I let my mortgage holder pay my home owner's insurance and property tax. I'm sure I could do it myself now since I have plenty of equity but since I hope that my mortgage is gone in a little over a year, I let the bank take care of it. Because they take care of it, I don't keep track of my property tax or insurance. Sure, I look at it once a year around tax time, but other than that I don't think about it. That is until the bank sends me one of those nice letters that says my escrow account is too low. Then they offer remedies like, if I pay $300 up front then my mortgage will only go up $20 a month. If I don't want to pay, my mortgage will go up $50 a month. For the past 4 years my monthly mortgage payment has gone up because of my escrow account.
Today I received a check from Chase Bank. No explanation, just a check. In the address, in tiny print, is says Escrow Disbursement Account In Trust. Hmmm, could it be that since housing values have fallen, property taxes are finally coming down a little so they don't need to hold as much of my money hostage as they usually do? I am guessing that is the case. Finally, this is the first year that they didn't ask for an extra lump sum for the escrow account and raise my monthly payment. I think I will deposit this $240 but I won't spend it just yet. Who knows, they might find some other reason to ask me for money. Now I will be ready for them with my own little escrow account.