Understanding Mortgage Escrow Accounts

Hello and Happy Friday!  Today, let’s discuss a mortgage escrow account.  If you currently have a mortgage, you may already know what an escrow account is and if you are buying a home right now and have been talking to a mortgage professional, you may be learning about one.  

What is an escrow account?  An escrow account acts as a “savings” account.  This account is set up by your mortgage servicer (the company that handles your mortgage payments).  Not all mortgage companies service or handle the mortgage payments after you obtain a mortgage― a lot of these companies will have a mortgage servicer handle all of this.  The account is set up to pay your real estate property taxes, homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance and homeowner’s association dues.  This allows many people to be able to budget easier. 

How does an escrow account work?:  When you make your monthly mortgage payment a portion of that payment goes to paying the principal and the interest on the loan.  Paying the principal pays down the loan until it is paid in full and the interest is how the bank is making their money―it’s the cost of borrowing the money.  Then the remainder of your monthly payment is your escrow account.  Each month, a deposit is going into that account to ensure that there is enough funds in the account to pay for the bills as they become due.  For example, when the yearly real estate tax bills become due, you forward the bill to the mortgage servicer and the bill is paid from the account.  Most homeowner’s insurance companies will bill the mortgage servicer directly.  

Each year, the mortgage servicer will do what they call an “escrow analysis” of your account.  This is like a check and balance of your account.  It allows them to see what was projected to be paid from the account versus what the bills actually were.  Like most things in life, these bills tend to increase each year so a mortgage servicer will typically allow a cushion for a small increase.  Escrow accounts fall under the federal law called Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act or RESPA.  The RESPA statute allows the mortgage servicer to maintain this cushion but limits the amount of the cushion to approximately two months of escrow payments.  When an escrow analysis is done, they will determine if there is too much in the account and issue you a refund or they will determine if there was any shortage and allow you to pay this in one lump payment or over a twelve month period.  

When is an escrow account required?  Typically any mortgage that has less than 20% down will be required to have an escrow account.  This is a type of protection for the mortgage lender to ensure these lienable items are paid, protecting their collateral.  

There is no cost to you as the consumer for this account and the service of paying these bills from this account.  

I hope that this was informative and helped provide a little information on these accounts, especially for first time homebuyers who may have never heard of this kind of account.  If you have some other questions that you would like to see addressed on this blog about real estate, mortgages, homes, DIY projects, etc, feel free to comment or reach out to me directly and I can see that we discuss your topic of interest.

Local Restaurant Insight – Wrightsville Inn Grill & Draft House

Being a local resident myself, I always love trying a new restaurant and today I thought I would give a little insight on a local favorite, Wrightsville Inn Grill & Draft House located at 601 S. Front Street, Wrightsville, PA.  While this restaurant may not be a “new” one, it currently is a favorite for many.  This quaint little restaurant is right along the river with fabulously tasty food.  

The family that owns this establishment has been in the food industry for generations.  Ed and Ruth Myers spent years building a life of love, food and hard work ethic with their own little family.  Their daughter Michelle Myers currently has a huge role in the restaurant and the catering business and their son John Myers has a restaurant of his own in the Florida Keys, Boondocks Grill and Draft House.  Ed and Ruth were not strangers to the food industry—Ruth’s father had a local bar,  Ruth’s sister went on to open a coffee shop in downtown York, Take 5 Coffee Shop, and Ed’s sister went into the food industry and has owned a few restaurants, bars and diners over the years including the Lincoln Bar and Grill in downtown York.  

Ed and Ruth’s own path through the food industry started with owning the Fischer’s Market in downtown York at 331 S. George Street. Customers would come into the market for all of their deli needs and started inquiring about the need for party trays.  This led to their catering venture in 1977 which became Creative Caterers and sparked their interest in opening a restaurant, the Wrightsville Inn Grill & Draft House. 

I had the opportunity to speak with Michelle Myers, Ed and Ruth’s daughter, and found out she herself has been in the food industry her entire life.  This extraordinary family has had one of the most difficult things happen, the death of Ruth Myers about 6 months ago.  This has been difficult not only on the family but on the staff and the loyal customers that frequent the restaurant.  For Michelle this has been probably the biggest hurdle in the business and personally she has ever had. Her mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and died a week after the diagnosis during the holiday season.  Michelle had to keep the family and business together with little time to grieve because it is not like the business stops.  Everything keeps moving and tomorrow had to be just another day at work.  

