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Mortgage Calculators

Sep 4, 2008
There are a variety of free mortgage calculators available on the Internet. These can be useful for determining how much home you can afford, whether to buy a home or continue renting, and what your monthly payment will be. Here are descriptions of a few different calculators.

How Much Home Can You Get

It's a good idea to know approximately how much money you can borrow for a home before you spend time looking for a new house. An affordability calculator will use information about a loan (such as interest rate and the length of the loan), the cost of taxes and insurance for the property, your debts (auto loans, credit card debt, etc), and your income to calculate the maximum mortgage you might obtain.

Monthly Payment

When determining whether or not you can afford a loan you should look at both the total amount you'll pay over the life of a loan AND what you'll pay each month. This monthly payment includes not only principal and interest but also taxes and insurance. A payment calculator takes all four factors into account to give you a true monthly payment.

Keep Renting or Buy a Home?

Another great tool allows you to see how much money you'll lose or save by renting, and how large a benefit buying a home might be. You'll be able to change the number of years used in the calculation. So for example, if you were planning to buy a home and then sell it in five years, and you wanted to know if that was better than renting for the next five years, you'd put a "5" into the appropriate field in the form. In this case you might see that you'd save $80,000 in monthly payments if you rent, but that you'd make that up and earn an additional $5,000 when you sold your house. So if you were able to pay the larger mortgage payments now, you'd end up better off after your house sold.

Refinancing

Refinancing can save some homeowners money, but it can also cause them to lose money. Using a refinancing calculator can thus help you to make a wise choice. For example, if you were to refinance and then sell your home five years later, you might save $1,500. If you waited a total of 10 years, the savings would be $4,000. If you waited 25 years, you might in fact lose $7,500.

Which Loan Should I Choose?

Mortgage lenders offer a variety of loan products that you can choose from, but how do you know which one is best? A loan comparison calculator allows you to enter in key values such as the interest rates, points, and closing costs. The calculator will then show multiple elements of comparison. Key among these are the monthly payments and the total savings over the life of the loan. Such a calculator can help you know which loan to choose. Be careful though, because different loans can have different amounts of mortgage insurance associated with them, and the calculator might not take that into account.

Making Extra Payments

Will making a mortgage payment every two weeks save you more money than paying once a month? A calculator can tell you this. You'll be able to see how much interest you'll save and how much sooner you'll pay off the loan. A good calculator will take into account the fact that you'll lose some tax savings by paying off the mortgage sooner, and will give you a "net savings".

Knowing whether to buy or refinance a home can be easier when you use the right mortgage calculator.
About the Author
You can read additional information about mortgage loans at our Mortgage Help Center.
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