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May 2017 M T W T F S S « Apr 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
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The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) has enacted new RESPA regulations which will require all residential lenders to insure that their vendors, including settlement agents, are in compliance with new requirements for the security of closings and borrower’s non-public information. As a result of these regulations, the American Land Title Association has promulgated “ALTA Best Practices” . My office is fully in compliance with ALTA’s Best Practices as follows:
- Licensing – I am licensed as an Attorney with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and maintain insurance licensing for title insurance in Massachusetts and Rhode Island;
- Escrow Account – My office has adopted and maintains appropriate written procedures and controls for Escrow Trust Accounts allowing for electronic verification of reconciliation
- Privacy and Security – My office has adopted and maintains a written privacy and information security program to protect Non-public Personal Information (NPI) as required by local, state and federal law
- Recording and Pricing – My office has adopted standard real estate settlement procedures and policies that help ensure compliance with Federal and State Consumer Financial Laws as applicable to the Settlement process
- Policy Issuance – My office has adopted and maintains written procedures related to title policy production, delivery, reporting and premium remittance
- Insurance – My office maintains appropriate professional liability insurance and fidelity coverage
- Customer Complaints – My office has adopted and maintains procedures for resolving consumer complaints.
The security of the non-public information of your residential lending customers continues to be of the highest importance to my office.
As of March 16th, Massachusetts has a new Homestead law and if you are a seller’s broker or lawyer, you need to know a little bit more about your client. Since Homestead on a person’s residence is now automatic for $125,000 of protection, all deeds will now need to declare the seller’s marital status. This is because of the fact that even a non-owner spouse has a homestead interest in the property. If there is a non-owner spouse, he or she will now be required to attend the closing to sign a deed or a release of his or her homestead rights. If there is no spouse of the seller, the seller will now need to sign an affidavit certifying that fact. It can get trickier if you have married siblings who own property together. The non-owner spouses of the siblings will now need to be involved. Of course, homestead only applies to the primary residence of an owner but since homestead is now automatic, you will find that there will be certifications required for any residential property sales by all owners and their spouses.
These changes apply to refinances as well. Non-owner spouses will now need to go the the refi closing in order to sign off on their homestead rights as to the bank. Finally, to make it even more interesting, closing attorneys are now required to offer borrowers and buyers the option of signing a “Homestead Election” form which would afford them additional protection up to $500,000.
Just a pile or two here or there. Can it be over? True sign of Spring will be home buyers making their way to all those open houses! Prices are down, rates are down, there are deals to be made. I’m optimistic for a modest recovery this Spring.
Well we’ve all had our fill of turkey and pie. Time to get the deals done from Black Friday to New Years. Let’s end 2010 with a bang.