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THERE is hardly a serious business firm in the United States that does not have a website. This is as true of mortgage and mortgage refinance (MMRF) firms as of any other business. A large number of MMRF lenders and brokers have installed online calculators on their website that help interested people to gain an initial idea about what MMRF market has to offer them. But how reliable are the results produced by these online calculators.

Refinance Calculators

Construction of online MMRF calculators

Online MMRF calculators are ‘virtual machines’. Every software application is a virtual machine. The term ‘virtual machine’ has been coined to differentiate online machines from physical machines. If online calculators are a virtual machine, their physical counterpart is the tangible calculator that you can hold in your hands.


For straightforward calculations, physical calculators are fine. However, calculations that required variable inputs, physical calculators are no good, and online calculators are the answer. In MMRF market, many variables are used to determine an offer best suited for one’s needs. Therefore, online calculators have no substitute.

 Online calculators are constructed of computer programming codes, which are basically text ‘strings’ written in a computer language such as JavaScript, java, cgi, and others. As users, we need not bother about the language in which the code is written. All that matters to us is the reliability of results it shows after we have provided it with specific data relating our own case.

 The virtual machine that online MMRF calculators are, their code is stored on a ‘remote’ computer, which is also called a ‘remote server’. The word ‘remote’ denotes that the computer holding the code is located at a place away from the location of the user. The remote server could be located somewhere else in the same city or in a different city, state, or even a different country.

 While the remote computer is the ‘server’, the computer through which the user feeds in data is called the ‘client computer’ or ‘client server’. The data we feed into our own computer, i.e., the client, is transmitted by cable or satellite to the server. The server carries out the necessary calculations on itself and transmits the results back to the client server, so that the user can see and save the results.


 Since interest rates and other factors pertaining to MMRF change from time to time, the administrator of the remote server is required to update the parameters in the software stored in it. Only then will results shown by the calculator will be reasonably reliable. In smaller companies, the updating is not regular, or there may be a lapse of considerable time between a change in the market factors and the updating of the software in the remote server. In such a case, the results may be way off the mark.


However, there is a limit to how many variables specific to you can be entered into the online calculator. The questions asked by online calculators are fairly standardized and there is no room to feed in important information pertaining to your specific case. For example, the computer will ask you how many years do you intend to retain your property, and you may not be able to state a specific figure because you a new job in a new city or state you are expecting in the next six months, which may or may not materialize. Such subjectivism cannot be factored into online calculators, and are best discussed with the lender or broker in person.


 Online MMRF calculators whose code is well maintained and updated by the administrator do give you a rough idea about what you can expect in your specific case. You should feed in different parameters compare the different results and get an approximate idea of what to expect under different sets of parameters. The results of online calculators must therefore be used as a basis for your negotiations with the lender or broker, and not taken as the final offer for you. Computer has not yet replaced the human mind.