Category: Real Estate Headline News


FDFS Implements New Ruling on Unlawful Inducements

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The Florida Department of Financial Services has adopted a new rule (Rule: 69B-186.010) regarding “unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the transaction of title insurance.” The rule goes into effect on February 9, 2016 and will ensure the playing field within the title industry continues to have balance.

The ruling details practices and activities that are deemed unfair and unlawful. Some of the activities listed include:

  • Providing membership in any organization, society, association, guild, union, alliance or club at a discount, reduced rate, or at no cost to a referrer of settlement service business.
  • Sponsoring and hosting, or paying for the sponsoring and hosting, of open houses for real estate brokers or real estate sales associates to promote their listings.
  • Paying advertising costs to advertise and promote the listings of real estate brokers or real estate sales associates via publications, signs, emails, websites, web pages, banners, or other forms of media.

While some of the mentioned activities are vague, the FDFS makes the seriousness of each offense known.

To read the full list of illegal activities and the ruling, click HERE.

Timeline > Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Source: Timeline > Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Timeline

Here’s a full timeline of how we created the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms, part of our Know Before You Owe: Mortgages project. It’s a look back at our effort to make mortgage disclosures simpler and more effective, with the input of the people who will actually use them.

You can also return to the main page to view an interactive timeline.


July 21, 2010

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is signed into law.

The new law required the CFPB to combine the Truth in Lending and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act disclosures.


December 6, 2010

The Treasury Department hosts a mortgage disclosure symposium.

The event brought together consumer advocates, industry, marketers, and more to discuss CFPB implementation of the combined disclosures.


February 21, 2011

Design begins.

Starting with the legal requirements and the consumer in mind, we began sketching prototype forms for testing.

During this process, the team discussed preliminary issues and ideas about mortgage disclosures. This session set the context for the disclosures and was a starting point for their development. The team continued to develop these issues and ideas over more than a year during the development process.


May 18, 2011

Know Before You Owe opens online.

We posted the first two prototype loan estimates. We asked consumers and industry to examine them and tell us what worked and what didn’t. We repeated this process for several future rounds. Over the course of the next ten months, people submitted more than 27,000 comments.


May 19, 2011 – May 24, 2011

Qualitative testing begins in Baltimore.

We sat down with consumers, lenders, and brokers to examine the first set of loan estimate prototypes to test two different graphic design approaches.

Disclosures tested:

Prototype A
Prototype B


June 27, 2011 – July 1, 2011

Los Angeles, CA

Consumers and industry participants worked with prototypes with lump sum closing costs and prototypes with itemized closing costs.

Disclosures tested:

Prototype A
Prototype B


August 1, 2011 – August 3, 2011

Chicago, IL

Again, we asked testing participants to work with prototypes with lump sum closing costs and itemized closing costs.

Disclosures tested:

Prototype A
Prototype B


September 12, 2011 – September 14, 2011

Springfield, MA

Another round of closing cost tests, as we presented participants with one disclosure that had the two-column design from previous rounds and another that used new graphic presentations of the costs.

Disclosures tested:

Prototype A
Prototype B


October 17, 2011 – October 19, 2011

Albuquerque, NM

In this round, we presented closing costs in the itemized format and worked on a table that shows how payments change over time.

Disclosures tested:

Prototype A
Prototype B


November 8, 2011 – November 10, 2011

Des Moines, IA

We began testing closing disclosures. Both designs included HUD-1-style numbering for closing details, but two different ways of presenting other costs and Truth in Lending information.

Disclosures tested:

Prototype A
Prototype B


December 13, 2011 – December 15, 2011

Birmingham, AL

One form continued to use the HUD-1 style numbered closing cost details; the other was formatted more like the Loan Estimate, carrying over the Cash to Close table and no line numbers.

