Mortgage: How Much Per Month?

Our first mortgage calculator allows you to quickly estimate the dollar value of a house you might be able to afford. It's a ballpark to get you started. But what does that mean for your monthly budget? Use this bankrate.com calculator to get an idea. You can also see how making an extra payment or payments can mean owning your home free-and-clear sooner. Just know that it may make more sense instead to use extra cash to pad your emergency fund, pay down other higher-rate debt, or invest it for other long-term goals.

Other Tips: View the myfico.com Web site to see what interest rate you might pay on a 30-year mortgage, based on your commonly used FICO credit score. This site can also be used to obtain your FICO score for a fee. Credit bureaus also maintain scores on you - creditkarma.com can help you track these for free. And remember, you may be able to obtain lower mortgage rates by shopping around and increasing your down payment!

But also take a step back and don't forget to consider all the costs of home ownership. This includes costs directly related to your mortgage, such as private mortgage insurance, points, and closing costs, as well as homeowners insurance, property taxes, maintenance, utilities, etc. Bottom line: home ownership is a major financial decision but don't let that keep you from learning more!

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