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Realtors Have a Stake in Making Sure That You Are Not Screwed.

When you are working with a Realtor, you can call a halt to a lot of these shenanigans. If you're working with a local loan officer and not an online lender, then your loan officer depends upon her reputation in the Realtor community. If your loan officer messes up too many times, you can bet that Realtors will steer their clients away from her.

If you use a Realtor referral, your Realtor has put his reputation at risk. Realtors don't like to do that. If you get a referral from a Realtor and something bad happens, you don't just blame the bad person you were referred to; you also blame the Realtor for giving you a bad referral. Realtors live and die by their referrals.

When you get a GFE from a loan officer, let your Realtor take a look at it. Let your Realtor see if certain charges are being quoted correctly. In most instances, you have no control over where your closing will take place or who the seller's title insurance company will be or how much the document preparation people will charge for their services. Often it's the Realtor who decides who gets a lot of this business.

So if you're scheduled to have your closing at XYZ Escrow Company and two lenders are quoting two different fees for the very same service at the very same company, then someone's wrong. Right? In fact, it's possible that they'll both be wrong. When you ask your Realtor to review what you've been quoted, you're relying on the Realtor's personal experience with the escrow firm, not on a GFE issued by someone who's never used the escrow firm in question.

You Can Call Companies Directly to See If Their Fees Are Accurately Quoted on an Estimate.

You're not using a Realtor or your Realtor isn't familiar with certain settlement fees? Then pick up the phone and ask the company directly. If you're in an area of the country where you get to choose your own attorney, then the attorney fees will be accurately quoted. In other parts of the United States, an attorney is involved, but she doesn't act on your behalf; instead, she represents the lender, reviews papers, or holds a settlement.

If you're not sure what an attorney charges in these cases, pick up the phone and ask. "Hi, this is David Reed, and I'm scheduled to close with your firm. What do you charge?"

You'll get an answer, which you can then compare with what has been provided to you by your various lenders. If you see one lender who sticks out as being the most consistent in its rate quotes, you should seriously consider doing business with that lender. If a lender is telling you the truth about various fees from third parties while everyone else seems to be all over the map, I would trust that lender with everything else.

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