Money: Fee Fight

Who needs $8 billion? That's how much consumers overpay in mortgage fees each year, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Yet last week HUD withdrew a proposal that would force mortgage lenders to bundle fees into a simple binding quote that consumers could use while shopping. While consumers wait for reform, here are ways to guard against excessive closing costs, which average $700 a mortgage:

--Demand your HUD-1. This form lists all mortgage costs and must be made available 24 hours before closing. Compare it with the costs on your good-faith estimate.

--When refinancing, insist on a...

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