For many people, the equity they've built (or are building) in their home is a significant portion of their overall savings/investments — modeling it, however, can be tricky... until now.
When you add a new 'Home Equity' item from the Accounts & Taxes tab, the Item Properties window will automatically appear, as shown below:
The following values are optional and only apply if you have a loan on the property.
After entering the values above, click 'OK' to calculate your equity over time. Principal accrues based on a standard amortization schedule, and you can see those values in the Defined Contributions column on the account's output data.
If you entered a Monthly Payment, a "Linked Mortgage" expense will automatically be added to the Expense table. The amount of this expense is the sum of the Monthly Payment and any additional principal contributions you may have defined on the Contributions tab.
NOTES REGARDING LINKED MORTGAGES: The "Expense Amount" and "Start/End Age" fields of a Linked Mortgage are changed from the Home Equity Account that created it. To delete a Linked Mortgage, either delete the Equity Account item or clear the Monthly Payment field. In addition, if the Home Equity item is marked as "excluded", the Linked Mortgage expense will also be excluded.
If you paid a significant down-payment or if this is a re-finance, then you have equity at the start of the loan. To model the value of this equity, enter the amount in the Starting Equity in Property field as described above. This value is subsequently placed in the "Starting Balance" column for the item. Note: This is equity that exists in the first year of the loan only, regardless if the loan was begun in the past (which can be set using the "Start on Year" field, also discussed above).
While the Interest Rate field determines the accrual of principal over the lifetime of the loan, the % Growth of the Home Equity item determines the rate of increase in the value of your home (it is defaulted to 3.5%). Each year's ending balance for a Home Equity item is based on both the growth in value of your home along with the accrual of principal.
OnTrajectory allows you to model extra principal payments made to your loan. Designate the Annual amount of those payments as Contributions to the item. As long as you have defined a Mortgage Payment for the item, the amount of the extra-payments will automatically be added to the Linked Mortgage item on the Expense tab.
By default, the End Age of the Home Equity item is set to 30 years from the Start Age. The reason it is not set by the Number of Years field in the Loan Information section is to allow you to set a sale year independent of the term of the loan (either to sell the home before the loan is paid off, or perhaps some years after). In addition, OnTrajectory automatically calculates your tax-free gains based on the 'Single / Married' option located in My Profile settings as shown below: