San Diego (PRWEB) June 24, 2009
Closing.com, the most comprehensive source of information about real estate closing service providers ever assembled online, has announced the launch of its 2.0 Web site (in beta). Now consumers and real estate professionals can create instant closing cost estimates while shopping for and saving on all their real estate closing services.
Visitors to the site can choose from a database of more than 140,000 companies providing real estate services in 11 major categories ranging from title insurance and settlement services to home and pest inspections. At a glance, consumers can see each provider's rates and fees, office locations, credentials and services. Users can find, compare and contact providers directly through the site.
"Homebuyers spend two to seven percent of the cost of their home on closing costs. Most are not clear about what closing costs include, who they are hiring, how much they are spending or why. Closing.com gives consumers the information and tools they need to make informed decisions and save money on closing costs, and it is free to all users. It's a powerful new tool for real estate professionals to serve their customers. Vendors listed on Closing.com have a new, more efficient and targeted sales channel to reach professionals and consumers online to build their business," said Tony Farwell, CEO of ClosingCorp.
Closing.com's proprietary tool called the ClosingWizard™ uses a sophisticated system that determines which services are required to complete the transaction. Based on the location of the property and nature of the transaction, Closing.com assembles a custom closing estimate for all fees and services using the company's dynamic rate engines.
Under HUD's new rules amending RESPA (Real Estate Services Procedures Act) regulations, lenders will be required to use a new "Good Faith Estimate" or GFE form beginning January 1, 2010. Closing.com will display estimates in this new format, which the company refers to as a "Pre-Good Faith Estimate" (or "Pre-GFE") before the January 1, 2010 effective date of the HUD rules. Borrowers can submit their Pre-GFE to prospective loan originators who will be able to deliver a more reliable closing estimate. Closing.com's services will greatly facilitate lenders' compliance with HUD's reform of RESPA, which requires lenders to issue a more accurate GFE in HUD's new form.
Farwell envisions buyers and sellers working with their real estate agents and mortgage brokers to create a Pre-GFE that includes their designated closing service providers. The Pre-GFE could then be submitted to prospective lenders along with a loan application. Lenders can respond more quickly and reliably with loan products using the HUD-compliant GFE form. Real estate agents and lenders can help their clients save money on closing costs and facilitate a more accurate estimate. Additionally, since the site's ClosingWizardÔ enables borrowers to analyze the implications of using different loan products, such as fixed and variable mortgages, they can better match their needs to a loan. HUD's key objective for its new RESPA rule is to require lenders to provide a more accurate GFE and facilitate the ability of consumers to shop for closing services, while gaining a better understanding of the terms and financial implications of their loan. Many industry observers believe this lack of transparency and understanding contributed to the recent and continuing sub-prime mortgage problems.
The site also empowers consumers with the information they need to make informed decisions about the closing process. Closing.com's Learning Zone offers extensive information about real estate closing services that help demystify the process. Consumers can find how-to advice from experts and tips on how to select and save money on services.
"Today, buyers and sellers are struggling through the toughest real estate market in history. They should not have to struggle through the closing process as well. Closing.com will help consumers, including owners who are refinancing, learn about the closing process and save money, effectively lowering the cost of home ownership. It allows users to select certain closing costs if they choose or add options like home warranties, which are important to many buyers of foreclosures," said Farwell.
Seventy percent of Realtors® are interested in using a one-stop online shopping source for real estate closing services like Closing.com, according to a survey of nearly 2,000 Realtors conducted last December by the National Association of Realtors for ClosingCorp.
"Closing.com will change the way that closing services are disclosed, purchased and marketed. Long a source of mystery and confusion to consumers, the closing process is now much more transparent. Today consumers have a powerful tool to help them save money and take control of the closing process," said Farwell.
ClosingCorp, an independent real estate information services data provider based in La Jolla, CA, is the parent company of Closing.com. The site empowers consumers and real estate professionals to find and compare real estate services in their geographic area. Visitors to the site can estimate their closing costs, learn more about the closing process, evaluate a real estate provider's products, services and rates, and make direct inquiries online. The company does not own, sponsor or endorse any company that is listed on Closing.com.