Homebuyers can now turn to Google Search for detailed info about mortgages

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Google on Wednesday updated its search engine with new tools for people shopping for mortgages, including a calculator, recent average mortgage rates and key terms homebuyers may need to know during the mortgage shopping process.

Google teamed up with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to launch the new tools because it found that a lot of people were asking questions like “what is a mortgage?” and “what is APR?” among others. 

The tools are available on phones when you search “mortgage.” Just scroll down past the ads and you’ll see it.

Here’s the kind of information it provides.

What is a mortgage?

The overview tab provides definitions for terms you’ll need to show while shopping for a mortgage.

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The overview section explains what a mortgage is, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: “an agreement between you and a lender that allows you to borrow money to purchase or refinance a home and gives the lender the right to take your property if you fail to repay the money you’ve borrowed.”

It also lists key terms, including APR (annual percentage rate), ARM (adjustable rate mortgage), amortization, appraisal fee, credit score and more, with definitions for each.

Mortgage calculator

Google’s mortgage calculator shows you what you can expect to pay each month.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The calculator section can help you determine your monthly mortgage based on several factors, including the loan amount, the interest on a specific loan term (such as 30-year fixed), the state you live in and your credit score. A “purchase budget” tab also helps you figure out what your house budget might be based on your household income, monthly debts, planned downpayment amount and loan terms.

This part will be really useful for first-time buyers, since it’s a good starting point to figure out the price of the house you can afford. That all will vary depending on many of the factors you see on this page.

Rates

You’ll find various rates for loans in Google search and can customize with your state, loan amount and more.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The rates page shows current average rates for 30-year fixed, 15-year fixed and 10/1 adjustable rate mortgages. Again, you just enter in the loan amount you’re considering, how much you plan to put down on your mortgage, the state you live in and your credit score. If you scroll down, there are recent news stories on mortgage rates and top tweets discussing mortgages.   

The mortgage process

The Process tab is useful for learning about the stages of buying a house.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

There are several other tools as well, although most link you to news about topics including mortgages or refinancing.

The process tab, however, walks you through how to get a mortgage, such as assessing your budget, figuring out lenders, comparing loan options and the walking through the documents you’ll need to close.

Again, this will be very useful if you’ve never shopped for a home before, or haven’t in a long time. This information is all provided by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Google just makes it easier to find.

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