New Transaction Closing Rules with CFPB - Part II

Mark August 1, 2015 as the date on which transactions will be impacted!

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is an independent agency which operates withoutCongressional supervision, one of the few such entities in the country, and is considered a least accountable agency (by just about everybody including Congress).  It oversees banks and financial institutions, credit unions, students loan, credit card companies, payday lending companies, mortgages, foreclosures.  (It resulted from the Dodd Frank Act which came into place as a result of the economic crash, and its director was appointed by President Obama.)

The CFPB is not federally funded, but instead issues fines to banks for their bad behavior:
Wells Fargo - $24 million; Chase - $11.7 million, NewDay Financial - $2 million; and just the other day, per their website "Green Tree to Pay $48 Million in Borrower Restitution and $15 Million Fine for Servicing Failures".  Yes, there have been failures by the banks, but how we got to a bureau that seems to have no oversight seems to be borrowing a page from the bank failure book.

But for now, consumers, lenders, escrow, title and real estate agents are at the beginning of changes will are most certainly to lengthen the average 30-day transaction to 10-15 days longer.

New terms:
Escrow=settlement agent
Day loan docs are signed=consummation day
Close of escrow day=settlement day
LE=loan estimate (no longer a good faith estimate)
CD=Closing Disclosure (replaces HUD-1)

Buyers and sellers, get familiar with all terms but know that "CD" is a 5-page disclosure which must be received by the borrower a minimum of 3 business days before signing of loan documents.  It doesn't matter if you can read and sign in 3 hours, you must wait 3 business days before loan documents can be signed.  What if you ask the seller, and the seller agrees, to compensate the buyer $350.00 towards the buyer's closing costs during escrow?  The borrower receives a new CD and must wait 3 business days.  If the lender decides to mail out the CD to the borrower instead of allowing digital signature time, then the lenders will give a total of 7 business days from send out.

Sellers, I can only say this:  Make reasonable repairs, including all carbon monoxide and smoke detector placements where required,  prior to listing to avoid delays with appraisers calling out such repairs, which will require a second visit by the appraiser, and which also costs the borrower more, in order to avoid these delays.
Buyers, If you decide to make an offer on a property which requires numerous or even just a few, repairs, be prepared for a longer transaction, because everytime a change is made, a new 5-page CD goes out to the borrower from the lender.  You can see how the time starts adding up, going well beyond the existing 17 and 21 days for buyer to investigate and remove contingencies.
Other examples of changes which will require 3 business day re-disclosure:
Changes in APR; changes in the loan product; addition of a pre-payment penalty.
Realtors must be prepared for these changes and be able to work with their clients on these timelines.

A sample calendar provided to me recently shows Day 1 starting on a Monday (Saturdays are included as business days, Sundays are excluded), going all the way through to Day 38 in a NORMAL transaction showing the lender's schedule, but this calendar did not take into account what else could be happening between the buyer and seller during the various contract contingency period, which is how further issues and additional time periods could come up. There is much that will be found out on a practical level when the time comes, because there are still unknowns in these new requirements.
Additional issues:  Lenders may refuse to work with certain escrow companies, and therefore buyer and seller may not be able to choose in some circumstances, because the lender may force both parties to transfer the file to another company.  Please remember, California escrow companies already are "vetted" and responsible to the Department of Business Oversight which maintains their own rigorous standards.

At this point, consumers need to change some of their expectations, both with their loans and the property transaction itself, and who they may be able to select for services.
These are nation-wide changes, not just something happening in one county or one state.  Some industry professionals are saying they've never seen anything like this during their 30 or 40 years in real estate (and they don't mean it in a nice way), so what happens after August 1 will be different--that much we know.

Just Sold! 1030 E. 2nd St #8, Cute Condo

Too bad you missed this one!

Cute one-bedroom condo with upper floor courtyard view in Alamitos Beach.  It came with garage parking, a huge plus in this older established neighborhood of multi-unit structures, and community laundry.

This 1950's building has been upgraded with newer windows and updated exterior color. This well-maintained condo came with an upgraded heating/cooling feature, very nice hardwood floors and a remodeled kitchen which all helped this condo sell fast!

