Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)


Disclosures Required at the Time of Loan Application

When borrowers apply for a mortgage loan, mortgage brokers and/or lenders must give the borrowers:

  • A Special Information Booklet, which contains consumer information regarding various real estate settlement services (required for purchase transactions only). To view this booklet online, see Required Booklet: Buying Your Home, Settlement Costs and Information.
  • A Good Faith Estimate (GFE) of settlement costs, which lists the charges the buyer is likely to pay at settlement. This is only an estimate and the actual charges may differ. If a lender requires the borrower to use a particular settlement provider, then the lender must disclose this requirement on the GFE.
  • A Mortgage Servicing Disclosure Statement, which discloses to the borrower whether the lender intends to service the loan or transfer it to another lender. It also provides information about complaint resolution.

If the borrowers do not receive these documents at the time of application, the lender must mail them within three business days of receiving the loan application. If the lender turns down the loan within three days, however, then RESPA does not require the lender to provide these documents.

The RESPA statute does not provide an explicit penalty for the failure to provide the Special Information Booklet, Good Faith Estimate or Mortgage Servicing Statement. However, bank regulators may choose to impose penalties on lenders who fail to comply with federal law. For more information, see RESPA: Protections and Enforcement.

Disclosures before Settlement/Closing Occurs

The terms "settlement" and "closing" can be and are used interchangeably.

Affiliated Business Arrangement (AfBA) Disclosure
This disclosure is required whenever a settlement service provider involved in a RESPA covered transaction refers the consumer to a provider with whom the referring party has an ownership or other beneficial interest. The referring party must give the AfBA disclosure to the consumer at or prior to the time of referral. The disclosure must describe the business arrangement that exists between the two providers and give the borrower an estimate of the second provider's charges. Except in cases where a lender refers a borrower to an attorney, credit reporting agency or real estate appraiser to represent the lender's interest in the transaction, the referring party may not require the consumer to use the particular provider being referred.

HUD-1 Settlement Statement
This is a standard form that clearly shows all charges imposed on borrowers and sellers in connection with the settlement. RESPA allows the borrower to request to see the HUD-1 Settlement Statement one day before the actual settlement. The settlement agent must then provide the borrowers with a completed HUD-1 Settlement Statement based on information known to the agent at that time. For a sample HUD-1, see: Blank HUD-1 Settlement Statement; for descriptions of various sections, see: HUD-1 Section J (lines 100-303) and HUD-1 Section L (lines 700-1400).

Disclosures at Settlement

HUD-1 Settlement Statement
At closing, the HUD-1 shows the actual settlement costs of the loan transaction. Separate forms may be prepared for the borrower and the seller. Where it is not the practice that the borrower and the seller both attend the settlement, the HUD-1 should be mailed or delivered as soon as practicable after settlement.

Initial Escrow Statement
This document itemizes the estimated taxes, insurance premiums and other charges anticipated to be paid from the Escrow Account during the first twelve months of the loan. It lists the Escrow payment amount and any required cushion. Although the statement is usually given at settlement, the lender has 45 days from settlement to deliver it.

Disclosures after Settlement

Annual Escrow Statement
Loan servicers must deliver this statement to borrowers once a year. The annual escrow account statement summarizes all escrow account deposits and payments during the servicer's twelve month computation year. It also notifies the borrower of any shortages or surpluses in the account and advises the borrower about the course of action being taken.

Servicing Transfer Statement
This document is required if the loan servicer sells or assigns the servicing rights to a borrower's loan to another loan servicer. Generally, the loan servicer must notify the borrower 15 days before the effective date of the loan transfer. As long the borrower makes a timely payment to the old servicer within 60 days of the loan transfer, the borrower cannot be penalized. The notice must include the name and address of the new servicer, toll-free telephone numbers, and the date the new servicer will begin accepting payments.

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