With troubled mortgage businesses Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (owners of about half of the mortgages in America) dominating the news, people are asking, "Yes, but how is this going to affect me?" This New York Times article provides a good primer on the role Fannie and Freddie play in the complicated world of mortgages and the potential ramifications of their failure. While no one can predict the future, many mortgage experts are expecting a rise of a quarter to a half percentage point in interest rates. Short-term, that's not much of a spike, but over the long term, "a dysfunctional Freddie and Fannie could send mortgage rates higher than they would have been otherwise." Yikes. So, if you are shopping for a mortgage, now may be the time to lock in your rate.