Using online mortgage quotes to your advantage

4 tips to avoid being overcharged

Many potential mortgage borrowers spend time on mortgage websites in preparation for shopping offline. The check these sites to see if they will qualify, to decide what kind of mortgage best meets their needs, and whether they want to buy down the rate by paying points or pay a higher rate to get a cash rebate.

Potential borrowers also visit the Web for another reason: To get mortgage prices they can use in shopping offline. Many borrowers think that the way to select a loan officer or mortgage broker (I will refer to them as "LOs" throughout this column) is to find a price online and ask prospective LOs if they can beat it.