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Dreamtownrealty's Blog

By Robert Pratt | Broker in Chicago, IL

Homeowner Help Just a Click Away

By now, technology has fully emerged as an integral part of real estate sales in Chicago–virtual real estate agents, interactive home tours, and whole websites dedicated to real estate advice have today’s buyers and sellers wondering how they ever managed real estate without the Internet.

Need to know the crime rate in Chicago neighborhoods? A Google search will suffice. Want to compare your home with another recently sold home in your area? There’s probably an app for that—if not, someone, somewhere will probably create one soon.

Or better yet—you can create one yourself. After all, when it comes to modern technology, where there’s a will there’s a way.

Take for example the two new mortgage calculators developed by HSH Associates, a publisher of mortgage information based in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. These new digital tools, designed to help underwater homeowners, distill the complexity of mortgage “science” into a simple equation.

The free “KnowEquity When” calculator can predict how long it will take for upside-down homeowners to reach a point where the amount they owe on their loans is again less than what their homes are worth.

The equation is simple.

There are three key factors to getting a home back in the black: amortization, (continuing your mortgage payments), appreciation (how quickly local values are increasing) and prepayments (additional principal payments you can make). The intersection of these three factors can provide homeowners with an exact date that they will no longer be underwater. If one or more of the factors is particularly strong, the process will naturally speed up.

To use the “KnowEquity When” calculator, users have to plug in a few basic figures, including the original loan amount, the mortgage term and interest rate, and the date of the first payment. Do your best to estimate your home’s current value and expected rate of appreciation and voila!—the program will give you a timeframe for when you should have your home above water.

The other calculator developed by HSH Associates—the “KnowEquity How” calculator—works the other way around. Simply type in the number of years you have until you want to be able to sell your home and it will provide you with ways in which to get your head back above water.

Technology is becoming an incredibly powerful real estate tool that offers buyers and sellers new ways to succeed in the market. The available tools and websites (as well as the real estate professionals behind both) can help you search, find, sell, buy and compare, making it easier to find your dream home. It has many wondering–what will the next evolution of interactive real estate tools highlight?

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