internet investor
As a rough rule of thumb you can reckon on there being around 1,000 mortgage schemes on offer in the UK at any one time.

One of them will be right for you but quite how you find it may appear daunting. The power of your PC and of the World Wide Web can help you find the mortgage you want although you can not yet actually get a mortgage over the Web.

However, a number of brokers and providers will give you an indication in principle of whether your application is likely to succeed.

What you can do on nearly all the websites of the mortgage brokers and mortgage lenders on the Internet is calculate what your desired mortgage is likely to cost you.

Bear in mind that the number you will be offered will not be an exact quotation. Think of it more as a rough guide.

These "mortgage calculators" all have slightly different approaches - the look and feel may not be exactly the same - but all provide you with answers in just a few moments.

Working out what a mortgage would cost you used to take a fair chunk of time, a pocket calculator and several sheets of paper. No longer.

Most mortgage calculators on the Web allow you to specify the mortgage term and the size and type of the loan.

In return, they will show you the monthly repayments you are likely to face for a given rate of interest.

Some of the calculators ask you to set the rate of interest. Others offer you options to choose from.

Some calculators will also tell you what kind of income you are likely to need to support a given loan, based roughly on the standard multiples of three to three-and-a-half times single income and so on.

You may be considering an interest-only mortgage linked to some sort of savings vehicle to repay the capital sum at the end of the term.

If this is the case, Paragon Mortgages' site is among those which allows you to make a further calculation to work out how much you need to save on a monthly basis to repay your mortgage at the end of the term.

This calculator allows you to vary the assumed annual growth rate, which means, for example, that if you are more pessimistic about the likely future returns on your investments, you may make greater provision.

Paragon also has a calculator called House Evaluator which will value your property.

In exchange for entering the original purchase price, month and year in which you bought and also the region in which you live, the calculator will give you an estimated current valuation.

This is obviously a simplistic exercise which does not, among other factors, take account of property type but may give you some idea of what your current home might realise when you put it on the market.

If you are a first-time buyer, your best starting place to discover the ins and outs of what taking on a mortgage entails is likely to be one of the mortgage brokers' sites or, alternatively, that of one of the major lenders such as Cheltenham & Gloucester, Halifax or Nationwide.

A quick look through their introductory pages is likely to save you at least one trip down the high street to a lender's branch.

Of course, what is available on the Web is changing and growing all the time.

For example, John Charcol, one of the country's leading mortgage brokers, now has a new site with a detailed and regularly updated guide to current mortgage "best buys".

John Charcol:

Paragon Mortgages:

Cheltenham & Gloucester: