3. How do I keep track of my escrow account?
On your mortgage statement, you'll notice that your payment is broken down into categories:
- Your loan principal, which pays down your mortgage debt
- Your loan interest
- Your monthly escrow payment for your taxes and homeowner's insurance, as well as private mortgage insurance if required
The statement will also show your escrow account balance from month to month. Every year or so, your lender will evaluate your escrow payment to make sure that it adequately covers your insurance and property tax costs. If you have any questions about your escrow account payments or balance, talk with your lender.
4. Why do I need an escrow account?
Most lenders require you to have an escrow account as part of the terms of your loan. It protects you by having you pay small amounts each month toward these larger annual bills. That way you won't have to scramble to pay a large bill once each year — and you can rest assured that the payments are made on time by your mortgage company.
If your lender doesn't require you to have an escrow account, you'll have to pay your property tax and homeowner's insurance in full when they come due each year. These payments often amount to thousands of dollars, which can be a financial burden to homeowners. If you don't pay them on time, you'll face consequences in the form of penalties, fines, or loss of insurance coverage. In extreme cases, unpaid taxes can lead to a lien1 on your home.
5. How much money is in an escrow account?
The amount of money held in your escrow account is an estimated total to cover your annual property taxes, homeowner's insurance, and private mortgage insurance (if applicable). Before you sign the paperwork to purchase your home, your lender will estimate these amounts based on county tax records and quotes from insurance providers. In addition, some lenders will hold a little extra money as a cushion, in case your taxes or insurance premiums are higher than expected.
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