What the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) Means for the Home-Buyer | Topouzis & Associates, P.C.


November 29, 2018

What the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) Means for the Home-Buyer

What the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) Means for the Home-Buyer

We in the real estate business know that there was a time when the real estate market was not entirely straightforward to buyers. And that this was on purpose.

The buying process has not since become crystal clear or straightforward. But a lot has been done to undercut structural problems with the process—problems that once included kickbacks between various players in the buying and selling of real estate, which went undisclosed to the consumers involved in the process. These kickbacks resulted in artificially inflated costs for doing real estate business.

Because home buyers and sellers are generally the least-informed players in a real estate transaction—as they are not professionals who deal in the ins and outs of real estate daily—these were the people most harmed by such unfortunate issues.

That’s why, in 1974, Congress passed the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (which we call RESPA for short).

What Does RESPA Do?

Put, RESPA formalizes specific procedural requirements that must be strictly undertaken in the process of a real estate transaction. In particular, it codifies particular requirements that lenders must follow if they are to provide mortgages secured by federally related mortgage loans. For example, this applies to buying property in Cranston, Rhode Island; Springfield, Massachusetts; or Miami, Florida.

These requirements are many, but they include:

  • Providing applicable disclosures, including a Good-Faith Estimate of Settlement Costs (GFE);
  • Following escrow practices with a solid basis in established custom;
  • Not continuing to foreclose on a property after the borrower has applied loss mitigation options;
  • And I am not paying kickbacks or referral fees to title companies, real estate brokers, appraisers, or other players in the process.

This clarifies and makes the process transparent for home buyers and decreases costs not related to the sale or purchase of the property itself. RESPA cuts out aspects of the process that were subject to corruption, obfuscation, and misconduct.

At Topouzis & Associates, P.C., we’re dedicated to playing a new and professional role in closing. We ensure that the rules of procedure designed to protect the buyer in a real estate transaction are followed to the letter in the portion of the process we are involved in. Contact us for your title search and closing needs in the Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Florida real estate markets.