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4 Loan Calculators That Can Help Save Thousands

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Plan wisely: These tools can help you research and save more money on your home.

If you’ve decided to buy a home, there are financial decisions to be made and numbers to crunch. But don’t dust off your old TI-89 just yet. There are a variety of online mortgage calculators that can do all the hard work for you (but unfortunately, you can’t spell silly words upside down on them).

Before you head to a lender, you can use mortgage and loan calculators to get a better idea whether you can actually afford that three-bedroom home for sale in Sarasota, FL, how paying off a loan early will impact your finances over time, or whether you should buy at all (or keep renting).

Try one of these four loan calculators from Trulia to help you see the big picture of your money and make an informed financial decision.

Deciding whether to rent or buy

Settle the debate by laying out both options side by side. You’ve likely heard that if you rent, you’re “throwing money away,” but that’s not always the case. The rent vs. buy calculator from Trulia takes multiple factors into account to give you an idea of your monthly costs if you rent and if you buy, allowing you to see the totals for each.

This calculator allows you to plug in information such as your ideal rent amount and the purchase price you’d target if you were to buy. Be prepared to estimate how long you’d stay in your home and what your income tax rate is. Both of these metrics can determine how much a home will cost — or potentially save — you.

Determining how much property you can afford

You can use Trulia’s main mortgage calculator to estimate how much the monthly payment would be on a loan. You’ll need to know the purchase price of the real estate you’re considering and what interest rate a lender might give you on your loan.

Depending on your results, you can see how a lower interest rate would save you money each month and over the lifetime of your loan. Understanding these details can help you decide whether you should hold off on getting a loan and instead work on boosting your credit score first.

You can also see how saving up and putting down a substantial down payment can affect your monthly payment. Putting down more money upfront will save you over the lifetime of your loan since you’re financing less of the purchase — and therefore paying less in interest.

Figuring out if you want to pay off your mortgage early

Use the amortization calculator to see your full mortgage payment schedule. If you have a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the most popular option for homeowners, you can make your monthly payment and pay your loan off in 30 years.

But you’ll also be paying interest on your loan for those 30 years, and that can mean spending tens of thousands of dollars (or more!) on top of the purchase price of your home. Seeing your amortization schedule can help illustrate how paying your mortgage early can save you serious dough.

Deciding whether you should refinance your current home

Consider seeing if refinancing would be worth it with this refinancing loan calculator. If you bought your home a few years ago, you might have missed out on the historic low interest rates that buyers have recently enjoyed. You might be able to save money by refinancing to a lower interest rate. But keep in mind, refinancing means taking out a new loan on your home and that comes with fees and closing costs.

After you plug in information about your current mortgage, Trulia’s refinance calculator can help you see the difference in your monthly payments if you were to refinance — and that can help determine whether you’d save money in the long run.

It’s important to note that while helpful, these calculators are just one tool available to you. Calculators will provide you with a useful result only if you use accurate information that reflects the reality of your finances.

Use these loan calculators to lay the groundwork, then pair your results with additional research. Ask questions and seek out answers from unbiased experts, and look for professional advisors who put your interests first to finish mapping out your plan.