New GFE, nothing to hide-time for transparency

For those of you new to the home buying process, a new change happened January 1st, 2010 that will make you life allot simpler in terms of shopping for a home loan. The new Good Faith Estimate (GFE) requirements have made lenders HIGHLY accountable for the interest rate and closing costs quotes on a home loan. In the past, mortgage lenders and brokers could play “fast and loose” with their Good Faith Estimates often quoting terms that were not available just to get the client “in the door”. Once you invested a few weeks with them and gotten the loan approved, the terms would change at the last minute. Consumers either were forced to take the different terms or start the process over with a new lender. The number one complaint by consumers to HUD was that their terms at closing (rate, closing costs, and cash required to close) was significantly different than they were originally quoted.

Today Lenders are now required to provide you with a “Good Faith Estimate” (GFE) that binds them to their quote (rate and fees) for a minimum of ten days. In addition, the new GFE discusses lock options much more clearly. Sections A of the new GFE (lenders origination charges) cannot change at all (other than decrease) and Section B (Other Settlement Services) cannot change by more than 10% of the original quote. If the section B charges are above the 10% tolerance, the lender is required to “refund” the difference back the borrower at closing.  So the consumer is very much protected from terms changing at all from the original quote. I recently attended a seminar and one of the points that the instructor made is that the acronym GFE should now stand for “Guaranteed Fee Explanation” and I could not agree more. Basically the new GFE has become that, a form that guarantees the fees and rates to the client. Good news and more transparency for the consumer.