STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Beginning January 1, 2010, lenders and mortgage brokers will be required to provide consumers with a new, standardized Good Faith Estimate (GFE) and HUD-1 Settlement Statement, which will show the terms and costs for residential mortgage purchase and refinance transactions. And ENTITLE DIRECT, the country’s first direct-to-consumer title insurance company offering title insurance premiums that are up to 35% lower than those offered by competitors, fully supports the changes to these documents. EnTitle Insurance Company has been providing no hidden costs and guaranteed settlement fees, title search fees and title insurance policy premiums since it launched ENTITLE DIRECT over a year ago.
The new GFE encourages consumers to first shop and compare fees from various lenders before choosing a mortgage. The new HUD-1 Settlement Statement then allows borrowers to easily compare those quoted fees to their final costs before closing on a loan. A new page has been added to the HUD-1 Settlement Statement that contains a chart which shows the actual fees charged compared to those fees that were listed on the GFE. The chart identifies charges that should not have increased at all compared to the GFE, those that should not have increased by more than 10% compared to the GFE, and those that can fluctuate. It also shows whether the consumer’s monthly payment will increase and, if so, when. This gives the borrower a very clear picture of what the closing expenses will be compared to what was shown on the GFE, so he or she can flag discrepancies and ask about them prior to closing – preventing surprise costs at closing.
Title insurance is often the most significant closing cost. It is required by virtually every lender, for both home purchases and mortgage refinances, and the consumer pays for the policy at the time of closing. More often than not, consumers do not choose their title agent or purchase title insurance directly. Lenders, mortgage brokers, attorneys and real estate agents usually work directly with title companies (often without their customer’s knowledge) to order the title search early in the closing process. But the new GFE helps consumers understand what services they can shop for, so they can not only receive the lowest rate and best terms, but save on their closing costs as well.
For example, buying title insurance directly from ENTITLE DIRECT eliminates significant title agent commissions, and provides the lowest title insurance premiums, even before any available reissue and refinance discounts are applied. Lenders, brokers and real estate professionals who recommend ENTITLE DIRECT provide their clients with a lower-cost choice, resulting in hundreds or even thousands of dollars in savings on title insurance and settlement services. Lenders and mortgage brokers especially, who now will be held to a 10% variance on the cost of these services, can feel confident that ENTITLE DIRECT’s Guaranteed Settlement Fees will not change from the GFE to the HUD-1 Settlement Statement at closing.
Timothy Dwyer, President and CEO of Entitle Direct Group, states, “Consumers often aren’t involved in their own closing process. Most are unaware of their final closing costs until they receive their HUD-1 Settlement Statement the day of their closing—when it is too late. I am excited about these new documents because they are more consumer-friendly, clearer and easier to understand. The new GFE helps consumers shop for a mortgage, and then compare, analyze and finalize. That is an important process we think all consumers should follow when buying a home or refinancing, and it shouldn’t take more than a few hours from start to finish. Four to six hours of time invested could save hundreds, even thousands of dollars.”
ENTITLE DIRECT was created in response to the high cost of title insurance and a real estate closing process that keeps people in the dark. The consumer-friendly website includes a calculator for generating fast and easy title insurance quotes. It also educates and empowers homeowners and home buyers to control their closing by monitoring the process and reviewing the closing documents through an industry-first Control Panel (patent pending with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) The Control Panel provides dynamic, interactive tools that allow consumers to upload and store closing documents and download a completed HUD-1 Settlement Statement. It also allows for the sharing of documents and other information between the consumer and his/her real estate and mortgage professionals.
With the current economic situation, consumers are even more interested in saving money, and Dwyer adds, “ENTITLE DIRECT was created for consumers by consumers and we have been advocating for lower title insurance premiums and transparency within the industry since we first launched. The new GFE is a great step in the right direction toward giving consumers the tools they need to successfully research and review costs prior to closing.”
For more information about ENTITLE DIRECT, please visit http://www.entitledirect.com.
The new GFE and HUD-1 documents can be reviewed at http://www.entitledirect.com/sample_documents.
To learn more about how to save on title insurance, please visit http://www.entitledirect.com/what_is_title_insurance.
About ENTITLE DIRECT:
Entitle Direct Group, based in Stamford, Connecticut, is the parent company of EnTitle Insurance Company, the country’s first direct-to-consumer title insurance company offering significant savings. The ENTITLE DIRECT website is the direct-to-consumer distribution channel and an operating division of EnTitle Insurance Company.
EnTitle Insurance was founded in 1978 in Cleveland, Ohio, where it remains headquartered today. EnTitle Insurance is regulated by the Ohio Department of Insurance and is approved to issue title insurance by the Departments of Insurance in every state where its policies are offered. EnTitle Insurance is a member of the American Land Title Association, and only issues policy forms approved by the American Land Title Association and other state associations, where applicable.
Timothy Dwyer is available for interview.