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How to Calculate Your Monthly Mortgage Payment

CNET's mortgage calculator and glossary can help you figure out how much you can afford for a house.

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Mortgage payment calculator

How CNET’s mortgage calculator works

The calculator above can help you quickly estimate how much you might pay for monthly mortgage costs by entering the home price, down payment, loan term, interest rate and other key details. It excludes expenses like private mortgage insuranceclosing costs and attorney fees. (We offer some guidelines for estimating those below.)

This calculator only provides an estimate. Your payment will depend on your specific financial situation, including your property, state of residence and the lender’s particular terms and conditions.

Other costs when buying a house 

Down payment

Depending on your home loan type, a typical down payment is usually 20%, though some types of loans will let you put down less. In some cases, like with a USDA loan or VA loan, no down payment is required.

Closing costs

When you close on your new home, your closing costs could range from 3% to 6% of the total mortgage amount. These costs include:

  • Origination fees: The lender charges these costs for “originating,” or creating your loan. Other costs in this category include application fees, underwriting fees, processing fees and administrative fees. 
  • Mortgage points: If you pay for points, also known as discount points, you’ll pay more upfront in exchange for a lower interest rate and monthly payment. One point equals 1% of the loan amount.
  • Taxes and government fees: These are charged by your local government.
  • Prepaid expenses and deposits: You’ll typically be required to make an upfront deposit into an escrow for your property taxes and homeowners insurance.

Mortgage insurance

Depending on your loan type and down payment amount, you may be required to purchase mortgage insurance, which usually includes an upfront payment. 

Property taxes and homeowners insurance

In addition to an upfront deposit, you’ll also be required to make monthly payments for property taxes and homeowners insurance, typically bundled into your mortgage amount.

How much house can you afford?

One way to determine how much home you can afford is using the 28/36 rule. The 28/36 rule says you should spend a maximum of 28% of your monthly income (before taxes) on housing-related expenses, such as a mortgage payment or property taxes. 

You should try to keep household debt -- such as student loans and credit cards -- under 36% of your gross monthly income to more easily afford a home. 

Using this rule while analyzing your finances can help ensure you don’t overextend your budget when buying a property. Once you know how much home you can afford, you can start the mortgage preapproval process and begin your home search. Don’t forget to shop around to get the best rates.

How to estimate your monthly mortgage payment

Want to estimate how much you’ll pay each month for your mortgage? Our calculator uses the standard mortgage equation to determine your estimated monthly payment.

M = P [ r (1 + r)^n ] / [ (1 + r)^n – 1]

  • M = your monthly mortgage payment
  • P = your principal loan amount
  • r = your monthly interest rate. Most lenders list this as an annual figure, so you’ll need to divide this number by 12 to calculate your monthly rate. For example, if your rate is 4%, your monthly rate would be 0.003333 (0.04/12=0.003333).
  • n = the number of monthly payments you’ll make over the lifetime of the home loan. To find this, multiply the number of years in your loan term by 12 (the number of months in one year) and you’ll get your total number of payments. A standard 30-year fixed mortgage, for example, would have 360 payments (30 x 12 = 360). 

How to lower your monthly payment

After purchasing a home, buyers have opportunities to lower their monthly mortgage payments down the road. Mortgages typically come with a fixed interest rate over the term of the loan. But if mortgage rates drop, you can refinance your mortgage to take advantage of lower rates. Refinancing involves trading in your old mortgage for a new one with a lower interest rate and monthly payment.

If you come into a lump sum of money through an inheritance, recasting a loan could also be an option for you to lower your monthly mortgage payment. With a mortgage recast, you pay a large amount of money toward your principal (the original amount of money you borrowed) and ask the lender to re-amortize your loan to get a lower monthly payment while keeping the same interest rate and loan term. 

Homebuyer glossary

We’ve compiled some of the standard terms associated with homebuying to help you understand the process.


Your credit score rates your creditworthiness by telling lenders how likely you are to repay your loan. In general, the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate.

Credit score

Your annual percentage rate combines your interest rate and any lender fees. 

DTI ratio

Your debt-to-income ratio is your monthly debt payments divided by your monthly income. It shows lenders what percent of your income goes to debt each month. The highest DTI you can have for a mortgage is 43%, though most lenders prefer a DTI of 36% or less.

Down payment

Your down payment is the amount of money you pay upfront for your home, listed as a percentage of the purchase price. Most lenders require at least 3% to 5% down, though a down payment of at least 20% will result in no private mortgage insurance.

Homeowners insurance

Homeowners insurance is a type of insurance to compensate you for your losses in case your home is damaged or destroyed. Most mortgage lenders require that borrowers have homeowners insurance.


For you to qualify for a mortgage, lenders typically use your gross income, meaning your pay before taxes or deductions.

Mortgage term

Your mortgage term is the number of years to repay your home loan. Most mortgages have a 30-year term, but you can also get a 15- or 20-year term.


PITI stands for principal, interest, taxes and insurance, the four components of your monthly housing expense.

Property taxes

Property taxes are paid to your local government. The amount you’ll pay depends on the value of your home and the property tax rate in your area.

CNET Money staff writers and editors cover personal finance topics ranging from banking, credit cards, home equity, mortgages, loans, insurance and investing.
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