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A question we are constantly asking is “How much?” This applies to food, living expenses, car payments and even our homes. When it comes to buying a house, we find ourselves asking “How much?” more than ever.

There’s property taxes, condo fees, interest, lawyer charges and of course, our mortgage payments. In order to determine what our mortgage payments will be, we can take out our phones and plug some estimates into a calculator app, or we can use a trusted payment calculator.

What is a payment calculator?

A payment calculator is a tool used to predict what your mortgage payments will be.

The calculator uses the information below to give you a hint as to what you’ll be paying:

  • Mortgage amount – This is the total amount of the mortgage on your property.
  • Mortgage interest rate – This is the cost of borrowing. The rate is the percent of interest you will be paying on your loan for the specified term.
  • Amortization – This is the amount of years over which you have to repay your mortgage. Amortization is generally 25 years but this can vary according depending on the size of your down payment. Your mortgage will be up for renewal at the end of each term allowing you change your amortization if need be.
  • Payment frequency – This refers to how often you will make your scheduled mortgage payments. The frequency can be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, accelerated weekly, accelerated bi-weekly. The payment frequency will depend on how fast you wish to pay down your mortgage and your current financial situation.

This information is tallied and you will get a final number that describes what your mortgage payment will be.

Should I meet with a broker before or after I test out the payment calculator?

The short answer is: Before. Definitely before.

There’s nothing wrong with using an online mortgage calculator to see what your potential mortgage payments will be. However, to actually get the best mortgage possible, you should meet with a broker.

For every type of mortgage, no matter if it’s your first, second or third, you should work with a broker. A mortgage broker will get you the best rates and the optimal package to suit your needs. They can input your financial information into the payment calculator with you, so you can examine the results together. Your broker will help you understand the exact details of your mortgage and the question of “How much?” will be answered.