Disclosures tested:

Prototype A
Prototype B


January 24, 2012 – January 26, 2012

Philadelphia, PA

In this round, we settled on prototypes formatted like the Loan Estimate, but one included line numbers and the other didn’t. We also began testing the Loan Estimate with the Closing Disclosure.

Disclosures tested:

Prototype A
Prototype B
Prototype C


February 20, 2012 – February 23, 2012

Austin, TX

Participants reviewed one Loan Estimate and one Closing Disclosure (with line numbers) to see how well they worked together.

Disclosures tested:

Prototype A
Prototype B


February 21, 2012

We convene a small business review panel.

A panel of representatives from the CFPB, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) considered the potential impact of the proposals under consideration on small businesses that will provide the mortgage disclosures.


March 6, 2012

We meet with small businesses.

The panel met with small businesses and asked for their feedback on the impacts of various proposals the CFPB is considering. This feedback is summarized in the panel’s report.
(Note: Link to large PDF file.)


March 26, 2012

Back to Baltimore!

We conducted one final round of testing to confirm that some modifications from the last round work for consumers.

Disclosures tested:

Prototype A
Prototype B
Prototype C


July 9, 2012

Proposal of the new rule.

The CFPB released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. The notice proposed a new rule to implement the combined mortgage disclosures and requested your comments on the proposal.


November 6, 2012

Comment period on most of the proposed rule closes.

Between the public comment period and other information for the record, the CFPB reviewed nearly 3,000 comments. These comments helped us improve the disclosures and the final rule.


October 11, 2012 – December 13, 2012

We test Spanish language versions of the disclosures across the country.

We conducted qualitative consumer testing on Spanish language versions of the proposed disclosures. We tested in three cities: Arlington, Va. (October 11-12); Phoenix, Az. (November 14-15); and Miami, Fla. (December 12-13).


April 23, 2013 – June 13, 2013

Validating our testing

With the help of Kleimann Communication Group, the contractor who helped us throughout the testing process, we conducted a quantitative study of the new forms with 858 consumers in 20 locations across the country. By nearly every measure, the study showed that the new forms offer a statistically significant improvement over the existing forms.


June 18, 2013 – July 26, 2013

Additional testing with modified disclosures

In response to comments, we developed and tested different versions of the disclosures for refinance loans, which we tested for three rounds. (In our last round, we tested a modification for both purchases and refinances.) We also did one more round of Spanish language testing for the refinance versions. The modified disclosures tested well and are the ones included in the final rule.


November 20, 2013

A final rule

The CFPB issues a Final Rule. The final rule creates new integrated mortgage disclosures and details the requirements for using them. The rule is effective for mortgage applications received starting August 1, 2015.


June 24, 2015

New Effective Date Proposed

The CFPB proposes a new effective date of October 3, 2015 for the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule.


July 21, 2015

New Effective Date Announced

The CFPB issues a final rule moving the effective date to October 3, 2015.


Can I Get a HUD?

After October 3, 2015 you will no longer be receiving a HUD-1 settlement statement before consummation of a closed-end credit transaction secured by real property.

Say what?!?!

That’s right, I just said consummation of a closed-end credit transaction and no more HUD. There is new jargon to go along with the new, easy-to-read, consumer friendly, disclosures.

Bon Voyage HUD!

After October 3, the ‘HUD’  will be called a ‘Closing Disclosure’ (CD). ‘Closing’ will be referred to as consummation and the ‘Good-Faith-Estimate’ (GFE) will be called a ‘Loan Estimate’.

Take a peek at the new disclosures!

www.closing-disclosure.com

Closing-Disclosure_Page_1 Closing-Disclosure_Page_2 Closing-Disclosure_Page_3 Closing-Disclosure_Page_4 Closing-Disclosure_Page_5


Stay Afloat Post-TRID

2015 Florida Realtors® Convention & Trade Expo


 

Each year, the Florida Realtors® Convention & Trade Expo gathers thousands of Realtors looking to up their game. This years theme is Celebration 15; the event falls on August 19-23 and is held at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida. The free two-day Expo is on Thursday and Friday–all you have to do is register. There are over 30 education sessions sorted into six learning tracks–technology, broker, productivity, trends, personal growth, and continuing education. Along with the Convention, the Trade Expo has over 200 exhibitors that come packed with promotional materials and exquisite raffle prizes. This years keynote speaker is Notre Dame’s former Head Coach Lou Holtz.

