How to handle junk fees when mortgage shopping

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For some reason, I have received a number of letters recently that criticized some articles I had written back in 1998-99 on lender junk fees. These articles are on my Web site, and since nothing about junk fees has changed since they were written, I have never had occasion to revise them. In response to the criticism, however, I took a fresh look at the articles and realized that something had changed since they were written: me. My take on junk fees is a little different now than it was eight years ago, I hope because I'm smarter but perhaps only because I'm older. Mortgage junk fees are all upfront lender charges other than points. They include all lender charges expressed in dollars, such as "processing fee," "lender attorney fee," "endorsement fee" -- the list goes on and on. Junk fees also include one charge expressed as a percent of the loan, called "origination fee." I don't like the term "junk fees" and wish it had never been coined. The reason is that borrowers tend to in...