|Real Estate Information|
Escrow Accounts - Are You Paying Too Much?
Money in escrow is "dead money". It doesn't earn interest for you and it doesn't reduce your mortgage interest payments. Therefore every cent in your escrow account is costing you money. Make sure there is no more tied up in escrow than there needs to be!
Here is a brief summary of what lenders can and cannot do regarding escrow. I'll also explain how to check your own escrow account to make sure you are not paying too much.
State laws vary; you should consult your own attorney to determine what your local laws allow.
The way lenders handle escrow is regulated by the Federal Real EstateSettlement Procedures Act, which applies to all "federally related mortgage loans".
Unless local law says otherwise, at settlement the lender can requirea borrower to deposit funds in an escrow account set up for the payment of taxes or insurance premiums. The sum deposited cannot exceed the actual amount of the taxes and premiums, plus one-sixth of their estimated total.
If the taxes come due in January and you are settling in July, your first month's payment will be due Sept. 1. For September, October, November and December, you will make four months' escrow payments. Since the lender will require a full year's payment in January, and at that time only four months' payments will be in escrow, the lender can escrow eight months at settlement, plus one-sixth of the total amount, which amounts to an additional two months' worth of escrow.
Thus, at settlement, do not be surprised if the lender requires you topay 10 months' tax payments into escrow. These funds are held by the lender and paid when the taxes come due.
The rules apply until you pay off your loan. In other words, the lender can hold two additional months' escrow, so that if you are delinquent in one or two monthly payments, the lender will still have sufficient funds.
At least once a year, the lender that services your loan must send youa statement clearly itemizing "the amount of the borrower's current monthly payment, the portion of the monthly payment being placed in the escrow account, the total amount paid into the escrow account during the period, the total amount paid out of the escrow account during the period for taxes, insurance premiums . . . (as separately identified) and the balance in the escrow account at the conclusion of the period."
When you receive this statement, you should review it carefully. Confirm with your taxing authority and your insurance company exactly when the payment is due and the amount of the payment. Use a calculator to determine whether the lender has properly calculated the amount of the escrow. Congressional testimony has uncovered many errors made by mortgage lenders.
There are also many cases in which lenders fail to pay the real estate tax on time - or at all. Often, the first time that homeowners learn of this non payment is when they receive a notice of tax sale from the jurisdiction where their property is located.
If you are required to escrow for taxes and insurance it is a very good idea to write to your lender annually, demanding proof of payment of the real estate taxes and insurance premiums. If the lender does not respond promptly, contact your taxing authority to confirm payment of the taxes, and complain about the lack of response to your state or local financial regulatory authority.
Home owners who have 20% or more equity in their property - that is, if they borrow or refinance 80% or less than the value of the property - have the right to receive a notice from the lender thatthey may pay their own taxes and insurance without escrow. This is a wise thing to do as your money is better off working for you than sitting in a non interest bearing escrow account. This is of course providing that you have the financial discipline to have the funds available when it comes time to pay your taxes and insurance!
WARNING: Some lenders try to increase the mortgage rate when the borrower opts to avoid escrow. You should talk to your attorney who will likely advise you it is illegal for the lender to do this. Again, MAKE THE EFFORT. It can be worth a great deal of money to you in the long term.
Unfortunately, escrow for taxes is a way of life in the mortgage industry. However, as a borrower, you have the right to review and analyze - and complain if you find that your escrowed funds are not being handled properly. After all, this money belongs to you until it is paid to the taxing authority or the insurance company.
You can easily check your own escrow account.
To determine whether your escrow account balance is excessive,divide all annual expenses paid out of that account by 12.
For example, if your annual expenses are $1,200, the lender would need $100 a month for payments.
If your monthly escrow payment is significantly higher than $100, the lender may be overcharging. Some lenders establish separate escrow accounts for each item to be paid, rather than making all payments out of the same fund. But regardless of the method used, at some point in the year, there should be no more than two times the monthly payment in the account (in the above example there should be no more than $200 in the account for at least one month of the year), or a smaller amount if the mortgage contract specifies one.
Should you find that you are being excessively charged you need to contact your lender for a satisfactory explanation because THIS IS COSTING YOU MONEY.
$500 in your escrow account is $500 that is not coming off your mortgage. You are paying interest on this which over the years can compound out to significant amounts of money. In fact over a 30 year loan at 8% this $500 will have cost you $5,431.92 in additional interest. Is that worth fighting for?
I encourage you to make the small effort required to monitor your accounts. It's so easy to be complacent and assume that all is as it should be. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your finances. When it comes to your money, you are the only person you can really trust.
For more information on bank overcharging visit me at www.BankSentinel.com
Yuri Szilasi is the owner of http://www.BankSentinel.com a site dedicated to recouping mortgage overcharges from lenders. Mortgage overcharges are endemic worldwide and cost Americans alone over $8 Billion each year.
