The key to finding the right mortgage is right in the palm of your hand. While you probably use your smartphone for browsing, messaging, gaming, and reading the news, you might not have realized that it is also a powerful tool for finding the right mortgage.


Using your smartphone as a mortgage calculator is a convenient way to figure out mortgage information, especially if you find a home while browsing on the go or are on the road looking at houses with a real estate agent.


We've rounded up a few of the better-reviewed apps for the iPhone, Blackberry, and Android platforms. Most apps have many of the same basic functions: enter your basic financial information and down payment and get quick estimates of your payments over the long and short term. However, you might be surprised at how some of the applications go beyond this formula and have evolved into extremely useful multi-purpose tools.


1) Mortgage iBacus

Platform: BlackBerry

Cost: free trial version/full version price tbd

Released: February 2011

What it does: A basic app that allows you to compute the monthly mortgage payment for various fixed rate mortgages and other types of loans. Mortgage iBacus also has a feature where you can input your household gross income to find out how much house you can afford (beware: this may not be how much house you need !). The app also does the basic interest vs. principal payments. It can also figure out your mortgage payment tax deductions and has an accelerated mortgage payment function.


2) Android Mortgage Calculator

Platform: Android

Cost: free

Released: May 10, 2010

What it does: This mortgage calculator has many of the functions common to popular basic apps. It can display a monthly or yearly amortization table. It has a number of options when it comes to computing your loan including adding additional monthly, yearly, or one time payment and also allows you to chart the interest versus the principal that you have paid on your loan.


3) CalcsFree Mortgage Calculator App and CalcsPro Mortgage Calculator App

Platform: iPhone

Cost: free/$1.99

Released: August 17, 2010

What it does: This basic app breaks down your monthly payments by principal and interest, property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, etc. The app also has solid amortization tables and graphs and can display charts containing information like post-tax interest, estimated tax savings, and principal.


4) Calcmoolator Pro

Platform: Droid/iPhone

Cost: free

Released: Sept 16, 2010

What it does: Now things are starting to get interesting! Calcmoolator Pro is a multi-purpose tool that contains multiple calculators and allows you to compute things like tips, whether to rent or buy homes and cars, auto loan estimates, mortgage payment estimates, credit card debt payments, and job opportunity comparisons.  

As a mortgage calculator, it has some fairly advanced functions including a breakdown of mortgage affordability, PMI estimates, and 2 nd Mortgage searches.


5) iPMT Mortgage Calculator

Platform: iPhone

Cost: $7.99

Released: Oct 9, 2010

What it does: In addition to basic mortgage calculator functions, iPMT is also the only mortgage calculator in the app store that features multiple loan programs: Conventional, FHA, and VA. Other features include PMI, MIP, and LTV estimates. It also validates the down payment on all loan types. Best of all, iPMT also automatically updates when any industry changes. Is it worth the $7.99 cost, though? The advanced functions might be overkill for a consumer, but it's a must have for a pro-realtor.


6) Real Estate Droid 2.3.7

Platform: Android

Cost: free

Release: Jan 26, 2011

What it does: This app goes beyond the usual mortgage app and is really more of a well-rounded real estate app. It allows you to search for homes that are for sale in a certain area, or you can enter an address for a specific property to find out the sale information. It allows you to research properties to find out information about the neighborhood like the housing prices and walkability. As a mortgage calculator, it helps you to figure out mortgage costs and includes fields for insurance and taxes. Also, it can help you to get real mortgage quotes from Mortgage Marvel.


There are many good, basic mortgage calculators out there. Find one that is free and works for your platform and give it a try. While many of the functions are the same, the choice of what app works best for you will likely come down to how user-friendly the interface is for entering and displaying information and how well the app works on your phone. Once you've mastered a basic program, try a downloading a more advanced version to see if it suits your needs or if it's just taking up more valuable space on your phone!


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of NASDAQ, Inc.