Modeling Home Equity

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.

The following topics will be covered in this Guide:

  1. Entering Loan / Mortgage Information
  2. Modeling Starting Equity and the Increase of Property Value
  3. Making Extra-Payments
  4. Modeling the Sale of Your Home

1. Entering Loan / Mortgage Information

When you add a new 'Home Equity' item from the Accounts & Taxes tab, the Item Properties window will automatically appear, as shown below:

Loan / Mortgage Information

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.

2. Modeling Starting Equity, Down-Payments, and Property Value

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 'Year of loan' field, also discussed above).

Item Information

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. 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.

3. Making Extra-Payments

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.

4. Modeling the Sale of Your Home

OnTrajectory will never automatically "drawdown" funds that are in a Home Equity account, because those funds are not liquid. In order to 'free-up' funds, the property must be sold — which occurs based on the End Age of the account.

By default, the End Age of the Home Equity item is set to 30 years from the Start Age, however, it should be updated to reflect the age at which you expect to sell the property. Taxes at sale are automatically calculated based on gains in the property and the 'Single / Married' option located in My Profile settings as shown below:

Basic Settings

If there is no loan associated with the property, set the 'Cost Basis' on the Taxes tab to more accurately calculate taxes when selling the property).