Zillow, the home and real estate marketplace website, has an app for iOS (as well as Android) that features real-time mortgage rates and mortgage calculators to help users determine how much house they can afford. The free app is available from the Apple App Store, and we tested it on an iPhone 5.
After installing the app, it opens to a home screen displaying a graph of the movement in the 30-year fixed mortgage rate over the last three months. Tapping on the chart takes you to a different screen, where you can change the time frame displayed on the chart as well as the loan program (duration, fixed versus ARM, etc.) and location (national or individual state). You also have the option of getting custom purchase or refinance rates based on the property location; purchase price or property value; down payment or current mortgage balance; your credit score; your annual income; and your monthly debts.
The app also provides a payment calculator, where you can enter such variables as price, percentage down payment and mortgage rate to see what your monthly payment would be. For added realism, you can also add more advanced information such as estimated property taxes, annual homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance and HOA dues to give you a more complete picture of the cost of buying a home.
The Affordability screen allows you to see how much you have to spend each month on a home. Here you enter your income, down payment, monthly debts, interest rate, income tax rate, estimated property taxes, homeowners insurance and HOA dues and the app will tell you how much house you can afford.
Lastly, the Refi Calculator helps you decide whether it makes financial sense to refinance your current mortgage. The calculator uses your current mortgage amount and rate, origination year and loan term and compares that to a new loan’s amount, rate, term and costs/fees.
If you are in the market for a new home or are thinking of refinancing your existing mortgage, the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace app is worth a look. It’s a simple and easy-to-use app that offers some vitally important information to the would-be homebuyer.