5 Questions About Your Readiness For TILA-RESPA

 

October 3, 2015 is the new go-day for implementation of the real estate closing procedures required by the CFPB. The requirements and combined TILA-RESPA forms have caused a lot of worry and consternation in the real estate community, and several efforts have been made to delay implementation of the changes. The time for delays has passed now that the CFPB has settled on an October 3, 2015 implementation date. Therefore, now really is the time for real estate closers to take a good, hard look at their processes and make sure they are ready and able to facilitate real estate closings.

Here are five questions to ask yourself to determine your readiness for TILA-REPSA.

  1.    What are the new disclosure forms and what makes them unique?

    There are two new forms that must be used for all real estate closings come October 3, 2015. These are the Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure forms. They combine the overlapping data requirements of four of the current TILA and RESPA forms into two less confusing documents. The forms are easier for consumers to understand by providing consistent language and greater transparency into closing costs. They also eliminate duplicate data entry, make it easier to find key data, and should save time during the actual closing.

  2.    What impact will this have on my business?

    In addition to replacing current forms with the new ones, the new requirements change the way data is shared, paperwork is submitted, and the timeframes during which data must be shared between lenders, closers, and consumers. Manual and PDF submission of forms will no longer be accepted, for example. By some perspectives, these requirements are more onerous than the current system, but they offer a chance to streamline closing procedures, add transparency to the closing process, and reduce data entry demands and the related risk of mistakes.

  3.    Will I need to update my software?

    Yes, the forms are completely new and not available in any current software programs. If you plan to continue using real estate closing software, you’ll need to purchase new software that is compliant with the changes, or ask your current provider if an update that includes the changes will be made available.

  4.    How ready is my software vendor for the upcoming changes?

    That depends. Some software vendors took a very proactive approach to the CFPB ruling when it first came out in 2011. They began developing new software that would be in compliance and ready to go in 2015. Others took a wait-and-see approach in the hopes that the ruling would be overturned or delayed. They are now scrambling to catch up and have new products in place to comply with the new requirements. There is a third group of software vendors who have chosen to do nothing. Ask your current software vendor what their plan is and what, if any, products they will have available to bring your firm into compliance with TRID.

  5.    Do I have a training plan in place?

    Training on the new software and use of the new forms will ease the transition and give you more confidence in your abilities to facilitate real estate closings. Ask your software vendor about training opportunities and what type of technical support they provide on the new software. Make sure everyone in the firm who works with real estate closings knows about the TRID changes and is trained on the new system. The penalties for non-compliance are severe.

East Soft Is Ready For TILA-RESPA, Are You?

East Soft was one of the few software vendors to take an aggressively proactive approach to the CFPB ruling. The result is our new software program, EasyCDF, which is fully compliant with TRID and all of the new CFPB real estate closing requirements. Compliance with the new TILA-RESPA forms really is as easy as filling in the blanks with East Soft there to help you.

Contact Easy Soft at 1-800-905-7638 to learn more about EasyCDF and how it can help your firm meet the challenges of TRID this October.

 

Posted by Amy Prokop on in HUD Software | Comments Off

3 Mistakes Commonly Made with Divorce Financials

Planning the financial impacts a divorce will have on a family is one of the most complex aspects of a divorce attorney’s job. It’s one thing to think you know what the impact will be, but it’s quite another to see the effects once the divorce is finalized. Firms that rely on hand-calculations are at a disadvantage from the start. Every line item, every calculation must be done by hand. That doesn’t sound so bad if you’re good with numbers, but it gets exponentially more complicated when expenses are forgotten or added at the last minute. Minor setbacks like this can have a dramatic impact not only on the timing of the divorce, but further down the line at tax time.

In fact, the three most common financial mistakes that are made during divorce negotiations are:

  • Inaccurate Budgeting due to omitted or neglected expenses. This may cause payment issues in the future.
  • Disregard for Tax Implications. Both parties will be liable for taxes after a divorce. Accuracy during the divorce settlement is vital to minimizing the taxes that are due.
  • Improper Evaluation of Settlement Proposals. Assets, incomes, budgets, etc. all must be considered when determining alimony payments. Improper evaluation of these numbers will lead to an inaccurate picture of a post-divorce lifestyle.

Using computer software like Divorce Financials from Easy Soft eliminates these mistakes, makes it easy to make last-minute changes, and improves the accuracy of the data – without the need for an accountant.

