Becoming a full-pledged homeowner is a dream among many Americans today. Needless to say, as a prospective buyer, you have an exciting adventure ahead of you. However, much like any adventure, you will need to come prepared. Otherwise, you might be taken advantage of. Here are some Federal Real Estate Laws designed to protect you from unscrupulous practices.
The Fair Housing Act (1968)Passed in 1968 and considered to be a victory of the Civil Rights Movement, the Fair Housing Act bans all forms of discrimination against a buyer or renter. This effectively protects you from all racial, ethnic, religious, and gender-based discrimination.If you feel that you are being refused the right to purchase based on the grounds presented above, then you sue them in federal court. You also have the option to file a complaint with the Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Office.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (1970)
A federal law passed in 1970, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), serves as the basis for all consumer credit rights. This is especially relevant to you if you have taken on a mortgage. This law requires creditors and consumer reporting agencies to provide customers with written notifications regarding changes on credit status. Essentially, what this law does is to regulate the collection, dissemination and other uses of sensitive consumer information.
The Real Estate and Settlement Procedures Act (1974)
Passed by the U.S. Congress in 1974, the main purpose of the Real Estate and Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) is to give buyers legal protection from lenders and third-party service agents. It indicates that every customer has to be given the proper documents showing the breakdown of specific costs of a particular loan. This effectively prevents obscure kickbacks, price competition, and reciprocal referrals. This way, you know what you are getting into as everything is in black and white.
Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (2008)
This law was passed in 2008 in order to better protect home buyers. The main purpose of the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (“SAFE Act”) is to address the widespread problem of mortgage fraud. Under this law, Mortgage Loan Originators (MLOs) not only need to pass background checks but they also have to undergo the process of federal registration.
You may not realize it but the real estate market is full of predators looking to prey on the unsuspecting. You need to be wary. It also never hurts for one to know one’s rights as provided by the law.