Mortgage payments can be one of life's biggest expenses, comprising 65 percent of all consumer debt, according to the Federal Reserve.
To help people better tackle this debt, online personal finance solution Mint.com has added a home loans feature to the "Ways to Save" portion of its award-winning tool. The feature looks through thousands of home loan options and compares them to a person's income, debt ratio, and credit worthiness – giving the person a customized look at home loan options presented by multiple lenders. Using that information may help the individual reduce interest rates or lower monthly payments.
"Buying a home is often the biggest purchase someone makes. But the current process for securing a home loan – whether you're buying a new home or looking to refinance an existing mortgage – is complicated, confusing, and time consuming", said Aaron Patzer, general manager and vice president of Intuit Inc.'s personal finance group and founder of Mint.com. "We're simplifying personal finance and want to give people a clean and easy way to review options that doesn't involve hours of research or multiple visits to various financial institutions."
The new feature shows how various factors, such as the size of the down payment or paying points, affect the loan rate and monthly payment. The home loans feature also helps the 50 percent of Mint.com users who already own a home easily determine whether refinancing makes financial sense by showing them how different loan options might help them reduce their monthly payment or cut their interest rate. Making the right switch can mean significant savings in interest expenses over the life of a mortgage.
"You shouldn't have to be an expert to get a great loan. There's a lot of money in the balance when financing a home and we're giving people the tools they need to keep more of their money in their pockets", Patzer said. "By showing where people can reduce the cost of borrowing – by shaving a few years or points from the loan – we're educating them about the home loan process. That should help them do more with their money."
Just as Mint's technology brings insight into day-to-day spending, the new home loan feature brings insight into various loan options – something that was previously known only by lenders.
To create the new feature, Mint worked with CreditSesame.com, an online company that provides bank-level analytics for loan offers to consumers. With information provided by users or otherwise available to Mint.com, the Credit Sesame analytics engine automatically and securely creates a complete financial profile – including current debts, loans, assets, and available credit. It then evaluates that profile against thousands of products from lenders and brokers. The result is a targeted and customized list of potentially available loan options.
Anyone can try the new home loans feature for free by visiting www.mint.com and clicking on "Find Savings." Mint.com users can also access the feature in the "Ways to Save" portion of their account. If you're not a Mint.com user, you can sign up for free and it takes less than five minutes to set up an account.
Mint.com is a free online personal finance software service from Intuit Inc. providing almost 5 million users a way to manage their money. Launched in September 2007, Mint.com has quickly grown to track nearly $200 billion in transactions and $50 billion in assets and has identified more than $300 million in potential savings for its users. Mint.com allows users to see all of their financial accounts in one place, makes it easy to set and keep to budgets, and helps identify money saving ideas. More than 90 percent of Mint.com users say they have changed their financial habits as a result of using the service.