NineteenNine - Barves2125 hit most everything on the head. Guidelines are going to vary from lender to lender, as most have additional overlays. For example, I can qualify well beyond the 43% debt to income ratio mentioned (I've gotten VA loans approved up to 68%)... most of the wholesale lenders I work with do not have overlays or extra requirements. Local Broker (Me) or Direct Lender ( Barves2125) are going to be a better option generally than a Bank... the lone caveat being if you have a bunch of assets with a bank, you'll want to get a quote from them. Depending on your "status" or portfolio, they will often write a mortgage at a loss to ensure your $$$ doesn't end up elsewhere. I'd advise researching Realtors in the area you are moving (I can help with this) & ask what lender they trust locally.