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Thread: Escrow overage check - what should I do?

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    Escrow overage check - what should I do?

    I got a check today for a couple grand from my mortgage company for an escrow overage. I closed on my house in Dec 2008 and my property taxes for 2009 came back just for the undeveloped lot. As a result, I get this check. I checked my neighbors house in front of me who owns the same house as I do and his appraised value for 2009 was over $100k more than mine.

    So my question is this... what do I do? I don't want to spend the money and have Travis county come back and tell me I owe this money. I also don't want to be proactive with the county and do their job for them.

    I think I'll deposit the money in a savings or CD to earn interest just in case they come back.

    What is the statute of limitations for the county to correct their error? I'm assuming this is in fact an error on their part.

  2. #2
    asshat hayden_horn might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hayden_horn might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hayden_horn might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hayden_horn might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hayden_horn might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hayden_horn might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hayden_horn might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hayden_horn might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hayden_horn might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hayden_horn might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hayden_horn might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? hayden_horn's Avatar
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    did you get a tax receipt?

    call the county to make sure they have all the necessary funds, get them to print you a receipt, then make an extra mortgage payment with the extra cashola.

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    i remember getting the tax appraisal, but not a receipt

  4. #4
    asshat Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death's Avatar
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    you don't owe the money. the property is appraised as is stands at the beginning of the year.

    do you escrow? are your escrows based on unimproved property or estimated improved value? if your escrow payment is for unimproved land, then i'd contact your lender and ask them to adjust the payment by a few hundred per month so you don't have a huge shortage in october when its due, and send your overage check in, or at least a good part of it, to seed the account. then when the actual bill shows up in october, they can adjust it correctly and refund you any overage at that time but you won't be caught with a $4000 shortage.

    http://www.traviscad.org/property_search.html

    is where you go to look at the county appraisal district records. there, you can see how they appraised your property in 2009. i assume by the location under your avatar that you are in travis county.
    Last edited by Duck of Death; 04-01-2010 at 05:02 PM.

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    I've gotten a few escrow overage refunds, about 900 bucks each time. They estimate your taxes, sometimes they can over estimate it but you should probably call the tax office to be sure.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duck of Death View Post
    you don't owe the money. the property is appraised as is stands at the beginning of the year.
    Correct, and that is where I think the issue is. The appraisal on my house shows the correct square footage, etc, of the house. They know it's not an unimproved lot. I think they just omitted a zero somewhere along the way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duck of Death View Post
    do you escrow? are your escrows based on unimproved property or estimated improved value? if your escrow payment is for unimproved land, then i'd contact your lender and ask them to adjust the payment by a few hundred per month so you don't have a huge shortage in october when its due, and send your overage check in, or at least a good part of it, to seed the account. then when the actual bill shows up in october, they can adjust it correctly and refund you any overage at that time but you won't be caught with a $4000 shortage.
    .
    I do escrow, and based on what my bank is putting away they are counting on the correct appraisal value, not the unimproved lot. They are estimating around $4k in taxes which is correct, but the county only billed me around $1100 for 2009. Again, I moved in December 2008 and the 2009 appraisal shows the correct square footage of my house, just seems like a typo and they undervalued it by $110k or so.

    Yes, I am in Travis County

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    I assume that this was a brand new house when you closed in late 2008. The county should have picked up your house as being complete as of January, 2009. Apparently, they didn't. They probably will for 2010. My advice would be to send the check back to the mortgage company with instructions to re-deposit it into your escrow account. That way, when the increased tax hits, it won't be a major hit to you. I'm also guessing that when they sent you this check they also dropped your payment. If it were me, I would continue to send the higher amount with instructions to deposit the extra into your escrow account. At the end of 2010, you will know for sure what your new tax amount will be and then when they do next year's escrow analysis the change should not be nearly as drastic.

    When you develop an escrow shortage, you tend to get a double-whammy that results in an increased payment. This is of course what you are hoping to avoid. If you want to pm me, I'll be happy to go into more detail.

  8. #8
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    LC
    it was a brand new house when i closed in December 2008. My payment did not decrease it's actually gonna be $10 more starting next month.

  9. #9
    asshat Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death's Avatar
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    so the property was built in 2008? did you use the link i provided to see how they appraised the property for 2009? there should be a breakdown of $ for land and for improvements. that will tell you if they just taxed unimproved or not. It could be that they have just undervalued your property, (or perhaps properly valued it and you paid way too much for it).

    also, did they miss a tax? if you don't mind PMing me your address i can take a look and see if maybe they didn't get a bill for the city or county or ISD. Sometimes tax bills come from separate entities, the county appraisal district just sets the value so they don't send the bills.

  10. #10
    i get these checks rather often on our properties. Instead of doing the smart thing I immediately consider it free money and spend it on something superfluous

    my most recent check will be spent in vegas in a few weeks

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by unpaintedhuffhines View Post
    i get these checks rather often on our properties. Instead of doing the smart thing I immediately consider it free money and spend it on something superfluous

    my most recent check will be spent in vegas in a few weeks
    Bite your tongue. Vegas is necessary and required. Hardly superfluous.

