How to Spot Those Refinance Rip-Offs

You got a mortgage rate to brag about? Great. Now get out those papers and take a hard look at the rest of your deal

Mortgage mania has truly arrived, to the point where rate talk is all the buzz at dinner parties. Forget tech stocks--the barber now offers tips on how to get the best refinance deal. Homeowners check rate hot lines daily and are deluged by e-mail from mortgage firms. The quotes were disappointing last week, when procrastinators lamented a surge in the average 30-year fixed rate to 6.15% from 5.98%. But rates remain near 40-year lows. There is a real frenzy: a record $1.3 trillion of mortgages will be refinanced this year.

Good news? Sure. But as falling interest rates have pulled waves...

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