Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Understanding trid forms

 Learn more about the Loan Estimate, Closing Disclosure and Settlement Statement. This book includes details such as tolerance/variance levels, form changes based on loan options, and explanations for common questions about the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures. Loan Estimate Closing Disclosure Settlement Statement

Do I Need A Lawyer To Buy A Home? 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Urgent Alert: Sophisticated Email Scams Targeting the Real Estate Industry

DECEMBER 15, 2015
Criminals are hacking into the email accounts of real estate agents or other persons involved in a real estate transaction and using information gained from the hack to dupe a party into a fraudulent wire transfer. The hackers often send an email that appears to be from an individual legitimately involved in the transaction, informing the recipient, often the buyer, that there has been a last minute change to the wiring instructions.  Following the new instructions, the recipient will wire funds directly to the hacker’s account, which will be cleared out in a matter of minutes. The money is almost always lost forever.
In the next two weeks, real estate professionals will be contending with high transactional volumes during year-end closings. This is a busy and hectic time for real estate professionals, and many millions of dollars will be sent and received via wire before the end of the year. This is exactly the environment in which online criminals seek to operate.
The National Association of REALTORS® urges its members and state and local REALTOR® associations to be on high alert for email and online fraud.
In May 2015, NAR issued an alert regarding a sophisticated email wire fraud hitting the real estate industry.  Since then, the incidents of online scams targeting practitioners have continued to rise but the advice is the same.
Bottom line: Do not let your guard down.  Start from the assumption that any email in your in-box could be a targeted attack from a criminal.


Follow this guidance to avoid becoming a victim:
  • Immediately contact all parties to all of your upcoming transactions and inform them of the possibility of this fraud.  Attorneys, escrow agents, buyers, sellers, real estate agents, and title agents have all been targeted in these scams.  You can also download and distribute NAR’s online fraud prevention handout, accessible here
  • If possible, do not send sensitive information via email.  If you must use email to send sensitive information, use encrypted email. 
  • Immediately prior to wiring any money, the person sending the money must call the intended recipient to verify the wiring instructions.  Only use a verified telephone number to make this call. 
  • Do not trust contact information in unverified emails.  The hackers will recreate legitimate-looking signature blocks with their own telephone number.   In addition, fraudsters will include links to fake websites to further convince victims of their legitimacy. 
  • Never click on any links in an unverified email.  In addition to leading you to fake websites, these links can contain viruses and other malicious spyware that can make your computer – and your transactions – vulnerable to attack. 
  • Never conduct business over unsecured wifi.  
  • Trust your instincts.  Tell clients that if an e-mail or a telephone call ever seems suspicious or “off,” that they should refrain from taking any action until the communication has been independently verified as legitimate.
  • Clean out your e-mail account on a regular basis. Your e-mails may establish patterns in your business practice over time that hackers can use against you. In addition, a longstanding backlog of e-mails may contain sensitive information from months or years past. You can always save important e-mails in a secure location on your internal system or hard drive.
  • Change your usernames and passwords on a regular basis, and make sure your employees and licensees do the same.
  • Never use usernames or passwords that are easy to guess. Never, ever use the password “password.”
  • Make sure to implement the most up-to-date firewall and anti-virus technologies in your business.

Damage Control

If you believe your e-mail or any other account has been hacked, or that you or a client has otherwise been a victim of online fraud, you should take the following steps:
  • If money has been wired via false wiring instructions, immediately call all banks and financial institutions that could possibly put a stop to the wire.
  • Contact your local police. 
  • Contact any clients or other parties who may have been exposed during the attack so that they take appropriate action. Remind them not to comply with any requests from an unverified source.
  • Change all usernames and passwords associated with any account that you believe may have been compromised or otherwise made vulnerable by the attack.
  • Report any fraudulent activity to the Federal Bureau of Investigations via their Internet Crime Complaint Center. More information can be found by clicking here
  • Brokers should report any fraudulent activity to their state or local REALTOR® association so that the associations can send out alerts or take other appropriate action, including contacting NAR.
This advice is not all-inclusive, and real estate practitioners should work with Information Technology and cybersecurity professionals to ensure that their e-mail accounts, online systems, and business practices are as secure and up-to-date as possible.
Be aware that these emails are extremely convincing.  Many sophisticated parties have been duped. No one should assume that they are “too savvy” to recognize the fraud.  In addition, no one should assume that they are “too small a target” to be on these criminals’ radars. This fraud is pervasive, convincing, and constantly evolving.
For more information on this and other cyberscams, as well as further information on cybersecurity best practices, visit these resources:



Buying a home is an exciting and emotional time for many people. To help you buy your home with more conīŦdence, make sure you get owner’s title insurance.