Standard sale, conventional loan; sold 4/10/2015 at full price $210,000.

If you are interested in a market analysis for your propertym whether it's a condo, single family or income units, please contact me:

Julia Huntsman, Broker REALTOR
Huntsman Properties
Licensed since 1994, #01188996


Market Stats for 1st Quarter, Long Beach CA and Nearby Cities

Not surprisingly, with the low low interest rates, prices have climbed especially with single family homes.  Condo prices have varied, and do vary by zip code, especially in Long Beach where completely different areas have their own pricing.  All median prices in the chart below are for cities regardless of specific areas, and this chart is meant to show an overall trend for the 1st quarter of 2015:

MEDIAN SALES PRICES1/1/20153/1/2015
Long Beach Single Family$482,500$540,000
Long Beach Condo$310,000$275,000
Long Beach Multi-Family$599,000$620,000

Lakewood Single Family$443,500$475,000
Lakewood Condon/a$300,005
Lakewood Multi-Family$452,000$579,000

Cerritos Single Family$602,000$638,000
Cerritos Condo$285,000$453,000
Cerritos Multi-Familyn/an/a

Bellflower Single Family$418,000$395,000
Bellflower Condo$300,000$280,000
Bellflower Multi-Family$550,000$602,000
Data provided by Market Analyzer


New Transaction Closing Rules -- Starting August 1 by CFPB

Be Careful Crossing the Road of Financial Protection
The Consumer Financial Protection  Bureau was brought into being by the Dodd-Frank legislation, and the CFPB has teeth which are being inserted into the lives of lenders, and therefore the lives of home buyers and sellers.

The "Know Before You Owe" rule, effective August 1, 2015, is bringing a new closing document (6 pages) and is doing away with our HUD-1 statement (3 pages) in the form of a non-uniform closing package which does away with the uniform coded costs which have been in existence for . . . decades.  By non-uniform is meant that lenders can call their categories what they so choose, and therefore may be different from one bank to another all across the country.  On the other hand, "the new forms resolve the problem of redundant and overlapping information presented in the standard Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and Truth In Lending Act (TILA) disclosures that lenders are required to send to borrowers following submission of a mortgage application and just prior to the closing." See, for a very indepth industry discussion, this article by Patrick Barnard.

One of the net results is that there's more pages to get to a closing, and the closing will probably end up being extended well beyond the initial escrow period IF there are credits back which must be given a 3-day period to sign on and disclose to the lender.  So if, for example,  the seller agrees to credit the buyer $500 for some repairs rather than perform the repairs, that will require a written documented disclosure to the lender, the total of such amounts may not exceed the lender's cap.  Such a $500 agreement between buyer and seller will require a new good faith estimate from the lender, which in turn adds to costs by some lenders.  Another fact of life is the cost involved for escrow companies and lenders to retool their technology because they will be required to be in sync on this process.

Since this is being  implemented on a national basis, it will affect procedures and laws in all states.  The bottom line for buyers and sellers is that a 30-day escrow may turn into a 45-day escrow, which impacts people's moving plans for making the smallest of changes.

More will be said here on this issue, but the bottom line for residential buyers and sellers is to grasp the transactional costs and fees, including termite inspection (very costly sometimes) and what they agree to agree on with each other in the beginning.  I can see a world of even more advance planning on both sides.


Water Heaters Are About to Cost Much More

If you need a new water heater, consider buying one in the next three weeks.

Effective April 16, 2015, water heater replacement rules will go into effect.  A new amendment to the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act will require higher energy ratings on all new residential gas, electric, oil and tankless gas water heaters.  The changes will impact how they are designed, manufactured, tested, distributed and installed, as many will be taller, wider and heavier than your current installation.  Because of the potential increase in size, the homeowner may have an additional cost of housing the new heater in a larger cabinet.

