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Partnership Helps Lenders Get Closing Costs Right

Ernst Publishing Company, the leading provider of technology and closing cost data for the real estate and home finance industries for the past 27 years, announced today the integration of First American Mortgage Solutions services into its closing cost search and fee management software. The seamless connection allows Ernst’s lender clients to quickly and accurately get title, settlement and recording fee quotes from First American Mortgage Solutions and use them to populate the loan estimate required in many residential real estate transactions.

“Lenders working today need access to information from their third-party partners as if it were residing within their own systems,” said Gregory E. Teal, president and chief executive officer of Ernst Publishing. “Today’s consumers and regulators are demanding it and this new integration is another way for lenders to get it. We have a rich history of innovation at Ernst, spanning more than 26 years.

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“First American’s integration with Ernst demonstrates our commitment to helping lenders deliver high-quality mortgage loans that efficiently meet today’s regulatory requirements and homebuyer expectations for superior service,” said Kevin Wall, president of First American Mortgage Solutions. “Lenders now have another way to quickly access accurate title, settlement and recording fee quotes from First American.”

First American Mortgage Solutions provides lenders and servicers with end-to-end solutions covering the entire lifecycle of the residential loan, from origination to post-closing and from servicing to default services.

Lenders now have one-button access to First American Mortgage Solutions through Ernst’s closing cost search and fee management software. Ernst uses XML requests to directly query First American Mortgage Solutions for guaranteed-accurate fees and then propagate that information throughout all of Ernst’s technology solutions, from its innovative web interface and mobile solutions to the many custom fee engines deployed by lenders around the industry.

Ernst programs process an average of 150 million real estate transactions every year, industry-wide. Since the company was founded 27 years ago, Ernst has processed over 1 billion transactions. Ernst estimates that its technology is used for 90% of the nation’s new loan originations and refinance transactions. For a complete list of the company’s innovations, visit the website.

Get Your Mortgage Info Online

Bills.com, the leading resource for free and personalized money help, has entered into an agreement with ClosingCorp to provide detailed closing cost data and a consumer-facing, closing-cost calculator for Bills.com users. Every month, more than 6 million consumers visit Bills.com’s online properties to find information on mortgages and other financial products, compare interest rates and terms, and receive offers from leading lenders. As a result of this agreement, Bills.com users will now be able to input a minimal amount of information and see a very “tight” estimate of the amount of fees and costs—such as title and transfer taxes—that might be required to close their loan.

This will provide transparency into the hidden costs of mortgage origination and prevent unhappy surprises at the closing table. A recent study, conducted by ClosingCorp, showed that two-thirds of Millennials were unaware that there were closing costs during the home buying process.

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ClosingCorp tools help consumers understand the rates and fees for closing-related services in their specified county. Consumers can enter a state, county, transaction type, purchase price and loan amount, and then receive customized closing cost calculations. These costs can include appraisals, title and settlement, inspection services, transfer tax, recording fees and more.

“For the past nine years, Bills.com has provided consumers with unbiased information from professionals and the ability to view customized loan offers, based on qualification criteria and programs from some of the best lenders in the country,” said Ethan Ewing, President of Bills.com. “Our deal with ClosingCorp now allows us to supply our customers with more complete details on the costs and fees associated with purchasing and refinancing a home, so they can go into the biggest transaction of their life with their eyes open.”

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Brian Benson, CEO of ClosingCorp, added, “Bills.com offers broad access to consumers who are seeking insights and information to make informed financial decisions. ClosingCorp tools and data can give these consumers a more complete picture of the costs of buying a house.”

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Estimating Closings Proceeds

It’s always my pleasure to talk about new and unique technologies. In this case, ClosingCorp, a provider of residential real estate closing cost data and technologies for mortgage lenders, title and settlement companies and real estate professionals, has launched a pilot for its new Seller Net Sheet, a tool leveraging ClosingCorp’s proprietary database designed to inform sellers of their estimated closing proceeds. Here’s how it works:

With a few input fields, the Seller Net Sheet instantly calculates a seller’s net proceeds for any property in the nation. The solution is available for title companies and other Internet content providers to help their real estate clients confidently explain the potential closing proceeds to the seller. The ClosingCorp Seller Net Sheet is unique to the industry as it uses actual rates, not averages, and gives users the ability to create and compare up to three different transaction scenarios and view them side by side. Aggregate fees and costs are then used to calculate the net amount a seller can expect to receive at the end of the transaction.

“Consumers who are selling their property want a better way to understand potential proceeds, and real estate professionals across the nation face the challenge of accurately answering this question on a daily basis,” said Brian Benson, CEO of ClosingCorp. “We wanted to give title companies a powerful way to forge a deeper relationship with real estate agents who typically turn to them for help generating these accurate estimates.”

The User Profile Management tool of the Seller Net Sheet enables users to set specific default settings that appear on all client-provided net sheets, such as contact information and commission values. Through this tool, users also can define and set costs for any real estate service category, such as home inspection, pest inspection, natural hazard disclosures, home warranty or any customer category chosen.

The pilot is underway with Corinthian Title Company, Liberty Title & Escrow and TransAmerican Title & Settlement Services. The Seller Net Sheet will be available to the general market in July 2014.

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Closing Costs On The Rise

*Closing Costs On The Rise*
**By Tony Garritano**

TonyG***As the cost of originating a loan has increased in 2013, consumers are shouldering more closing costs. In their quarterly study on closing costs, DocuTech found that the median closing costs in Q1 2013 increased by 0.4 percent from December 2012 to March 2013. Closing costs had decreased by 0.5 percent from April to November 2012. Here’s why:

****“Overall, settlement charges are still down from a year ago. However as reported by a recent study done by the MBA, the cost of origination has slightly increased,” said Scott K. Stucky, chief operating officer of DocuTech. “A large part of that increase is lenders spending more money on compliance costs due to changing regulations within the industry – with these costs now being passed onto the borrower.”

****In December 2012, the median settlement charge was 2.561 percent of the loan value. The charges continued to increase each month until it reached 2.940 percent in March 2013. These findings are a part of a quarterly effort to highlight how changes in the mortgage industry are impacting the cost for consumers to obtain a mortgage.

****“We are starting to see firsthand through our quarterly tracking reports of our nationwide lender base that it’s not just the typical originator, servicer or lender feeling industry change; the consumer is beginning to feel it in their wallet too,” said Stucky. “The uncertainty looming in the industry will continue to have a direct correlation onto the consumer until a level of confidence is reinforced and implementation dates take effect.”

****DocuTech tracks its closing costs through the strong integrations between its document compliance system, ConformX, and lenders’ loan origination software. The data files are transmitted from the lender to DocuTech through the loan origination system to generate the documents. Therefore, DocuTech has access to a significant amount of financial data regarding mortgage lending transactions including all of the fee and collateral information.