When you close on a mortgage loan, you decide if you would like to include your homeowner’s insurance and property tax payments in your monthly mortgage payment. Should you decide to do so, you mortgagor conducts an escrow analysis to determine how much money you need to deposit into an escrow account each month. If your monthly deposits exceed your payments, it creates an escrow overage.
Your mortgage company pays your property taxes and insurance out of your escrow account when they come due, which is usually once per year. Depending on the amount of the overage and your mortgage company’s policies, the mortgage company either sends you a refund check for the overage or holds the funds in the escrow account until it conducts another escrow analysis. Mortgage companies typically conduct an escrow analysis of your property yearly, using the insurance and tax information from your previous year’s analysis.
The Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA) requires that mortgage companies must refund any escrow overages of $50 or more to you. The lender must send you your refund for an escrow overage within 30 days of conducting an escrow analysis. If the overage is less than $50, RESPA does not require the lender to refund the overage to you, but your lender may choose to do so.
Application to Escrow Account
If your lender does not refund an overage of less than $50 to you, then it must apply it to your future estimated escrow payments. This would reduce you monthly escrow payments. In this case, your mortgage company would divide the escrow overage by 12 and reduce your monthly escrow payment each month by that amount. For example, if your overage was $48, then your monthly escrow payment is reduced by four dollars per month ($48 / 12).
Depending on your mortgage lender’s policies, if your loan is not current and you have an overage of $50 or less, your lender may choose not to refund the amount to you or apply it to your estimated future monthly escrow payments. In this case, the mortgage company simply keeps the overage in your escrow account until it conducts a new escrow analysis. Also, if you want to give yourself a cushion for expected insurance and property tax increases, you may send your escrow overage check back to your lender to deposit into your escrow account.
Sue-Lynn Carty has over five years experience as both a freelance writer and editor, and her work has appeared on the websites Work.com and LoveToKnow. Carty holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration, with an emphasis on financial management, from Davenport University.