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Settlement Costs

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BUSINESS
By KENNETH HARNEY | November 17, 2002
SHOULD millions of homebuyers and refinancers have the option of shopping for a guaranteed, fixed-price package of settlement costs on their mortgage, along with the interest rate quote? Wouldn't such a choice provide at least some improvement to the current system, where last-minute charges can add hundreds - even thousands - of dollars of unexpected expenses to a mortgage transaction? Most major consumer advocacy organizations - from the Consumer Federation of America to AARP to Consumers Union and the National Consumer Law Center - endorse the concept of guaranteed fees.
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BUSINESS
By Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun | January 24, 2013
Chemical maker W.R. Grace & Co. said Thursday it will adjust the estimated cost of settling its asbestos-related liabilities to $2 billion from the previous estimate of $1.7 billion. The increase reflects higher estimated values of a common stock warrant and deferred payment obligations to be paid to a trust to compensate personal-injury claimants and property owners under the company's bankruptcy reorganization. The company filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2001, partly as a result of asbestos-related lawsuits filed by residents of Libby, Mont., and others.
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BUSINESS
August 11, 1996
An estimated 350 homebuyers in Baltimore can get help with settlement costs, thanks to a $1.4 million infusion of funds into a popular city loan program.The city's Settlement Expense Loan Program, designed to help with closing costs and settlement fees, has been expanded from originally targeting first-time buyers to include any buyer of a house selling for up to $203,150, said Thomas H. Jaudon, chief of the Home Ownership Institute Development Division, in the city's Department of Housing and Community Development.
NEWS
By Laura Smitherman and Hanah Cho and Laura Smitherman and Hanah Cho,laura.smitherman@baltsun.com | May 29, 2009
Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration is seeking ratepayer relief and other concessions from Constellation Energy Group as part of behind-the-scenes negotiations related to the Baltimore company's proposed deal to sell half its nuclear power business to a French utility. According to internal correspondence obtained by The Baltimore Sun, O'Malley's office and Constellation may be nearing a settlement agreement that could include immediate electricity price reductions for strapped consumers, longer-term discounts and commitments that the company will make investments in environmentally friendly energy projects.
BUSINESS
By KENNETH HARNEY | November 3, 2002
COULD the federal rules governing American homebuyers' and refinancers' biggest financial headache - settlement costs - be reformed by as early as next spring? Could surprise "junk fees" imposed on consumers at closings begin to disappear from the real estate landscape during the first half of 2003? Top officials at the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development hope so, and last week they reached their first milestone toward achieving that goal: They closed the official comment period on their proposed changes to the regulations that control millions of real estate settlements annually across the country.
BUSINESS
By Ellen James Martin and Ellen James Martin,Staff Writer | October 9, 1992
With Baltimore home closing costs running higher than anywhere else in Maryland, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke outlined yesterday a new $2.5 million city bond program to provide second-mortgage loans to meet settlement expenses."
BUSINESS
By Robert Nusgart and Robert Nusgart,SUN STAFF | April 26, 2000
The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development announced a loan program yesterday that will make it easier for low- and moderate-income homebuyers to afford a down payment and settlement costs. The Downpayment and Settlement Expense Loan Program will allow eligible buyers to apply for a no-interest loan of up to $5,000, with repayment deferred until either the first mortgage is paid off or the home is sold. Settlement Expense Loan Programs, known as SELP, are funded through the issuance of state bonds and have been used by the city and counties to help individuals who lack the money to cover closing costs.
NEWS
By Melody Simmons and Melody Simmons,Staff Writer | November 17, 1992
In an effort to stimulate home sales in Baltimore -- where settlement costs are the highest in the state -- city officials have launched a $2.5 million loan program to provide second mortgages to cover settlement expenses.Under the program, a home buyer can borrow up to $5,000 for closing costs on the purchase of a city property selling for between $60,000 and $100,000. The program was funded through through a city bond sale, and the loans are expected to be available in early 1993. Five local lenders are in the program.
NEWS
By Melody Simmons and Melody Simmons,Staff Writer | November 18, 1992
In an effort to stimulate home sales in Baltimore -- where settlement costs are the highest in the state -- city officials have launched a $2.5 million loan program to provide second mortgages to cover settlement expenses.Under the program, a homebuyer can borrow up to $5,000 for closing costs on the purchase of a city property selling for between $60,000 and $100,000. The program was funded through through a city bond sale, and the loans are expected to be available early next year.Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and city Housing Commissioner Robert L. Hearn provided details about the Settlement Expense Loan Program yesterday at City Hall.
NEWS
By James M. Coram and James M. Coram,SUN STAFF | August 21, 1998
Republican gubernatorial candidate Ellen R. Sauerbrey was prominently featured last night in a forum for General Assembly candidates sponsored by the Carroll County Association of Realtors -- even though she was not there.The association wanted to know what the nine candidates would do to lower Maryland's real estate settlement costs, the second-highest in the nation.The best way to reduce settlement costs, Del. Joseph M. Getty told about 40 people at the Westminster Senior Center, is to "get out the vote for Ellen Sauerbrey."
