Real estate professionals experiencing trouble receiving copies of the closing disclosure under federal closing rules that took effect last year for residential real estate transactions should see relief under proposed changes and clarifications to the rules the federal government released today.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which revised longstanding closing procedures last year under an initiative it calls Know Before You Owe, said today it understands that it’s customary for real estate sales associates, brokers, and other third-party service providers to receive copies of the closing disclosure that goes to the customers during the transaction. The closing disclosure replaced the HUD-1 Settlement Form last year on Oct. 3 when the new procedures took effect. After the new procedures took effect, some lenders and settlement agents cited privacy concerns and refused to share the closing disclosure with real estate professionals, making it hard for them to advise their clients.
“The Bureau understands that it is usual, accepted, and appropriate for creditors and settlement agents to provide a closing disclosure to consumers, sellers, and their real estate brokers or other agents,” the CFPB said in its announcement of its proposed changes.
“REALTORS® have reported challenges gaining access to the Closing Disclosure ever since the new closing procedures went into effect, despite a long history of access to the substantively similar HUD-1,” NAR President Tom Salomone said in a statement released today. “The CFPB acknowledged that concern by making it clear that it is appropriate and accepted for creditors and settlement agents to share the closing disclosure with consumers, sellers, and their agents. That’s a significant victory that will help REALTORS® continue to provide the expert service their clients have come to expect.”
The proposed changes address three other areas of the closing procedures. They would allow housing finance agencies to charge recording fees and transfer taxes without losing their existing exemptions from disclosure requirements, extend the Know Before You Owe requirements to transactions involving cooperative units, and restore treatment of finance charges to the way they were treated prior to the Know Before You Owe changes.
The agency will be taking comments on the changes until October 18. Access the proposal.
The problem real estate professionals faced obtaining the closing disclosure from lenders is examined in the June 21 Voice for Real Estate news video from NAR.
Author Comment: Hallelujah! What a pain it has been losing the ability to double check items for our customers. Having to contact the buyers and sellers to get their permission, then contacting the attorneys and title companies has been a great deal of effort, but worth it. many times I have helped correct errors on closing statements for Buyers and Sellers (and closers, attorneys and title companies) because, we all know, closings are very complex, and there is much room for error, so I greatly appreciate the CFPB for seeing the value in allowing those of us who are closely involved in getting closing statements for review.