Escrow Accounts, Do You Absolutely Need One?
With escrow accounts the money for your home insurance and property tax is added to your monthly mortgage payment and is paid out each year. With that said, you may think that having an escrow account takes the responsibility off your shoulders because the bank will make the payment for you each year from your escrow savings account. But beware, because many people have found that their property tax and home insurance have not been paid on time or at all!
Another negative fact about an escrow savings account is that the lender holding it doesn't have to pay you interest. There are only approximately 14 states that actually must pay interest on an escrow savings plan. You can ask your financial institution if they will allow you to save for your home insurance and property tax in a separate savings account as well.
If you are applying for an FHA or Federal housing Administration loan, try to avoid having to set up an escrow plan. Some lenders may say that you have to have this type of savings account, but it's not true. As a matter of fact, if you offer to open your own savings plan to save for home insurance and property taxes, your lender is required by state law to comply.
Use caution though, because some financial institutions may try to charge you a fee of up to 1% of the mortgage loan if they omit the escrow savings account plan. Be sure to read the fine print before signing anything.