We never Max Qualify a borrower to see how much they can afford. This is a sure way to spell disaster(note home foreclosures due to Interest only ARMs from 2003 - 2007) Max qualifying would equal close to 50% of your gross income. What most people forget is that Uncle Sam takes 25-30% off the top. This would leave a borrower with only 20-25% to pay all utilities, food, car, gas, insurance, etc...... This is usually unrealistic unless someone is making a very large remaining salary.
My 1st question to my clients is "How much do you want to keep your monthly payments at?" using that figure, I'll back out an expected $ amount for taxes and Insurance. Then also figure out how much down payment you are planning to use. With that I can estimate a purchase amount you should be looking for.
I hope that this has been helpful.
Senior Mortgage Consultant
Cornerstone Mortgage Group
6151 Powers Ferry Road NW
Suite 610 Atlanta GA 30339
Toll Free 866-430-0970
Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee - 21412
Company NMLS - 147913: Individual NMLS - 247773