HotPads.com, a map-based search and listing tool for homes and apartments, today announced the launch of a tool that customizes a view of matching of rental and for-sale properties based on the amount of money they are willing to spend each month on in rent or mortgage payments.

The “Buy vs. Rent” search portal has a sliding scale that can be used to set a minimum and maximum monthly payment amount. A “Mortgage Variables” section prompts users to enter the mortgage term, annual percentage rate and down payment amount.

“With the current slump in the housing market, whether to buy or rent has become an increasingly difficult decision,” said Douglas Pope, HotPads.com co-founder, in a statement. “This allows housing shoppers to see exactly what they can afford to buy and rent.”

Users can also adjust the search based on the unit size, and the list of matching properties in the map view immediately adjusts according to the selected parameters.

In addition to the new buy vs. rent tool, the HotPads site will continue to offer separate search options to search only among rental properties or only among for-sale properties.

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