In Depth: CFPB’s Homebuyer’s Toolkit

 The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unveiled updates to its “Owning a Home” toolset for consumers last week at an event in the Washington, D.C. office of the National Association of Realtors®.

According to the CFPB, the new tools “help consumers decide if owning a home is the right choice, understand what they need to do to get a mortgage, find the best offer, and close the deal.”

The “Owning a Home” website includes a number of specific guides intended to take consumers through the home buying journey. These include a monthly mortgage payment worksheet, an interactive sample of the soon-to-be-implemented Know Before You Owe mortgage forms, and a “guide to the mortgage milestones” that gives buyers a chance to look at all the pieces from beginning to end before they get to the closing table.

With the aptly-worded header “Know the Process,” CFPB breaks their mortgage tools into four key parts:

  • Prepare to shop: There’s a lot to do before buyers start looking at pictures of their dream home on This section of the CFPB’s guide can help consumers check their credit score, budget for new expenses associated with a mortgage, and put a loan application together.
  • Explore your loan choices: Getting a loan doesn’t have to be difficult, but there’s a lot to know. In this section, the CFPB offers information on how to shop for a lender, the different loan types a buyer may encounter, how to shop for a lender, and getting a letter of preapproval.
  • Compare loan offers: It pays to shop around, but it’s easy for a potential homebuyer to get overwhelmed by the information coming their way. The CFPB offers tools to help consumers compare the loan offers they’ve received and choose the lender that works best for them.
  • Get ready to close: There’s a lot to know when bellying up to the closing table. CFPB’s toolkit is full of helpful information about home inspections, title insurance, and tips about the documentation homebuyers will see at the table.

One of the timeliest elements of the “Owning a Home” website is the “Loan Estimate Explainer” and the “Closing Disclosure Explainer.” These tools give consumers access to a section-by-section breakdown of the “Integrated Disclosure” that goes into effect soon, including a helpful checklist of questions to ask when reading down the form.

Below is a screenshot of the CFPB’s Loan Estimate interactive tool:

Loan Estimate

Homebuyers will see the new “loan estimate” and “closing disclosure” forms when the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule, also known as TRID, goes into effect on October 3.

CFPB launched “Owning a Home” in January as part of the Know Before You Owe mortgage initiative.