A minefield of mortgage charges: What's shopable?

Whether costs are negotiable is another matter

Shopping for a mortgage would be a breeze if borrowers paid only an interest rate and lenders paid for everything else, embedding their expenses in the rate.

The reality is just the opposite: Not only do lenders impose fees of various sorts, but a large number of other players will have their hands in your pocket before you land a mortgage.

The best way for borrowers to navigate this minefield is to identify at the outset the charges that are "shopable" and those that aren’t. Don’t confuse "shopable" with "negotiable."

A service is shopable if different providers quote different prices, but that does not imply that any of them will negotiate their price. They might or they might not. In many cases, services are shopable but not negotiable.