The Price of a “No-Cost” Loan

This post was written by jd on October 30, 2010
Posted Under: Real Estate

Some home buyers who may be concerned about paying high closing costs might be tempted by a “zero-cost” or “no-cost” loan option, which requires no cash outlay, but typically adds a half percentage point to the rate.  However, some financial consultants say these loans tend to be most beneficial to buyers planning to have the loan for less than five years.

  • One of the primary differences between a no-cost loan and similar loans is that no-cost loans do not tack on closing costs to the balance, but instead increase the rate.
  • With no-cost loans, third-party fees including the appraisal, credit report, title insurance, recording, and the use of a mortgage broker are paid by the lender.  The fees, including the amount the broker is being paid, are disclosed on the closing statement.
  • Home buyers who bypass a broker and work directly with a lender may encounter less transparency, as loan officers are not required to disclose the amount the bank is making on the loan.
  • Borrowers weighing their loan options are advised to use a mortgage amortization calculator to compare the costs for a conventional loan compared with a no-cost loan.  The Federal Reserve provides an amortization calculator on its Web site at www.federalreserve.gov.

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