5 top reasons to use free mortgage calculators

Calculators may sound so junior high, but free mortgage calculators are actually highly sophisticated online tools that can help you save big money on your home loan. Some free mortgage calculators are simple -- you just input your mortgage amount, length of loan and interest rate to get a general idea of your monthly payments. Other free mortgage calculators involve filling out complex, page-long inquiries.

No matter the ease or complexity, here are five steps to effectively using free mortgage calculators.

1. Use free mortgage calculators to decide on a length of loan. The key here is to use the free mortgage calculator calculate the rate that will allow you the lowest payments in the shortest time period. While many financial advisors say 15-year rather than the full 30-year mortgage will help you save as much as possible on interest payments and free you up financially in the future, that simply isn't an option with most people's monthly budgets. To get a quick idea of whether a shorter-term loan is even something you can consider, use free mortgage payoff calculators to do the math. Find these anywhere from Realtor websites to this one at the Financial Planning Association.