 According to  the U.S. Department of Energy, "Standards mandatory in 2015 will save approximately 3.3 quads of energy and result in approximately $63 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 2015-2044. The standard will avoid about 172.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 33.8 million automobiles."  For water heaters under 50 gal., this greater efficiency is achieved by adding more insulation (making it bigger).  For larger water heaters, heat pumps will be required, and some larger water heater may be discontinued because they cannot meet the standard.  In the end, there will be less energy consumed, but not before the consumer pays more up front.  Also, the self-help install program will just not work, licensed plumbers will be a fact of life.  

And according to EnergyStar.gov site at least 30% of a home's energy is spent on heating and cooling:

According to the Bradford White website "It is important for contractors to understand that products manufactured before April 16, 2015, can be bought and installed after the changeover date."  However, since production of the new standard units started some time ago, some stores have been stocking up for some time, so older manufacture dates may be harder to find.

To extend the life of your current water heater, drain it yearly, and if possible, add a water softener to decrease sediments.   For more information go to http://www.energy.gov/search/site/water%20heater.


You Need to Know About Your Appraisal

The appraisal process often baffles consumers. They may feel that their home is worth a higher dollar amount, and so the appraised value doesn't always make sense to them. It is important to know that the appraiser is completely independent from lenders, buyers, sellers, and real estate agents, and that the guidelines to which they adhere are dictated by the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice and Fannie Mae. In most states, the mortgage lenders must also disclose the purpose of the appraisal, as each transaction carries its own set of rules.

In essence, these important guidelines help appraisers put a fair market value on homes based on comparable sales in the same area, and the home must be bracketed in size and value.  What does "bracket" mean?  It means that selected comparables must be, within certain percentage levels, larger and smaller in size, higher and lower in value, as well as better or worse in condition.  These may vary not only according to lender but also type of loan.

For example, there is no set dollar figure associated with a great view, pool, spa, bathroom upgrades, etc. If a homeowner installs a custom pool that cost them $30,000, but the local marketplace supports the value of a pool at $15,000, then that item will be bracketed as [$15,000] on the appraisal.
Upgrades can usually be expressed at a higher percentage of their value in newer homes because the only way to obtain those upgrades was to put more money into the cost of building the home. On the other hand, the upgrading or remodeling of an older home is rarely reflected in full in the final appraisal. This is because typically 25%-40% of the project involves demolition and the fixing of issues that aren't uncovered until the project has already begun, such as plumbing or wiring that may need updating.

Ultimately, the value of the upgrades must be supported by comparable examples within the same marketplace. These comparisons must be drawn from current market activity within the last six months. This is a safeguard to prevent appraisers from attaching too high a value to the home in question, and opening up the appraisal for review. This guideline further states that appraisers can only base their opinion on the value of home sales that have actually closed, however, current active and pending sales will also be included in an appraiser's report.

In addition, the guidelines in the 2009 Home Valuation Code of Conduct must be applied, which among other things prohibits a lender from having any contact with or influence on how the appraiser values a home. This Code, however, does not prevent the seller or buyer REALTOR from having direct contact and asking questions concerning the appraiser's familiarity with the area.  This is very important to know about an appraiser, since it's the local marketplace that determine the adjustments in values.

Article information taken from an e-mail from South Pacific Financial Corporation


Just Listed! Alamitos Beach Condo

 One-bedroom, one-bath unit in Alamitos Beach area of Long Beach.  Very nice upper unit at a great price for a cash buyer looking for a getaway place, or a first time buyer just starting out (conventional loans only, please) in this 12-unit building.

Nice interior with soft colors and double-paned windows.  Bathroom is close to original 1950s style with newer vanity, and plenty of closet space for the bedroom.  A big plus is the garage parking for this condo, and the view down on a very nice courtyard area. Great area for walking and close to the beach.

It's a great price at $210,000, with HOA monthly dues of $183.00.
Please call for more information for 1030 E 2nd St., #8, Long Beach 90802.
(Information current as of 3/10/2015)

Julia Huntsman, Broker
MLS:  PW15049517


Four Critical Credit Tips

Dear Buyer,

Your credit score is an important benchmark for mortgage lenders, landlords and even potential employers. Use these tips to avoid hurting your credit score:

1. Don’t max out your credit cards.
A big factor in your credit score is your debt-to-credit ratio. When you hit your spending limit, your debt-to-credit ratio rises and your credit score falls. As a rule, always have more credit available than outstanding debt. Doing so not only boosts your credit score, it keeps your payments low and leaves a buffer for emergencies.

