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How to Compare the Closing Disclosure to the Loan Estimate
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How to Compare the Closing Disclosure to the Loan Estimate

Harry Jensen, Trusted Mortgage Expert with 45+ Years of Experience
, Trusted Mortgage Expert with 45+ Years of Experience

At the beginning of the mortgage process, the lender is required to provide you Loan Estimate that outlines a good faith estimate of key mortgage terms such as interest rate and closing costs within three business days of submitting your mortgage application. At the end of the mortgage process, the lender is required to provide you a Closing Disclosure that outlines the final, actual terms of the mortgage at least three business days before the mortgage closes.  Below we review how to compare the Closing Disclosure to the Loan Estimate so that you can understand if your mortgage terms changed and by how much.

1

Review the Closing Disclosure and the Loan Estimate Side-by-Side

You should compare the Closing Disclosure with the Loan Estimate to ensure that your final, actual mortgage rate and closing costs did not increase significantly as compared to the initial terms provided by the lender in the Loan Estimate. The key items to review when comparing the Closing Disclosure and Loan Estimate are mortgage rate (middle of page one of the Closing Disclosure) and total closing costs (bottom of page one of the Closing Disclosure).

2

Compare the Key Figures Outlined in the Documents Including Your Mortgage Rate and Closing Costs

If the figures and information in the Closing Disclosure and Loan Estimate match or are relatively close, then you are all set to close your mortgage.  Significant differences between the Closing Disclosure and Loan Estimate such as an increase in mortgage rate or higher closing costs may be a sign that the lender has “bait and switched you” -- promised you one set of terms but delivered another set of terms that cost you more money.

If there are meaningful discrepancies between the Closing Disclosure and the Loan Estimate, ask the lender for an explanation and do not sign the loan documents. You should cancel (also known as rescind) the mortgage if you are not satisfied with the lender’s explanation and the differences cannot be resolved. You can cancel your mortgage at any time before you sign loan documents and you are free to work with a different lender. Although you may be out non-refundable costs such as your appraisal fee and certain lender fees, canceling a bad mortgage can save you much more money over the life of the mortgage.  Please note that for a mortgage to buy a home, you cannot cancel your loan after you have signed loan documents.

One way to prevent changes in your loan terms is to lock your mortgage.  When you lock your loan, your interest rate, closing costs and other key terms are set for a fixed period of time, usually between 30 and 60 days.  Your lock period should be long enough to close your mortgage.  Locking your loan helps you avoid bait and switch by lenders and also protects you if interest rates increase over the course of the mortgage process.

3

Understand What Mortgage Costs Can Change and by How Much

According to the regulations that govern the mortgage process, there are specific rules about how mortgage costs can change and increase from the beginning of the mortgage process to when your loan closes.  The rules are designed to prevent lenders from quoting one set of mortgage terms upfront to win your business and then attempting to charge you a higher interest rate or fees prior to closing when you are under pressure to complete your home purchase.  In general the mortgage rate and closing costs outlined in the Loan Estimate should match the Closing Disclosure.

A lender may charge the borrower higher costs than the amount disclosed on the Loan Estimate when changed borrower or mortgage circumstances permits the cost to increase. Examples of these circumstances include:

If the actual closing costs paid by the borrower at closing exceed the amounts disclosed on the Loan Estimate beyond the limits and rules outlined below, the lender must refund the excess costs to the borrower within 60 calendar days of the mortgage closing

Cost Items That Can Change Without Limit

For the following items the lender may charge the borrower more than the amount on the Loan Estimate without any limit:

Cost Items That Can Change By No More Than 10%

For the following items, the lender may charge the borrower more than the amount disclosed on the Loan Estimate as long as the total sum of the costs added together does not exceed the sum of the costs disclosed on the Loan Estimate by more than 10%:

Cost Items That Are Not Permitted to Change

For all other cost items, lenders are not permitted to charge consumers more than the amount disclosed on the Loan Estimate under any circumstances other than changed circumstances that permit a revised Loan Estimate. The cost items include:

4

Know What to Do if You Find Discrepancies Between the Closing Disclosure and the Loan Estimate

If any of your final loan terms increase more than the guidelines specified above, you should immediately contact your lender to understand the discrepancy. Your goal is to work with your lender to make sure that you are not overpaying for your mortgage.

If you cannot resolve the differences, then you should consider canceling your loan and working with a different lender. While this involves extra time and effort on your part, it may save you thousands of dollars in the near and long term. When done correctly, comparing the Closing Disclosure to the Loan Estimate can help you ensure that your final loan terms are fair and accurate.

If you are considering switching lenders we recommend that you contact multiple lenders in the table below to compare loan proposals. If you change lenders make sure that your new lender can close your mortgage within your desired time frame.

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Current Mortgage Rates in Ashburn, Virginia as of November 24, 2020
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Data provided by Brown Bag Marketing, Inc. Payments do not include amounts for taxes and insurance premiums. Read through our lender table disclaimer for more on rates and product details.

Sources

“Can my final mortgage costs increase from what was on my Loan Estimate?”  CFPB.  Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, September 13 2017.  Web.

About the author
Harry Jensen, Mortgage Expert

Harry is the co-founder of FREEandCLEAR. He is a mortgage expert with over 45 years of industry experience. Over his career, Harry has closed thousands of loans for satisfied borrowers and now offers his advice and insights on FREEandCLEAR.  Harry is a licensed mortgage professional (NMLS #236752). More about Harry

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