On October 3, 2015 the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule will go into effect. The Florida Agency Network (FAN) is leading the industry through uncharted waters to the new disclosures. Title agencies in the FAN network are prepped and ready to keep you afloat before, during, and after these industry changes. Join us at booth 625 as we say Bon Voyage to the HUD-1 and celebrate the implementation of the new Closing Disclosure (CD). Get social with us and enter to win an Apple iWatch!


Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Finalizes Two-Month Extension of Know Before You Owe Effective Date

Washington, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today issued a final rule moving the effective date of the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule, also called the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures rule, to October 3, 2015. The rule requires easier-to-use mortgage disclosure forms that clearly lay out the terms of a mortgage for a homebuyer. The Bureau issued the change to correct an administrative error that would have delayed the effective date of the rule by at least two weeks, until August 15, at the earliest.

The Bureau is finalizing Saturday, October 3 as the effective date. The Bureau believes that moving the effective date may benefit both industry and consumers with a smoother transition to the new rule. The Bureau further believes that scheduling the effective date on a Saturday may facilitate implementation by giving industry time over the weekend to launch new systems configurations and to test systems.  A Saturday launch is also consistent with industry plans tied to the original effective date of Saturday, August 1.

The final rule issued today also includes technical corrections to two provisions of the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule.

A copy of the final rule is available here: https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201507_cfpb_2013-integrated-mortgage-disclosures-rule-under-the-real-estate-settlement-procedures-act-regulation-x-and-the-truth-in-lending-act-regulation-z-and-amendments-delay-of-effective-date.pdf

Source: www.consumerfinance.gov


It’s Goin’ Down!

Dirt Graphic Final copy

Due to lack of preparedness in the industry, CFPB has delayed implementation of the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID).

It’s important to partner up with a title agency that is ready for the up coming industry changes. Title agencies powered by the Florida Agency Network are compliant, trained and ready to take on these industry changes.

It’s going down on Oct. 1, stick around for our countdown!

Find out more about partnering up with a title agency powered by the the network : Max Jackson at max@FLagency.net

Please Note: Since posting, the CFPB has submitted an amendment to their proposal further delaying the effective date to October 3.


Breaking News from Bank of America

Excerpted from Bank of America memo to Settlement Industry

 

CFPB Integrated Mortgage Disclosures – The Closing Disclosure & Closing Insight™

To: Settlement Agents

Bank of America continues to prepare for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Integrated Mortgage Disclosures rule under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (Regulation X) and the Truth In Lending Act (Regulation Z) that go into effect August 1, 2015. With less than a year before the implementation date, we have started to share information with the settlement agent community about the rule and will now begin to share how the rule will change the way you work with us.

Bank of America will use Closing Insight™, an industry tool developed by RealEC® Technologies, to support the implementation of the CFPB’s Integrated Mortgage Disclosures rule.

What is changing with how you work with Bank of America?

  • All documents, data, and information will be exchanged through Closing Insight™. This will discontinue the use of email, fax, and other document delivery methods to ensure that non-public personal information (NPPI) is always protected.
  • After working with the settlement agent to finalize and confirm all fees, Bank of America will generate the buyer/borrower Closing Disclosure. For purchase transactions, settlement agents will continue to generate the seller’s Closing Disclosure.
  • To ensure receipt three business days prior to loan closing, Bank of America will take responsibility for delivering the buyer/borrower Closing Disclosure. In addition, a copy of the final Closing Disclosure will be included with the loan documents to be presented to the buyer/borrower at closing.  For purchase transactions, settlement agents will continue to deliver the seller’s Closing Disclosure.
  • The requirement for the buyer/borrower to receive the Closing Disclosure three business days prior to loan closing will intensify the need for Bank of America to work very closely with the settlement agent to schedule the details of the signing/closing.

