Ernst Publishing Company has reported that a survey the firm conducted shows that 80 percent of respondents considered recording fees and transfer taxes to be the top challenge that the Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and HUD-1 present to them. The Ernst survey was e-mailed to more than 8,600 clients of the firm, of which almost six percent responded.
“That such a large majority of respondents considered recording fees and transfer taxes to represent their most difficult problem is surprising,” said Gregory E. Teal, president and chief executive of Ernst. “Clearly, from a business standpoint, there is much riding on populating the GFE in as accurate a fashion as possible. The failure to do so can result in expensive consequences, so understandably there is anxiety over that effort.”
To be sure, technology plays a key role in producing these fees and helping to ensure their accuracy. While lenders have invested in the technology, understanding the complexity of the fees and the due diligence necessary to maintain the systems requires tremendous focus.
“Automation can make handling these fees easier, if it is provided by a provider who builds in the idiosyncrasies needed to reflect these fees accurately and updates them continually,” said Teal. “Retaining a third-party that sources its own data and delivers innovative solutions will ensure accuracy, save time, and cut costs.” Thirty-nine percent of respondents reported that costs decreased as a result of automating their processes.
The results of this survey are similar to one Ernst completed about six months ago that also showed that handling recording fees and transfer taxes was the number one challenge for clients.