[Mel Martinez]'s department has the prime regulatory and enforcement power over the federal law that governs much of the home-closing process -- the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. Every settlement sheet used in a home real estate closing was developed by HUD.
The "good faith estimates" of fees and closing costs that your lender gives you early in the mortgage process -- but that are frequently subject to surprise increases on settlement day -- are RESPA disclosures. The widely ignored anti-kickback rules that prohibit your title company or lender from slipping money under the table to your realty agent for referring your business are also RESPA responsibilities.
He also said he has an open mind on remedying one of the biggest complaints among FHA borrowers who obtained their loans prior to 2001. Under a plan first announced last October by then-HUD secretary Andrew M. Cuomo, FHA now cancels monthly mortgage insurance premiums for borrowers who pay down their loans to a 22 percent equity level. The only hitch: Pre-2001 borrowers have no premium cancellation rights, unlike their counterparts who pay private mortgage insurance in the conventional market.
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