A good faith estimate is a mortgage document that lists the estimated costs that will have to paid at or before closing. It also identifies some of the companies expected to provide service in connection with the loan, like credit bureaus, appraisers, and closing agents. The fees listed are estimates, so the actual cost may vary.
From the start, look for the name of the lender or broker at the top. Be sure all of the information is correct and know that a second good faith estimate may be sent if a lender is chosen at a later time.
The costs charged by each lender and broker will not be the same, so it is a good idea to your good faith estimate to shop and bargain for the best prices.
The most helpful information can be found in these locations:
- Lines 800s – Items Payable in connection with the Loan
- Lines 1100s – Title Charges
The charges included in the good faith estimate may be negotiated. These are some of the questions you should ask:
- What is this fee for?
- Why is it being charged?
- Who will receive the fee?
- Can it be eliminated or reduced?
You should ask these questions of every lender and use the information gained to bargain for the elimination of the charges. The charges connected with lines 1100s can be negotiated with the lender, broker, or closing agent. Don’t be afraid to ask for lower or erased charges and don’t be afraid of lenders. They need your business more than you need to pay them extraneous charges or interest, especially if alternative lenders will offer a better deal.
If you are unsure about anything involving the good faith estimate, feel free to consult a real estate attorney. An attorney can be extremely helpful if you want someone to negotiate the best prices and rates for you or need help understand the various stages of a real estate transaction.