How to Compare and Negotiate Closing Costs on a Mortgage

When applying for a mortgage, it’s crucial to understand and plan for closing costs. These fees can add up to a significant amount and can affect your overall budget. This guide provides a step-by-step approach to comparing and negotiating closing costs on a mortgage.

  1. Understand Closing Costs

Closing costs are the additional charges and fees that homebuyers must pay when purchasing a home. They typically range from 1.5% to 4% of the property’s purchase price and can include legal fees, title insurance, land transfer tax, home inspection fees, and more.

  1. Obtain a Good Faith Estimate

Your lender is required to give you a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) of your closing costs within three business days of your mortgage application. This document breaks down the estimated costs, making it a valuable tool for comparing costs across different lenders.

  1. Evaluate the Loan Estimate

Carefully review the Loan Estimate. This will help you understand the total cost of your mortgage, including the interest rate, monthly payments, and closing costs. Take note of the listed services you can shop for, as these offer opportunities for savings.

  1. Shop Around for Certain Services

Some closing costs come from third-party services, like home inspections, title searches, and insurance. Shop around for these services as their costs can vary significantly.

  1. Ask Questions

If there are fees you don’t understand, ask your lender. It’s important to know what each fee covers, why it’s necessary, and if it’s a set or variable cost.

  1. Compare Costs Across Different Lenders

Use the GFEs from different lenders to compare closing costs. This will give you a clearer picture of which lender offers the most competitive terms.

  1. Consider the Full Picture

Remember to consider the overall loan package, not just the closing costs. A loan with lower closing costs but a higher interest rate may cost more over time than one with higher closing costs and a lower rate.

  1. Negotiate with the Lender

Once you’ve compared closing costs, try negotiating with your preferred lender. Some lenders may be willing to reduce or waive certain fees. Don’t be afraid to ask for explanations or request a reduction.

  1. Ask the Seller to Pay Some Costs

In some cases, you might be able to negotiate with the seller to pay some of your closing costs. This can be particularly effective in a buyer’s market.

  1. Consider a No-Closing-Cost Mortgage

Some lenders offer no-closing-cost mortgages, where the lender pays the closing costs but charges a higher interest rate. While this can reduce your upfront costs, it will likely cost more over time.

  1. Be Prepared for Closing Day

On closing day, you’ll receive a Closing Disclosure that lists your actual closing costs. Review this document carefully and compare it with your Loan Estimate to ensure there are no unexpected fees.

  1. Work with a Mortgage Broker

Working with a mortgage broker like Shelto can help simplify the process of comparing and negotiating closing costs. Brokers have extensive knowledge and experience in the mortgage industry, which they can use to help you secure the best possible mortgage.

In conclusion, understanding, comparing, and negotiating closing costs is an essential part of the mortgage process. Being proactive and thorough in your approach can result in substantial savings. As always, the Shelto team is here to help guide you every step of the way.

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