For many years people have told Michelle that “she is her mother’s daughter.” At this trying time, this puts her at ease as many still say this but include that she is filling her mother’s shoes and getting things done.  She keeps this in mind each and every day.  I asked her on average how many hours it takes to run a restaurant. She chuckled as she answered, too many.  With this restaurant being a family business they breathe and sleep the restaurant. There isn’t a time that one of them is not discussing the business and there really isn’t much time for anything else.  Michelle has been moved by the outpouring support of the many customers, staff and even prior staff over her mother’s death.  She enjoys the many stories of fond memories that the customers have come in to share with her.  

How to describe the Wrightsville Inn Grill & Draft house for those who haven’t experienced it:  The restaurant has an eclectic menu with a little bit of every American classic.  Large portions are a must for this family as they would never want anyone to leave their restaurant hungry, so be sure to come hungry.  The most popular item on the menu would be their Colossal Crab Cake, per Michelle – everyone who has had it has never been disappointed and it is ordered very often.  The restaurant is currently open Thursday 4-8pm, Friday and Saturday 11am-8pm and Sunday 11am-4pm.  I recommend taking some time to check out this restaurant and support a local family business.  

How Are You Represented?

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on Pexels.com

Are you buying a home or maybe thinking of selling your home?  Should you use a Realtor or do it on your own?  Here are a few things to know about your representation. 

Why Use a Realtor:

  • A Realtor will have the negotiating skills that are needed in today’s competitive market
  • A Realtor has access to the most current sales data and the available homes on the market 
  • A Realtor is held to a strict code of ethics 

The Different Agency Relationships:

  • Seller Agent: A seller agent and their company works exclusively for the seller and must act in the seller’s best interest, including making a continuous and good faith effort to find a buyer except while the property is subject to an existing agreement.  A seller’s agent must keep all the seller’s information confidential but is still required to reveal known material defects about the property like foundation damage, ect 
  • Buyer Agent: A buyer agent and their company work exclusively for the buyer even if paid by the seller.  The buyer agent must act in the buyer’s best interest, including making a continuous and good faith effort to find a property for the buyer except while the buyer is subject to an existing contract and must keep all information confidential, other than known material defects about the property.
  • Dual Agent: A dual agent works for both the seller and the buyer.  A dual agent may not take any action that is adverse or detrimental to either party but must disclose known material defects about the property.  A Realtor must have written consent of both parties before acting as a dual agent. 
  • Designated Agent: The broker of a real estate company can designate a certain Realtor to act exclusively as the seller agent and another real estate agent with the company to act exclusively as the buyer agent in the transaction.  Because the broker supervises both real estate agents, the broker automatically serves as a dual agent.  Each of the designated licensees are required to follow the above roles as a seller agent or buyer agent.  

As you can see, each agency relationship has a very particular role and it is important to know how you are being represented in a transaction.  A Realtor should provide a consumer notice to each buyer or seller at the time of your initial contact with the Realtor so that the agency relationship can be determined and explained.  If you have questions regarding agency relationships and would like to discuss this more, please reach out to myself or my husband.  In our business, we find it to be important that you receive all of the information you need to understand the entire transaction process so that you can be confident in your transaction.  

4286 Myers Rd, Glen Rock, PA

We have received the honor of listing a very unique property and wanted to share some insight on the home and just a few of its features. 

This 1925 old colonial home is like no other.  The current homeowners John and Jennifer have spent over 30 years remodeling and loving this gem—and the home has won several York County Builders Association awards over the past years.  It is truly a masterpiece throughout.  The home features 2,424 square feet of living space and has 3 bedrooms and 2 and a half baths.  

Beautifully Designed Interior

Some interior features include a grand living room designed by Frank Auspitz, who was a self-educated expert in 18th-century furniture and architecture.  He specialized in designing reproductions of period homes.  His design was brought to life by local builder Edward Nace Inc out of Glenville.  This living room features chestnut floors and a gorgeous stone wood burning fireplace.  

Serene and Expansive Outdoor Space

The home is situated on a very quiet back road with 22.68 acres.  The property offers so much.  You could hunt, fish for some trout, hike, rock climb or even swim in the inground pool.  The current homeowner Jennifer believes the property brings to life many of her favorite poems.  Her most favorite being the British poet, William Wordsworth.  His poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, talks of the dancing daffodils and she sees this come to life on those spring days while looking out her large dining room picture window at all the dancing daffodils along the creek bed.  

The family has even hosted a croquet tournament on the land for 20 plus years and was featured in a local Lancaster magazine for one of the year’s tournaments.  

