Web Reviews: Online Calculators

Adding it all up: These free calculators are handy tools when you want to help a client understand the benefits of homeownership.

July 1, 2005

Online Calculator Roundup:

Sometimes it’s best to let numbers do the talking. An easy-to-use calculator comes in handy when you want to help buyers understand how much home they can afford, or if you’d like to compare the monthly payments of an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage. Here, we’ll bring you to four free calculator Web sites that make it easy to crunch numbers for real estate-related situations. Use these tools to prepare presentations, to walk potential buyers through their options, or when you want to direct clients to a reliable online source where they can do their own research.

  • Bankrate.com. This Web site, a source for rate information and consumer finance issues, has a wide collection of financial calculators for real estate. On its Mortgage page, you can help homebuyers answer the critical question: How Much House Can You Afford? If you’re working with prospects who aren’t convinced they could cover the costs of homeownership, refer them to the Buy or Rent Your Next Home calculator so they can make a financially-sound decision. On this site, you also can access an Amortization Schedule Calculator, a Cost of Living Comparison Calculator, and many more.
  • MicrosoftOffice.com. These calculator templates won’t do all the work for you, but they’ll certainly make your job a lot easier when you’re dealing with more complicated situations, like determining closing costs or a remodeling budget. To download these templates, all you need is Microsoft Excel, version 2000 or later. The main benefit of using one of these calculators is that you can compute the costs with your client and make copies for the record books. By searching the term “calculator” on the home page, you’ll find more than 60 calculators, including a Gain on Home Sale Calculator, a Closing Costs Calculator, a Kitchen Remodel Cost Calculator, and an ARM vs. Fixed Mortgage Comparison.
  • Fannie Mae. Six calculators evaluate the various components that factor into buying a home and getting a mortgage. Help clients understand how their desired monthly payment will affect the price of the house they can afford with the How Much Can You Afford With a Specific Monthly Payment? calculator. Or, provide a benefit to past clients by passing along a calculator that will help them answer the all-important question: Is Now a Good Time to Refinance?
  • Home Loan Learning Center. Run by the Mortgage Bankers Association, this Web site’s five financial calculators are especially helpful for first-time homebuyers. The How Much Will My Monthly Mortgage Payment Be? calculator computes a mortgage's monthly payment amount based on the principal amount borrowed, the length of the loan, and the annual interest rate. Or, compare the impact of up to five different interest rates simultaneously with the What Difference Will the Mortgage Interest Rate Make? calculator.
Kelly Quigley

Kelly Quigley is the former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine.

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