My Buddies in the Mortgage Business Will Love This One:

The Top 10 Mortgage Mistakes Borrowers Make

1. Not knowing which mortgage fees you can - and cannot - negotiate. Or how the lender actually makes money on you.

2. Choosing and trusting the first loan officer you interview.

3. Using an interest-only or adjustable rate loan primarily to qualify for a more expensive house. (You could be paying forever, eventually getting in debt over your head or, at the very least, you will pay more interest for a longer period of time.)

4. Thinking the interest rate is always the main thing. (Most "astute" mortgage shoppers think they should call around to "shop" rates. And "rate envy" is common, especially among male borrowers. But what closing costs will you need to pay to get that fabulous advertised rate?)

5. Not comparing the final fees listed on the closing documents to the up-front estimates (to avoid the lender "packing" the loan with added-on fees without your knowledge).

6. Not knowing if your mortgage has a pre-payment penalty - until it's too late.

7. Thinking that renting is always "just throwing money away." (At least in the short run, it can cost you thousands less to rent. For instance, don't buy a starter house.)

8. Not knowing if you are paying a back-end yield spread or Service Release Premium (if so, the lender has upsold you the rate).

9. Paying for mortgage life insurance, credit insurance or other expensive lender add-ons (like the just-mentioned SRP, this sale can increase the "kickbacks" the lender will receive from various vendors).

10. Paying hundreds of dollars to have a company set up a biweekly mortgage payment plan for you, something you can generally do yourself - for free.

From a newly-released book, "Kickback: Confessions of a Mortgage Salesman, How to Save $1,000s on Your Mortgage," Insight Publishing. The author, Ted Janusz, is a former senior loan officer of a regional mortgage bank and wrote the book as part of his "penance." Janusz earned his MBA in Marketing from the University of Pittsburgh and his BS in Accounting from Slippery Rock University.


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