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Starting Out
Mortgage definitionsA comprehensive compilation of mortgage terms.
What is a mortgage? You know it’s a loan to buy a house — but there’s more to it.
Fixed vs. adjustable

Fixed means security, adjustable can mean lower rates. Which is for you?
30 years vs. 15 years
Know how your choice will affect your payments.
Do’s and don’ts for the months leading up to a mortgage
Follow these steps and your good fiscal behavior will lead to a lower rate.
Coming up with a down payment
Lenders have dramatically eased down payment requirements — do you qualify?
Getting your loan
Understanding your credit reportYou had better know what it means — and how to improve it.
Get pre-qualified, pre-approvedOne is better than the other. Do you know the difference?
10 questions to ask your lenderIf you ask only about rates, you put the lender in the driver’s seat on your deal.
The basics of private mortgage insurance (PMI) Unless you put 20 percent down, you’re likely to be hit by this additional payment.
Closing the deal
Your mortgage broker to-do listA five-point checklist for finalizing your mortgage broker selection.
Tips to avoid last-minute mortgage surprisesRates, points and terms can change mysteriously. Here’s how to minimize the damage.
Closing costs: Are you paying too much?Bankrate’s exclusive survey will help you figure out if these add-on fees are fair or foul.
Should you pay points?It depends on your cash supply and how long you intend to stay in your home.