Mortgage Fees: What are the Junk Fees?

Take out the garbage! Rotten fees are stinking up the place.

Take out the garbage! Rotten fees are stinking up the place.

Junk fees and garbage fees are the unnecessary fees that some banks and mortgage lenders charge to pad their profits. These fees are either nonsense, redundant, or padded costs. You want to avoid wasting your hard-earned cash and say NO to those fees. As promised, here is updated information on lender fees for 2015.

Current Law About Mortgage Fees

The Dodd-Frank Act (passed after the release of Mortgage Rip-Offs and Money Savers) says two things you should know:

1) Lenders cannot increase their fees from the time of the Good Faith Estimate to the closing HUD Settlement Statement.

2) All of the lender fees in the upfront Cost Estimate or Fees Worksheet must be added together and posted on one line in the Good Faith Estimate: “Our origination charge” (page 2, #1).

What This Means to You

1) You no longer have to worry about a lender adding a big junk fee at closing, as used to happen. This also means you don’t need to ask the loan officer for a written guarantee on the lender fees, because that is now built into the law.

2) Your main concern when it comes to lender fees is the total cost of those fees. Are they fair? Are they reasonable? Are they too high? To help you answer those questions, you can dig deeper into what those fees are.

Common Lender Fees

Lenders might call their fee an administration fee, commitment fee, processing fee, underwriting fee, or simply, origination fee. As long as it is a fair and competitive amount for your region of the country, it doesn’t matter which of those fee names they use. (East and West Coast states are higher priced than the South and Midwest.)

Another common fee–one that I do not like–is the application fee. Some lenders used to charge an upfront app. fee of $150 to $400 for taking the loan application. Thankfully, it is now illegal to collect that money before your loan has been pre-approved. However, I still do not like the idea of lenders taking an application fee before closing, because if the loan does not go through for some reason, the application fee is the one they do not have to refund to you. One of the biggest national banks charges an application fee for this very reason. Sneaky, right?

Pure Junk!

In my professional opinion, a lender should not charge the following fees: (To my way of thinking, these services should already be covered by the administrative, processing, or underwriting fees.)

* Ancillary Fee
* Courier
* Document Preparation Fee
* Doc Fulfillment Fee
* Document Review Fee
* Email or e-doc Fee
* Funding Fee
* Misc. Fee
* Photo Review Fee
* Satisfaction Fee
* Storage Fee
* Warehouse Fee

There is a lot more to say about lender fees, which is why there is an entire chapter on this topic in Mortgage Rip-Offs and Money Savers and in Homebuyers Beware.

Next blog post, I will discuss junk fees that title companies, escrow companies, and even attorneys who provide settlement/closing services are charging nowadays. I invite you to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss out on any important information.

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