Okay, so we all want a home on the beach right? One with four stories, balconies on each floor to enjoy the view, as well as the salt air, and a gate manned by security guards at the entrance to the community.

But despite these “champagne tastes,” many of us are living on anything but a “champagne budget.” In reality, a nice cabernet, a craft brew, a pure pilsner or maybe even a light beer are better analogies to use when referring to a household budget.

So today, we’re going to discuss the age-old question – “How Much Home Can I Afford?”

Check out this short video for a generally accepted "rule of thumb" on the topic.

In reality, this is a question that’s been asked for generations and the answer is constantly changing, even within a single family. This is due to changing economic conditions locally, regionally, nationally and sometimes even internationally, as well as income projections, bank regulations, interest rates and many more variables.

That not withstanding, let’s take a look at a few scenarios and give you some examples of what YOU can afford here in southern Delaware.

Note: You can click on any of the photos below to learn more about each specific home.

We’re going to start at the top of the heap, so to speak. Our first scenario takes into the account the following:

Annual Income: $500,000

Monthly Debts: $7,500

Down Payment: $50,000

Given these income guidelines, our friends at Zillow report that you can afford a home up to $1,347,177 (pretty close to the above "rule of thumb," right?). In coastal Delaware, that means you can have just about any home you like, even this one:

Okay, now it’s time to be a little more realistic, at least for most of us. There aren’t a whole lot of jobs in southern Delaware that pay a half million dollars a year, though that’s certainly doable in nearby metropolitan areas, for those interested in the area's vacation home market.

But let’s dial it down a notch and see what else is out there. Let’s look at another scenario, this one taking into the account the following:

Annual Income: $200,000

Monthly Debts: $3,500

Down Payment: $20,000

Again using information obtained by our friends and partners at Zillow, this means you can afford a southern Delaware home worth a little more than $415,000. And there are certainly plenty of homes in that price range in our area.

You can view many of these via our Search Page on theoldfathergroup.com, including this one in Rehoboth Beach:

Pretty nice right? There’s no doubt that there are hundreds of homes here in coastal and southern Delaware to fit every price range and budget.

Let’s look at another scenario:

Annual Income: $150,000

Monthly Debts: $3,000

Down Payment: $20,000

Zillow reports that, in this scenario, you should be able to handle monthly payments on a home up to $242,526. In this price range, you could spend weeks looking at available properties in southern Delaware, and should have no trouble finding your dream home.

Every town and municipality in southern Delaware has homes in this price range. Here are a couple of examples from our current portfolio of available homes:

Ready for another scenario? This time we’re going to dial it down yet again, using the following criteria for our next search.

Annual Income: $85,000

Monthly Debts: $1,250

Down Payment: $10,000

Using this criteria, you can afford a southern Delaware home in the neighborhood of $190,000. This may not get you a home at the beach, but you can certainly find something nice and affordable in the communities that are within a short drive of the coast.

Here are a couple examples of what you could afford in this type of budget scenario:

Okay, here’s our last scenario, which is largely for young families and those just starting out on their lifelong journeys. Or maybe for so-called “empty nesters” who are ready to do some serious downsizing.

Let’s take a look:

Annual Income: $50,000

Monthly Debts: $750

Down Payment: $10,000

Zillow reports that this income scenario will qualify you for a home in the neighborhood of $93,000. In 2016, there aren’t a whole lot of homes that fit this price range, but there are still a few to be found out there in the market.

And, let’s be honest. This is probably going to be a starter home that you’ll live in for a few years, sell for a small profit and move onto something bigger and better when your income situation improves.

But for the time being, you can afford something like the following here in southern Delaware:

Before we close, it’s time for a disclaimer. The figures stated above are very raw and there are a number of factors that go into qualifying anyone for a home purchase. So please check with your bank or financial institution to see which program is best for you.

It’s always a good idea to get pre-qualified for a mortgage, however. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of determining if a home you really like is one that you can actually afford.

A good mortgage calculator like the one found on www.zillow.com is a good place to start, and we encourage everyone to take a look if you’re interested in buying a home here in southern Delaware.

Happy Hunting!