Before Closing on a Home, See These Tips on Avoiding High Fees

By ABC News

Aug 13, 2013 6:48pm

ABC News’ Paula Faris reports:

The Cureton family of West Orange, N.J., say that while they are excited about buying their first home, they’re not too thrilled about the mountain of paperwork — and fees — that awaits them.

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The couple made an offer this week on a home with a spacious backyard that would give their two kids plenty of space to roam.

“We pretty much knew right away we wanted to make an offer,” Jackie Cureton said. “We wanted that house.”

And while they hadn’t closed on the house yet, husband Jeff Cureton said the term “closing costs” had him at a loss.

“I don’t even know what that means,” he told ABC News. “There’s a lot of stuff for us to go through.”

While there may be thousands of dollars of fees in the paperwork involved in buying a house, Erin Lantz, a mortgage business director at, an online real estate database, says getting your first home doesn’t mean you have to settle for high fees.

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Credit: ABC News

She shared the following three tips with the Curetons and they were able to save more than $6,000.

Find out how below:

1. Be prepared and go to sites like Zillow, Trulia and Redfin to get a range of what you should be paying in fees.

“[The site] will detail out all of the closing costs, everything associated with that particular quote,” Lantz said.

2. Negotiate service fees — don’t be afraid. ABC News’ “Real Money” team poured over the fine print line-by-line with Lantz, who found these top three fees you could push back on: “origination charge,” “credit report check” and “appraisal fee.”

Lantz said the origination charge — $899 for the Curetons — was a fancy way of saying “processing fees.” The credit report check totaled $23.54 and the appraisal fee, $485.

Lantz said fees like these were not mandatory charges and the bank had the ability to remove them.

Also, in the Curetons’ case, the bank had added a $5,000 insurance fee, which other banks don’t charge.

3. Shop around. All lenders have different fees and different fee structures. Lantz found the Curetons another lender, saving the family more than $6,000 in fees.

Read More: States With Highest Closing Costs

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