BUSINESS
By BLOOMBERG NEWS | July 8, 2004
NEW YORK - Knight Trading Group Inc., the biggest matchmaker for buyers and sellers of Nasdaq stocks, reached a $79 million settlement of claims it overcharged customers. The company also said quarterly profit fell short of forecasts. The agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Association of Securities Dealers will lower earnings in the quarter that ended June 30, the company said. Not counting settlement costs and writedowns, Knight's profit was 6 cents to 11 cents a share, less than the 15-cent average analyst forecast.
NEWS
By Elizabeth Mehren and Elizabeth Mehren,LOS ANGELES TIMES | April 21, 2004
BOSTON - As part of its plan to pay off settlement costs from the clerical sexual abuse scandal, the Boston Archdiocese announced yesterday that Boston College will purchase a 43-acre parcel of church land for $99.4 million. The archdiocese's Brighton campus includes the mansion once occupied by Cardinal Bernard Law and other Boston archbishops. Law's successor, Archbishop Sean Patrick O'Malley, has opted to live in a modest apartment adjacent to Boston's central-city cathedral. The land, across from Boston College's main campus, will give the crowded Jesuit institution room to expand.
BUSINESS
By KENNETH HARNEY | March 28, 2004
ARE THE BUSH administration's ambitious plans for nationwide reforms of home mortgage settlement practices dead? That's a widespread view among mortgage and real estate lobbyists on Capitol Hill in the wake of the sudden withdrawal of the proposals Monday by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Acting HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson said the pullback was needed to allow the department time to consult with congressional and mortgage settlement services groups. He said a revised reform proposal might still be proposed but would not commit himself to a timetable.
BUSINESS
By Tracy Swartz and Tracy Swartz,SUN STAFF | March 23, 2004
The Department of Housing and Urban Development withdrew its plan yesterday to simplify the mortgage-closing process and lower settlement costs for homebuyers. The White House Office of Management and Budget had been reviewing the HUD plan to reform the real estate act that has regulated mortgage disclosures and settlement costs for 30 years. But HUD asked that the review be abandoned. The OMB had been expected to release a decision on HUD's plan next month. The proposal has drawn criticism from many members of Congress and mortgage professionals, who predicted the changes would reduce competition and increase mortgage costs in the long-term.
BUSINESS
By KENNETH HARNEY | December 14, 2003
WHAT HAPPENS to pro-consumer mortgage settlement reforms when their chief proponent inside the Bush Cabinet heads home to Florida to run for a U.S. Senate seat? That's a hot question as federal Housing Secretary Mel Martinez prepares to jump into the race for the Republican nomination in next year's Florida senatorial election. Martinez announced last week that he was leaving the Bush administration. He did not discuss his political future but he is expected to seek the Senate post. On the surface, Martinez's departure would appear to be bad news for mortgage reform.
BUSINESS
By KENNETH HARNEY | September 28, 2003
DO YOU take one package of fees with your home mortgage? Or would you prefer two? Strange as they may sound, those questions could become routine for homebuyers and refinancers during the months ahead. Top housing officials in the Bush administration are considering proposals for home loan reform under which you could shop for not just one fixed-price package of mortgage charges, but an entirely separate add-on package that would guarantee all your settlement fees. The fixed-price packages would replace today's widely criticized system that often forces borrowers to go to settlement with no idea of their bottom-line final costs.
NEWS
By Johnathon E. Briggs and Johnathon E. Briggs,SUN STAFF | February 11, 2001
A Baltimore County man who defrauded Anne Arundel County property owners out of thousands of dollars by promising attractive mortgage refinancing rates, then stealing money for settlement costs, pleaded guilty in Anne Arundel Circuit Court on Friday to felony theft. Circuit Judge Joseph P. Manck sentenced Michael Dudley Leppert, 39, of the 5000 block of Chelwynd Road to 15 years in prison, suspending all but 10, followed by five years of supervised probation. Leppert was also ordered to pay more than $22,000 in restitution to the victims.
NEWS
June 9, 2003
WITH INTEREST rates repeatedly hitting 40-year lows, millions of American borrowers have been rushing to apply for mortgages or to refinance their homes. Not surprisingly, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America logged a record number of loan applications the week before last. Why not? The difference between 5.25 percent and last year's 6.75 percent on a 30-year, $200,000 loan means savings of $193 a month for homeowners. The windfalls are being plowed into savings, paying off other debts and, mostly, into cars and other purchases - in turn sustaining a terrible economy.
BUSINESS
By KENNETH HARNEY | April 20, 2003
THE BUSH administration's proposed reforms to the home mortgage system - strongly supported by consumer groups for cutting as much as $10 billion a year off American homebuyers' and refinancers' settlement costs - are in serious jeopardy on Capitol Hill. Tops on the target list of political opponents: A proposal to give consumers the option to shop for guaranteed-cost "packages" of settlement fees combined with interest rate quotes. The guaranteed packages would allow borrowers to know with precision the bottom-line expense of a mortgage deal upfront, at the time of application.
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