Well, I'm no expert, but I'm in the process of getting a VA home loan and have researched it extensively. they look at two things to see how much you can afford.
1. Your debt to income ratio. They don't want it over 41%, but it can be if you meet criteria number 2. They look at how much you make before taxes, which in your case is (51,000/12) $4250. Now multiply that by 0.41 and that equals $1742. Now that 1742 is for everything (250 for school loans, whatever you pay for insurance, your mortgage, your homeowner insurance, and your property taxes. Subtracting the $250 for student loans and we'll say $50/month for car insurance will leave you with 1440 a month for mortgage, homeowner insurance, and property taxes. 200k sounds about right, but I don't know what your property taxes are. Obviously, this assumes you've paid off your credit cards.
2. You can exceed 41% if your residual income is 120% of the guideline. The guideline for your area (NJ) is $450 for single, $750 for family of 2, $909 for family of 3, and $1025 for family of 4. This is how much you have AFTER taxes and after you pay all your bills (same as above - don't forget child support or child care)... using this formula, you might be eligible for more. I don't know how big your family is, if you're planning on putting any kind of down payment, your property taxes, etc.
you might want to work with someone who is more familiar with VA loans (and pay off those credit cards first - I'm sure they're being included in your debt to income ratio)... more
GREAT QUESTION: Best review with mortgage broker and CPA determine short / long term goals. If you pay off debt NEVER CLOSE AN ACCOUNT it takes approx. 60 days update credit bureau files. HOWEVER it is undetermined the amount of increase overall credit score. If it increases where makes a difference in long monthly payment could be worth pay it off. Both of these pro's need be involved for best interest.... more
There is no standard down payment. It all depends on your situation and ability. You can buy a house with 10% down, as long as you are approved for a mortgage for the balance. You may have to pay PMI (private mortgage insurance), but speak to your lender. Many have programs for this type of down payment.. I know Coldwell Banker has a lot of programs to work with a buyer that has this type of down payment. I have worked with many buyers that havea smaller down payment and it can definitely be done.
Please contact me if you would like more information.