A mortgage calculator is a handy tool, but it cannot replace a mortgage professional. A mortgage calculator can give you a ballpark figure for what you can afford, however, based on your income and, depending upon how sophisticated the calculator is, the local tax rates and the cost of homeowner’s insurance for the properties you’re considering.
Homeowner’s insurance rates will vary considerably depending upon where the home you’re looking at is located – especially in southern Louisiana – where the ability to get private coverage or having to go with the state Fair Plan may make or break your mortgage application!
You have to take this into account and using national averages is really not that useful as a means of determining how much you’re going to end up paying for this necessary cost. An insurance company is really the only reliable source for this info, or a mortgage broker that can find out from an insurance company for you.
You’ll also want to make sure that you consider taxes into the equation. These will vary from place to place and not all online mortgage calculators even consider this. If your taxes are around $3,000 per year, you can count on that amount being added to the cost of owning your home. This may put the cost of the home over the edge for you where affordability is concerned.
Make sure you take into account the fact that a mortgage calculator just gives you a number based on a percentage. For instance, a mortgage broker works with you in a way that mirrors how a bank will determine your suitability for a loan. This will include taking into account the amount of expenses you have already. Your car loan, insurance payments, credit card debt and so forth will all factor into how much you can afford in the way of a mortgage.
A mortgage calculator will usually just give you a percentage, somewhere between 28 and 33 percent, of your total income and factor in a few other numbers to determine how much you could borrow.
Calculators Have No Lending Authority
A mortgage calculator is handy and can give you some rough ideas of your borrowing capacity. However, it’s important to remember that banks don’t make lending decisions based on what these calculators say you can afford.
So while a mortgage calculator can get you started, give you an idea of how much you should seek and so forth, it takes a home mortgage professional to really determine how much you can borrow.