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All mortgage interest rates and terms are not the same. Never before has there been such a wide variety of mortgages available. You are wise to shop carefully among as many lenders as possible. Consult at least two banks, two S&Ls, and two mortgage companies to compare their rates and terms.

The prime reason there is such a wide variety of mortgages available is home loans offer the highest yields available to most lenders and each lender has different yield requirements. Even the insurance companies which have been out of the home loan game for years are now playing again.

Mortgage money is abundantly available but it isn't cheap and there are many lender tricks to safeguard against. Some mortgage lenders merely originate the loan and then quickly sell that loan in the secondary market. These loans usually have the toughest requirements because the secondary lenders have qualification standards which can be difficult to meet unless your name is Rockefeller.

But the easiest mortgage loans to get are from lenders who plan to keep the loan "in portfolio." These lenders don't have to meet the tough secondary mortgage market standards and can be more flexible.

When you find a "good deal" loan, lock it up by asking for a written loan commitment. Don't trust a lender who won't give you at least a 30 to 45-day written loan commitment.

Unfortunately, some lenders try to trick borrowers by changing the loan terms at the last minute, just before the scheduled closing day. To avoid becoming a victim, get everything in writing to avoid any misunderstanding.