The thrill of owning your own home can wane a bit with the relentlessness of monthly mortgage payments. Still, those payments each month increase the equity -- or degree of ownership -- you have in your home. To discover the equity amount, you need to know how much is left on your mortgage -- the mortgage balance -- and deduct it from the value of your property. You might also want to find the balance to see how much you have been paying in interest vs. principal.
Check your lender's website. Log in to your account and navigate to the page that displays your mortgage balance. The payment page or statement page may include this figure. Online balances typically undergo frequent updates, so the amount should reflect recent payments.
Phone your lender. Have your account number, as well as identifying information, such as name, address and Social Security number, handy. Once your identity is verified, your lender may release the balance information by phone.
Check your printed statement. Keep in mind that the statement is only current as of the date it is printed. Be sure you are consulting the most recent statement and that it reflects your most recent payment.
- Calculate your equity by deducting your mortgage balance from your home's current value.
- If you kept your amortization statement that you received when you originally took out your mortgage, you can predict how much you will owe at a certain point in the future.
- Do not confuse your mortgage balance with your mortgage payoff amount. The latter is invariably higher than the former. Because mortgage interest is charged in arrears, that is, a month after the fact, your payoff amount will typically include at least 30 days more in interest than your mortgage balance.
- A payoff amount can be requested by phone or by mail. The amount is quoted as of a given date and is only valid for a few days from that date. In fact, the lender may tack on seven to 10 additional days of interest to the payoff amount to account for mail delays. Once it receives the payment, it will refund any excess interest charged.
D. Laverne O'Neal, an Ivy League graduate, published her first article in 1997. A former theater, dance and music critic for such publications as the "Oakland Tribune" and Gannett Newspapers, she started her Web-writing career during the dot-com heyday. O'Neal also translates and edits French and Spanish. Her strongest interests are the performing arts, design, food, health, personal finance and personal growth.