Getting on the property ladder is important for a whole range of reasons. Investing in the home you live in makes good financial sense, and for many people continuously renting can be a frustrating experience. Yet buying a home is challenging as most loans have a high deposit hurdle. But you need to start somewhere and when saving for a house calculators can help you set your goals. Let’s take a look.

Saving for a mortgage

There are two lump sums you need to think of when you save up for your first mortgage. Many people make the mistake of saving up only some of the money required to buy a home, but you need to keep in mind two factors:

Mortgage down payment

It’s rare for banks to offer 100% mortgages due to the risk involved. Instead most banks require some of the value of the home up front. Planning on a 20% down payment is a good idea as this enables you to take advantage of good deals, and likely removes the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI). However, this may be an unrealistic goal where you live, and some banks will grant mortgages with as little as 10% or 5% down – but beware the costs will be higher.

Costs and fees

Closing costs can be hefty. Even though buying a home is routine it is a formal legal transaction involving highly-paid legal minds. Legal fees make up one part of closing costs. Government taxes can also be a high percentage of the purchase price. Finally, you should be prepared to pay costs around moving home plus any initial repairs and maintenance that might be required.

When you’re deciding how much to save to buy a house you should keep all of these costs in mind. Do some research to understand how much government taxes are and work out how much moving in will cost you.

Mortgage calculator

Knowing how much you need to save to get started with buying a house is important. You should also know how much your monthly repayments will be to ensure that you can make your mortgage payments without straining your finances. A mortgage calculator will tell you how much you need to save for a deposit, and what your likely monthly mortgage repayments will be.

Zillow

Let’s be honest, everyone likes a slick-looking app and Zillow’s mortgage calculator is a smooth way to calculate your mortgage payments. Available for both iOS and Android, Zillow’s calculator shows you how much you can afford to spend on a home, including the down payment and monthly mortgage fees.

You also get direct real-time mortgage rates based on your requirements and your location. iOS users score Zillow 4.7 / 5, noting that they like the mortgage calculator functionality alongside the ability to get mortgage quotes. Android users are happy too, scoring Zillow’s app 4.3 / 5.

U.S. Mortgage Calculator

Just like Zillow, this free calculator allows you to tap in all the data that makes up a mortgage agreement. The app lets you include taxes, insurance, and HOA fees too. In return, you get a detailed mortgage payment schedule which shows you exactly how much your payments will be including principal and interest components.

It’s a straight-forward and well-liked app, scoring 4.6 / 5 from Android users, with one user saying it near perfectly replicated the numbers from an actual mortgage quote. iOS users give the app 4.3 / 5 with users really liking the fact that they could see the difference it makes to pay extra towards the principal amount.

Either of these apps will give you a clear idea of what you can afford in terms of monthly payments. In turn, you’ll know how much you can spend on a home.

Compound savings calculator

OK, you need to know how much you need to save up. Take the deposit figure from the previous app, and add the closing fees including taxes plus the costs of moving in. This total amount is your savings target, but savings accrue interest so the actual amount you save will be less than this total. You need a compound savings calculator.

EZ Financial Calculator

Bishinew’s app contains dedicated functionality for calculating savings compounded by interest so you can see what you need to save to have enough funds to buy. iOS users score it 4 / 5 while Android users give the Bishinew app 4.3 / 5 with users from both platforms saying the app is pleasantly simple to use.

Compoundee

Available only for iOS, this app is the way to go if you want to skip past complex financial calculator options and simply want to see the effects of compound interest. You’ll pay $2.99 for the privilege, but the app gets 5 / 5 and provides a clear outline of how your compound interest adds up.

Compound Interest Calculator. For Android users, Compound Interest Calculator offers an equally straight-up way to check out the benefits of compound interest, this time free of charge. It shows you a single number as the future value, but you can specify the essentials including your savings rate and how frequently your interest is compounded. Users rate it 3.9 / 5.

Now you know how much you will need to save to be able to afford the home that is within your means. But paying the minimum on a home loan is not always the best option.

Goal calculator

Every mortgage carries an interest charge. Paying off your mortgage faster than your agreement stipulates means you can save on mortgage interest charges. It helps to set a goal for early repayment, but the financial calculations can be complex. Thankfully there are mortgage goal calculators that can help you out. These aren’t always available for your phone but it is worth checking out one of the following apps:

Calculator.me

This website-based calculator is easy to use, simply type in the balance you owe, your APR and the amount you currently pay per month. Finish with your “goal”, i.e. within how many years you want to pay off your mortgage. Click calculate and the website app tells you how much more you need to pay every month to meet your goal, and how much you will save in interest.

My Mortgage Freedom Date

For Android users, this app lets you tweak your repayments and mortgage interest rates to get a quick answer as to how quickly you can repay your mortgage. Try it to see how bigger repayments can reduce your term, and how you can reduce your term by negotiating a lower mortgage interest rate. Users rate it a not too shabby 4.1 / 5.

Buying a home and paying off a mortgage is a big step. Getting the numbers right from the start can save you a lot of heartache and disappointment in the future. Not everyone likes doing math, but the calculators we outlined will help you get your numbers right. Do so and you will soon be on your way to buying a home.