These are payments for things besides your mortgage like car loans, student loans, and credit cards. Lenders want to feel confident you will be able to afford all your monthly bills – not just your monthly mortgage payment – before they approve your VA loan.
We often do this with your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Debt-to-income ratio is calculated by dividing your total monthly debt by your monthly income and making the result a percentage. For example, pretend you have a monthly income of $7,000. Then pretend you have monthly debt payments that total $800 and you want to buy a home with a $2,000 monthly payment. That means your total monthly debt would be $2,800.
To figure out your DTI, divide the $2,800 by $7,000 and get 0.4 or 40%. This is good to know because VA loans often have a maximum DTI of 41%. Calculating your debt-to-income ratio helps you understand how much home you can afford as well as the amount of money lenders may be willing to let you borrow to buy a home with a VA loan.