When shopping for a refinance mortgage, you are told to do a couple of things. First, get quotes from several lenders. Get your Good Faith Estimates and compare fees line by line. Then get back to the lenders and negotiate these fees -- line by line -- and go with the one who comes up with the best deal.

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You may look forward to beating up loan agents and demonstrating your superior bargaining skills. After all, you left piles of bleeding car salespeople in your wake when you bought your last sedan, you earn more than everyone else in your department thanks to your push for a raise, and you routinely get upgraded when you fly because you know how to ask. But thanks to new regulations, you won't be able to push for a better deal when you shop for a mortgage.

How can this be?! Wasn't mortgage reform supposed to make shopping for a new home loan or mortgage refinance easier?! Yes, it is. New regulations are designed to make shopping for a home loan more transparent (so you can clearly see what your loan features are and what they cost). They also stipulate that lenders can't charge some borrowers more just because they don't shop around or push for the lowest rate (studies found that these people are often minorities, non-native English speakers, elderly, or less educated).

So the bottom line is that while lenders can't charge some people more than others, they also can't charge some people less. No special deals. No favors. Even if your credit is perfect, your income is stable, and you have a huge down payment to put up. The good news is that for those with less education (or chutzpah), bad credit, income challenges, or smaller down payments, you won't get charged more just for being more difficult to approve. You may be charged risk-based pricing adjustments if you have bad credit, but your lender and your loan officer will not make a bigger profit on your loan than they do on Mr. Perfect down the street.

What does that mean for those shopping for a mortgage? It means less work, actually. Because the deal that your lender discloses will be the best deal that he or she is permitted to offer a loan applicant. Any loan applicant. So you only need to get quotes from several lenders and then choose. And what about all that aggression you are just dying to unleash on mortgage lenders? Try racquetball.