Unique and Historic Features

A summer kitchen was very common in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  The origins of these little structures came about during the summer months when it was much too hot to heat the home while doing your daily cooking, so along came the summer kitchen a separate structure to be used for the “summer” cooking to keep the home cool.  This property features a lovely summer kitchen with a vaulted open beam ceiling and a wood burning wood stove.  This would be a great home office or studio.  

Talk about a home that has it all: it is ready for work, fun and everyday life.  

See more of this home on this video: https://youtu.be/OHriVTNj_WY

DIY Inspiration: Outdoor Grill Surround

The weather is getting warmer and that means we can all enjoy some additional time outside with friends and family.  I thought it would be a perfect time to get the patio ready for our grilling needs.  

I am constantly on Pinterest looking for new ideas on DIY projects I can try.  I truly enjoy the completion of a project knowing “I did that”.  Do you like to do DIY projects?  If so where do you go for your inspiration, Pinterest, google, magazines, websites from other companies?  I have a long list of ideas I want to try and ones I have completed.  Funny how some turn out perfect and others are nothing like I had envisioned.  

Recently I built a small outdoor grill surround.  I used the following link from Pinterest that had fabulous instructions. They were very detailed, providing exact supplies you would need. I felt it was one of the best instructions I have come across on Pinterest.  

And here is a quick picture of my completed project, which provides us with plenty of space for all of our grilling needs.  

I guess getting the opportunity to try these DIY projects is what you could consider another perk of homeownership.   We have done so many projects over the last 12 months all turning out great or even better than I could have imagined.   

I’d love to hear from our followers about their projects or even their future “wish list” projects. 

Mortgage Knowledge

You have a ratified offer and now you need to finalize the mortgage application for your money to complete the purchase of your new home.  What do you need to know?

My background as a mortgage processor gives me some inside knowledge I can share.  Let’s take a look into getting a mortgage. 

What NOT to do:

  1. Don’t deposit large amounts of cash into your bank accounts – make sure when you begin your home purchase process to have your money in your bank account ready for your purchase
  2. Don’t quit your job – of course having a job is necessary to repay your loan so don’t quit your job or make job changes in the middle of a mortgage application.  A lender will have to verify your employment and income and will re-certify this information a few days prior to your purchase 
  3. Don’t open new credit – be sure to hold off on any large purchases with new credit accounts.  Yes, you want to buy all those nice things for the new house but hold off.  No appliances, furniture, etc.  These new credit accounts can affect your credit approval.  Keep in mind even if the retailer is offering no payments or no interest for the first twelve months, this will still trigger a credit alert and an estimated payment will be required to be included on your mortgage application.  So NO new accounts 
  4. Avoid transferring money between your accounts – a mortgage lender is required to verify all assets and this becomes a stressful task for many clients.  The source for any non payroll deposits has to be documented for each loan.  Be prepared to provide your mortgage lender with all bank account statements for all accounts and all pages of those statements

What you SHOULD do: 

  1. Be prompt, when a lender requests documentation.  Promptly gather the items and provide them for their review 
  2. Be thorough– when items are being requested, be sure to ask questions and read everything thoroughly so that you are providing the proper documents needed for your mortgage approval 
  3. Continue to pay any debt you currently have on time – late payments can affect your credit and this can affect your mortgage approval 
  4. Remember that mortgage professionals are required to make sure that all loan guidelines are met. Mortgage applications require a lot of documentation and gathering all of this can be stressful for you but the mortgage professionals are required to collect all of this information and they are attempting to help you obtain money for possibly the most important purchase of your life.  Communication is key: if you find yourself getting frustrated, speak to your mortgage professional about how you can assist to complete the process 
  5. Stay excited and continue with any self care routine you may have in place.  You are buying a home and it should be fun and exciting but know that obtaining a mortgage can get stressful and keeping with your normal self care routine can assist with the stress

Hopefully this small inside look into the mortgage process doesn’t scare you away from the great opportunity of owning a home of your own.  My husband and I work with local mortgage professionals that know how to make the process move as smoothly as possible with their many years of experience.  If you are prepared before buying your home with the knowledge, you are already a step ahead of most.  Please reach out to us with your home buying questions.

It’s Spring

It’s Spring, what does Spring make you think of?  Flowers, warmer weather?  For me it makes me think home maintenance and maybe that is the Realtor coming out of me.  I wanted to provide you with a quick list of Spring home maintenance items.  If you make a habit of doing these items, I promise it will help with maintaining the value of your home, which was probably the biggest purchase of your life.