Bank of America will continue to work through all that is needed to meet both the requirements of the regulation and continue to deliver an exquisite experience for our mutual customers. We will share more information in the coming months as it becomes available. In the meantime, please submit any questions or feedback you may have regarding how Bank of America will expect you to handle transactions after August 1, 2015 to  Integrated.Disclosures.Feedback@bankofamerica.com.

For more information about RealEC® Technologies or Closing Insight™, please visit their website at www.bkfs.com/realec. In addition, many Title & Escrow production systems are working with RealEC® Technologies to enhance current integrations in support of Closing Insight™. For more information about how or if they plan to support Closing Insight™, reach out to your provider directly.

Thank you for your partnership.


Breaking News from Wells Fargo

 

 

Excerpted from the Wells Fargo Settlement Agent Communications

TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule

In the September 24 issue of our settlement agent communication, Wells Fargo announced that we would control the generation and delivery of the borrower Closing Disclosure (CD) to meet internal compliance and regulator expectations when the new CD becomes effective in August 2015.

Since our September announcement, Wells Fargo leaders have attended numerous industry events including the ALTA Annual Conference, the MBA Compliance and Regulatory Conference and the MBA Annual Convention. We’ve also participated in several title agent meetings and round table discussions.

During those events, we’ve talked with many of you, answered numerous questions and carefully listened to your feedback. Some of you expressed surprise at our decision – and an equal number of you indicated you were not surprised and anticipated the decision. Some of the most frequently asked questions are answered below.

Will all lenders collaborate on a standard and consistent process for meeting all of the TILA- RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rules?

No.

Each lender is accountable for compliance and must determine its own method for achieving compliance.

 

Wells Fargo made an operational decision in September regarding our method for achieving compliance and we continue to build processes to support our approach.

Can we begin using the new CD form earlier than August 1, 2015?

No.

In fact, there will be several weeks/months that we will be required to use the previous disclosures with some loans and the new LE and CD on other loans*.

 

Applications prior to August 1, 2015 will use the previous GFE, initial TIL, final TIL and HUD-1.

 

Applications taken on or after August 1, 2015 will use the new Loan Estimate (LE) and CD.

 

There are no exceptions to this requirement – early use of the LE and CD are not allowed.

 

*Note: The new disclosures do not apply for home equity lines of credit, mortgages securing mobile homes that are not attached to real estate or for creditors who make five or fewer loans per year.

Can settlement agents prepare the CD and send it to the lender for approval, just as today for the HUD-1?

No – not for Wells Fargo loans.

Lenders are accountable for compliance, which includes the CD timing and accuracy. The new CD is governed by the Truth-in-Lending Act (TILA), not the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA).

 

TILA and RESPA have different accuracy expectations and enforcement provisions, as well as differences in definitions. The risks and penalties for Wells Fargo are more severe with TILA than RESPA. 

How will Wells Fargo determine the exact fees that are applicable on loans?

Collaboration and input from our settlement agents on fees applicable for each transaction continues to be critical.

 

Wells Fargo will continue to work closely with settlement agents to determine the fees and other content required on the CD. This interaction must occur earlier in the process than is typical today.

How will Wells Fargo determine buyer/seller pro-rated amounts on purchase transactions?         

Just as today with the HUD-1, we will work closely with our settlement agents to determine the amounts to be disclosed on the borrower CD.

 

The settlement agent will be responsible for the seller CD.

The TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule uses the term “consummation” – what does that mean?

The TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule requires that the borrower receive the CD at least three business days prior to consummation.

