I recently attended a closing with a client -first time home buyer- who commented on the AED hung conspicuously on the wall near the Escrow Officer's private office. He asked, "Is that for resuscitating people who have a heart attack when they see the final cost?" A few minutes later my young buyer & I noticed a difference in fees from the pre-closing HUD-1.
In a few short weeks lenders will be held even more accountable for what happens at the closing table. Transparency will be the rule. The Washington Post writer Kenneth Harney's article lays out the changes. Harney writes, "Here's what's about to happen: Starting January 1, 2010, loan charges and settlement fees will be spelled out on a revised, more consumer friendly version of the good faith estimate form that borrower are supposed to receive within 3 days of their mortgage applications. Charges will fall into three broad catagories on the form:
- Fees that cannot increase from upfront estimates to final closing.
- Fee estimates that come with wiggle room, and can increase by as much as 10% in the aggregate from upfront estimates.
-Fees that can increase without limit, mainly because the lender has no control over them or because they are difficult to predict weeks in advance.
The article is a good read for a basic understanding of what is about to happen and why it is important to consumers. I think all most people really want is transparency into what is going to be paid, where is it going and why.
It's all good. I am a big fan of transparency and disclosure. Life is just better that way!