Can a Mortgage Calculator
Be Your Crystal Ball?
Once upon a time, you had to pull out your trusty Texas Instruments
calculator to figure out your mortgage payments. And if you weren't
mathematically inclined, it wasn't easy! Today, a simple Google search for
mortgage calculators turns up more than 200,000 options.
Mortgage calculators are good for some aspects of home shopping, but they
should never serve as your last word on what you can and can't afford.
Once you have found a trustworthy real estate agent to work with, think
hard about what you can afford. There are calculators for virtually every
permutation of borrowing: mortgage tax savings calculators, bi-weekly
mortgage calculators, and interest-only calculators, to name just a few. A
mortgage calculator is a great place to start, but before you start
plugging in numbers, think about some other expenses associated with buying
your home and paying monthly mortgage payments.
forget taxes. Your real estate agent should be able to tell you
the tax rate in the city or town in which you are searching. If not,
you can also check the municipality's tax rate. You might be surprised
to find how much tax rates can differ between otherwise similar towns.
Tax rates are based on the price at which the house is assessed, and
the town will tell you the tax mount per $1,000.
the term. Most mortgage calculators will have a section that
allows you to plug in the length of the loan. Before you decide that
you can or cannot afford something, be sure that you are plugging in
the right term.
your interest rates. The rate on your loan can have a dramatic effect on
the amount of your monthly payments. Don't bother with a mortgage
calculator unless you know your likely interest rate.
These calculators are also
good if you want to play around. For instance, you may want to know the
difference in monthly payment amounts if you go with a smaller or larger
down payment. They are great for rough estimates, but talk to a mortgage
broker to find out exactly what your payment will be.
As anyone who has tried a budget knows, what works on paper does not always
work in real life. You need wiggle room. If you truly want to see what you
can afford, a simple calculator will not help you. You have to
consider things that can't be plugged quickly into an online tool, most
importantly, your expenses. Not too many people factor into their equation
that oil prices would shoot up by 200% in three years or that your take-out
expenses would skyrocket after your second baby. Property taxes almost
I guess what I want to say that is using the Internet for mortgage
information is like using it for medical information. It's a great place to
poke around and get some information, but it's best to see the doctor for
information on your health and to see your mortgage broker for information
on your finances.
Debbie Siegel on NECN
Debbie Siegel was interviewed by Mont Fennel of New England
Cable News' Business Day program on the day that President Bush announced
his plan to freeze rates on adjustable rate mortgages for 5 years. See what
Debbie had to say!
Click here to
December's Home Value Improver
Spruce it up!
Take five simple and inexpensive steps to give your home that cared for and
cozy look. It will appeal to potential buyers as well as current occupants
As the days and years go by, it's easy to miss the signs of wear and tear
on your home. If you are even considering putting your home on the market,
or just want things to have a newer, fresher look, try some of these
Powerwash the exterior. Rent a power washer for half a day or a whole day and give
your home a cleansing shower. You just may be surprised to see how much
dirt your house has accumulated over the years.
Clean up your yard. Weed those flower
beds, trim the bushes, and try to keep your lawn as green as possible
(season permitting). If the cold weather is making your front yard brown
and dreary, add some seasonal potted plants or evergreen decorations.
Repaint your walls neutral colors. In case you end up putting your house on the market, you want
people to be able to envision themselves living in your home. Sure,
creative types can see past the zebra- themed family room and imagine their
library there, but most people cannot. This does not mean that you need to
make your home look like an apartment rental. Just look for some classy,
Replace old bathroom fixtures. You don't need anything fancy here. But if your bathroom
fixtures are looking rusty or dull, some shiny chrome fixtures will
literally make the bathroom glow.
Add a gas fireplace. A shiny new gas
fireplace still causes people to ooooh and aaaaahh. In addition, it
provides a lot of heat and it's pretty simple to hook them up to a
thermostat. With oil so expensive, you can even turn your house heat way
down, and use the gas fireplace to heat the few rooms in which you spend
most of your time.
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Happy Holidays! As the year end approaches, I hope you find
time to relax and enjoy your family and friends.
It's been a crazy year in the mortgage business -- unlike any I have seen
-- and it's more important than ever to have a mortgage professional you
can trust on your side.
As you look forward to 2008, maybe a new home purchase is in your future.
Maybe you will refinance or sell your home? Or possibly you will have a
family member or friend make an important real estate decision. I hope you
will consider contacting Westchester Mortgage if any of these situations
Please feel free to call or email anytime for more information on this or
any other mortgage topic!
P.S. You're receiving this E-Newsletter because you have a
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