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What Does Zillow Estimated Payment Include? [HOA, Taxes And More]

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Zillow provides a lot of helpful and detailed information for home buyers that use their platform. The information on each home on Zillow is pulled from a variety of sources and will generally include up-to-date information needed to begin the search for your new home. One feature included is the estimated payment for the property. If you are needing to know what this estimated payment includes, we can help; we did the research so that you'll know for sure what is in the estimated payment.

The Zillow estimated payment information will provide you with a total amount that includes:

  • Principal and interest
  • Mortgage insurance
  • Property taxes
  • Homeowners insurance
  • HOA dues

Now that we know the different items included in the Zillow estimated payment, we'll take a good look at what each one means and how they can vary from person to person. You might also be wondering how accurate these estimated payments are or if there is a difference between a Zillow Zestimate and the appraised value. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post and see what our research has shown.

Owned by Zillow sign is seen outside a single-family home for sale in West Linn, Oregon, What Does Zillow Estimated Payment Include? [HOA, Taxes And More]

Breaking Down The Variables In The Zillow Estimated Payment

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As you can see from the information we listed above, a lot of items go into figuring the final Zillow estimated payment. Some of this will be the same from buyer to buyer, but some will depend on credit scores and other factors. 

We'll examine each one in detail so that you'll know which ones are under your control and which ones are most likely set in stone.

Principal And Interest

The combination of these two financial items will make up the largest chunk of your estimated payment. The principal and interest amounts will vary over the life of the loan, as these loans are front-interest heavy. This means that the earlier in the loan, the more the interest payment will be. 

Throughout the loan, you will gradually pay less interest with each payment and more principal. But this is averaged out over the life of the loan so that the principal and interest payment portion of your loan will not change.

With Zillow, you can change this amount based on how much you are putting down. It will also fluctuate based on the interest rate selected. The more money down and the lower the interest rate, the lower this part of your payment will be.

Mortgage Insurance

Also known as PMI, mortgage insurance is required on most home loans that have less than 20 percent down. This insurance is for the lender's benefit, but you are required to pay it.

PMI comes into play in the event of a foreclosure. If the bank takes your home and sells it for less than what you owe, then they lose money. PMI is insurance that pays the lender the difference. This keeps the bank whole and keeps them from suing you for the difference.

Those who have PMI can only have it removed from their monthly payments if they pay enough on the loan to have a minimum of 20 percent equity in the property. At this point, it will take a refinance in most cases to remove the payment.

Property Taxes

This amount on the Zillow estimated payment is an estimated amount based on data from the local taxing agencies. This information is only as solid as the data used.

Keep in mind that a recent change in local property taxes might not be reflected in this estimated amount. Or if the property has undergone a recent assessment, it might not reflect here.

The amount you will pay in property taxes will depend on the assessed value of your home. This information will be kept at your tax assessor's office in your local municipality. For an exact amount of what the property tax is, contact them.

Homeowners Insurance

This is the best guess at what this home will cost to insure. This amount will of course vary from buyer to buyer, as insurance rates are sometimes impacted by a person's credit score and other risk factors.

The company you use will also impact the rates. Some companies might have more attractive homeowners insurance rates in one city but might be a lot higher in another. Carefully shop rates from three reputable insurance agents in your area before committing to one. The difference in the rates might surprise you.

HOA Dues

This will not apply to everyone, but some homeowners and condominium dwellers need to pay homeowner association or condo dues. These fees will be collected monthly out of your overall mortgage payment and given to the agency that requires them.

HOA dues go toward neighborhood improvements like curbing and sidewalks. They might also be used to maintain lighting, swimming pools, or other amenities enjoyed by those within the HOA.

Condo dues are generally used to pay upkeep and maintenance costs on the building your condo is located in. They are also used to pay for utilities in common areas, building insurance, and other costs.

How Accurate Are The Zillow Estimated Payments?

The estimated payments provided by Zillow are based on the most recent data available to the platform. The estimated payments are only as good as this data and will vary from borrower to borrower.

You can use this payment estimator as a starting point. If you know your down payment and interest rate, you should be able to know almost to the penny what the principal and interest portion of your payment are. PMI or mortgage insurance is based on a percentage, so that number will also be accurate.

Getting tax information from your local assessor's office and a solid homeowners insurance quote from insurance agents will help you fill in the blanks to get the most accurate mortgage payment estimator possible.

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Are Home Affordability Calculators Accurate?

Like the Zillow payment estimator, any of the home affordability calculators are only as accurate as the data you provide them. If you have solid numbers to plug into the calculator, your estimated payment will be very close.

But if you are winging it with interest rates, homeowners insurance costs, and property tax amounts, you could be way off the actual amount.

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How Accurate Is The Zillow Zestimate Compared To An Appraisal?

To be clear, a Zillow Zestimate is not the same as an appraisal. Zillow uses data to estimate the value of a property, and if the data is out of date or otherwise inaccurate, it will be way off the mark.

An appraisal is completed by a qualified professional who carefully evaluates your home amenities, the comps of similar homes in the area, and other relative factors. While the Zillow Zestimate is sometimes close to the appraised value, it should never be taken as such.

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Final Thoughts

Zillow collects data from multiple sources so that they can give you an estimate of what your monthly payment would be. This estimate is only as accurate as the data that is provided by Zillow and will vary based on several variables. Whether or not you can afford a home is based not only on your income but your revolving debt. It's typically better to underbuy than to select a home that pushes your paycheck to the maximum.

We hope you found all the answers about Zillow you were looking for. For more helpful homebuying information, we suggest reading the following posts:

Lots Of Views And Saves On Zillow But No Showings – What To Do?

Does House Have To Be Empty For Final Walk-Through?

How Often Do Backup Offers Get Accepted?