REAL ESTATE: Exposing Closing Costs

The meeting at which the seller and buyer of a house sit down with their lawyers, lenders and real estate brokers to sign the deal is usually a tense session —not least because the two principals do not yet know how much they will have to cough up in closing costs. Under a new federal law taking effect this week, they will be forewarned, if not cheered. The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act requires that the lender give both buyer and seller an itemized list of closing costs at least twelve days before settlement.

The buyer still faces a bewildering...

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