The National Association of Realtors has launched four new tools to help real estate professionals better understand and comply with the requirements of the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the association announced this week.

RESPA was enacted in 1974 to provide for the advance disclosure of closing costs and to prohibit kickbacks and excessive fees in the home-buying process.

“NAR takes RESPA very seriously and supports (the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department’s) enforcement efforts. Our RESPA Awareness Campaign helps Realtors understand the do’s and don’ts of the law when it comes to their day-to-day business,” said Thomas M. Stevens, NAR president and senior vice president of NRT Inc. “We’re doing all we can to help our members comply with RESPA.”

Among the new training tools that NAR unveiled:

  • “RESPA: A Guide to Complying with the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.” This new pocket guide provides an overview of RESPA’s requirements and prohibitions affecting real estate brokers and agents. It explains the scope of the act and the general prohibition on kickbacks and referral fees.

  • “RESPA Do’s and Don’ts Pocket Card.” A quick reference tool that provides examples of activities permitted and not permitted under RESPA.

  • “Affiliated Business Arrangements Guide.” This new pocket guide lists specific exceptions to settlement business joint ventures under RESPA regulations and reviews HUD’s response to affiliated business arrangements violations.

  • “Affiliated Business Arrangement Do’s and Don’ts Pocket Card.” A quick reference tool that provides an overview of what RESPA allows and prohibits when it comes to settlement business affiliations.

As part of the campaign, NAR is offering compliance seminars at NAR’s Midyear and annual meetings as well as online Web cast compliance seminars twice a year. NAR held its first compliance seminar at the Realtors Midyear Legislative Meeting last May.

Realtors can also find information on marketing agreements, affiliated business arrangements and general RESPA requirements at a new online resource:

NAR participated in several RESPA roundtables organized by HUD last summer. The association supports a market-based approach to RESPA reform that encourages fair competition, protects consumer choice and provides full disclosure of costs and services in the mortgage transaction, including an enhanced good faith estimate, according to the announcement.


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