Use Easy Soft’s Divorce Financials Software And Avoid These Common Mistakes

EasySoft’s Divorce Financials software eliminates the need to bring in an outside accountant to help analyze and evaluate the tax and financial ramifications of a divorce. The easy-to-follow prompts lead to understandable reports that you and your clients can evaluate together.

  • Budgeting. If expenses have been neglected until the last minute, simply go back to the expense input form and make the necessary changes. The software will automatically update alimony payment options for you.
  • Tax Implications. Divorce Financials is programmed with all 50 state tax rates, federal rates, and NYC rates. This allows you to create tax-optimized settlements that produce the highest amount of disposable income for both sides.
  •  Settlement Proposals. Divorce Financials gives you up to 5 different alimony payment scenarios so you can choose the one that best meets your clients’ budget needs. Child support, lifestyle analysis, and alimony buyout calculations provide even more detail and give a clearer picture of what the post-divorce lifestyle will look like.

Manage Divorce Financials In-House

EasySoft’s Divorce Financials planning software is like having your own accountant in-house. Divorcing couples are sensitive enough about their situation; they may not appreciate having an outsider brought in to examine their current and future financial life. You can avoid this possibility and manage the divorce process from start to finish, right down to the last alimony payment, with the right software. Divorce Financials will help you improve client confidence and retain client trust in your firm as they go through what is likely to be one of the most trying times of their lives.

Posted by Amy Prokop on in Divorce Financials | Comments Off

CFPB Likely To Delay Implementation Of TRID, Pushing Date Back To October

Settlement agents, banks, and lenders who have been hoping for more time to prepare for implementation of the Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (TILA-RESPA) are likely breathing a little easier right now. In mid-June, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed an amendment to the Act, at the request of lawmakers, which will push the implementation date back from August 1, 2015 to October 3, 2015.

If passed, the change will give settlement agents and real estate attorneys two additional months to get their systems and procedures in place before they must comply with the new rules.

Extra Time to Prepare and Test Systems

Referred to as the “Know Before You Owe” mortgage disclosure rule, the reasoning behind the date extension relates to an administrative error that was just discovered. That error would have delayed the effective date of the rule by two weeks anyway. In a concession to concerned banks, lenders, credit unions, and settlement agents, the CFPB decided to push the implementation date back to October 3 giving them more time to prepare for the changes.

October 3 is a Saturday, which may seem to be an odd day for implementation, but the date was picked specifically because it was a weekend. The thought is a weekend start date will provide a smoother transition to the new rule than would a mid-week start date, by providing extra time to launch and test new systems.

EasySoft is Ready, Are You?

While delayed implementation will no doubt make many lenders and agents happy, it will have no impact on Easy Soft’s plans for the release of our TRID-compliant real estate closing software, EasyCDF. EasyCDF is ready to go and IS available for purchase in both desktop and cloud versions. Now, instead of having just one month to get used to the software, attorneys will have 3 months before they need to use the new forms and capabilities that EasyCDF provides.

Our 100% TRID-compliant software promises to streamline the closing process and make it easier for real estate attorneys to manage closings in-house without worrying about compliance requirements. We have designed the software to be practically error-proof and in complete compliance with all of the planned TRID requirements. The software was designed specifically for real estate settlement attorneys who do not manage closings often or don’t have a large staff capable of handling the closings in-house. Instead of outsourcing this work, attorneys can keep it in-house, adding a new service to their capabilities, and ensuring their clients receive the level of service they expect from the firm.

Easy Soft will be following the amendment and any additional changes closely, just as we have been following TRID requirements all along. If any more changes occur, we’ll be sure to let you know.

To learn more about Easy Soft and EasyCDF, visit www.easysoft-usa.com or call us at 1-800-905-7638 to arrange a 30-day risk-free trial.

Posted by Amy Prokop on in HUD Software | Comments Off

EasySoft, SoftPro, or RamQuest: Which One Do You Need In Your Office?

There is no shortage of real estate closing software systems on the market today. Real estate attorneys and settlement agents have their choice of systems and solutions that make the closing process easier, streamline procedures, and maintain compliance. But not all software systems are created equal and not all systems are suitable for all needs. The key to purchasing a system that does what you need it to is to carefully evaluate its functions and capabilities and ensure they match with your own needs and capabilities.

In this post we’re going to take a look at SoftPro and RamQuest, two of the bigger names in real estate closing industry, and see how they compare to Easy Soft.

