real estate

5 tips for the first-time homebuyer

Read the GFE
Read the GFE

Many homebuyers have heard horror stories about so-called "garbage" or "junk" fees that are tacked onto mortgage costs at closing, when it's all but too late to find an alternative, less expensive loan. Such tales, while once valid, might be outdated today, says Jared Martin, CEO of Keystone Funding, a mortgage company in Media, Pa.

That's because a new government-mandated good faith estimate, or GFE, should be much more true to its name. For many of the fees listed on this important disclosure form, there's zero tolerance for any increase. Others can vary from the estimate only by relatively modest percentages.

"For the most part," Martin says, "buyers should feel pretty safe that new regulations have killed the scenario where all these fees show up at closing."

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