Federal agency asking public for comment on real estate disclosures

SANTA ROSA -- When someone purchases a home, there are scores of documents to sign including several disclosures forms.

Two of the disclosures are the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act form and the Truth in Lending Act.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is calling for these forms to be made into one, and has the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau heading the efforts.

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act form, or RESPA, was created in 1974 because various companies associated with the buying and selling of real estate, such as lenders, real estate agents, construction companies and title insurance companies, were sometimes engaging in providing undisclosed kickbacks to each other, inflating the costs of real estate transactions and obscuring price competition.

The Truth in Lending Act, TILA, was enacted in 1968 and is a federal law designed to promote the informed use of consumer credit, by requiring disclosures about its terms and cost to standardize the manner in which costs associated with borrowing are calculated and disclosed.

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