The New 2010 GFE

Well, the time is upon us, 2010 is nearly here and with it, we will see a myriad of changes in mortgage lending and the industry in general.  Most importantly of all these changes are imposed by nearly exclusively by “big brother”.  So only time will tell if they will indeed help the average consumer be more informed and help them to understand what fees they are paying for and whom them went to.  Right from the outset, let me say I don’t think the new GFE is easier to read and understand.  Furthermore, it is at least twice as long as it is now, and it  seems to me and many to be twice as hard to decipher.

Now with that said let me outline just a few of the “highlights” of what the proposed “improvements” are going to require. Thanks, Federal Government, for sticking your nose in yet another industry that doesn’t need it.  They take effect on January 1, 2010.

The GFE provides the potential mortgage applicant with cost details associated with closing the loan.   GFEs have not been standardized and commonly they are different compared state to state and loan type to loan type.   For example in Texas on a VA loan it may not look identical to let’s say a Conventional loan in California.  Even after 7 years in the mortgage industry some are still a jumbled mess.  Also GFEs have been just that, estimates, not an actual amount because it is nearly impossible to know what the actual charges and payoffs etc are going to be on a loan before the loan officer has the opportunity to see the “numbers”.

That seems to be a prevailing factor, that the new GFEs be accurate, or more so.  Normally I would say initial GFE’s have been off by 10-15%.  The new rules will create a standardized, three-page GFE and require that the itemized list of estimated fees and charges be accurate. This is supposed to make it easier for borrowers to understand what charges are involved in their proposed loans.  It will allow for a very small variance in the charges.

These new rules also apply and attempt to standardize the HUD, commonly called the settlement statement.  The list of actual fees and charges the borrower has to pay. The new settlement statement or HUD also will be three pages long and will include a chart on the last page attempting to show the borrower to compare the estimated charges in the GFE with the actual charges paid.

Well, that is the short of it, certainly there is more involved but you get the idea and I hope it will be beneficial to everyone.

New 2010 Good Faith Estimate (GFE)


The new Good Faith Estimate that arrives in 2010 is a way to allow you as the consumer to see exactly what your settlement charges are and will be. It provides much greater transparency to the consumer.

The problem with the new Good Faith Estimate is that it advocates shopping for the lowest cost loan, which we all know doesn’t always come with the best available service. I believe this new good faith is going to lead to a lot of heart-ache for borrowers interested only in pricing. Having an educated, experienced loan officer that can discuss your goals and objectives for the given loan is a critical component of loan shopping.

Here at Low VA Rates you will get great customer service along with very competitive pricing. Nobody has spent more time and energy becoming nimble to the changes in this marketplace than Low VA Rates.  I anticipate that we will continue to adapt and show resilience in this ever changing market. If you look at our track record it is quite compelling when you see the number of Veterans and FHA homeowners we’ve helped thru the years.

The one area of the GFE that makes complete sense to me is the tradeoff table. Using the table will allow a borrower to see exactly what the tradeoff is between lower interest rates and lower costs. However, it doesn’t compare the overall savings associated with these changes. The new GFE is longer (3 pages) and will provide more disclosure and seems easier for the consumer to identify what settlement charges will be at closing. It will require a further inquiry as pertaining to qualifying before quoting an interest rate.

There will be no more GFE shopping taking place among competitors until a thorough investigation has been done to determine eligibility. The consumer will have to realize before receiving a quote from a broker or lender, he or she may be asked to provide authorization to pull credit prior to receiving this new GFE. Initial quoting of interest rates will be given in a range, understanding that there are a number of factors that determine pricing.

Veteran’s Guide to Understanding a VA Good Faith Estimate

Veterans must understand how to read and interpret a good faith estimate (GFE).  This is probably one of the most important documents when deciding what company to choose to handle the financing on the VA LOAN.  This GFE disclosure IS REQUIRED by the Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act (RESPA).  If you don’t get one then the broker or lender is not adhering to laws that govern the mortgage industry.


In a nutshell this disclosure should list all the costs associated with the VA loan.  It will show the new monthly payment, payoff amount or Good Faith Estimatepurchase price amount, taxes and insurance and funds required to close or funds the VETERAN is getting back (refinance) and debts being paid off if applicable.  There are specific costs and they are broken down into categories or numbers.  I will list them below:


These are all the charges that the lender or broker will charge.  In this section would be listed the ORIGINATION or DISCOUNT FEE.  The appraisal and other broker or lender fees will be listed here too.  Please remember the  veteran will not pay the “junk fees”.  The DEPT of VETERAN AFFAIRS will not allow an originating company to charge these fees which in return should benefit the veteran.  Here is a list of the NON allowable charges.  NON allowable means that the Veteran cannot pay them; on a refinance the broker or lender must pay them or not charge them at all, and on a purchase the seller can pay them.

NON Allowable Fees/Charges

  • Attorney Fees
  • Brokerage Fees
  • Prepayment Penalties
  • HUD/Inspection Fees
  • Signing Fees
  • Escrow/Closing Fee


Yield Spread Premium (YSP) is the fee the bank or lender (the entity lending the money who you will make first payment to) has the ability to pay the broker a fee or premium for locking your rate in at an above PAR rate.  We will discuss, understanding interest rates and points at another time.


All of the Title Charges will be listed here.  They are title insurance, title exam, wire and endorsements.  Just like the broker there are fees here that the title company cannot charge a Veteran.


The fees listed under this section would be recording fees, city and state tax stamps.  The recording fee is what the county recorder will charge for recording the new Deed of Trust.  State and City tax stamps are state specific.  Some states have tax stamps and other do note.


This area would list any pest, termite inspections and home inspections.


This heading makes it sound like the VETERAN must pay for these before the loan can close.  This is not the case.  Is simply is referring to monies collected before the first payment.  The charges listed here are the interest that needs to be collected before the first payment is due.  With VA loans interest is billed in arrears which means when a payment is made in June the Veteran is paying for the interest accrued in May.  So lets say you close on the 20thof the month.  You will have 10 or 11 days of interest collected in this section.  With VA LOANS the VA FUNDING FEE is listed in this section.  If  Veteran is receiving VA disability then there will be no funding fee.  Veterans should pay close attention to this.  An experience broker knows not to charge a VAFF when disability is being received by the veteran.


WithVA loans your taxes and insurance will need to be collected with your monthly payment.  An escrow account is used to hold the money that is owed for taxes and insurance.  When a Veteran makes a payment a portion of the payment gets deposited into an account.  This account will continue to build payment after payment until the taxes or insurance are due.  The lender will make the payment for the Veteran.  This is very helpful because it will prevent unforeseen expenses on the home owner and delinquent taxes and insurance.  The amount collected upfront varies  based on the dates they are due.  For example, lets say that taxes are due in December and the Veteran is refinancing and their first payment is due in March.  The Veteran will have made 10 payments before taxes are due, but you must have enough for the year plus 2 months as a cushion.  So in this section we would collect 4 months.  This same principle applies to the insurance.


This just gives the overall costs and details of the transaction and the total new monthly payment.

Like I said earlier.  This is a very important disclosure and should be looked at very carefully.  In my experience the GFE should be used to compare offers from other companies and it also shows how competent the originating company is.  Remember also, that this is just an estimate.  Usually this will never be 100% accurate to the final costs.  Those are listed on the HUD 1 or Settlement Statement, however, the GFE should be as close as possible and should give Veterans a good idea what to expect cost wise when buying or refinancing a home.

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*Annual savings calculator based on 2015 monthly average savings extrapolated year-to-date.