Many first-time home buyers are dismayed at the sudden appearance of closing costs that seem to come from every conceivable avenue. They also can be beset by fees that seem to have no real explanation and cost them hundreds of dollars. Many people accept this as part of closing a real estate deal, but if you want to save as much money as possible, you will want to carefully evaluate each fee and find out which ones can be waived or eliminated.
Attitude and knowledge are your biggest weapons when dealing with lenders. Be polite at all times, but pretend that this is the 50th home you're going to buy and you're just doing it because you're bored. You don't need this home or this lender. You bought 10 homes last week. You just sold a dozen. Let the lender know by your attitude that you're not so heavily invested in this home that you can't walk away if your questions aren't answered or your needs not met. Be prepared to do just that; many lenders have been used to buyers who will spend several thousand dollars more than they have to in order to buy a home. If you can find one lender, you can find another and it's better to wait than to go with a lender who is not going to treat you properly.
There are a number of fees that can be reduced or completely waived for the savvy home buyer. Among them can hide "junk" or "garbage" fees, which are tacked on to the overall costs merely to make money for the lender. Things like "settlement fees" "underwriting fees" "messenger fees" are examples of fees that are soley there to provide profit for the lender. Learn the more common terms and ask for these fees to be waived.
Third party fees, such as appraisal, attorney fees, credit report, title insurance and title search are generally non-negotiable, as the lender has nothing to do with how much the third party charges. However, when searching for a lender, keep a record of how much is charged for each service and ask why if there is a drastic difference between one lender's charge for a service and another's.
Remember that you can walk away from your mortgage at any time. Even if it would cost you to do so, take this attitude in your dealings with your lender. If a fee is unexplained or too high, call them on it. You don't have to be rude or hold it over their head like a guillotine, just don't be so desperate to buy that you end up giving more money than you need to.