Understanding the HUD-1 Settlement Statement

Before being able to purchase or sell a property there are a lot of legal documents to prepare. One of the most important documents required by the government in securing a mortgage loan is the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. HUD is the acronym for Housing and Urban Development.  Housing and Urban Development is a department of the government that is responsible for any legal transactions concerning real estate ownership and property development. It is the branch of the government that develop and enforce fair housing laws.

According to the Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act (RESPA), the HUD-1 Statement is a standard form used by a settlement or closing agent to account for all of the charges and fees incurred for a real estate transaction.  The HUD-1 statement is given to both the borrower and the lender with a complete breakdown of all the costs and adjustments involved before a loan is approved. The HUD-1 is sometimes referred to as a “settlement form” or a “closing sheet”. The borrower has the right to view the Settlement Statement one business day before settlement.

The HUD-1 Settlement Statement comes in three pages and divided into sections that are required to be filled. The first page of the form is composed of three main sections.

  1. Sections A – is the title of the document and does not need
  2. Sections B-I – asks for the basic information aboutthe buyer, seller, Title Company, lender.
  3. Sections J and K – are the transaction summaries of the buyer and the seller. The borrower’s details will be found on the left side and seller’s details on the right.

The second page of the HUD-1 settlement is where the entries of the fees and settlement charges are shown. Again, the buyer’s charges are in the left column and the seller’s charges in the right column.  These fees and charges are then added together and totalled at the bottom of the page. The total costs are reflected at the first page and added to the appropriate columns of the buyer and the seller. Generally, it is an inquiry of who pays and the total costs incurred. Often there are missing and unanticipated charges but these are common mistakes and the HUD-1 statements are changed before the closing.

The third page of the HUD-1 is divided into two sections. The first section at the top is a side by side comparison of the Goof Faith Estimate and the charges for the borrower that is also listed on the second page of the HUD-1. The Good Faith Estimate or GFE is an estimate of all the costs the borrower expects and is similar to the actual cost of the settlement statement. It is just an “educated guess” but it does not guarantee the actual closing costs.

This section of the third page summarizes the key terms of your home loan, from interest rates to closing costs. There are certain charges that cannot increase at all; other charges that, in total, cannot increase more than 10%; and other charges that can change.

The second section of the third page specifies the Loan Terms in detail.  It include the question of how much is the loan amount, what are the loan terms, the interest rate, the monthly principal, the interest and the mortgage insurance payment. It asks whether or not the interest rate can rise, and if so, by how much and when. It also lists if there is a pre-payment penalty and the total monthly amount owed. Basically, it indicates by how much the final closing costs can legally change as compared to the estimated costs shown in the GFE.

It is very important to thoroughly check the HUD-1 settlement form for errors to be able to make adjustments before the final approval and not be ashamed to ask questions to the closing agent if there are discrepancies in the figures or something is unclear.