What home docs do I absolutely need to keep?

I am going through my filing cabinet and I have an overwhelming number of documents. And yet I think I’m missing some key ones. I want to throw out everything I don’t need and would really appreciate help in what I should keep. My thoughts below:

Must keep (property 1):

  • Deed of trust
  • Grant deed
  • Title insurance and policy
  • closing statement from title company
  • Revised closing disclosure from Wells Fargo (arrived 7 months later, I guess Wells had to change something?)

Property 2:
Now what’s weird is for property 2 I don’t have anything that’s signed by both parties! Welp! Have I lost the important docs while having so many unsigned and random loan docs???! Maybe they never sent me the the recorded docs after the refinance closed? This is what I have which I plan to keep:

  • Rate note from refinance (not signed by either party)
  • Deed of trust from refinance (not signed)
  • Appraisal report (from original and from refinance)
  • inspection report that I paid for on original purchase
  • title company preliminary report
  • worst case amortization schedule

Planning to dispose of following (Basically all of these are a copy that is unsigned by either party):

  • hoa package acceptance and receipt
  • closing instructions and addendum (not signed)
  • loan detail report
  • 1-4 family rider (unsigned)
  • rate rider (unsigned)
  • condo rider (unsigned)
  • compliance agreement
  • arm program disclosure
  • hazard insurance requirements
  • assignment of deed of trust
  • lenders law statement of loan
  • per diem interest disclosure
  • impound account statement
    -payment letter to borrower
  • loan application
  • escrow instructions
  • payoff demand
  • general closing instructions

Thanks for the help!

  1. Ownership document, even copy is enough. This is absolutely not required as you can get it from County records.
  2. Current insurance policy.
  3. Three years of tax filing support document esp rental property as IRS can come back in 3 years.

None of them absolute necessary, you can scan it and keep it in CD/DVD or Hard disk or in Secured Cloud.

In addition, I used to have promissory note, deed of trust (lender will ask during refinance) and final closing sheet. I used keep scanned copy of appraisal report for history purpose.

Rest, I got rid of most of them. Physical document is very minimum, scanned trace is available as I used keep scanned documents for every year (After filing taxes).

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Thanks for the advice! I will look into scanning some of these just to reduce the amount. I did find the missing ownership document but sounds like that is not a huge deal.

Which one IS the ownership document? The grant deed?

Yes, Grant deed, used to come from county. You can still get official document from county paying some $25 or similar. You can get it online, if county has online service.

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I’ve decided not to keep the title insurance doc. Much more manageable now.

For my original purchase (before refinance) do you think it’s better to keep HUD-1 or final closing statement from title company? I figure one will be useful when I sell for calculating tax basis.

IRS can ask for those documents 3 years after filing taxes.

Yes, required as you need it for tax filing. I keep all HUD-1 or Final Closing Statement for IRS proof purpose. I even keep all refinances since purchase time to selling time (and after 3 years) for IRS audit purpose.

Audit may or may not come, but it is better to keep those for 3 years or traceability purpose.

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Thanks for the advice! I can’t tell you how good it feels to throw out all this extra paper. I realized I have a lot of in email so I just kept the essentials. Highlight of my weekend :fireworks:

I don’t keep any physical paper. I scan and keep these documents:

  • closing statement
  • promissory note

The grant deed clearly is the most important document, but it’s recorded with the County. If their record keeping fails, then we do have a very real problem. The deed of trust is also recorded, and it’s more important for the lender than for you.

The promissory note is important as it spells out your loan terms, late fees, interest rate etc. After the loan is paid, the lender will mail you the original note. (BofA mailed it 2 years later to me, but that may have been due to the fact that the original loan was with Countrywide!)


keep the HUD closing statement also when you SELL a property.

  1. for the IRS to show your expenses/ net proceeds
  2. for the future, to prove that you actually sold.

I got a loan ~2 years ago, and the lender upon reviewing my tax returns noticed that 2 properties had dropped of my rental schedule. I told them that I sold them. It was not good enough. The underwriter wanted to see the closing statements.

Some escrow offices have the habit to scan “all closing documents” into one big file and that includes a bunch of stuff beyond the 2 mentioned at the top; I certainly keep those big files, but I always extract the 2 documents into separate files.


Closing docs are all my accountant wants…For your own home if you sell with less than a $500k gain don’t need to keep anything else…

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One of my friends used to make a copy of every very important document. One set at home, one in his car.

The house burned one day, and his car was stolen next day. :sweat_smile::sweat_smile::sweat_smile:

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Disaster archiving means store far away :slight_smile: Now, the best way is to scan and store in iCloud :rofl:

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I keep my documents on a dedicated (rented) server located somewhere in the Midwest. I pay about $560/year for that luxury. The software infrastructure for storage and retrieval is all home grown. apache/ Perl, C and some Tomcat/ Java. Not sure if it’s really better than amazon’s servers but I feel more in control.

An EMP that takes out the entire continent, that might do it. Kills my machine in California and the remote server.

I wonder what the County’s record keeping would look like after that.

Maybe I own everything free and clear after an EMP?


You should watch Mr Robot. It’s a apocalyptic show about what’d happen if all financial data in the US was hacked and destroyed. The first season is really dark and brilliant.

But this is hacking proof, except for fires. :rofl::rofl::rofl:

I bought one box of things in the flea market, in it, there was one of those sticks. Curiously, I browsed through it and believe me, there was stuff there that somebody was missing. No way I could have brought to their attention what I had. No way!

Is that the reason this car with men in black has been cruising my neighborhood lately? :laughing::laughing::laughing: