September 11th, 2010 7:58 AM by Richard T. Cirelli
The Cost of Regulation
I saw an article last week talking about a recent survey that indicated that closing costs have risen an average of 37% since the introduction of new Regulations. It reminded me of an article that I wrote in February and I thought I would re-run it here. I'd love to hear your thoughts.......
HVCC: The Home Valuation Code of Conduct:
This Regulation prohibits mortgage originators from choosing the appraiser. Now, in order to request an appraisal, we must use an Appraisal Management Company (AMC). The AMC's randomly assign the appraisal to a "local" appraiser.
Since the AMC is a middle-man in the process, they keep a percentage of the appraisal fee charged to the borrower - typically 40%. The Appraiser then gets 60% of the fee which is much less than what he/she was paid prior to HVCC. In order for there to be enough money to pay the AMC and the Appraiser, the cost of the appraisal has increased from an average of $400 to an average of $550. Additionally, the randomly selected appraisers are often under-qualified and unfamiliar with the local market that can cause lower appraised values. Not including the cost of low-appraised values and the impact they have on Buyers & Sellers:
ESTIMATED COST OF HVCC TO CONSUMER: $150
MDIA: Mortgage Disclosure Improvement Act
This Regulation requires certain Disclosures to be made before any fees can be collected except for the cost of a Credit Report at the time of application. The collection of the Appraisal Fee and therefore the ordering of the Appraisal must be delayed until after Broker and the Lender have provided certain Disclosures to the Borrower. The Lender is allowed 3 days to send the Disclosures and must allow 3 additional days for the Borrower to receive the Disclosures if using the U.S. Mail. If the rate or other costs increase during the process, a new set of Disclosures must be re-ordered resulting in another waiting period before the loan can close.
The result of this Regulation is that loans now take longer to close. When a Broker or Lender locks in an interest rate they must lock it for a set period of time - 15, 30 45 days, etc. The longer the lender guarantees the interest rate, the higher the cost. If a loan typically took 30 days to close and now it takes 45 days due to the Disclosure regulation, the additional cost to extend the rate lock is .125 - .250 points. On a $400,000 loan that equates to $500 - $1000.
ESTIMATED COST OF MDIA: $750
GOOD FAITH ESTIMATE/RESPA REFORM
Mortgage Originators are now required to provide a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) of Closing Costs at the time of Application and the Estimate for many of the costs can not vary from the final cost. If the final cost is more than the original estimate, the loan originator must pay the difference. Not only are the loan fees subject to $0 tolerance, but Title, Escrow and other fees are subject to just a 10% tolerance.
In order to protect themselves, Lenders, Title and Escrow Companies are "over-disclosing" their fees in order to provide a cushion for unexpected costs that were unknown at the time of application. I estimate the typical over-disclosure by Brokers & Lenders at $1000. Escrow and Title companies are over-estimating by about $250 each. Once the Borrower accepts the higher fee at time of application, it's unlikely that the Lender, Title or Escrow Company will voluntarily reduce it.
ESTIMATED COST OF GFE: $1500
The new Regulations require additional work by Brokers and Lenders. Accordingly, Lenders have increased their fees by $100 to $200 per loan. Additionally, Loan Processors are charging more to process a file due to the extra time involved - typically $100 per loan.
ESTIMATED COST OF ADDITIONAL PROCESSING FEES: $250
ESTIMATED GRAND TOTAL OF ALL NEW REGULATION: $2650
Mortgage Rate Update:
Mortgage rates have crept up a little over the past couple of weeks as the economic recovery, or lack thereof, is debated. With no clear direction, mortgage rates have fluctuated daily with a little more volatility than in recent months. Nevertheless, rates are still near historic lows and there is no compelling reason right now for them to move up or down much.
The exception is Jumbo Mortgage Rates which have improved dramatically over the past few months. And, Jumbo-Conforming rates for loans between $417,000 and $729,750 are now priced about the same. That's a huge improvement. When this program first came out the rate differential was more than 1%.