Updated: April 19, 2011 4:53AM
Dear Fixer: I went to Chase Bank to make a mortgage payment, and a loan officer told me I could lower my monthly payment by $190 if I refinanced. She quoted me a rate of 5.625 percent. She told me my closing costs would be no more than $2,700.
I paid a $395 application fee. A few days later, I got the good-faith estimate and it said my closing costs were nearly $4,200. Instead of saving $190 a month, my payment would only drop by $135 a month.
I called Chase to ask why, and the woman told me not to worry, that the numbers would be what she said at closing. We set up the closing. On that day, the numbers hadn’t changed, so I didn’t go through with the closing.
Now Chase refuses to refund my $395. Anything you can do to help me recover my money would be very much appreciated.
Jeff Olson, Oak Lawn
We wish we had better news. Next time you — or anyone else looking to refinance to a lower rate — should be sure to shop around. Once you decide what length of loan works best for you, do some online comparison shopping. Some places to start are Bankrate.com, QuickenLoans.com and LendingTree.com. Compare what you find there with your bank or credit union (credit unions often have good deals for their members).
Make sure you understand all the costs and fees associated with the loan. Some places advertise “no closing costs” but they hide the fees for the appraisal, title search and legal charges in a higher interest rate.
Another good online tool is at interest.com, where you can calculate what interest rate you can afford. Good luck.
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