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Good Faith Estimate

A Good Faith Estimate is the best method available to a borrower to compare fees and closing costs between lenders. It is a breakdown of all of the fees associated with obtaining a mortgage and closing any real estate transaction. According to RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act), a lender is required to provide you with a Good Faith Estimate within 3 days of applying for a mortgage. 

Obviously, the issue with this approach is that you must apply and have your credit approved before the lender will give you any idea of the costs associated with your transaction. While 2-3 "hits" on your credit file will not hurt your credit scores, if you are really shopping for the loan program that is best for you and talking to several lenders, you could seriously lower your all important credit scores. I would suggest that you ask for a Good Faith Estimate before you apply, and if the lender does not provide one before application, you should keep looking. In my office, creating a Good Faith Estimate only takes a few minutes to prepare and can be sent to you by email. I need to know the property location, loan program, if your transaction is a purchase, I need to know the sales price and downpayment, if a refinance, the property value, loan amount, and your current loan payoff. I have a simple form which will allow you to request a Good Faith Estimate by email.

Major sections of a Good Faith Estimate include:

1) Origination fees and discount points

2) Lender and Broker fees

3) Escrow and prepaid interest

4) Title company related fees

5) State and County fees

6) Cash to close and proposed monthly payment

Please remember that these numbers really are estimates and that they are subject to revision after application. However, an ethical lender or broker will be very close to the final numbers.

I have purchased new financial modeling software that can do sophisticated analysis of your situation today as well as make suggestions on how small changes in how your mortgage is structured today can have a life changing effect in the years to come. Modules available include the Total Cost Analysis to compare the cost of up to 4 loans over the length of time you plan to be in the home; an Equity Repositioning Analysis to see how small changes in your debt structure today can have a huge impact in years to come; a Consolidation Analysis to see how consolidating debt can change your financial future; a PMI Analysis to see if eliminating PMI will be effective for you; and a Rate Watch Report which all my past clients are enrolled in to insure they remain in the mortgage that is best for them in their current situation. If any of these free analysis are of interest to you, please email me with as much specifics of your situation as possible


I hope this information was useful to you. Please scroll down to view my Mortgage Market Guide. A weekly publication explaining the financial markets from a consumer's perspective that is available by email. I have nearly 8,000 subscribers and would be happy to have you as well.

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