When someone visits your website, they’re probably thinking seriously about buying a house. People usually don’t explore mortgage lenders just for fun.
And because they’re on the hunt for information, you have the chance to position your company well by providing useful tools and details. Specifically, a lot of mortgage banks, credit unions, and mortgage brokers see a lot of success by adding calculators to their website.
Calculators let your leads try different scenarios on for size, powered by the rate information you provide. It’s a relatively low-lift way to show that you’re both knowledgeable about the current rate environment and willing to provide your customers with the resources they need.
Two different types of calculators can be particularly effective here:
The mortgage calculator
People want to know how much home they can buy. But because most people don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars sitting around, that means taking out a loan. Suddenly, thanks to interest, that $400,000 home they thought was in their budget might be out of reach.
Your mortgage calculator helps them avoid unwelcome surprises like that. It gives them a way to play with key numbers — like the purchase price and their down payment — to find out what works for their budget.
We recommend offering a simple calculator to start, with the option to add more advanced features if leads want to drill down further.
Simple mortgage calculator
Your mortgage calculator should allow people to input the home price and their down payment amount. In exchange, you provide a monthly mortgage payment amount that you base on current rates and the lead-provided details. To give them more information, your calculator can also break down that monthly amount into:
- Principal and interest
- Home insurance
- Property tax
- Mortgage insurance
- HOA fees
We generally recommend offering calculations for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages in your simple calculator. Your advanced calculator can provide more options.
Advanced mortgage calculator
An advanced mortgage calculator can add on functionality like:
- Loan type: This lets leads choose if they’re pursuing conventional financing or a loan backed by the VA, USDA, or FHA.
- Loan term: They can choose common options here (e.g., 30-year fixed, 15-year fixed).
- Credit score: Telling you about their credit score range allows you to tailor the interest rate your calculator uses.
The advanced calculator can also allow them to input specific information for things like HOA fees or property taxes, if they know that information.
The affordability calculator
While a mortgage calculator is a great place to start and should absolutely be featured on your site, adding this secondary calculator helps leads get the information they’re seeking. The mortgage calculator requires a little bit of reverse engineering. They can toggle the home price and down payment to find what fits their budget. But with an affordability calculator, you do the figuring-out for them.
Simple affordability calculator
With this option, leads simply need to input their monthly income. In exchange, you tell them the home price they can afford and the monthly payment they can expect based on that price.
Again, your calculator can show the potential homebuyer how that payment will break down. You might display that monthly mortgage payment as a whole, then lay out how much of it goes to principal and interest, home insurance, mortgage insurance, and property tax.
Advanced affordability calculator
The advanced affordability calculator provides more granular detail for your leads. It lets them input a down payment amount and choose their loan term. If they provide their zip code, it can give them a more accurate property tax estimation. And, perhaps most importantly, it also allows leads to enter any other monthly debts into the calculator. This way, people with student or car loans, credit card debt, or other monthly monetary obligations get a clearer idea of how much house their budget can accommodate.
Things to consider when choosing calculators
Adding calculators to your mortgage website can do a lot for you. These tools engage leads and show them that you have the information they’re seeking. They let people explore different scenarios so they can move forward confidently as they explore home-buying. And, ideally, they can help your company capture leads.
To help you find a calculator that can do all of that, we’ve outlined a few questions worth asking:
- Is the calculator plug-and-play? You don’t want to have to rework your site to make the calculator fit or function on it. Ideally, the calculator should drop seamlessly into your site. Look for one that works specifically with the platform on which your site is built (e.g., WordPress, Squarespace).
- Does it integrate with your pricing engine? You’ll need current rates to make the calculators useful to your leads and customers. So that your calculators can pull the latest rates, ours work with:
- Lender Price
- Optimal Blue
- Will it work on mobile devices? As people increasingly search from their phones, you need the tools on your site to be responsive on mobile. Double-check that your calculators don’t just work, but still look good and are user-friendly when viewed from a phone or tablet.
- Does it provide next steps? You don’t want to simply provide your lead with a financial scenario. You want to show them how the numbers they’ve crunched on your calculator translate into a home purchase. A calculator that functions as a strong lead conversion tool will feed into next steps (e.g., through something like a “Get Started” button at the bottom). This way, your lead can move straight from the calculator into your lead workflow, like one that gives them a personalized rate in exchange for some contact info.
Adding calculators to your mortgage website can help you impress leads and capture them. And these tools aren’t necessarily just a nice-to-have anymore. Other players in the game, from lenders that operate nationally to your local competition, leverage calculators. If someone visits your site to look into your mortgage offering and you don’t have a calculator while your competitor does, you risk losing them, especially if that competitor has a lead workflow built into the calculator.
The good news? Adding calculators to your site can be easier than you probably expect. Our team specializes in precisely this. If you want to demo our calculators to see how they could work for your leads, you can do so here. And if you want to meet with one of our team members to talk through any questions you might have and to learn what customizations we can offer for your calculators, you can set up a time with us.