With respect to the general issue of loan types, lenders, and interest rates, there is a virtual ocean of information on the web. Begin with our section on Loans and Financing, but another good source is HSH Associate’s site. Both describe the many types of loans that are available, how loans are priced, how your credit influences the types of loans you qualify for, and what current interest rates are like. They also provide mortgage calculators to help you get a feel for what you may be able to borrow as well as information on current loan rates. However, one of the problems people have with oceans, including oceans of information, is that they can so easily drown in them.
So, while it can be useful to familiarize yourself with some of the information on these sites before you meet with a lender, I would strongly recommend that you sit down with a real live loan officer very early in the purchase process. Elsewhere, I’ve discussed why beginning work on the loan at the outset is so critical to the process of focusing the home search and negotiating the contract (see Getting Started). Here I want to emphasize that you need to begin this process with a real live human being, not with a web site, a book, or a telephone call.