Dos and don'ts of mortgage shopping

Helpful tips on choosing loan, buying down rate

"I don’t want an education in mortgages; I just want to know enough to save as much money as possible on my new mortgage. Also, as an African-American, I want to avoid being taken advantage of. Any chance you can distill what I need to know into one article?"

Here are some quick and dirty suggestions for vulnerable borrowers who want to save money but don’t want to make the process into a life’s work.

Determine Your Status as a Borrower Before You Search For a Loan: You may not qualify, which is a common occurrence in a market that has become very demanding in the wake of the financial crisis.