This post contains paid content. All opinions are the author’s own and they are not to be considered financial advice.
Unless you win the lottery or inherit a small fortune, you will need to apply for a mortgage if you are planning to buy a house. If you are an existing homeowner wanting to remortgage or release equity from your property you need to know what you can afford and what options are out there.
According to the Wall Street Journal 2020 saw an increase in mortgage applications in the US, projected to exceed $3 trillion due to low interest rates. The previous record for mortgage lending was $3.7 trillion in 2003.
In the European Union mortgage lending was €5.29 trillion in 2019, as reported by the European Banking Authority.
There is a considerable demand for mortgage lending and having a good knowledge of your own financial position can help you find affordable deals.
Working out what mortgages are affordable shouldn’t be a hassle but with so much information out there it can be a challenge to know where to start. Mortgage calculators can help prospective homeowners to assess their budget and priorities to make informed decisions.
I used Mortgage Calculators to find out how much I would need to set aside each month in mortgage payments. I started with the income calculator, which takes into account existing debts, the purchase price of your desired home and the required down payment, as well as the mortgage interest rate and the term of the loan (typically 30 years).
It was interesting to see that I would need to earn more than I currently do to be able to afford a property if my mortgage deal came with a fairly high debit interest.
You can then change the interest rate in the calculator to find out how much of a difference it would make: if you are able to find a cheaper mortgage with a better interest rate your salary wouldn’t need to be as high. Of course you could extend the term of your mortgage to longer than 30 years but not many lenders may offer that option. In fact, using the calculator made me realise the real savings are in getting the cheapest interest rate you can find rather than extending the term of the mortgage.
Monthly Mortgage Payment Calculator
Once you know how much you need to set aside each month in mortgage payments you will know your top budget when you place a bid on a house for sale.
The calculator shows not only the amount you need to pay towards your mortgage but also your total loan value and sometimes it can be a bit of a shock to see how much the interest payments are going to be. Over the course of 30 years interest only payments can amount to almost the value of the property. This is why it’s so important to compare different mortgages and interest rates.
If you can afford a larger deposit upfront you will also save money in the long term. Remember to check your credit score as well – the better your score, the more likely you will be to be offered the best deals. Unfortunately mediocre credit scores will exclude you from accessing lower interest rate mortgage deals.
You may also want to switch to a different mortgage provider a few years after you purchase your house. Some lenders offer attractive introductory deals that expire after two years, for example, and you may incur penalties for switching to a different provider before the two years elapse. However, if interest rates increase after the introductory offer term, it can save you a significant amount of money to switch to a different deal.
Refinancing Your Mortgage
You can use the refinancing calculator to see how much you could potentially save from switching to a different mortgage deal.
Even a 0.5% difference in the interest rate can save a considerable amount of money. This can be a massive saving in the monthly mortgage payments and the money saved could either be invested or put towards paying off the mortgage early.
For example you may have taken a fixed interest rate mortgage deal but after a few years the interest rate changes from fixed to variable and you may want to be protected against interest rate fluctuations with a new fixed rate deal, especially if it’s likely for debit interest to go up.
Additional Home Payments
The additional home payments calculator shows you how much you can save on the total amount you have to pay on your mortgage by paying a bit more each month, paying a lump sum or both.
Potentially you could finish paying your mortgage years earlier than planned by simply paying a small amount more each month. If you win the proverbial lottery and receive extra money, it’s smart to use it to put it towards reducing your mortgage.
Reducing the term of your mortgage is one of the ways to save money: it may not be affordable for many people but it is worth looking into. Some lenders offer lower interest rates as an incentive to take on shorter term mortgages, for example for 15 years.
I found the calculators to be very easy to use and it was interesting to read through all the information about different types of mortgages, mortgage terms and affordability. The calculators will display available mortgage deals once you have filled out basic details such as the purchase value, down payment and interest rate (no personal information is needed). The results are US-based.