Q: This is pretty weird, and I need a second opinion. I'm buying my first home, and am looking for a mortgage loan first. I saw an ad in our local paper, and decided to apply. The lender provided an estimate of charges, but it had a lot of extra fees that I don't understand. When I asked about these costs, the mortgage officer got huffy and told me that everything was in order and that her company was the only company that could get me approved for a mortgage loan. What should I do?
A: Mortgage lenders are generally willing to go over all paperwork with you and to make adjustments in some fees; at the very least they should answer your questions to your satisfaction. You haven't made on offer on a home yet, so you have time to shop. Get mortgage quotes from several lenders, and compare and negotiate.
Q: My girlfriend is buying her first home, and she told me that her loan officer presented papers for her to sign that had blank areas on them. She could tell that these areas should have been filled in, but when she asked about it, the mortgage lender told her not to worry, that they would fill in the forms later. What gives?
A: Never sign any mortgage papers that are incomplete or that differ from terms and amounts you've agreed on. Signing blank documents is like signing a blank check; the lender can fill in anything once you've signed the documents. Advise your girlfriend to look for another mortgage lender.