Lenders require an impound account to collect property taxes and homeowner's insurance if your initial down payment was less than a 20% down payment. If you loan has impounds, you will be paying into this impound account each month when you make your mortgage payment. Your lender will be drawing from your impound account to pay the property taxes and insurance when each is due. You will receive a notification from your lender stating the property taxes and insurance were paid on time.
If your do not have an impound account, you will receive your property tax bill in the mail by November. Be sure to pay by the due dates otherwise, Ventura County adds a a hefty penalty.
I recommend you do NOT ask your lender to IMPOUND your account for property taxes. This is because of three (3) primary reasons:
1) The lender usually will take about one-third more than is necessary to pay yor taxes. It keeps growing and growing in an escrow account that you do not have access to, until, usually, you refinance your mortgage.
2) You lose the use of your money for a temporary emergency.
3) You lose INTEREST on your own money, because you can probably make that money grow through other investments, such as a 3-month money market account or CD.
Unless you are irresponsible with your finances, and can't come up with a larger payment when the taxes are due, you should avoid escrow accounts and maintain CONTROL of YOUR money.
The secured (real estate property taxes) are payable in two installments and cover the entire FISCAL YEAR (July 1 through June 30). The first installment is DUE on November 1st and past due on the close of business on December 10th. The second installment is DUE February 1st and the DELINQUENT DATE is at the close of business on April 10. Payments postmarked on the DELINQUENT DATE will be considered as paid on time. If a payment is postmarked after the DELINQUENT DATE, a 10% penalty and a $30.00 Cost Fee is applied according to the California Revenue and Taxation Code.