On average, the origination and title fees for a $200,000 mortgage run about $4,070 in the United States, an increase of nearly nine percent over the previous year. the most expensive mortgages are found in New York, averaging $6,183 for a $200,000 loan. The cheapest state to purchase or refinance a home in is Arkansas, with closing costs of $3,378.

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What drives the difference in closing costs between states?

Of that $4,070 charged for the average American mortgage, $1,614 is devoted to origination fees, which are up 10.3 percent from last year. Origination fees also include lender charges for underwriting, processing and other services. Much of the increase, according to analysts, is due to the added costs lenders face to deal with audits from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

For example, most mortgage originates pull a second credit report and recheck the borrower's employment just prior to closing. Failure to do so could cause the originator to eat any default-related losses. States with the highest rates of mortgage fraud therefore become the most expensive to do business in, and lenders are passing that cost along to their borrowers.

How can you get lower fees?

We've said it before, we'll say it again: Comparison shop for your mortgage!

Even mortgages for people with bad credit vary in price from one lender to another within each state. For example, mortgage origination fees in New York state varied from as little as $700 to over $4,000, depending on the lender chosen, and averaged $2,210 for the same $200,000 mortgage. With shopping for a mortgage online being so easy, there is little reason to pay more than necessary--unless it just makes you all warm and fuzzy to give your mortgage lender a big tip!

Shopping for your mortgage is not rocket science

It's not even hard. Just give every lender you contact the same information--your credit score, your home's value, and your loan amount--and try to get all the quotes within a short time frame because mortgage rates change all day, almost like stock prices do. Insist on Good Faith Estimates rather than "worksheets" because worksheets don't make the lender accountable. Without a GFE all you have is air--probably hot air!

Finally, don't give lenders permission to pull your credit report until you have decided who you want to work with--the last thing you need is a zillion loan agents pulling your credit. All they need to give you a binding quote is your score, which you can get on www.annualcreditreport.com. Once you start an application, your mortgage lender will need to verify the score by pulling its own copy of your credit history.