Hidden fees add to cost of mortgage re-financing

Wednesday, January 2nd 2008, 9:18 pm
By: News 9

By Amanda Taylor, NEWS 9

Who wouldn't want to save a couple hundred bucks every month on their mortgage? But before you jump at refinancing there might be some things your not considering.

Alvin Standridge's home is in Midwest City, and while buying it was a big decision, refinancing his mortgage was not.

"What i was going to do is pay my truck off so i wouldn't have a truck payment and my house will go down a little bit, I'm thinking things are going to get a little easier on me," Standridge said.

A welcomed feeling and it was looking good since Countrywide Home Loans had sent him a promising letter. It says if he refinanced they might be able reduce his monthly payment, lower his interest rate and even let him "tap into a portion of his home equity for cash."

Standridge called right away and was approved for 6 thousand dollars cash back.

He agreed to pay the penalty to his current mortgage and to move forward with Countrywide.

"This is what they sent me. It's a lock in agreement. I thought i was locked in," Standridge said.

He says Countrywide then wanted $400 to get his home appraised. Not a big deal since he thought he'd be getting $6,000 cash back.

Standridge has recently remodled and recarpeted every room in his house, but despite his improvements, Countrywide came back to him saying his home had lost value.

"They said at this time, we'll go ahead and refinance your house but we can't give you any money back," Standridge said. "And I was just shocked. Why would I want to refinance my house? I'm going to pay $3,900 penalty - uh - there was no point in doing it."

And when he asked for his $400 appraisal fee back, he was denied. That's what he wants people to know.

He says Countrywide never told him their good faith estimate was contingent on that appraisal.

We called Countrywide several times, and we've now given them a month to respond, and we're still waiting on their call back.

Now you're thinking about refinancing your home, the Better Business Bureau says make sure it's worth it. If there's a 2 or 3 percent difference between your current rate and the new one, over a period of years you'll probably save some money.

Now If you go forward with refinancing shop around. Compare different lenders and their prices, many lenders will require you to pay most of the costs you originally paid with your first mortgage, like application fees and appraisals.

If you have a problem Amanda and our Consumer Watch Team can help you with give them a call at 841-9921.