CFPB creates online tool to help homebuyers with mortgages

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has created a virtual tool to help homebuyers navigate the mortgage process.

The agency has created an “Owning a Home” page on its website that features an interactive step-by-step overview of the loan process, a monthly mortgage repayment worksheet to help homebuyers figure out how much they will owe and sample forms for loan estimates and closing disclosures.

The site also includes a closing checklist, a loan options guide and a tool to help consumers explore interest rates.

“Our new mortgage forms reduce the information gap between lenders and consumers, shedding light on a process that often feels like a mystery,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a news release. “It is time consumers have more power in the mortgage process, and our new forms and online tools will help make that a reality.”

In January, CFPB finalized changes to its “Know Before You Owe” mortgage rules. Starting Oct. 3, creditors will have three days to give a consumer a revised loan estimate once a consumer locks in a floating interest rate. Previously, the loan estimates were due on the day the rate was locked in.

CFPB said the rule change gives creditors more leeway in revising estimates and consumers a chance to shop between loans.

The Closing Disclosure, which details the final transaction, must be provided to consumers at least three business days before a closing to give consumers time to confirm whether they are getting what they expected, ask questions and negotiate any changes.