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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Internet

Get a monthly payment estimate with Google's mortgage calculator

Can you afford that house? Use Google's mortgage calculator to find out if you can swing the monthly payment.

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Matt Elliott/CNET

Buying a house is one of the more anxiety-producing processes you'll undertake. Finding the right house can take time as can the process of agreeing on a contract. And then there's the small detail of figuring out how much you can afford to spend on what is likely the largest purchase you'll ever make.

When we bought our house, my wife and I spent a lot of time researching our monthly expenses and income in an effort to figure out how much we could comfortably afford to spend on a monthly mortgage payment. We used a random selection of financial sites whenever we wanted to use a mortgage calculator to run the numbers.

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Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Google recently added a mortgage calculator to its bag of search tools, saving you the step of heading to a separate site to get an estimate. Just Google "mortgage calculator" and a mortgage calculator box shows up at the top of the search results, below the paid ads. You can enter your loan amount, interest rate and length of the loan to get an estimate your monthly mortgage payment.

Keep in mind that the figure Google spits out is simply the principal and interest payment, which does not include escrow payments you make each month for property taxes and homeowners insurance. To include those two sizable monthly payments in your estimates, you will need to use a mortgage calculator other than Google's rudimentary tool.

For more leisurely pursuits than home buying, you can use Google to flip a coin or roll dice.