How to find fairly priced mortgages

Tool lets consumers compare rates, closing costs by ZIP code

You’ve got to like an organization that has the words "fair mortgage" in it. And you especially have to appreciate them when they introduce a handy little software program that lets you know you are getting a fair price when you apply for a mortgage.

The Fair Mortgage Collaborative is a nonprofit organization based in New York that attempts to accomplish three important home finance goals: educate consumers about predatory lending practices; help consumers avoid predatory lenders and brokers; and enable consumers to obtain safe, fairly priced loans.

Working with a group of other nonprofits such as The Ford Foundation, Neighborhood Housing Services of America, and The Center for Responsible Lending, the Fair Mortgage Collaborative created the Fair and Safe Standards List: principles that lenders and brokers should follow, the practices they should employ when making loans, and the products that they should or should not offer.