8 smart moves to score the best possible mortgage

Determine how much home you can afford

It's easy to underestimate the cost of owning a home.

In addition to your mortgage payment, you'll pay property taxes, homeowners insurance, utilities, maintenance costs and possibly condo or association fees.

Use this mortgage calculator to determine how much you can afford to borrow based on your monthly income and expenses.

Add that to the amount you've set aside for a down payment, and you'll know how much you can spend on a home.

Remember, your housing costs -- including principal, interest, taxes, assessments and any other fees -- shouldn't exceed 28% of your gross or pretax income.

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