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How To Use A Good Faith Estimate When Shopping For A Mortgage

Aug 17, 2007
When shopping for a loan many people focus on the interest rate or the APR. This is indeed a very important part of the loan. But only by comparing the Good Faith Estimate provided by a lender can you determine if they are really giving you a good deal or if they are trying to take you for a ride around the block. This article shows how to use the Good Faith Estimate to scrutinize and compare lenders and get the best loan.

Within three days after applying for a loan the lender must provide you in person or in the mail a completed Good Faith Estimate. This is a form that represents an estimate of the fees and costs of necessary items to successfully process and close your mortgage loan. These items include points and other fees. This is a long form that is divided into six different categories. These categories are numbered 800, 900, 1000, 1100, 1200, and 1300. The real key to understanding if you are getting a good deal is to focus on the section that relates directly to the lender.

Sections 900 through 1300 all relate to third party charges and the lender has no control over these. These sections may include items such as appraisal, insurance, impounds, recording fees, transfer fees, title charges, attorney fees, inspection fees and settlement fees. Now you may notice that these fees vary between lenders. This is because the lender is the one that prepares the Good Faith Estimate and prints it for you. The lender puts estimates here based on what these items typically cost. They have no control over items in these sections so disregard comparing these when comparing lenders. These can all be categorized as non lender costs and fees. Although some lenders may try to trick you by giving low figures for the third party fees to make their Good Faith Estimate look better. By doing this their total closing costs and fees may look much lower on paper. Make sure the third party charges look reasonable. You can always call third parties and inquire about what the usual charges are to check this.

Basically section 800 includes all the items associated with the lender. These are the charges and fees that relate directly to the loan and here is where to compare lenders. This is where you should really focus and review items to make comparisons. This section may include administration fees, application fees, document preparation fees, funding fees, mortgage broker fees, processing fees, underwriting fees, wire transfer fees and any other garbage or junk fees that a lender might be charging. This is where they can really add on the extra padding.

With the ability to add on many types of fees it is crucial to look at everything and not just focus on the interest rate. Unfortunately, loans have several different parts. These can be altered to make one part look more attractive if necessary. A lender can make any part of the loan attractive if they feel that is what is really important to you. For example, one lender may offer a $300,000 loan a half point lower but may have $3,000 or one point worth of fees added in the Good Faith Estimate. So be sure to look at the total picture to really see which lender has the best offer for you and also make sure they have accurately quoted third party fees. Remember, by lowering third party fees it will make their Good Faith Estimate look better on paper. Also, be sure to compare the loan interest rate and the lender charges together to see which is really the best deal. Remember, it never hurts to ask a lender if they will reduce or eliminate charges if you feel they are too high.
About the Author
San Diego Mortgage Lender Broker Rates Loans . site provides readers with free informative articles about mortgages and real estate. Visit our site for all your mortgage needs.
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