Use our mortgage calculator to help you estimate your monthly payments and what you can afford. Buying a house is the largest investment of your lifetime, and preparation is key. With our loan calculator, you can play around with the numbers including the loan amount, down payment, and interest rate to see how different factors affect your payment.
Knowing what you can afford is the first step in buying a home. It puts you well ahead of the competition. You can talk to lenders and understand the numbers they throw at you and know what you're comfortable paying each month.
Buying a home and taking out a mortgage isn't just about the interest rate – it's about the big picture. Use our mortgage calculator to see that big picture so you know what you're getting into since a mortgage is a long-term commitment, sometimes as long as 30 years.
What is a mortgage?
A mortgage is a loan you take out to buy a home. Lenders base your eligibility on your credit score, current debts, money saved, and the home's value. The difference between a mortgage and a standard loan, besides the loan amount, is the collateral. Lenders use your house as collateral. If you default on your payments (usually more than 90 days), they can foreclose on your property. The bank then takes the home and sells it to make back the money lost from you not making your payments.
What is mortgage insurance?
Mortgage insurance is insurance for the lender. Borrowers pay it, but it is for the lender if you default on the loan. Conventional loans require mortgage insurance if you put down less than 20% on the home. You can cancel it once you pay your balance down to 80% of the home's value.
Government loans, including FHA and USDA loans, charge mortgage insurance for the life of the loan, but at a rate lower than conventional loans. Mortgage insurance helps borrowers secure a loan when they don't have great credit or don't have much money to put down on the home.
How to calculate a mortgage payment?
Your mortgage payment includes principal, interest, mortgage insurance, real estate taxes, and homeowner's insurance. The principal is the amount you borrow. The interest is the fee the bank charges. You can figure out the monthly amount by taking the annual interest rate (rate quoted) and dividing it by 12. Multiply that number (your monthly interest rate) by the outstanding principal balance to get your interest charges.
The mortgage payment is the principal (the portion you'll pay) plus the monthly interest, 1/12th of the real estate taxes, 1/12th of the home insurance, and the required mortgage insurance (if applicable).
How much mortgage can I afford?
Lenders determine how much mortgage you can afford based on your income, credit score, and current debts. Each situation is different but in general, lenders allow up to a 43 – 50% debt-to-income ratio. Your mortgage (principal, interest, real estate taxes, home insurance, and mortgage insurance) plus any existing debts, such as credit cards, car loans, or personal loans shouldn't exceed 43% - 50% of your gross monthly income (income before taxes).
A mortgage is a loan you borrow to buy a home. It includes the principal, interest, and required mortgage insurance. Some lenders also require you to include your real estate taxes and home insurance in the payment. You use the mortgage in addition to your down payment to buy a home.
A mortgage calculator can help you determine how much house you can afford and estimate your payments. It's a great tool to use before you shop for a house or before you refinance. See what your monthly payments would be and how different factors affect it.
The purchase price is the price you agree to pay for a house with the seller. Whether the seller accepts your first offer or you go back and forth, the purchase price is the final number you agree on and that is written on your sales contract. Lenders use this number as a baseline when determining your mortgage amount.
The down payment is the money you invest in the home. You'll need at least 3.5%, but sometimes more. You base the down payment on the purchase price. For example, if your purchase price is $100,000, a 3.5% down payment would be $3,500 and a 20% down payment would be $20,000.
The interest rate is the fee the lender charges monthly until you pay the loan in full. They quote you an annual interest rate, but you can figure out the monthly rate by dividing the annual rate by 12. As you pay your principal balance down, you'll pay less interest. You can check today's mortgage rates on our website.
The mortgage term is the time you have to pay the loan back. Most borrowers take out a 30-year or 360-month term, but there are other options including a 10, 15, and 20-year term. The less time you borrow the money, the lower the interest rate a lender will charge.
The start date is the date of your first payment. It's not the date you take out the mortgage. You pay interest in arrears, so your first payment will be the month following the month after you close on the loan. For example, a loan closed on January 15 would have its first payment on March 1st.
All US counties charge property tax. You can find out the amount by visiting the county assessor's website. The property taxes are a percentage of your home's assessed value. Many mortgage lenders require you to pay your taxes monthly with your mortgage payment to make sure they are paid.
Property insurance is required by lenders. It insures you against financial loss but also protects the lender. If you couldn't afford to renovate the home or build it again after a fire, the lender would have a total loss. Property insurance protects both parties.
PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance and only applies to conventional loans. If you put down less than 20% of the purchase price, the lender will require PMI until you owe less than 80% of the home's value. If you default on your loan (for over 90 days), the lender can make a claim with the insurance company, foreclose on your home, and get back a portion of the amount they lost.