SoftPro

There’s no question SoftPro provides products and solutions that make the real estate closing process easier. The company is a leader in the industry for good reason with a robust suite of products that provide top-notch services. But, SoftPro caters mostly to the closing and title industry. That means that even though their products are high-quality, easy-to-use, and comprehensive, they are designed for businesses and individuals that handle closings every single day.

Businesses that handle closings with this frequency need more add-ons and capabilities than real estate attorneys who handle fewer closings per year. SoftPro has a lengthy list of modules, each of which must be purchased individually. While this provides users with great customization options, it also makes the entire real estate closing system more expensive.

RamQuest

RamQuest is another highly customizable closing solution, again created mostly for title and settlement agents and companies. The software is extremely thorough and comprehensive, but again, the price is in the upper range. RamQuest advertises its products as “unique”, “not cookie-cutter”, and has an entire page of their website and a white paper devoted to implementation of their software. That spells complicated, custom-built, expensive, and challenging to implement – absolutely everything a small real estate closing legal firm does not need in a software system.

EasySoft

EasySoft caters absolutely to small and solo practitioner real estate law firms and we’ve been doing that for over 30 years. Our products are designed with attorneys in mind. Attorneys who have other business to attend to. Attorneys who simply want to be able to offer their clients closing services and keep that business in-house. Attorneys who do not need complicated, pricy solutions for services they provide infrequently. There’s no guesswork or piecemeal add-ons to get a complete real estate closing system through Easy Soft and you won’t need any technical know-how to get it set-up and running.

EasyCDF, Easy HUD, and our Real Estate Documents and Amortization software, packed in a suite, are the only solutions you need to evaluate at Easy Soft. Everything a real estate settlement attorney needs to manage closings in-house is include in Easy Soft software. Even better, the software is affordably priced for an attorney who does not make closings his or her full-time profession. The systems are so easy-to-use, we’ve made them available via the cloud or in desktop versions there’s no “implementation” team needed.

Choosing a Real Estate Closing System

A software system should make your job easier, not harder. It should be within reach of your budget and technical capabilities and it should open the door to better business practices. If the solution you’re evaluating doesn’t meet these criteria, move on to the next one. Don’t stop until you find a solution that does everything you need it to – no more and no less.

While it is easy to be swayed by bells and whistles, if you never use them, you’ve overpaid. That’s a cost many small and solo legal offices can’t afford. They are adding settlements and real estate closings to their list of services in order to boost profits. It’s a waste of time and money to see those profits go towards the purchase and maintenance of a system that is far beyond your needs.

Easy Soft provides the exact services you need at a price you can afford. To learn more about Easy Soft and our new EasyCDF TRID-compliant software visit www.easysoft-usa.com or call us at 1-800-905-7638 to arrange a 30-day risk-free trial.

Posted by Amy Prokop on in HUD Software | Comments Off

MISMO Compliance And Real Estate Closings

Understandably, real estate settlement attorneys are wary of the new TRID compliance rules that require the electronic submission of data. Hackers are becoming ever more sophisticated and are targeting more people and data than ever before. Given the types and amount of private and financial data contained in real estate closing documents, the possibility of hackers stealing that data while in transit from the settlement agent to the lender has some attorneys very reluctant to submit data electronically. As full TRID implementation gets closer, what is a settlement agent to do? How can they ensure the data they submit will meet lender standards, comply with TRID, and remain safe while in transit?

The answer is MISMO.

What Is MISMO?

MISMO stands for Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization. The organization is the leading technology standards development body for residential and commercial real estate finance. MISMO is a subsidiary of the Mortgage Bankers Association. The organization creates, promotes, and maintains voluntary electronic commerce procedures and standards for the real estate industry. These standards allow mortgage lenders, investors, servicers, vendors, borrowers, and others to exchange real estate finance-related information and eMortgages efficiently and economically and with more confidence in the security of the data, even if they are using different systems.

MISMO compliance helps save time, reduce costs, improve accuracy, and increase data transparency without sacrificing data security. MISMO standards ensure data consistency throughout a transaction, boosting transparency along with consumer and investor confidence in the process.

MISMO allows free access to its standards, which makes it possible for settlement agents and software vendors alike to integrate the standards into their business. These best practices support smoother, faster, more accurate, and more secure closings.

MISMO is so far-reaching that its standards are routinely accepted in the real estate finance industry, most major lending institutions, and government agencies, including the CFPB, for their own electronic exchange of data.

