Google’s mortgage calculator is a great start, it’s easy

As part of its ongoing efforts to creep into all aspects of our lives, Google has just launched a mortgage calculator that pops up whenever you search for something mortgage related.

There are some pretty cool stuff. On the one hand, the interface is reduced to the essentials. Enter the loan amount, interest rate and mortgage term, and boom, it calculates your monthly payment. Or go the other way: enter your expected monthly payment, interest rate, and term, and Google will tell you how much you can afford to borrow. Solid.

Of course, you may have noticed that these mortgage calculators have been around for a while on various other websites. And a lot of those other calculators (including – ahem – ours) do much more complex calculations, factoring in insurance, taxes, and adjustable rate mortgages. Google’s approach is about as complicated as plugging them into an Excel spreadsheet.

Not that there is anything wrong with it …

Except here’s our concern: Google is so dominant on the Internet that we fear the simplicity of this calculator could be misleading. We have already heard stories of first-time buyers using such basic calculations to calculate their potential expenses, only to be shocked at the number of other factors affecting their ability to buy. If Google’s ubiquity is added to that, it won’t exactly help the potential buyers it aims to serve.

And that’s Google we’re talking about! We

Of course, if you’re just sitting in your pajamas and want to have numbers in your head, this works just fine. But buying a home isn’t just an Internet transaction (or it shouldn’t be). When the time comes to take that step, you will need to talk to a real human being, the sooner the better.

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