Escrow And Your Mortgage: The Most Important Points To KnowThere are many complicated terms thrown around regarding your mortgage, and one of them is an escrow account. You will probably hear that your lender will collect some additional money every month for escrow payments. If you take a look at your mortgage statement, you will see your interest, your principal, and your escrow. What does this mean, and why do you have to pay additional money that isn’t going toward the balance of your loan?

The Definition Of An Escrow Account

An escrow account is an extra account that your lender opens on your behalf to make sure certain expenses are covered. Because your mortgage investor has a lien against the property, the mortgage company has an interest in making sure your property does not fall into foreclosure. That means that you need to stay on top of all of your expenses, including those beyond your mortgage. 

What Escrow Accounts Will Cover

Generally, your mortgage company will open an escrow account that is used to cover your home insurance premium and your real estate taxes. Generally, real estate taxes and home insurance premiums are only billed once per year. If you get a large bill for several thousand dollars, you might not be able to cover it. If you don’t pay your real estate taxes, the government could foreclose on your house. Instead of asking you to pay thousands of dollars at once, your mortgage company will open an escrow account for you, collecting small amounts of money every month to make sure you stay up to date on your home insurance taxes and premiums.

How The Balance In Your Escrow Account Is Determined

If your mortgage company is collecting additional money every month, that means there is less money for you to spend. Therefore, your mortgage company is careful only to collect as much money as required. Your escrow account balance is determined by your property taxes and insurance premiums. During an annual escrow review, your mortgage company will see if the account has a surplus balance. If it does, you will get a refund for the surplus balance. Keep in mind that if your real estate taxes or insurance premiums go up, your mortgage company may collect more money in the future. 

Is An Escrow Account Right For You?When someone is looking at purchasing a home, they usually focus on the purchase price of the home and the potential monthly payment. At the same time, there are other costs that need to be included as well. This includes home insurance and real estate taxes.

As a result, many homeowners find themselves asking if they should use an escrow account or not. What do homeowners need to think about and how can they make the right decision?

What Is An Escrow Account?

First, it is important to define an escrow account. An escrow account is an account that contains money for items such as insurance and taxes. That way, homeowners are not blindsided by a major bill at the end of the year. Some people may be required by the lender to have an escrow account, but those who are putting 20 percent down may have an option to use an escrow account or to handle this on their own. With an escrow account, the money that is required for real estate taxes and homeowners’ insurance is broken up into 12 months. That way, homeowners can pay a little bit every month instead of paying it all at once, when the money might get tight. When should homeowners use an escrow account?

Savings Habits And Risks

First, some homeowners would rather handle real estate taxes and home insurance on their own because they want to be in control of their finances. While this is fine, some lenders might see this as an increased risk. If they view that homeowner as a risk, then they could use this as an excuse to raise the rate on the loan. Homeowners need to make sure they do not have to pay more for the loan simply because they are not using an escrow account.

Next, homeowners also need to think about their individual saving habits. Because home insurance and real estate taxes are often paid as one lump sum, this could be a lot of money leaving the account at once. If homeowners do not have appropriate saving habits, they might not set this money aside when the payment is due. If they fall behind on their real estate taxes, they could place themselves at risk of losing the home.