Companies involved in the mortgage loan process are required to follow detailed regulations. Many of these are detailed in the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act — the Federal law commonly called “RESPA.”
The RESPA rules spell out the information that a lender has to provide to potential customers, step-by-step. They mandate detailed, full information about all costs, servicing details, account and escrow practices. They also mandate that lenders disclose any business relationships that they have with other parties involved in the transaction.
In plain English, that means that you should be informed of existing relationships. If the mortgage process requires you to get your car washed, and the lender gets a commission from the car wash across the street, they have to tell you. Same for other not-so-silly business arrangements.
The Dept of Housing and Urban Development – HUD – provides information on the RESPA regulations. Here are some of the current links:
The Settlement Costs booklet is quite useful and detailed — a recommended resource if you’re starting the mortgage journey.
HUD also sponsors housing counselors. Some consumers can qualify for counseling without any charges; where charges are involved for counseling, HUD requires that any counseling fees be “commensurate with the level of services provided.”
The HUD housing counseling agencies directory is here: