Earlier today, Justin asked for feedback about whether he should buy a condo or continue to save for his retirement. GRS reader Andrew forwarded a tool that may help Justin make his decision.

HouseMath 2.0 is a web-based app designed to help users explore the costs of purchasing a new home. You enter the numbers for the proposed transaction, and HouseMath runs the numbers to let you know the financial implications. Rather than bombard the user with a bunch of numbers, though, the program provides an easy-to-understand narrative summary

Currently, HouseMath features built-in information for a handful of major markets. According to its creator, additional markets will be added in the future. (You can help him by providing information about your local housing market.) Because Portland isn’t one of the markets listed, I chose to play with numbers using HouseMath’s Seattle-based info. I entered the details for the mortgage we took out 3-1/2 years ago, and HouseMath provided the following analysis:

HouseMath offers further analysis of closing costs, first month costs, and selling costs. It also provides a couple of charts, as well as details on the long-range financial effects of buying a house.

This is an interesting little app. There’s a lot of potential here. It seems a little light at the moment, but with proper polishing, this could be a useful tool for many people.

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