 

TILA defines consummation to be: “The time that a consumer becomes contractually obligated on a credit transaction.”

 

Wells Fargo considers consummation to be the date the borrowers will sign the note for all transactions (becomes contractually obligated), including transactions in escrow states.

What happens if the pre-closing walk through identifies a change to the buyer/seller agreement that will impact the CD?

The settlement agent must notify the lender’s closing contact if there are any changes that impact the CD. Wells Fargo will determine if an updated CD can be provided for delivery at the closing or if the change triggers the three-day receipt requirement to be restarted.

Will Wells Fargo assume the responsibility for disbursing loan proceeds?

No.

The settlement agent is critical and continues to be responsible for executing the closing including document signing, notarization, disbursement of funds, document recordation and delivery of final documents post-closing.

What education and training materials can we expect?

Specific Wells Fargo training plans are under construction in collaboration with other industry partners such as ALTA, title underwriters and other service providers. Plans include many educational communications and an information guide.

 

More details will be provided as available.

 

We appreciate your responses to our survey!

As you may recall, the September 24 issue of our settlement agent communication included a feedback survey link. Many of you have asked for information on the results so here are the responses to a few of the questions from the survey:

 

Survey Question

Strongly Agree

 

Agree

Neither Agree or Disagree

 

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

I am well informed about the new requirements.

34.33%

126

43.87%

161

14.71%

54

4.63%

17

2.45%

9

My company is currently preparing for the

54.08%

31.79%

10.87%

1.63%

1.63%

changes that are effective August 2015.

199

117

40

6

6

My company is relying on our technology

 

 

 

 

 

software providers to be ready for the changes by August 2015.

43.99%

161

38.25%

140

13.11%

48

4.10%

15

0.55%

2

The Realtors/Builders I do business with are well informed about the new requirements.

3.81%

14

10.08%

37

31.34%115

34.60%

127

20.16%

74

The lenders I do business with are talking to me

7.95%

20.27%

24.11%

35.89%

11.78%

about their plans for the new Closing Disclosure.

29

74

88

131

43

I prefer that the lender be responsible to

 

32.70%

120

 

22.62%

83

 

21.25%

78

 

9.81%

36

 

13.62%

50

generate and deliver the Closing Disclosure to the borrowers to meet the compliance requirement that it is received no less than 3

business days prior to closing.

 

Thank you to all who took the time to respond to this survey and those who provided comments via the mailbox or direct contact! The abundance of feedback received provides valuable information for our use when planning and developing future communications, training materials and implementation plans.

Knowing your concerns and questions helps us proactively address what matters to you.

For example, question four shows us that real estate agents and builders need more information on the rule changes effective August 1, 2015, and that it will be critical to engage them in the evolving process changes. On purchase transactions, collaboration to coordinate timing details must begin when the contract is written and continue through scheduling and preparing for closing. We all must work closely together to ensure that the CD receipt requirements are met and to help avoid delayed or rescheduled closings.

Updated appraisal delivery process coming soon

Regulations require lenders to provide a copy of the appraisal to the customer no later than three days prior to closing, unless the customer has signed a waiver of this timing requirement.

Wells Fargo’s business process team has completed an assessment of the internal process and will implement changes in late January 2015 to significantly reduce the number of transactions that require your support to deliver the appraisal at the loan closing. The majority of appraisals will be delivered to the customer prior to closing.

With the updated process, you are no longer required to return a copy of the appraisal as proof of delivery. Instead, a new Appraisal Delivery Confirmation form will be signed by customers for Wells Fargo’s compliance tracking.

For those few times when we do need your assistance in delivering the appraisal, the appraisal delivery requirement will appear in the Transactional Loan Closing Instructions. At the same time, an email to you will provide the appraisal document(s) and the new Appraisal Delivery Confirmation form. 

Simply provide the appraisal document(s) to the customer at closing and have them sign the Appraisal Delivery Confirmation form. Return the signed form with the closed loan documents. 

