Mortgage Calculator Editor's Review

Editor's rating

The editor's rating is calculated based on the average of the following criteria, rated on a
scale of 1 of 5:

  • Installation: 5
  • Features: 4
  • Interface: 4
  • Customization: 3.5
  • Help and support: 3

Bottom line

"MLCalc provides a set of mortgage widgets that allow developers to provide their users with standard financial information. Integration is possible through JavaScript, WordPress plugins, or a client-side API. You should definitely look into this solution if you're interested in presenting mortgage information. " - Tilo Mitra, Editor -

Pros and cons


  • Free and easy to integrate.
  • No-frills — it does what it's meant to do, and does it well.
  • Graphically represents year-over-year mortgage information in a visually pleasing and informative way.
  • API support is a nice bonus, as is integration through WordPress.


  • Figuring out the paths to query the API can be a little tricky due to terse documentation.
  • Mortgage trends widget lacks any customization options.

Detailed review

This software may not be the coolest, but it's part of a category that touches people's everyday lives. That's right, I'm talking about financial software. Personally, I'm a big fan of financial software products and use quite a few of them on a day-to-day basis. From budget tracking to planning for the future, financial software is here to stay. Today, we're taking a look at MLCalc, a financial tool that helps its users make better decisions regarding their mortgages.

MLCalc has a few products, but we're going to focus on their mortgage widgets for this review. These are JavaScript-based widgets that provide a wealth of mortgage information to a user. There are two of them — a mortgage calculator and a mortgage rate chart.

Let's take a look at the mortgage calculator first, focusing on three categories. The first is standard features that every calculator should have. This includes things such as down payment, interest rates, and total purchase price. Next, I looked for any additional features that were present. Finally, I observed its ease of use and clarity for new home buyers.

The calculator stacks up very well in the first two categories. It has all the features that you would expect, and then some. One of the features I particularly liked was the graphical representation of an individual’s home ownership over time. By overlaying the principal amount with interest and taxes, MLCalc is able to present a great visual representation of my payments over time. Compared to competitors which may just provide a dollar amount, this makes more sense and is easier to relate to.

On the flip side, some features were missing that I wish had been present. For one, it's not possible to re-calculate data in real-time, and that should really be the case. Every time a user wishes to change a parameter, they have to click the calculate button — instead, the chart and the numbers should be updated in real time for a more fluent user experience. Another missing piece was the lack of a credit score option. The widget requires an interest rate, but generating this from a credit score rating may have been easier for some users.

Next, let's take a look at the mortgage rate chart. This is a much simpler widget, and there's really not that much to see here. It does what you expect it to, and that's a good thing. Users can view various mortgage rates for the United States overall or on a state-by-state basis. The graph is easy to read, and provides data points a few weeks into the past. If anything, I'd like an option to see this extended well into the past to provide a bit more insight.

The cool thing with these widgets is that they can be dynamically placed on a web page using JavaScript or through WordPress as plugins. Both methods are pretty straightforward. The JavaScript route involves pasting a code snippet, and the plugin route involves downloading a zip and uploading it to the plugins directory inside your WordPress installation.

Things get a little more confusing when it comes to the API. On the positive side, the API is accessible for the mortgage calculator. It's completely client-side and involves pulling down a JavaScript file and calling a function with given parameters. Unfortunately, it's not clear what these parameters are. It took me some time to figure out that the parameters should be placed in the query string in a specific order. I had to do this by inspecting the sample link in the web console, and using it as an example. The documentation — although present — is terse, at best. I'd like MLCalc to flesh this section out a bit more, because it does seem to be a valuable tool for developers.

In summary, the widgets provided by MLCalc are a great no-cost option if you want to work with mortgage information on your site. You have nothing to lose, so I suggest you head over and give them a try!



This is an editorial review; not a recommendation. All editorial reviews, some of which we may receive compensation to perform, express our objective findings and experiences with the specific product (including version) under review. The review expressed is of the editor only. Any product claim, statistic, or other representation should be verified with the provider.