Why shop for a real estate loan online?

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(This is Part 1 of a three-part series. See Part 2: Which real estate lender Web sites are worth shopping? and Part 3: Best way to shop for real estate loan online.) This is the first of three articles on the why, which and how of shopping for a mortgage online: why seek a mortgage this way, which sites are the best, and how do you shop effectively? Shopping for a mortgage online involves finding the best price among the single-lender Web sites that price your mortgage. Online mortgage shopping is not for everyone, as discussed in the last article of this series, but for those properly equipped, it offers numerous advantages. Online Prices Are Easier to Find and to Shop: If your loan is priced on a Web site, it will be relatively easy to find, and to compare to the quotes on other sites. In contrast, price quotes in the hard-copy media are never provided in the detail required by most shoppers, and are always out of date. Telephone and e-mail quotes by brokers and loan officers ar...