DC Real Estate RESPA/Settlement
RESPA is the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.
Settlement is the "closing" of a real estate transaction. Your settlement company will use its knowledge of real property laws, contacts in the offices of the Recorders of Deeds, Courts, and Surveyors' offices, and the information provided by the parties to the transaction to assemble and review the pertinent documentation then effect a title transfer.
When a buyer and seller ratify (both parties have signed) a sales contract, the settlement company is sent a copy of the contract along with contact information for the buyers and sellers. They'll order a title report to review for title issues (called "clouds"), a property survey if the property is a single-family home, and a certificate of property insurance. They will generate a payoff letter for the sellers' mortgage loan if one exists, and compile all other relevant material necessary for the title company to insure the buyers' new title to the property.
A day before settlement your real estate agent should request a "preliminary HUD1" which is a draft of the HUD-1 settlement statement. It will be a draft because many of the important numbers are finalized on the day of settlement. This is reviewed for errors such as name spellings, addresses, and make certain that all the credits you're supposed to have are on the statement. The preliminary HUD-1 should be very close to the actual HUD-1 in terms of data.