Mortgage Calculator

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Guide to Calculating Mortgage Payments

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Using a Mortgage Calculator

– Entering Data: Input the home price (or current value if refinancing) and down payment (or equity if refinancing). You can input either a dollar amount or a percentage of the purchase price.

– Loan Term: Choose your loan term, commonly 30, 20, 15, or 10 years. The calculator will adjust the repayment schedule accordingly.

– Interest Rate: Enter your expected interest rate. The calculator defaults to the average rate but can be adjusted to your specific rate.

Key Components of Mortgage Payments

– Principal and Interest: These are the major parts of your mortgage payment. The principal is the borrowed amount, and the interest is what you pay the lender for the loan.

– Property Taxes and Homeowners Insurance: These are often included in monthly payments and are paid to the local tax collector and insurance carrier, respectively

– Mortgage Insurance: Required if your down payment is less than 20% of the home’s price.

Mortgage Payment Formula

– Formula: Monthly Payment (M) = [Principal (P) × monthly interest rate (r)] / [1 – (1 + r)^-n]

– Variables:
 - P: Principal loan amount
 - r: Monthly interest rate (annual rate divided by 12)
 - n: Total number of payments (years in loan term × 12)

Choosing the Right Mortgage

– Loan Length: If on a fixed budget, a 30-year mortgage offers lower monthly payments. A 15-year mortgage saves on total interest but has higher monthly payments.

– Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM): An ARM might have lower initial rates but can change over time. Suitable if you plan to stay in your home for a short period.

– Affordability: Use the calculator to determine if the expected monthly payment fits your budget.

Deciding on a House Budget

– 28/36 Rule: Spend no more than 28% of your gross income on housing costs and 36% on total debt.

– Example: If you earn $60,000 annually ($5,000 monthly), your maximum monthly mortgage payment should be $1,400.

Lowering Your Monthly Payment

– Options:
 - Opt for a longer loan term.
 - Choose a less expensive home.
 - Aim for a 20% down payment to avoid PMI.
 - Shop around for lower interest rates.
 - Increase your down payment.

Next Steps

– Get Preapproved: Essential if you’re house shopping.

– Apply for a Mortgage: Understand your borrowing capacity and required down payment.

Understanding Your Mortgage

– Knowing how to calculate and what factors affect your mortgage payments can lead to better financial decisions when buying or refinancing a home.


Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is typically paid until the homeowner builds up enough equity in their home to be considered a lower risk by the lender. The duration of PMI payments can vary, but here are the general guidelines:


– Equity Threshold: PMI is usually no longer required once the homeowner attains 20% equity in the property. This can happen through a combination of paying down the principal of the mortgage and any appreciation in the home’s value.

– Automatic Cancellation: Under the Homeowners Protection Act of 1998, in the U.S., lenders are required to automatically cancel PMI when the mortgage balance falls to 78% of the original purchase price, provided the homeowner is in good standing with their payments.

– Request for Cancellation: Homeowners can also request the cancellation of PMI once they have paid down the mortgage to 80% of the original value of the home (purchase price) or the current market value if it’s higher. This request must typically be made in writing, and the homeowner may need to provide proof of the home’s value, such as an appraisal.

– Loan Type: The specifics can also vary depending on the type of loan. For instance, FHA loans have their own rules regarding mortgage insurance, which can include paying it for the life of the loan, depending on the amount of the down payment and the loan terms.

– Time Frame: For a homeowner who makes only the minimum required payments, PMI typically lasts around 5 to 10 years, but this can be shorter or longer depending on extra payments towards the mortgage principal, changes in home value, or refinancing.


How is the Monthly Mortgage Payment Calculated?

The monthly payment is calculated using the loan amount, interest rate, loan term, and any additional costs such as property tax, insurance, and extra payments. The formula considers the principal and interest, dividing the total cost over the number of payments.

What is the Extra Payment Option?

The extra payment option allows you to add a fixed amount to your monthly mortgage payment. This extra amount directly reduces the principal, which can significantly decrease the total interest paid and shorten the loan term.

How Does Property Tax Affect My Monthly Payments?

Property tax is divided into monthly amounts and added to each mortgage payment. This ensures that your annual property tax obligation is met without needing a separate payment.

Why Include Insurance in the Mortgage Payment?

Including homeowners insurance in the mortgage payment ensures that your insurance premium is paid regularly, protecting your property against various risks.

What is Monthly Mortgage Insurance?

Monthly Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is required when the down payment is less than 20% of the home’s price. It’s calculated as a percentage of the loan amount and is added to your monthly payment until your loan balance falls below 80% of the home’s value.

Can I Adjust the Loan Term?

Yes, you can select different loan terms, typically ranging from 10 to 30 years. The term affects your monthly payment and total interest paid over the life of the loan.

What’s the 28/36 Rule in Mortgage Calculations?

The 28/36 rule is a guideline suggesting that your mortgage payment should not exceed 28% of your gross monthly income and that your total debt payments should not exceed 36%. This helps ensure that your mortgage payments are affordable.

How is the Payoff Date Determined?

The payoff date is calculated based on the start date of your loan and the loan term. It indicates when you will have fully paid off your mortgage.

Can I Afford a House with My Annual Income?

The calculator helps you assess this by applying the 28/36 rule to your annual income, giving you an estimate of the maximum recommended monthly mortgage payment and how it fits with your income.

What Happens if I Change My Inputs?

Any change in your inputs, like loan amount, interest rate, or extra payments, will automatically update the calculated results, including your monthly payment, total payment, and loan payoff date. This FAQ provides a quick guide to understanding and using the mortgage calculator effectively. If you have more specific questions or scenarios, you can adjust the inputs to see how they affect your mortgage details.