About 33 percent of homeowners wish they had purchased a larger home, according to a 2017 Trulia survey.
Maybe these homeowners didn’t do the math before moving in.
You don’t have to make the same mistake. You can use an affordability calculator to figure out how much house you can afford before move-in day.
3 home affordability calculators with unique uses
Many affordability calculators are created equally. They ask you to enter the same information (like income), and they pump out the same results (like your monthly payment).
But here are three free online calculators that help you look at homebuying from some more unique angles.
1. Zippia: Compare square footage by state
You can benefit from using Zippia’s calculator if you care more about square footage than where you live.
All you need to input is how much you can afford to pay each month. This number accounts for local taxes, insurance, and mortgage loan interest rates. If you input $1,000, for example, a map will auto-populate allowing you to view the square footage you can afford in each state, plus its corresponding rank in the country.
In California, for example, a $1,000 monthly payment would net you just 663 square feet of property. That’s the 49th-worst in the U.S. and probably not enough space to grow your family.
Beyond square footage, the tool spits out the following information for your preferred state:
- Home price: $217,496
- Mortgage amount: $173,997
- Monthly mortgage payment: $781
- Monthly insurance payment: $72
- Monthly tax payment: $147
Given that it only requires one data point to spit all that out, Zippia’s tool is a good place to start. It’ll get you thinking about whether you want to join the tiny house movement and what states might be within your wheelhouse.
Where this calculator leaves you hanging is which city you should move to. But that’s where the next calculator comes in handy.
2. The National Association of Realtors: Compare prices by city
You can narrow your results even further using a home affordability calculator from The National Association of Realtors. It allows you to enter the names of cities where you might want to reside.
The tool here is a little more sophisticated, asking you to supply four bits of information before delivering results:
- Annual pretax income
- Monthly debt, excluding the monthly payment of your new mortgage
- Down payment and home loan type
Whereas Zippia asks how much you can afford to pay each month, Realtor.com’s tool uses these four pieces of information to tell you how much you can afford, monthly and overall. It will also pump out your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which affects your mortgage rates.
For example, these would be your results if you (and your significant other) wanted to live in Austin, assuming the following:
- Earn $100,000 per year
- Have $500 per month in debt
- Can make a down payment of $71,200
Running the same numbers in another Texas city will tell you how far your dollar goes there. The same homebuyer searching in Waco, Texas, for example, could afford a $401,300 list price.
Beyond the black-and-white numbers, this affordability calculator is interactive.
You can slide the bar from conservative to moderate or aggressive. This is useful because it tells you a range of home prices that could be affordable if your circumstances change. You might want to be more aggressive, for example, if you’re in line to negotiate a pay raise at work.
The DTI ratio calculation is also useful. In this example, the homebuyer’s DTI is 36 percent, well below the 43 percent generally needed for a qualified mortgage.
The tool uses your preferred city to do more than estimate your associated interest and tax rates as well as the cost of home insurance. Being that it’s a website run by real estate agents, it also pulls up homes within your price range.
But don’t go browsing just yet. There’s another useful tool that will further inform the way you shop down the road.
3. Student Loan Hero: Compare mortgages
Unlike the tools offered by Zippia and Realtor.com, our home mortgage calculator is squarely focused on your potential mortgage.
It’s also flexible, allowing you to change any of the following data points to compare your results:
- Home price
- Down payment
- Loan term
- Interest rate
- Property tax
This amount of flexibility is important because not every homebuyer is going to be making a sizable down payment. For example, there are programs for homebuyers with smaller down payments.
Plugging in your information will tell you the size of your monthly payment in the short term, but this tool takes a long view. It’ll show you what you’ll owe in the first year as well as over the length of your loan.
If you’re planning on making a 10 percent down payment on a $300,000 home, for example, you might be taken aback to learn that, over the life of the loan, you might pay $117,000 in taxes, $237,358 in interest, and not be done paying until the year 2047.
Our home affordability calculator is a good one to finish on because numbers like these will remind you that buying a home isn’t just a big decision. It’s a long-term investment with many costs along the way.
Total tax payment
Total amount paid
|Total tax payment||—|
|Total amount paid||—|
LendingTree allows you to compare mortgage rates, all without affecting your credit.NMLS #1136: Terms & Conditions Apply
You determine the value of affordability calculators
Like most things in life, the usefulness of a home affordability calculator is determined by your effort. The more you put into it, the more you get out.
If a calculator like Realtor.com’s, for example, asks for your monthly debt, be specific. Think beyond the present, when you might be dealing with student loan and credit card debt. You’ll also have to estimate future costs related to maintenance on your new home or the children you plan to raise there.
This thinking will require more than making a few estimates and pushing a few buttons. But it could lead you to find the best mortgage for you.
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Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.23% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 6.23%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|