  1. Thoroughly clean the interior of your home from top to bottom,including those appliances that some neglect throughout the year
  2. Change the smoke detector batteries 
  3. Change the air filters in your furnace 
  4. Check caulking around tubs/sinks – water is quick to cause a lot of damage to a home and something as simple as caulking can make a big difference


  1. Clean out your gutters – these tend to fill with leaves and debris which can cause damage to your home when left go 
  2. Do a visual inspection of the exterior of your home – look at the roof, siding, brickwork, etc.  If you spot something that you are uncertain about, call a professional.  Most times when a problem is caught early, it can save you money
  3. Touch up exterior paint – do you have any chipped peeling paint, maybe you want a new color for your front door? Making sure your paint is well kept also protects the wood from rotting and deteriorating 
  4. Have your A/C unit serviced by a professional – this extends the life of your unit and ensures a cool comfortable summer with working A/C
  5. Power wash exterior – power wash your siding and walkways cleaning away the winter grime
  6. Clear out gardens and fertilize the lawns 
  7. Maintenance your lawn mower for the upcoming cutting season 

Maintaining a home is a very important part of home ownership.  I explain to many first time new homebuyers that you need to include the cost of doing this in their budget.  You want to protect your investment so you can enjoy it for many years.  

Over the years my husband and I have come in contact with professionals in many industries that can help with home maintenance (plumbing, HVAC, lawn care, etc) and would be happy to talk to you if you have concerns and are in need of some help.  A well maintained home sells much quicker then a home that was neglected over the years.

Homeowner’s Insurance – What do you know?

Insurance: what is it and do I need it when I own or buy a home?  Some people confuse homeowner’s insurance with a home warranty.  Insurance is not going to fix your furnace when it dies or replace your stove when it won’t heat anymore.  Insurance covers your home against perils, that is fire, snow, hail, wind, water, theft, vandalism, etc.  So, yes you do want to be sure to have insurance for your home and you will be required to have it if you have a mortgage that financed the purchase of your home. 

The first step to the insurance process is to ensure you have a knowledgeable professional assisting you with your insurance needs.  They need to be able to answer all of your questions and concerns for your personal property as well as your home.  Having an insurance professional that works for a broker is a very good option as it will allow them to “shop” for the best insurance rates for you.  Each insurance company offers different coverages and rates and a broker can offer you multiple choices versus an insurance professional that works directly for only one insurance company.  

Premiums: what affects the cost you pay for your insurance?  There are actually six factors that can play a part in this yearly cost.  

  1. Credit score – yes the higher your credit score, the lower your premium cost is going to be.
  2. Age of your home – this comes into play because the older a home, the more an insurance company feels will go wrong with that home, like older pipes, older electrical, etc.  This all equals more risk for them. 
  3. Location of your home – the location plays a role as to where the home is located in relation to a fire hydrant or fire house – this is called your protection class and is based on a level from 1 to 10.  On average most homes are a “3” and the highest normally will be a “9” with a “10” being something much too far from either, creating such a risk that an insurance company may not agree to cover the home at all. 
  4. Home features – this goes back to the risk for the insurance company again.  So if a home has features they consider a higher risk like a pool, wood stove, trampoline, they will increase the premium to accommodate them for this risk. 
  5. Animals that reside in your home – Dogs, in particular, can cause an insurance company to decline coverage altogether or at a much higher premium.  Most insurance companies have a list of dog breeds that they do not allow. 
  6. Education – yes, you actually get a discount for that masters degree you earned.  The higher your education, the more of a discount you can get from an insurance company. Not sure I understand this one myself, but I do like a discount. 

Most insurance companies will complete a home inspection after obtaining the insurance coverage with them.  This is to assess the home for any risks or hazards like cracks in sidewalks, missing siding, missing shingles, etc.  Keep this in mind when you are shopping for insurance and know that you will be provided a timeframe to complete the repairs to continue coverage. 

This week I collaborated with Jolie Loring, an Insurance Advisor with McNamara Financial in York, PA.  Jolie is a professional we work with often due to her diligence and knowledge that she exhibits with each client we send her.  We cannot stress more the importance of having a strong team of professionals working for you.  We have established many of these relationships over the years so that we can assist buyers, sellers and homeowners. 
If you think you would like to have your insurance needs reviewed, you should reach out to Jolie.  She can be reached by email at jolie@mcnamarafinancial.net OR by telephone at 717-781-2933.  She has saved our clients and myself thousands of dollars over the years.

