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Escrow Accounts Explained

Escrow Accounts Explained

Mortgage escrow accounts ensure that homeowners' property taxes, fire and hazard insurance premiums, mortgage insurance premiums and other escrow items are paid in a timely fashion. They are a guarantee that there is always enough money to pay these bills when they are due so that the homeowner avoids the risk of lapsed insurance coverage or delinquent taxes.

These escrow accounts can protect both the borrower and the lender. Borrowers who have questions or concerns about their escrow accounts should talk to their lenders immediately. Consumers who know the purpose of escrows and are aware of the benefits they provide are the best insurance against misunderstandings between borrowers and lenders or misleading information from any source.

Escrow accounts guarantee bills are paid on time. The most obvious advantage of escrow accounts is that they automatically budget the borrower's tax and insurance responsibilities over the course of a year. Homeowners do not have to worry about coming up with several large, lump sum payments, each with different due dates, throughout the year. If there is ever a fire in the home, or if the basement floods causing damage, the homeowner is assured that the home is protected by up-to-date insurance.

Mortgages have lower rates and down payments because of escrow accounts. Escrows protect the interests of investors in home mortgage loans. By making home mortgages more attractive and secure as investments, escrowing has led to a healthier mortgage market. As a result, loans with better terms and lower down payments are available to homebuyers.

How Does The Lender Come Up With My Payment? The law is very specific in setting limits on the amount that the lender may collect. The lender may require a monthly payment of 1/12 of the total amount of estimated taxes, insurance premiums and other charges reasonably anticipated to be paid. Plus, the lender may collect an additional balance of not more than 1/6 of the estimated annual payments. If the lender determines there will be or is a deficiency in the escrow accounts, the law permits the lender to require additional monthly deposits to avoid or eliminate the deficiency.

What Happens When My Loan Is Transferred? When the servicing of your loan transferred to another lender, the new lender takes on the responsibility of managing your escrow account. At that time, the new lender may examine your escrow account to make sure that the funds being collected are sufficient to cover all payments that are to be made. If the new lender feels that the amount collected must be adjusted, you will be notified of the change in your monthly payment. For more information, ask your lender or broker.

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