The housing market, and with it the mortgage landscape, have changed dramatically over the past two years.

Rules for scoring a low-interest mortgage have become stricter, and homebuyers must be savvy and well-prepared to land any home loan. Below are 10 tips to make your homebuying or refinancing odyssey more successful in 2010.

1. Consider an adjustable-rate mortgage.
In late 2009, one in 20 borrowers was obtaining an adjustable-rate mortgage. As mortgage rates rise in 2010, the proportion of ARM borrowers is expected to grow.

The most popular adjustable is the 5/1 ARM, which carries an introductory rate that lasts five years, and then can change annually thereafter. Typically, the introductory rate on 5/1 ARM is lower than the rate on a 30-year fixed. That makes the 5/1 ARM a viable option for borrowers who are sure they will sell their homes within five or six years, before the monthly payments have a chance to skyrocket.

A fixed-rate mortgage is probably the safest option for homebuying. But for people who plan to sell their homes within a few years, a hybrid ARM is worth considering.