Good Faith Estimate

An estimate of all closing fees including pre-paid and escrow items as well as lender charges; must be given to the borrower within three days after submission of a loan application.

A good faith estimate, referred to as a GFE, must be provided by a mortgage lender or broker in the United States to a customer, as required by the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). The estimate must include an itemized list of fees and costs associated with the loan and must be provided within three business days of applying for a loan. These mortgage fees, also called settlement costs or closing costs, cover every expense associated with a home loan, including inspections, title insurance, taxes and other charges. A good faith estimate is a standard form which is intended to be used to compare different offers (or quotes) from different lenders or brokers. The good faith estimate is only an estimate. The final closing costs may be different – sometimes very different. The fees included within a good faith estimate fall into six basic categories:The following is a list of the typical charges. Each charge starts with a number – the same number is the number of the charge on a HUD-1 Real Estate Settlement Statement. This makes it easier to compare the charges a loan applicant receives on the good faith estimate to the HUD-1. 800 ITEMS PAYABLE IN CONNECTION WITH LOAN:This fee is a charge for originating or creating the loanThis is an upfront charge paid to the lender to get a lower mortgage rate – the same as “buying the rate down”This is the cost of the independent appraisal. It is usually paid by the buyer. This is the cost of the credit reportThis is the lender's cost of inspecting a property – some may double check the appraisal provided by an independent appraiserThis is the upfront charge that a mortgage broker charges. Brokers can also earn a “rebate” from the lender which is not listed hereLender fee, usually small, for handling tax related mattersThis is the charge for processing the loan – collecting the buyer's application, running credit, collecting pay stubs, bank statements, ordering appraisal, title, etc. This is the cost of the loan underwriter (approver)This is the cost of wiring the money around, which is usually done by escrow. 900 ITEMS REQUIRED BY LENDER TO BE PAID IN ADVANCEThis is the prepaid interest for a mortgage loan. This is the prepaid mortgage insurance premium, if needed. This is the insurance premium some lenders charge for loans with little equity. This is used to record hazard insurance premiums that must be paid at settlement in order to have immediate insurance on the property. It is not used for insurance reserves that will go into escrow. This is the Veterans Administration funding fee, which is only applicable if the loan is through a VA program. 1000 RESERVES DEPOSITED WITH LENDERThis is any prepayment of future hazard insurance expenseThis is any prepayment of future mortgage insurance expenseThis is any prepayment of future school tax expenseThis is any prepayment of future tax expenses, such as property taxesThis is any prepayment of future flood insurance expenseThis is a credit to the buyer. By law, the lender is not allowed to collect more than the sum of initial payments for reserve items. The aggregate adjustment is the amount the lender must 'credit' the borrower at closing, so that they don't collect more than the law allows. 1100 TITLE CHARGESThis is the cost of escrow. This is the service of a neutral party that actually handles the money between all the different parties in a real estate transaction, including: the lender, the buyer, the seller, the agents, notary, etc. This is often done by the “Title Company” – a related entity in the same office that provides title insuranceThis is the charge for preparing the loan documents. Lenders often email the loan documents to the escrow company, which in turn prints them out and reviews them before signing. However, some title companies are owned by an attorney who will also draw certain legal documents for your closing. This is the cost of the notary. This is to have all of the legal documents surrounding this transaction notarized. If you are closing inside the title company office, there is usually no charge for this. Any legal charges associated with clearing the title to the property. This is the cost of insuring the title of the property. If there is a question about title (who really owned the property), or if a judgment or lien was really paid off, after the transaction is done then this insurance protects the lender and owner from future problems. 1200 GOVERNMENT RECORDING & TRANSFER CHARGESThis is the cost of updating relevant government recordsUnavoidable government chargeUnavoidable government chargeMany counties now allow documents to be recorded electronically. This expedites the issuance of a title policy by several weeks. 1300 ADDITIONAL SETTLEMENT CHARGESAnything 'extra' that is not included in the 800-1200 charges are itemized in the 1300 section. This includes things like the survey, HOA fees, and repairs. This is the cost of the pest inspector. Their purpose is to document the state of the property that the lender is making the loan on.