Webbed funding

Mortgage shopping made easier thanks to the Internet

What’s the latest marvel of the World Wide Web? It’s nothing less than the speediest way to determine how much house you can afford and shop for mortgages nationwide as well.

Let’s start from square one. The minute you hit the house market, you’ll want to know what fits your budget. Currently, several sites walk you through a simple calculation of the amount you can foot monthly on mortgage payments. One to check is sponsored by Quicken, the well-known financial software company (mortgage.quicken.com). From there, the site can help you prequalify with one of 11 participating mortgage lenders, and even submit an application for approval. And if you’re considering refinancing or even Federal Housing Authority (FHA) programs, the site has user-friendly instructions to walk you through. The crowning touch is an option to check current mortgage rates in your state.

It might be a good idea to check how much you would pay monthly in interest and principal on your mortgage. Bloomberg, the financial news outfit, has a site that allows you to fiddle with rates, loan amounts, points and durations to get a handle on what you’re in for (www.bloomberg.com). Which leads us to our final recommendation, Rate. Net, a site sponsored by Data Trac Corp. (www.rate.net). Whether you’re shopping for a place to open a savings account or certificate of deposit or are on a search for an auto loan or mortgage, Rate. Net allows you to compare bank against bank. By clicking on a map, you can examine rates both locally and nationwide.

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