How to Use a Mortgage Calculator

Woman making mortgage notes in notepad

Mortgage calculators are an underappreciated example of how the web has made home shopping easier, smarter and flashier. OK, maybe not flashier, but definitely easier and smarter, as they can provide quick insights into whether you’re able to afford a mortgage, and if so, what you’ll want or need for a down payment, monthly payment, etc. Check your borrower profile below to see which mortgage calculators you might find useful. Keep in mind, however, that while these will give you good ballpark figures, they won’t necessarily factor in every possible home cost—like HOA fees, for example.

Renter thinking of buying

To someone who’s only ever rented, jumping into the world of home finance can seem daunting. You go from a fixed monthly lease payment to… principal, interest, taxes and insurance? Huh? Luckily, a good mortgage calculator can help break down each financial component, walking you through different numbers to see how they’ll impact your estimated mortgage payment. Here are a few mortgage calculators that can be helpful in deciding whether you’re ready to bid adieu to the landlord.

Rent vs. Own Calculator
Calculate the difference between renting and buying a home by entering in current rental costs and contrasting them against the hypothetical cost of a home plus the amount you’d need to finance it.

Payment/Amortization Calculator
Calculate your monthly mortgage payment based on loan type, amount, interest rate and term. This calculator also gives you the option of generating an amortization table, offering a deeper dive into the amount of principal and interest you’ll pay each month or year.

Owner thinking of buying again

If you purchased your current home when mortgage rates were lower, you may be weighing changing housing needs versus a potentially higher interest rate. An APR calculator could help you put a number to that. Depending on the price point you’re shopping and how much equity you’re bringing to the table, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Owner thinking of refinancing

Wondering if refinancing your home loan will save you money? There are mortgage calculators for that, too! Here’s a couple you might find insightful.

Refinance Break-Event Point Calculator
Contrast your current mortgage payment against the amount, interest rate, term and closing costs of a new home loan, and then see how many months it’d take for you to break even.

Debt Consolidation Calculator
Your mortgage lender might offer the option of consolidating other debts into your home loan, such as credit card balances and auto loans. Whether you should do so is another matter, and this mortgage calculator is here to help you answer that question by showing what your monthly payment would be if you rolled all those debts together.

Owner thinking of paying off mortgage sooner

Everyone wants the sweet spot of paying down your mortgage as quickly as possible without feeling strapped for cash, but sometimes we need the right data to show us the best way to achieve that. 

Early Payoff Calculator
Decide how much sooner you’d like to pay off your mortgage and calculate how much more you’ll need to pay each month to achieve it. See how much you’d save in interest by paying a little more on your mortgage each month. The results might surprise you.

Once you’re done having fun with mortgage calculators, check out our other financing and insuring tips!