No-Fee Mortgages Are Not Necessarily a Bargain

Charles Essmeier

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In order to be competitive, a number of lenders are now advertising so-called “no fee" mortgages. According to commercials from a number of mortgage companies, you can obtain a home loan where you only pay the loan's interest; there are no additional costs at closing. Can you really save money by applying for a no fee mortgage?

As usual with this sort of advertising, the answer is “perhaps, or perhaps not. " A mortgage company isn't going to simply drop charges that can amount to as much as 3%-5% of the amount borrowed. Any lender that simply did away with a source of revenue would quickly go out of business, as those fees contribute to their bottom line.

How do these mortgages work? The lender is going to charge you a higher rate of interest than a mortgage company that itemizes closing fees will. Their profit must originate somewhere; it's going to come from charging you more to borrow the money. That's not necessarily bad; it means that they are earning their money in a different way. The increased rate of interest may make the loan more attractive to buyers on the secondary market. The company may make some additional money by re-selling your mortgage to another company later.

What does this mean for you, the buyer? As with any loans or anything else that you might buy, you need to shop around before applying for a loan. The only way to tell who is providing a bargain is to compare the costs of all the lenders and crunch some numbers. Only when you examine everything, including how much in total you will pay over the life of the loan, will you be able to tell who is offering the lowest cost. Each lender is going to have different ways of making their profits; some will charge higher interest rates, others will add more fees at closing.

Is the promotion a financial scam? No, but it might be rather misleading. The companies, via their advertising, would like you to believe that you are paying less, as suggesting that there are no closing costs might lead you to believe that you are paying less money. You aren't actually paying less money, but it makes for good advertising. Whenever you think about taking out a home loan, you should assess all of the estimates from all of the mortgage companies you talk to so that you might find the deal that best meets your needs. Clever consumers always know to be suspicious when a promotion seems too good to be true.

©Copyright 2007 by Retro Marketing. Charles Essmeier is the owner of , a firm with a number of informational Websites, including , a site with information regarding home equity loans, mortgages and lines of credit.


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