Owning a home can be one of the most valuable investments you make. Whether you're shopping for a mortgage or considering a reverse mortgage, you should be aware of the many details and the terminology involved before you sign any papers.

If one day you find yourself behind on or unable to make your mortgage payments, it's best to confront the situation and find help as soon as possible to avoid foreclosure. You also need to beware of scams that claim to rescue your home from foreclosure. If it seems too good to be true, it is.

Shopping for a Mortgage
Always shop around for a home loan or mortgage. It will help you find the best financing deal. A mortgage—whether it’s a home purchase, a refinancing or a home equity loan—is a product, just like a car, so the rate and terms may be negotiable.

You’ll want to compare all the costs involved in obtaining a mortgage. Shopping, comparing and negotiating may save you thousands of dollars. You're also better off if you understand the process and details involved before committing to any loans and common terminology used in the industry.

Home loans are available from several types of lenders:

  • Savings banks
  • Commercial banks
  • Mortgage companies
  • Credit unions

Different lenders may quote you different rates and terms so contact several lenders to make sure you’re getting the best offer for your financial situation. You can also get a home loan through a mortgage broker. To compare lenders, brokers and their products, ask for information about the same loan amount, loan term (length of time to pay it back) and type of loan (a fixed rate versus a variable, for example).