Whether you’re hoping to buy or planning to sell, a mortgage calculator can give you some valuable insights. Here are five questions a monthly mortgage calculator can help answer to make you more savvy about home buying.

Should you rent or buy?

There’s more to being a homeowner than just swapping a rent payment for a mortgage payment. You’ll have to consider additional costs like property taxes, and depending on your loan, you also may have to factor in fees like private mortgage insurance (PMI) — all of which can be estimated by a mortgage calculator. It’s a good way to compare the total cost of renting with the realistic costs of buying.

Is an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) right for you?

One way to keep a mortgage payment down and still get the house with all the bells and whistles is to choose an adjustable-rate mortgage with an interest rate lower than a fixed-rate loan’s. There are some risks involved, however: With an ARM, your payment could spike if the interest rate adjusts. With a mortgage calculator, you can see how interest rate assumptions can impact your monthly payment, and the total interest paid over the life of a loan with an ARM versus choosing a fixed-rate loan.

Can you cancel your PMI payments?

Private mortgage insurance is an additional cost for most buyers who don’t put down at least a 20% down payment. To stop paying this fee every month, you must owe less than 80% of the value of your home. You could qualify by either paying down your loan or seeing enough appreciation in your home to meet the threshold. A monthly mortgage calculator can help compare your home value with the loan amount and determine when you meet the requirements to request cancellation of your PMI payments.

Can you afford to pay off your mortgage early?

To find out, use a loan calculator to play around with the numbers. Plug in your original loan amount, interest rate, and date the loan was issued. Then include the amount you think you can add to your current monthly payment to determine how quickly you might be able to own your home outright.

Should you refinance?

A lower interest rate is usually a good thing, but depending on the amount you owe and the time remaining in the life of the loan, refinancing may end up costing you more than staying the course.

If you would like answers to these questions and more without using a mortgage calculator, contact my office at 702.331.8185.