We heard you! Page count tool now available for estimating recording fees

Since the first publication of this newsletter in June 2013, we have frequently set the expectation to disclose accurate and exact fees on the HUD-1. In response to multiple requests for support to enable you to estimate recording fees as accurately as possible prior to recordation, a page count reference tool is now available.

The tool provides page count information for all recordable documents that are lender-provided in the closing package and will be provided with the preliminary closing package. Your Wells Fargo closing  contact will work with you to determine the applicable loan documents and page counts as part of the HUD- 1 preparation and approval process. If you have not yet seen the new tool or have questions, please talk to your Wells Fargo closing contact when preparing for your next Wells Fargo closing.

This is an interim solution. In early 2015, additional changes will be implemented making a transaction- specific list of recordable documents and their page counts part of the preliminary closing package for most Wells Fargo loans. 

Thank you for your continuing collaboration and the importance you place on communication. Please share this important information with your colleagues and management teams. If you have any comments, questions, suggestions for future newsletters or requests for copies of previous editions, contact us at: 

WellsFargoSettlementAgentCommunications@wellsfargo.com

Regards,

Wells Fargo & Company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Can You Have Too Much Curb Appeal?

We read an interesting article from NPR recently about one of the famous “Painted Ladies” selling at an astonishing 900K less than the asking price. They’re iconic of not only the city, but of the environment that we all feel San Fransisco has. There’s curb appeal built in—they’re the houses from Full House for goodness sake!

Painted Ladies San Francisco January 2013 panorama 2.jpg
Painted Ladies” by King of HeartsOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

But in reading the article, we suddenly got another picture: that of any homeowner living in homes that are iconic enough to be recognized nationwide—dealing with the tourism and the hassles that come with a home that’s also an attraction. Some people like the attention but even celebrities don’t like the papparazi and other privacy invaders. Imagine buying one of these gorgeous homes and having pictures taken of you when you’re unsuspecting! That’s enough to turn off most homebuyers—and seemingly enough, it affected the sale of the Painted Lady in San Fransisco.

The Curb Appeal of San Fransisco

But, does this translate over to a home that’s not famous? Probably not. If the home’s not an icon of your neighborhood or city, then as much curb appeal as you can muster is usually a good thing. Let’s use the Painted Ladies of San Fransisco as an example of what curb appeal is. Overly famous or not, they are very pretty homes.

Firstly, the home is painted well. The name “Painted Lady” itself comes from the paint job, three colors used to bring out the architectural nuances of the home and to make the home stand out and have character. Curb appeal is all about the visuals and the Painted Ladies definitely have the visual elements going on for it.

There’s no yard to speak of at these homes, either, but the front of them are kept well and offer simplicity as their main attraction. Simple stoops, well-groomed trees, a clean exterior. Simplicity is the key here. Nothing is overwrought, but it’s all well thought out.

That’s key: every homeowner wants a nice looking home, but most of us work and complex looks or elaborate landscapes to keep up might not be to our taste. A simple cleaning and a new coat of paint every so often? Most can manage. Keep your homes simple.

map of San Fransisco

Finally, the homes are generally accessible. They’re by a park on a main street. The location is very good. They’re right off the 101 and I-80 in San Fran, meaning that to get anywhere, it’s a simple commute. The university is just down the street. Between location and looks, the houses (if they weren’t famous) would net almost any asking price the owner wanted. (After all, while this Painted Lady sold for far below asking price, the owner still got $3.1 million for it. That’s nothing to sneeze at!)

Should You Worry About Too Much Curb Appeal?

The simple answer: no. Too much curb appeal generally isn’t possible. Keep up on the modern trends of exterior design, keep the place clean, well painted, and if you can, play up the conveniences of living there. That will help your home sell.

It’ll also help if you don’t let a show film at your home. That’ll keep the papparazi down. Otherwise, make your house look as good as you know that it is!