Selling A Home

Are you on the fence about selling your home? Has your family size outgrown your current home?  Maybe you are looking to downsize because retirement is around the corner or maybe a new job is on the horizon which requires you to leave the area. Whatever the reason may be there are many things to consider and to know in advance of taking that leap. 

Picking an Agent:

Picking a real estate agent is going to be a very important part of the process. I personally recommend interviewing your real estate agent options. Get a feel for who you are most comfortable working with. Ask them questions that concern you and make sure they are answering those questions. 


Real estate commission is a tough discussion…. Everyone wants the best deal and to pay the least amount out in cost, but is that really the best option for you? An agent will in most cases negotiate from the standard 6% commission rate but do you really want to pay them less?  Does this mean the agent is less experienced, less confident in their skills? Not always but yes sometimes it does mean these things. A real estate agent may negotiate a lower rate when you are purchasing a home with them and they will have two deals with you. Some will lower the commission for less services offered. Make sure the agent you choose has the skills, knowledge and experience you want and need to sell your home. 

Determining a Sales Price:

Sales price is another touchy subject. A real estate agent can suggest a price based off of the current market, the location of your home and the condition of your home (see where skills, knowledge and experience come in handy). This home has been your home for however many years and most people become very emotional during the sale of their home. But it is best to place your emotions aside to consider the actual data, not confusing the value (what a buyer is willing to pay for your) home with the actual price or cost of your home (what you paid for your home, how much money you put into your home). If you price your home too high you won’t get any showings meaning no buyers are going to even see your home, you won’t get them in the front door. Pricing your home correctly right away gets those buyers in your home and those offers in front of you. 

Prepare Your Home:

The current data for York County as of end of February indicates that the average days on the market for a home is 9 days. Wow! I recommend prepping your home in advance for the sale. Your real estate agent should be able to assist you with what projects should be done to optimize the sales price. You have one chance to make a great first impression on those buyers. You want to wow them when they walk in the door so that they know this is the home for them. 

Home Showing Appointments:

We recommend to all of our sellers to be sure to leave the home for showing appointments and to be sure to take your pets with you. There are so many individuals with pet allergies and who would want to create the extra stress on your beloved pet having strangers in their home while they are caged.


Once an offer or hopefully multiple offers are received, your agent should be able to go over the details of each offer with you with confidence to explain each item and answer any of your questions (here’s where that skills, knowledge and experience comes in again). 

Home Inspections:

Next step would be after accepting an offer if there is any home inspection requested by the buyer. You will receive a copy of the inspection report along with any request the buyer might have for concerned items of repair. Your agent will be able to go over this report with you and let you know your options (again skills, knowledge and experience, do you see a pattern here). 

Closing Day:

Finally your closing day has arrived and you will be receiving a check and the buyers will be receiving keys. This should be a happy day but can also be an emotional day. Your home should be cleared of personal items, swept clean and ready for it’s new loving owners. A final walk-through will be completed by the buyer with their agent. You’ve sold your home. 

My husband and my years of experience, vast knowledge, negotiating skills above others, honesty and pure service of others helps us stand out as real estate agents. We are confident in both listing and selling homes. We would be available to be interviewed if you are considering a home sale. Home inventory is low and we would like to add your home to our list of sold homes.


Photo by Curtis Adams on Pexels.com

A quick definition of a seller’s market, this is when the demand for homes exceeds the supply of homes.  Currently interest rates are at a record low and many individuals are taking advantage of these low rates to purchase a home.  Most are finding that the monthly mortgage payments on a home purchase are lower than they are currently paying in rent.  This all equals LOTS of buyers.  I have some tips I’d like to offer to buyers during a seller’s market. 

Buyers should analyze their search area with their real estate professional well in advance, so that they can be prepared for the prices of the homes similar to their needs.  

Buyers should be pre-approved.  They need to be prepared to make an offer. The seller needs to see that they have prepared for this and have aligned themselves with a team of professionals to help complete the purchase.  

Buyers need to make an appointment with their real estate professional as soon as a home goes on the market.  Homes are selling at a rapid pace and if a buyer doesn’t jump to see it right away, the home will be sold before even getting to see it. 

Buyers need to be ready to act.  Once they have seen the home they will need to be ready to make that offer.  If a buyer takes too long to decide if it is the “perfect” home they may miss out. 

Buyers need to put their best foot forward.  They should be ready to place their highest and best offer.  When the demand for homes is so high with so little inventory they wouldn’t want to realize that they let the home of their dreams pass by because they were trying to haggle on the price.  

Those are my tips for a home buyer in a seller’s market.  My husband and I work with buyers and sellers daily and hope that you found this information helpful.