It's no secret that many facets of lending and real estate have changed as a result of the credit crisis. In addition to tightened lending practices that resulted from rising mortgage delinquencies, Washington has been heavily involved in altering the way lenders do business today.
Two individual pieces of legislation impacting our business need to be taken into account when determining closing dates for purchase transactions.
Home Valuation Code of Conduct
The Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC) went into effect May 1, 2009. Intended to shield appraisers from undue influence from loan officers and lenders, this legislation installed a "firewall" between those individuals directly involved in the origination of the loan from the selection of and contact with appraisers.
HVCC also requires that borrowers receive a copy of the appraisal a minimum of three days in advance of closing. Part of the kicker here is that "received" is considered, in effect, three business days after the appraisal has been mailed to the borrower.As HVCC requires a firewall between the originator and the appraiser, the time to receive an appraisal has increased, in some cases by as much as two weeks or more. While this may not always be the case, it is important to take into consideration when considering closing dates. Today, conservative closing dates are mandatory to properly manage expectations of all parties.
Housing and Economic Recovery Act
The Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) amends and impacts several aspects of obtaining a mortgage, the disclosures required for borrowers, and the timing of their delivery. This impacts the minimum time required to close, and should any changes be made to a loan application that could impact the Annual Percentage Rate (APR), this could impact the closing date.
Other than paying for a credit report, lenders may not accept any additional fees from a borrower until four business days after disclosures have been provided to or mailed to a borrower. This has the potential to delay several aspects of the application process.
Finally, upon making application, a borrower is provided a Truth in Lending (TIL) statement, detailing the total expected costs that could be incurred over the life of the loan. Should anything change in the loan application that could change the APR by more than .125%, a new TIL must be reissued to the borrower a minimum of 3 business days before closing. Items impacting the APR could include a borrower accepting a higher interest rate than initially qualified by floating their rate at application, a change to the loan amount, a change in product, a change in closing date, and any changes to fees.
While there is more we can discuss on the specifics of these legislative implications, I felt it important enough to let you know now that I would not recommend you write purchase contracts with short closing time frames.
I will be preparing additional information you can provide both your buyers and sellers to help explain the rationale behind not scheduling closing dates in advance of 30 days at a minimum and ideally not less than 45 days.
Thank you again for your business and if you have any questions, please pick up the phone and call me.