What is escrow in a mortgage?

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Escrow is a term commonly used in the context of mortgages, but what exactly does it mean? In simple terms, escrow refers to the process of setting aside funds for specific purposes, such as property taxes and insurance, in a separate account. This article will delve deeper into the concept of escrow in a mortgage, exploring its purpose, how it works, and its benefits for both borrowers and lenders.

What is Escrow in a Mortgage?

Escrow in a mortgage is a financial arrangement where a neutral third party, known as an escrow agent or a title company, holds funds on behalf of the borrower and the lender. These funds are typically used to pay for property taxes, homeowners insurance, and other related expenses. The purpose of escrow is to ensure that these obligations are met and that the property remains protected.

How Does Escrow Work?

When a borrower obtains a mortgage loan, the lender may require the establishment of an escrow account. The borrower is then required to make monthly payments that include not only the principal and interest on the loan but also an additional amount for property taxes and insurance. These extra funds are deposited into the escrow account.

The escrow agent is responsible for managing the funds in the account and making the necessary payments when they become due. For example, when property taxes are due, the escrow agent will use the funds in the account to pay the tax bill on behalf of the borrower. Similarly, if the borrower has homeowners insurance, the escrow agent will ensure that the premium is paid on time.

Benefits of Escrow

Escrow offers several benefits for both borrowers and lenders. For borrowers, it provides a convenient way to budget for property-related expenses. By including these costs in the monthly mortgage payment, borrowers can avoid the burden of having to pay large lump sums for taxes and insurance separately. Escrow also ensures that these expenses are paid on time, avoiding any penalties or potential issues with insurance coverage.

Lenders also benefit from escrow because it helps protect their investment in the property. By requiring borrowers to maintain an escrow account, lenders can be confident that property taxes and insurance will be paid, reducing the risk of liens or other legal complications. This added security allows lenders to offer more favorable loan terms to borrowers.


In summary, escrow in a mortgage is a financial arrangement where funds are set aside in a separate account to pay for property taxes, insurance, and other related expenses. It provides a convenient way for borrowers to budget for these costs and ensures that they are paid on time. Escrow also benefits lenders by protecting their investment in the property. Overall, escrow plays a crucial role in the mortgage process, providing security and peace of mind for both borrowers and lenders.


– Investopedia: www.investopedia.com/mortgage/escrow-account/
– The Balance: www.thebalance.com/what-is-escrow-315721
– Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/what-is-escrow-en-136/