You’re not alone—38% of first-time buyers have student loan debt (averaging about $30K). If they’ve achieved homeownership, you can too, especially if you have consistent income and a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio within lender guidelines.

Your DTI is the percentage of your gross monthly income that’s dedicated to paying debts—think student loans, credit cards, housing expenses, and car payments. Lenders use your DTI to assess your mortgage application and determine your loan terms.

Here’s the good news: There are proactive steps you can take to improve your DTI. Start now, and when it’s time to buy, you’ll be lined up for success.