Did you recently purchase or refinance a home in the State of California? How about in the last 10 years?

It seems many homeowners in the State of California could have money sitting there waiting to be claimed through the State Controllers Office from escrow on real estate deals, both purchase and refinance alike.

It’s hard to believe some Californians would just forget to pick up their hard earned money, but that’s exactly what is happening. According to the state, the money could be left behind through old stocks, real estate purchases, dividends, closed bank accounts, un-cashed money orders, cashier’s checks and even unclaimed utility deposits.

Most real estate transactions including home purchases and refinances, have a balance left over through escrow at the end of it or potentially over-paid funds that get released 30-90 days after the fact. A classic example is property taxes that are required to be paid at closing by many lenders. Often times they are over-paid or simply paid twice, but the local tax authority will not catch this or refund the money until months later.

“It is true, we send out lots of checks and they do not get cashed, said Karen M. Stout, President and CEO of California Sunset Escrow, Inc. “Escrow is required to make an attempt to refund those monies, but because real estate often involves moving and changes of address, sometimes they are not able to deliver the funds.”

The State Controller’s Office maintains a searchable database of all the unclaimed property on its website, (https://ucpi.sco.ca.gov/UCP/Default.aspx) where anyone can easily plug in their name or the name of any person or organization to find out what is owed to them.

The amount of orphaned assets climbed from $4.1 billion in 2004 to $7.1 billion in 2013, according to the State Controller’s Office. Since 2007, the new state controller John Chiang sent out more than $3 billion, but there is still $1.2 million in unclaimed cases.

So take the time to do a quick search here to find out if you have money waiting to be claimed, because let’s face it, who doesn’t like free money?


Beau Hodson

Beau Hodson

About the Author Since 2003, Beau has been a mortgage professional and is a leading mortgage broker and lender in San Diego. As Founder and Senior Mortgage Advisor at Transparent Mortgage, he is truly committed to serving the needs of his clients and raising industry standards for integrity and transparency.