  12. #12
    Leanin' ldogg53 Shaggy Gold Club ldogg53 Shaggy Gold Club ldogg53 Shaggy Gold Club ldogg53 Shaggy Gold Club ldogg53 Shaggy Gold Club ldogg53 Shaggy Gold Club ldogg53 Shaggy Gold Club ldogg53 Shaggy Gold Club ldogg53 Shaggy Gold Club ldogg53 Shaggy Gold Club ldogg53 Shaggy Gold Club ldogg53's Avatar
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    2 words...

    Yellow Rose

  13. #13
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    I'm getting married in October so this money would come in very handy

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    el tri,
    let me make sure i have the situation correct: your house was fully completed and occupied in Dec 2008? the appraisal district totally missed the improvement and only billed you on the lot value? the escrow/mortgage company had estimated taxes based on a appraisal district value taht included the improvement and that was the reason for the check to you?

    If all of those are true, you aren't clear until 5 years from now. the district can <and has on a client of ours in a similar situation> come back and do a correction of the appraisal roll and charge you for that.

  15. #15
    asshat ZB'Tejas grows his own roses ZB'Tejas grows his own roses ZB'Tejas grows his own roses ZB'Tejas grows his own roses ZB'Tejas grows his own roses ZB'Tejas grows his own roses ZB'Tejas grows his own roses ZB'Tejas grows his own roses ZB'Tejas grows his own roses ZB'Tejas grows his own roses ZB'Tejas grows his own roses ZB'Tejas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldogg53 View Post
    2 words...

    Yellow Rose
    I was gonna say Pink Monkey

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluto View Post
    el tri,
    let me make sure i have the situation correct: your house was fully completed and occupied in Dec 2008?
    yes

    Quote Originally Posted by bluto View Post
    the appraisal district totally missed the improvement and only billed you on the lot value?
    seems like they did a typo on the value of the improvement and seriously undervalued it... they show $12k of improvements, i'm guessing they forgot a 0 after the 12


    Quote Originally Posted by bluto View Post
    the escrow/mortgage company had estimated taxes based on a appraisal district value taht included the improvement and that was the reason for the check to you?
    the mortgage company has in my opinion estimated the taxes correctly, but due to the low taxes from the county from their probable error i received the check... my mortgage company is not reducing their estimated taxes for 2010 so i'm not worried about having an escrow shortage

    Quote Originally Posted by bluto View Post
    If all of those are true, you aren't clear until 5 years from now. the district can <and has on a client of ours in a similar situation> come back and do a correction of the appraisal roll and charge you for that.
    ok that's what i was afraid of... i was hoping the statute of limitations was shorter. i will deposit the money in a savings account and let it earn interest until the 5 years are up or the county comes back

    oh and i happen to live VERY close to the pink monkey

  17. #17
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    el tri,
    the district could have valued it thinking it was only slab or only had a driveway or something to that effect AS OF 1-1-2009 <or you could be absolutely correct in that its a simple typo>. Another thing they could have done is just rolled the 2008 value over to 2009 and didn't bother to look at the new construction in the neighborhood.

    PM your address/parcel ID and I will see what it's showing if you would like.

  18. #18
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    I'm awaiting my refund check as well. One thing to keep in mind when planning the following years tax bill is that if you have a Homestead Exemption in place for 2009, then in 2010 they can only raise your appraisal amount a max of 10%. That is of course if there were no improvements made in that year.

  19. #19
    asshat El Tri grows his own roses El Tri grows his own roses El Tri grows his own roses El Tri grows his own roses El Tri grows his own roses El Tri grows his own roses El Tri grows his own roses El Tri grows his own roses El Tri grows his own roses El Tri grows his own roses El Tri grows his own roses El Tri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluto View Post
    el tri,
    the district could have valued it thinking it was only slab or only had a driveway or something to that effect AS OF 1-1-2009 <or you could be absolutely correct in that its a simple typo>. Another thing they could have done is just rolled the 2008 value over to 2009 and didn't bother to look at the new construction in the neighborhood.

    PM your address/parcel ID and I will see what it's showing if you would like.
    PM sent... thanks for your help

  20. #20
    asshat Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death might be a clever chap. or know the right people. know what i mean, nudge nudge? Duck of Death's Avatar
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    bluto, just out of curiosity, do CADs make it a habit to review valuations to check for errors? If they looked at this property, i assume they would see a zero improvement for 2008, a 12K for 2009, and a 120K or whatever for 2010 (when it happens). so they would have to check the county records to see if the improvements were made in 2009 or 2010, right?

    and if he closed in december 08, its possible that the deed didn't get filed until january 09.

  21. #21
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    duck,
    to be honest, its a total crapshoot on what those guys pick up on. some counties are damn stringent and nit picky, others just roll with the punches so to speak.... and even inside each district the appraiser's vigilance varies. they dont really care who owns the property from a pure valuation standpoint; in a situation like this they only care what is on the lot as of Jan 1 in a given year. for thsi particular situation, they could go back through their aerial photography <most large counties get aerial photography done around jan 1 each year> OR they can go by certificate of occupancy OR since the deed date is prior to 1-1-2009 in a new subdivision, there could be eyebrows raised b/c closings don't happen until the house is fully built.

    i am not sure if that answers your ?s totally. your last sentence kind of goes hand in hand with my last scenario above where the deed filing didn't make its way to the district til after values were proposed for 2009 and that's what they use to shortcut their valuations of new houses.

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