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Closing Costs When Buying or Refinancing a Home

When you talk to a lender, they usually prepare a "Good Faith Estimate" of closing costs. Sometimes they will give it to you right away, but they are only required to mail it to you within three business days of application.

Because the lender is the one who prepares the estimate, many buyers associate all the closing costs with the lender. This is not correct. The lender is only preparing an estimate of the costs you may incur when buying or refinancing and is not required to list all potential costs. Nor does the lender know what all the costs are actually going to be. The estimate is an educated guess based on past experience. Some things will get left out. Always anticipate the actual costs are going to be more than the estimate.

When comparing two lenders, don't look at the "total" cost. Only compare the costs actually charged by each lender. Both lenders are only making informed guesses about costs charged by others.

The next page is a detailed summary of costs you may have to pay when you buy or refinance your home. The costs are listed in the order that they should appear on a Good Faith Estimate you obtain from a mortgage lender.

There are two broad categories of closing costs. Non-recurring closing costs are items that are paid once and you never pay again. Recurring closing costs are items you pay time and again over the course of home ownership, such as property taxes and homeowner’s insurance.

Some of the items that appear here do not traditionally appear on a lender's Good Faith Estimate and lenders are not required to show all of these items.

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