10 must-use online mortgage calculators

Most of us know what calculator to use for that basic mortgage calculation—the amount you pay each month in relation to the home price, your amortization period and term and the prevailing interest rate.

But what about those more complex calculations, such as the cost to break your mortgage or the ability to compare three mortgage options while determining your effective interest rate (that’s the rate you actually pay when you factor in compounding interest over the term of the loan)?

I’ve compiled a list of 10 online calculators that will help you with the more complex or difficult calculations associated with homeownership. But, if, after scanning this shortlist, you notice that one of your favourite calculators isn’t listed here, then please add it to the list or email me directly at: romanaking@gmail.com.

1)            Will refinancing save you money?

Want to know how much you’ll save, overall, if you refinance your mortgage? Then use this calculator from Industry Canada. But you’ll need to know the penalty charge you’ll have to pay before you can sort out how much you’ll save. If you don’t know, use the penalty calculator (below). If you do know the cost of breaking your mortgage, then simply input all the data into the Industry Canada calculator to determine if you’ll really save by refinancing. Go to: Save Money Refinancing.

2)            Penalty calculation.

Whether you move and you need to terminate your current mortgage before the end of your term, or you want to break your current loan arrangement to get a better rate, you’ll need to factor in the penalty cost for breaking the mortgage. That’s where a powerful calculator from RateSuperMarket.ca comes in—it works with both variable-rate mortgages (where the penalty is typically the equivalent of three months’ interest) as well as fixed-rate mortgages (where the calculation can be quite complex, and quite expensive). Go to: Mortgage Penalty Calculator.

3)            Compare mortgages.

Want to compare how the terms and rates of three different mortgages will impact your payments? Use this effective comparison calculator from TaxTip.ca. The added bonus is that you can calculate your effective interest rate—your nominal, or quoted, interest rate adjusted for the loan term and compounding interest—so you can really see how much you are paying for that mortgage. Go to: Compare calculator.

4)            Variable rate speculation.

Leaning towards a variable rate mortgage, but want to get an idea of how potential interest rate increases would impact your payments and final balance at the end of the term? Then use this calculator from Interest.com. While it’s an American calculator—so there’s no cap on compounding, which can result in higher payment amounts—it can give you a good idea of what to expect. Go to: Adjustable Future Comparison.

5)            Actual monthly costs.

Want to know how much you’ll actually spend each month after purchasing a home? Use this calculator by DebtFreeby43.com. Designed as a downloadable Excel spreadsheet (no macros), this calculator lets you input your household budget (add up all your cable, phone, food, etc. costs and input as one lump sum) along with property taxes, water, heat, condo and other fees. Based on these fees, the calculator gives you the required down payment (based on 5%, 10%, 15%, and 20% increments), the mortgage insurance fees (where applicable) and the maximum mortgage you’d qualify for. Go to: Home Purchase Budget Calculator.

6)            Rent vs. buy.

Are you still renting and want to know whether or not you should dive into the housing market? Then try this rent vs. buy calculator, conveniently housed on the NY Times websites. Go to: Rent vs. Buy.

7)            Will refinancing save you money?

Want to know how much you’ll save if you refinance your mortgage? Then use this Industry Canada calculator. But before you can figure out your savings, you’ll need to calculate the penalty you’ll pay to break your mortgage. Go to: Refinance Savings calculator.

8)            How much can you afford?

Want to get a rough estimate of how much mortgage you could get from the bank? Use this tool from Dinkytown.net. Go to: Pre-qualify Mortgage Amount. Or try Ratehub.ca’s Affordability Calculator, which asks you to input income, expenses and debt payments.

9)            Down payment impact.

Want to compare what your monthly payment would be based on the size of your downpayment? Then use Ratehub.ca’s Mortgage Payment Calculator. This simple calculator allows you to enter one purchase price and then calculates the total mortgage you will borrow, including mortgage insurance fees, based on your down payment.  Go to: Down payment Impact.

10)            Land transfer tax.

If you live in anywhere but the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan then you’ll need to include the land transfer tax into your closing cost calculations. Use the calculator from Ratehub.ca. Go to: Land Transfer Tax.

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