A home is probably the single largest investment you will make in your life. You insure everything else that’s valuable to you—your life, car, health, pets, etc., so why not your largest investment? For a one-time fee, owner’s title insurance protects your property rights for as long as you own your home. 
If you’re buying a home, there are many hidden issues that may pop up only after you purchase your home. Getting an owner’s title insurance policy is the best way to protect yourself from unforeseen title discrepancies. Don’t think it will happen to you? Think again. Title claims can include: 
  1. outstanding mortgages and judgments, or a lien against the property because the seller has not paid his taxes
  2. pending legal action against the property that could affect you
  3. an unknown heir of a previous owner who is claiming ownership of the property
 Owner’s title insurance is a one-time fee that’s very low relative to the value it provides. It typically costs around 0.5% of the home’s purchase price.
As long as you or your heirs own your home, owner’s title insurance protects your property rights.
Homeowners insurance and warranties protect only the structure and belongings of your home. Getting owner’s title insurance ensures your property rights are protected.
Each year, more than 80% of America’s homebuyers choose to get owner’s title insurance.
If you’re buying a home, owner’s title insurance lets you rest assured, knowing that you’re protected from inheriting possible debts or legal problems, once you’ve closed on your new home.

Friday, December 11, 2015

TRID Q&A: Can Realtor Receive Buyer's Closing Disclosure?

Question: Is it a violation for the buyer’s Realtor to be in the closing room while the buyer is reviewing and signing their Closing Disclosure and loan documents? Is the buyer’s Realtor permitted to receive a copy of the Closing Disclosure without written consent by the buyer?

Answer: The TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule did not change anything regarding privacy. Companies should review their privacy policies to ensure it matches with their data sharing practices. Closing agents are encouraged to consider the role closing data plays in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system or agent licensing when assessing how to share data. One of the primary reasons real estate agents are interested in receiving the Closing Disclosure is because they have to report certain data fields to MLS to close the listing. These requirements vary by state, so there is not a uniform set of data fields that will satisfy MLS. Reporting these data fields is a requirement for participating in the MLS system, so the information is needed by the real estate agent. However, not all information on the Closing Disclosure is necessary for real estate agents to comply with MLS requirements, which is why ALTA encourages closing agents to consider what information they provide to real estate agents and what the best method of sharing that information would be.

This being said, there is nothing within the TRID rule that prohibits the buyer’s Realtor from being present while the buyer reviews and signs his or her Closing Disclosure and loan documents. Additionally, the rule does not specifically address who may or may not receive the disclosures. Most lenders, however, will not provide the disclosures to the Realtor even if the Realtor obtains permission from the buyer. If the Realtor would like a copy of the disclosures, he or she can obtain a copy of them directly from the buyer.

The concern with sharing consumer’s personal and financial information is one of the reasons behind ALTA’s development of the ALTA Settlement Statements. The ALTA Settlement Statements may be used in addition to the Closing Disclosure, but should not be used instead of the Closing Disclosure. The ALTA Settlement Statements help title insurance and settlement companies itemize all the fees and charges that both the homebuyer and seller must pay during the settlement process of a housing transaction. There are four versions of the ALTA Settlement Statement are available, the buyer statement, the seller statement, the combined statement, and a statement for cash transactions. Click here to download the ALTA Settlement Statements.

- See more at: http://blog.alta.org/2015/12/trid-qa-can-realtor-receive-borrowers-closing-disclosure.html#sthash.6NutWLux.dpuf


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

We understand that by keeping you informed and helping you prepare for the closing day, the more likely you will have a stress free closing experience. Our courteous and professional staff is proactive in their communication and works diligently to ensure the orderly and efficient transfer of real estate…and we do it with a level of service and friendliness that is hard to beat in this industry.


  1.  CHANGE YOUR MARITAL STATUS:How you hold title is affected by your marital status. Be sure to make both your lender and the title company aware of any changes in your marital status so that documents can be prepared correctly.
  2. CHANGE JOBS:A job change may result in your loan being denied, particularly if you are taking a lower-paying position or moving into a different field. Don’t think you’re safe because you’ve received approval earlier in the process,as the lender may call your employer to re-verify your employment just prior to funding the loan.
  3. SWITCH BANKS OR MOVE YOUR MONEY TO ANOTHER INSTITUTION:After the lender has verified  your funds at one or more institutions, the money should remain there until needed for the purchase.
  4. PAYING OFF EXISTING ACCOUNTS UNLESS YOUR LENDER REQUESTS IT:If your Loan Officer advises you to pay off certain bills in order to qualify for the loan, follow that advice.Otherwise, leave your accounts as they are until your escrow closes.
  5. MAKE ANY LARGE PURCHASES:A major purchase that requires a withdrawal from your verified funds or increases your debt can result in your not qualifying for the loan. A lender may check your credit or re-verify funds at the last minute, so avoid purchases that could impact your loan approval.