In its quest to make its search engine powerful enough to answer nearly any question you might ever have, Google has now added the ability to calculate mortgage payments.
If you’re an aspiring homeowner, one of the most challenging things is figuring out how much you’ll be able to pay based on various home prices and interest rates. Google’s search engine now makes that process a bit easier.
Originally previewed months ago for some beta users, the feature can now be used by anyone via verbal interface on mobile devices, or on the desktop by typing in “mortgage calculator.” When you type mortgage calculator into Google’s search engine you get a detailed set of fields to fill including mortgage amount, interest rate and mortgage period (in years).
After you enter the proper information in each field, you get two totals, the total cost of the mortgage and your monthly payments. You can also switch the tool’s options to focus on the amount of cash you have the ability to pay on a monthly basis, a handy option for buyers looking to compare expenses from a renter-centric perspective.
Of course, there are already online tools around that do a great job of helping calculate your mortgage, such as Zillow’s, which offers vital calculation information such as your initial down payment amount and property taxes (features missing from Google’s tool). In fact, Zillow even has a well-designed mobile app for the truly real estate-obsessed.
Still, Google’s decision to bake the feature into what is much of the world’s default answer engine (at least for now) means that the chances of someone calculating their mortgage via the search engine, instead of a specialty app, just increased dramatically. Read more…