How to use a mortgage payment calculator

Homebuyers and homeowners who want to refinance naturally want to know how much their new monthly mortgage payment will be. A mortgage payment calculator is an online tool that offers an easy way to find out.

A mortgage payment calculator can be used to find out the payment on a purchase-money mortgage to buy a house, a refinance mortgage to replace an existing home loan or a mortgage modification offered by a loan servicer, among other examples.

If the loan has a variable mortgage rate, the payment calculator can be used to estimate the initial payment at the starter rate and the possible future payments at higher or lower interest rates.

To use a mortgage payment calculator, enter the interest rate, loan amount and term into the appropriate fields. Use the loan amount -- not the purchase price -- of the home because that includes the down payment as well as the mortgage.

A simple mortgage payment calculator shows a mortgage payment that includes only principal and interest.

A more sophisticated mortgage payment calculator includes other inputs, such as mortgage insurance, property taxes and homeowners insurance. (Many mortgage payments include principal, interest, property taxes and homeowners insurance -- often referred to as "PITI," which stands for "principal, interest, taxes and insurance.")

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