2. Consider the pros and cons of cancelling credit cards.
While removing temptation is one way to check excessive spending, cancelling credit can actually damage your credit score. Why? Cancelling credit increases your debt-to-credit ratio just like maxing out a card, dropping your credit score. If you need to cancel a credit card, obtaining the same or higher amount of credit with a new card diminishes the effect. (But it's best not to cancel, just stop using the card.)

3. Stop applying for store credit cards in the checkout line.
It might be tempting to save 15% on a one-time purchase, but applying for unnecessary credit. It can seriously damage your credit score. Lenders make a hard inquiry whenever you apply for a new card. This type of inquiry often lowers your credit score by several points, which accumulates when applying for multiple cards. A soft inquiry occurs when you check your own credit, which is highly encouraged routinely and before a major purchase.

4. Apply with multiple lenders when shopping for a mortgage.
While I have preferred lenders I would much rather work with because ultimately, professionalism and knowledge are what gets the job done, not all lenders do all loans or work with all lender sources. Buyers should know this. When you apply for a mortgage, the lender performs a hard inquiry. This will lower your credit score by a very small amount, around 5 points. However, when multiple mortgage lenders run your credit within a 45-day period, it only generates a single credit penalty. Thus, applying at one, two or even a dozen mortgage lenders only produces one minimal deduction to your credit score. Unless you have a serious credit problem, applying with more than three is probably unnecessary, but to satisfy yourself that you are getting the best mortgage rate and terms, just like shopping around for a new car, it would be wise to take a little time in the application process and ask questions.

If you want to learn more or discuss your home buying or selling options, contact me.


Energy-Efficiency Upgrades and Residential Energy Tax Credits for 2014

If you made your home more energy efficient in 2014, you might qualify for the residential energy tax credit.

Tax credits are especially valuable because they let you offset what you owe the IRS dollar for dollar for up to 10% of the amount you spent on certain home energy-efficiency upgrades. 

The credit carries a lifetime cap of $500 (less for some products), so if you’ve used it in years past, you’ll have to subtract prior tax credits from that $500 limit. Lucky for you, there’s no cap on how much you’ll save on utility bills thanks to your energy-efficiency upgrades.

Among the upgrades that might qualify for the credit:
  • Biomass stoves
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
  • Insulation
  • Roofs (metal and asphalt)
  • Water heaters (non-solar)
  • Windows, doors, and skylights
To claim the credit, file IRS Form 5695 with your return, the 2014 version may be found at their website with the instructions.


What is the January 2015 Real Estate Profile of Long Beach, Cerritos, Lakewood and Rossmoor?

Here is a brief summary of January 2015 sales, compared to January 2014:

Long Beach - Median sales price for a single family home: $481,000 (up 5.8%), housing inventory down 22%, with only 2.2 months supply of inventory on the market.

Cerritos - Median sales price for a single family home: $602,000 (up 3%), housing inventory down 9% with only 2.1 month supply of inventory on the market.

Lakewood - Median sales price for a single family home: $443,500 (up 3%), housing inventory down 44%, with 1.4 months supply of inventory on the market.

Rossmoor - Median sales price for a single family home: $807,500 (up from $800,000), housing inventory still at 2.6 months supply of inventory on the market.

By checking points along the graph, prior months' sales prices are seen. Long Beach and Cerritos are down, Lakewood and Rossmoor are up. This is a live graph, and is updated with each month's sales.

Would you like to know what buyers' home buying motivations are? Buyers who purchased brand new homes did so because of fewer electrical and plumbing problems. Sellers who take this and other items into account when preparing their home for sale are less likely to get a laundry list of repairs desired by buyers.
NAR's 2014 Profile of Buyers and Sellers


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Web Statistics