How to use the home loan comparison calculator

Comparing Home Mortgages

by Paige Estigarribia

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Deciding which home loan will give you the best terms can be confusing. Using Bankrate's Home Loan Comparison Calculator is a great way to determine the best loan and monthly payment for you. So how does the calculator work?

Step 1: Find Loan 1 and Open the Information Window

Find Loan 1 on the page, and follow it over to the right side, then click on the plus sign to open the Loan 1 information form.

Step 2: Enter the Loan Amount of Loan 1

This is the amount that you are planning to borrow from the bank, after all of your negotiations are finished. Depending on how some closing costs are handled, it might not be the same amount for all of the mortgages you're comparing.

Step 3: Enter the Interest Rate for Loan 1

This is where you'll enter the interest rate the bank is offering for the loan that you are considering.

Step 4: Enter the Loan Term for Loan 1

This is the amount of time that the bank has given you to pay back the loan. This feature allows you to compare loans with different lengths (ie 15 vs 30 years).

Step 5: Enter the Amount of Time for Amortization for Loan 1

This is where you will enter the time period over which the loan will be amortized. In traditional mortgages it will be the same as the loan term. For loans with a 'balloon payment' you'll have a different amortization length.

Step 6: Enter the Amount of Any Origination Fee That is Part of the Terms of Loan 1

Sometimes as part of the terms of a loan contract, there will be origination fees. Enter the amount of this fee, which is typically found in the loan contract documentation. If you don't have documentation yet, be sure to ask the bank officer if this fee will be part of the agreement.

Step 7: Enter the Amount of Any Commitment Fee That is Part of the Terms of Loan 1

Also sometimes as part of the terms of a loan contract, there will be commitment fees. Enter the amount of this fee. This is also found in the loan documentation. Again, if there is no documentation yet, ask about whether this fee will be part of the agreement.

Step 8: Enter the Amounts of any other Fees and Costs that are Part of the Proposed Agreement for Loan 1

Review the loan documentation, and input any additional fees or costs to be added into the calculation.

Step 9: Find Loan 2 and Open the Information Window

Next, find Loan 2. Move over towards the right hand side of the form, and click on the plus sign to open the form.

Step 10: Repeat Steps 2-8 for Loan 2

Repeat the same steps that you did for Loan 1, now for Loan 2. Be sure to enter in any differing interest amounts an loan terms, and review all of the documentation and paperwork to make sure that you don't forget to include any additional fees or costs.

Step 11: Determine if you Have an Additional Loan That You Want to Compare

If you have an additional loan that you want to include in your comparison, locate Loan number 3, and scroll to the right hand side and click the plus sign to open the window. Repeat steps 2-8 to enter all of the loan information for that loan.

Last step: Click Calculate

This will show you how all of the loans compare with each other, and how your monthly payment will compare. The graph at the bottom will also give you a visual idea of how your monthly payments will compare with each loan.

Combining all of these factors will give you an estimated breakdown of what a monthly payment under each loan looks like, compared against each of the options.

If you'd like to give the home loan comparison a try, launch the calculator and find your best loan option.

Paige Estigarribia is a writer for The Dollar Stretcher who enjoys writing about food, frugal living, and money-saving tips. Visit Paige on Google+.

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