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New Real Estate Disclosure Rules Could Slow Home Sale Closings

Updated on August 28, 2015

Real Estate Disclosure Rules Seek Clarity

New federal real estate disclosure regulations that took effect Oct. 3, 2015 are likely to slow home sales closings, according to real estate law experts.

The new rules require that buyers get more time to review mortgage documents.

Some realtors say the average 30-day to 40-day turnaround to sell a home could stretch to as long as two months, according to a report by The Legal Forum (www.legal-forum.net).

The rules are intended to simplify the financial reporting and add consumer safeguards in home sales to protect buyers from mortgages they cannot afford.

Previously, lenders, title companies and attorneys gave buyers mortgage and disclosure documents almost independently under different schedules. The rules that take effect Oct. 3, 2015 require lenders to give buyers one document at a time.

The lenders must gather the relevant information from the different parties involved in the transaction before presenting it to the buyers in single documents.

The rules come as a disappointment for real estate agents and lenders who pride themselves on putting their clients in new homes as quickly as possible.

Buyers and sellers will have new duties as well. They will be required to prove their income by giving lenders copies of their Internal Revenue Service returns for the past two or three years.

If they do not respond quickly to information requests from lenders, both the closing dates and assurances on interest rates could be jeopardized. Buyers might need to seek extensions on interest guarantees to protect their rates.

The new rules also combine the truth-in-lending forms and Housing and Urban Development settlement statement into a single form. It breaks down all the costs for buyers, including interest rates, homeowner association fees and the costs to record document at the Registry of Deeds.

The information must be given to buyers no less than three days before a closing.

The new regulations are part of the Dodd-Frank Act designed to overhaul the U.S. financial industry and protect consumers from unscrupulous lenders.

The government's effort to protect real estate buyers could slow home sales.
The government's effort to protect real estate buyers could slow home sales.

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