What is a mortgage calculator?

An online mortgage calculator can quickly and accurately predict both your mortgage payment and amortization schedule with just a few pieces of information. You won't have to figure out a bunch of math equations and operations.

To use this type of calculator, you'll need the following information:

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1. Mortgage amount.

If you're getting a mortgage to buy a new home, you can find this number by subtracting your down payment from the home's price. If you're refinancing, this number will be the outstanding balance on your mortgage.

2. Mortgage term.

This is the length of the mortgage you're considering. For example, if you're buying new, you may choose a mortgage loan that lasts 30 years. On the other hand, a homeowner who is refinancing may opt for a loan that lasts 15 years.

3. Interest rate.

Estimate the interest rate on a new mortgage by checking Bankrate's mortgage rate tables for your area. Once you have a projected rate -- your real-life rate may be different depending on your overall credit picture -- you can plug it in to the calculator.

4. Mortgage start date.

If you're buying a home or refinancing soon, this should be the date you plan on closing. But if you're trying to get more information on a mortgage you already have, set the date to your original closing date.

Once that information is entered into the mortgage calculator and you click "Calculate," the mortgage calculator instantaneously performs a series of equations and displays your monthly payment.

Clicking "Show/Recalculate Amortization Table" reveals a complete amortization table that displays what you've paid versus what you owe month by month through the end of the loan. Want to know what you'll owe on your mortgage in July 2019? The calculator will show you. Want to find out how much interest you'll pay on a 15-year versus a 30-year mortgage? You can find that out, too.

You can even find out how much extra payments will cut down on your term and the amount of interest you'll pay. Just enter a monthly, yearly or one-time payment into the "Extra payment" blanks and click "Show/Recalculate Amortization Table." The mortgage calculator then will display the new payoff date and the new total amount of interest you'll pay.

Bankrate has more information about how to use mortgage calculators.

 Also see out video of how to use the mortgage calculator.

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