In 1974 the Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act (RESPA) was enacted to standardize the costs and procedures related to the sale of real estate. This was done to increase transparency and consistency in how transactions were done. It established standards that have driven the associated professions for decades. The administration and enforcement of RESPA was initially the responsibility of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 2011 the oversight of RESPA was transferred to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to address the need for further oversight as a result of the problems that led to the collapse of the housing market a few years ago.
In 2015 there will be some changes in the process and settlement statement. The essence of buying a property and securing a mortgage will remain the same. What will change is the formatting of the settlement statement as well as the timelines involved in securing a mortgage. Expect to have to provide documentation of your financial status sooner, and you will receive the final HUD statement at least 3 days prior to settlement for review. If there needs to be changes in the HUD the timetable will reset, which can significantly delay a closing.
The bottom line in 2015 is that you will need to have your resources and documents in order. You will need to work more closely with your Realtor and lender from the beginning of the process. This will make for a smoother settlement by reducing last minutes adjustments.
As 2014 winds down the statistics for Centre County Association of Realtors indicate that it was a solid year. The overall number of sales dropped a little for residential properties, but the average sale price increased slightly. The number of days on the market dropped, while the sale-to-list price ratio was above 95%*.
Indicators for 2015 are that it will continue to be an improving real estate market in central PA, with prices and interest rates rising slightly by the middle of the year. Talk with your local Realtor for the best information for your area of interest and specific properties.
* data is based upon the CCAR MLS as of 12/17/14