Whether or not they'll let me actually do this is an iffy proposition, I'm thinking. I called the mortgage company yesterday morning regarding this, and I got the distinct feeling that they weren't going to give my money without a fight. Their reply was an expected, "Well, the contract you signed states that we must manage the escrow account," and so on. I suggested that perhaps a refi was in order — and not necessarily through their bank. At that point the customer service representative went on to give me their fax number, and suggest that I write a letter explaining my request. Such requests, she said, are handled on a case-by-case basis.
Hopefully, my case is pretty good. This company has handled my mortgage for over two years. I make my mortgage payments automatically and electronically, so my payment record is exemplary. I have enough equity in the home to be well below a 75% loan-to-value ratio. Neither my property taxes nor my insurance are due for payment until November of this year, so no conflicts should arise there.
I am quite certain I have the discipline required to set aside the necessary funds for property taxes and homeowners insurance each month, since I do this sort of thing for several other irregularly-spaced bills already. Why should I allow the mortgage company to hold my $1,800 in escrow, plus the required "cushion," when I can hold it myself and earn the interest on it?
Perhaps more importantly, I figure that my managing these payments myself, I can keep tabs on what's happening with my property taxes and insurance rates. As it stands now, I know what I'm paying for these items. But I really have no idea how their rates have changed over the years, and that would be good to know. (So I can better judge whether it's time to shop for another insurance company, for example.).
However this turns out, I'll keep you posted.