On Jan. 1, 2010, new regulations affecting estimation and paperwork protocols for property loans will go into effect. Among other things, these new regulations will require title companies to improve their estimation processes in order to prevent delays in closings. Closeline Settlements is reacting to the new Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) regulations by providing customers with guaranteed closing estimates.
New regulations now require that a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) be issued at all phases of the loan process. Previously, they were only issued after a borrower applied for a loan but now they are also required prior to the loan application. GFEs will now have a required degree of accuracy for closing costs instead of rough closing estimates, the previous industry standard for GFEs. Additionally, every single loan now requires that an accurate HUD-1 settlement statement be issued to the borrower at least 24 hours prior to the closing.
“Closeline Settlements has made adjustments to our quoting process in order to ensure that our numbers are precise,” said Tanya Themistokleous, senior vice president of marketing and sales at Closeline Settlements. “We are going so far as to guarantee our closing cost estimates to be within the allowed price tolerance as long as the details of the transaction remain the same. This will ensure that our clients’ closings are never delayed as a result of our settlement numbers.”
The changes to the regulations are designed to inform homebuyers of their options and help them shop for the lowest cost mortgage without falling victim to harmful loan offers. With the updated policies, the average homeowner is estimated to save $700 by making more knowledgeable mortgage decisions.
“The new regulations require accurate Good Faith Estimates and precise HUDs for every loan, whether it is a new purchase or a refinance. The industry previously allowed for some latitude in the closing cost estimates. Unfortunately, that often resulted in sticker shock at the closing table for borrowers. These regulations were adjusted for the first time in more than 30 years to prevent closing companies from luring customers with low costs to only raise them significantly the day of closing,” said Tanya Themistokleous.
The new regulations require certain settlement costs to be quoted within 10% of the initial estimate. There are a few components in the closing costs that could change depending on the loan amount; however, some items are not allowed to go beyond the original estimate.
“The new regulations discourage low estimates, and prevent companies from estimating high in order to make sure they cover their own expenses. The end result is a better rate and a better shopping tool for borrowers. Ultimately, we are glad that the industry tightened regulations in order to better protect consumers. Closeline Settlements is poised to respond to the new regulations and to make brokers’ and originators’ jobs easier by always delivering accurate quotes and precisely calculated combined charges,” said Themistokleous.
For more information, visit www.closeline.com.