MISMO And Real Estate Closing Software Systems

What does this have to do with real estate closing software? Plenty. As settlement agents come to rely on software to facilitate and manage the closing process, they need to be more aware of the security risks electronic data submission creates. One way to do this is to make sure their software vendors are designing systems that are in compliance with MISMO standards and recommendations.

To aid in this process, MISMO has a certification program that is used to evaluate software for compliance with MISMO standards, which includes new TRID standards. MISMO certification means a vendor has been vetted by the organization and found to be in compliance with their current standards. This means, the software is capable of producing and consuming MISMO-based files and transmitting them securely. The software will “talk” to other MISMO-compliant systems and provide strong data security measures at the same time.

Compliant products will bear the “MISMO Compliant” or “Certified MISMO Compliant” certification mark, which will help settlement agents and lenders evaluate software systems. This certification process is still relatively new so not all vendors have been certified yet. Until that time, agents can evaluate software on their own by asking the following questions:

  • Does the software product produce and consume data files according to MISMO industry standards?
  • Which version(s) of the MISMO standards can the software product receive/produce?
  • Is the product MISMO Certified and is the certification current?

EasyCDF And MISMO

Easy Soft’s new TRID-compliant software, EasyCDF has launched June 1, 2015. Already compliant with all of the major TRID requirements, the software will soon available a MISMO-compliant import-export data function. This feature will be in place well before the August 1 TRID implementation date at which time EasyCDF will be able to help you meet your TILA-RESPA compliance obligations automatically and securely.

To learn more about Easy Soft and EasyCDF visit www.easysoft-usa.com or call us at 1-800-905-7638 to arrange a 30-day risk-free trial.

Posted by Amy Prokop on in HUD Software | Comments Off

Visit Easy Soft At The 2015 National Settlement Services Summit To Get Answers To Your TRID Software Questions

Easy Soft will be exhibiting and sponsoring at the 2015 National Settlement Services Summit (NS3) in Atlanta, Georgia, June 8-10, 2015. The event will be held at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel. The National Settlement Services Summit is one of the biggest events in the title insurance, underwriting, lending and settlement services industry. This annual conference offers networking and learning on a broad scale. Expert speakers, industry veterans, panel discussions, breakout sessions, individual networking opportunities, and of course, an exhibition hall full of the latest programs, tools, and services that settlement agents need.

TRID Makes Heavy Appearance

This year’s conference is “Building for the Future” and is, not surprisingly, heavily focused on TRID and the CFPB real estate closing changes. Attendees will learn all about TRID and the new closing requirements from the opening forum right on through to many of the concurrent sessions. Topics range from understanding the new regulations and areas of responsibility to navigating the new transactions, developing best practices, and understanding regulatory risks.

There will also be a strong focus on the potential relationship changes between lenders and their vendors, including title companies and settlement agents.

Technology Takes Center Stage

Expect to see a lot of software providers sharing their products and giving demos at NS3. Easy Soft will be there to demonstrate our new Easy CDF real estate closing system, which is available and ready for download or purchase.

On June 8, the summit opens with a TRID Technology Preview. Event attendees will get to see some of the loan documentation forms and settlement systems that have been adapted for TRID.

For up close and personal examinations of these systems and for in-depth Q&A as it applies to a particular business, the Exhibition Hall is the place to go. Vendors will be on hand with the latest products designed to improve the real estate closing process. Easy Soft will be in the Exhibition Hall at Booth 12 with EasyCDF on display and ready for inspection by end user settlement agents.

Easy Soft and EasyCDF Are Ready….Are You?

Expect to hear a lot of grumbling about the TRID changes at the summit. Many providers have put off the inevitable and are just now realizing this is really happening and they need to finalize (or develop) their implementation plan.

Easy Soft is ready. We’ve already updated our Easy HUD closing software to the new, 100% TRID-compliant EasyCDF, giving users a full month to get used to the program before the TRID changes take effect.

If you have any concerns about TRID, want to see the software in action, or are a current Easy Soft subscriber and want to know how you can switch over to EasyCDF (guess what? We’ve made it super EASY), visit us in Booth 12 during the summit. We guarantee that you’ll love our all-in-one real estate closing software.

Learn more about Easy Soft and EasyCDF at www.easysoft-usa.com or call us at 1-800-905-7638 to arrange a 30 day risk-free trial.

Posted by Amy Prokop on in HUD Software | Comments Off