at roughly your income level (slightly above) with no debt and no children and we put 20% down and bought a $300k house. I also think I am on the HIGH end of what I was willing to spend. I probably would not have gone beyond $320k-$329k. My sweet spot house wise was about $250k but in South Jersey that is tough to do as well.

So in your situation with two kids I would MAX out at $250k mortgage wise and that is probably WAY beyond what I would be comfortable with in your shoes. Get the wife to work once the kids are in school then get her working and hopefully by then (after saving a bunch) you can swing a $300-$350k house and not be cash strapped.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2010, 01:38 PM
12 posts, read 129,329 times
Reputation: 11
Our income is just under $100k, and our mortgage broker suggested a maximum of $300k, assuming taxes of about $7,500.

We do have significant law school loans to repay, but have great credit and otherwise no debt obligations.

It sounds like child care costs may not be an issue for you, unless pre-school is very expensive, so that's helpful. In our case, we have a baby and both work full-time, so that additional $1500 or so is a factor for us. Because of that and the student loan payments, we're really more comfortable in the $250- 275k range.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.

Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > New Jersey
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top