Know which mortgage broker fees are legit

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Q: Is it customary for a mortgage broker to ask for a "retainer" fee before finding funding for you? I do not understand why the broker cannot attach this fee onto the back end of the loan and get paid at closing. Also, if this fee is customary, does the broker still get paid any points at the closing? –Anonymous in Greensboro, N.C.

A: Do I know every single relevant detail of your situation? No, absolutely not. But what I do know is that I have never, ever heard of a mortgage broker charging a retainer to find a home loan for a borrower. I hate to give extreme answers, though, so I asked around my circle of contacts.