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
Lawsuit Accuses Westchester Real Estate Firm of Conflict of Interest in Home Sales - Wall Street Journal
Real-Estate Matters: Age shouldn't sway couple from purchasing their first home - The Columbus Dispatch
Real Estate Investing Produces Extraordinary Profits
Imagine making $5000 a year from real estate investing without recognizing you are real estate investing!Real estate values are so dynamic. The marketplace is always fluid and changing.
Sell Houses Fast & Top Dollar: Design Psychology
How would you like to start a bidding war for your home, ending with a sales price greater than the asking price -- all within your home's first three hours on the market? That's the kind of results you can expect when you prepare your home for marketing, using Design Psychology methods! Design Psychology's innovative interior design strategies go well beyond normal cleaning, painting, and repairs, and have been proven to increase homeowner profit while shortening a home's market time. And best of all, you don't have to spend a lot of money to enjoy the benefits Design Psychology can provide! Here are a few tips for maximizing your sales price, while minimizing the out-of-pocket cost of selling your home: First, you must emotionally detach yourself from your home and begin to think of it as simply a piece of property that needs to be sold.
Prepare Your Rental Property for Occupancy
Among your many responsibilities as a landlord, the law provides for a warranty of implied habitability. This means that the dwelling must be considered habitable and any known problems must be fixed before you allow a tenant to take occupancy.
Home Appraisal Values Are Critical
To most, owning a home is a necessity, but sometimes it is a matter of pride or a business investment. Home appraisal values become relevant if one wishes to sell his house.
How to Research and Purchase a Good Investment Property
How much do you really know about investment property? Accurate research and professional expertise applied to the purchase of an investment property builds a solid foundation for financial success. You may want to work with a REALTOR who can help to identify the great opportunities in investment properties in the area of your choice.
Expenses of Home Ownership
Hopefully all goes smoothly when you purchase your home. In your anxiousness to become an owner it may not have crossed your mind and no one tells you, your'e not done spending money on this transaction.
Customer Service - The Real Estate Revolution
Traditionally, real estate has been viewed as a sales industry. But perceptions are changing.
Land for Sale
Think owning land would cost a fortune? Think again! While land prices on the extreme coasts motors upward, there are millions of parcels for sale throughout the USA that can fit into anyone's budget. There is probably a land deal that could make you a profit happening right under your nose right now.
Practical Advice for Finding Irish Castles for Sale
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a castle?Have you ever dreamed of dancing in a grand ballroom that at one time was filled with princes and other nobility?If you find yourself dreaming of this lifestyle, you're not alone. Celtic castles, and all things medieval for that matter, have gotten very popular in recent years.
Investing in Real Estate & REITs
Real estate investing runs the gamut in terms of risk and investment success. The first rule of real estate investing, even before location, location, location, is be very careful with whom you are dealing.
Miami Property Booming for Foreign Investors
Miami tourism is growing and so is the Miami property market. Dubbed the New Manhattan by the US property media.
Top Tips for First Time Home Buyers
Advice to Help When You're Buying a HomeFirst time home buyers might feel better to know that they're not the only ones who feel confused about the process of buying a home. Nearly all home buyers feel the same way, even if they've bought a house in the past, because it's easy to forget the home buying steps you took to get there once the event is behind you.
How to Make the Real Estate Market Work For You and Get The Most Money
How to make the Real Estate market work for you and get the most money. Dad always said that Real estate is a good investment because they don't make it anymore.
Real Estate: A Strong Investment
Description: Even in uncertain economic times like these, history shows that real estate is one of the soundest investments a family can make. Also remember that the stock market is not the only place where people can make their fortunes.
Homes For Sell By Owner - FSBOs and Buyer Brokers
You're selling your home as a FSBO (for sale by owner) and you get annoyed when real estate brokers call you, right? That's a reasonable response when you're doing all the work to market your property to save thousands of dollars in broker commissions. However, when a "buyer broker" calls, you might want to listen.
Investment Real Estate Secret: Buy a House Today, With No Money Down
If you've read my article "Purchasing Property With No Money Down. .
Building A Home? Want To Ask A Builder The Right Questions - Not The Dumb Ones!
These are real builder questions that I got from readers of my e-book, "Residential Development Made Easy" with answers from a major USA Master Builder operating in 48 States.Question 1.
Real Estate Investing Skill Acquisition
Real estate investing is not in any list of high school electives. You can't get an accredited degree in real estate investing.
Find Out If There Are Sexual Predators Nearby Before You Buy A Home or Property!
When looking for a new home or property, buyers ask many questions. Typical questions might be about the history of the property, property tax amounts, the school system, proximity to medical facilities, shopping malls, etc.
Does Staging Work?
Staging can involve minimal effort on the part of a seller. Merely rearranging furniture can show a house off to advantage.
|home | site map|
|© 2006 TIGER MEDIA|