Attorney General Issues Consumer Advisory About Shopping for a Mortgage

HARRISBURG, Pa. – With the spring home-buying season in full swing, Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today offered tips to consumers looking for a home loan.

Attorney General Kane urged potential homebuyers to shop around for the best deal. “For most people, buying a home is the largest purchase they will ever make,” Kane said. “Shopping for a mortgage can be confusing, but following a few simple guidelines could save you thousands of dollars.”

Kane offered the following recommendations to help consumers avoid unfair loans and simplify the home-buying process:

Obtain loan information from several lenders. Lenders offer many different types of loan products. Contact commercial banks, credit unions and mortgage companies to find the best loan and rates.

Inquire about added points. Lenders may charge points to cover loan origination costs. Points are usually paid in cash at closing, but may also be rolled into the mortgage payment, thereby increasing the overall cost of the loan. Be sure to review each loan product for added points and origination fees.

Review the cost of your loan. Ask for a list of closing costs and fees from all prospective lenders.

Ask about Private Mortgage Insurance. Many lenders require that you purchase Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) if your down payment is less than 20 percent of the home’s purchase price. Ask each prospective lender about the required down payment and what the total cost for PMI would be if required.

Verify your monthly payment. Confirm the total cost of your monthly payment, including taxes and insurance, with each prospective lender.

Consumers are protected from discrimination in real estate transactions on the basis of race, sex, religion or handicap by the Fair Housing Act. A consumer may not be refused a loan or offered less-favorable terms based on these characteristics.

For more information or to report a complaint about a lender, Attorney General Kane encourages Commonwealth residents to contact the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection at (800) 441-2555.

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