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Documents to Keep After Closing

By Lizzy Roberts

After you close on a home, you might ask yourself, what documents should I keep? And, do they need to be original or will photocopies suffice?

It's important to keep a complete file of all paperwork after you close on your home, and would therefore require you to collect copies of the documents that were signed during your transaction with the seller. Although they don't necessarily have to be the original copies, they must contain all parties' signature in order to be useful, or taken seriously, later. You should also consider keeping these documents for a couple years after you sell your home.

Your real estate brokers are required to keep a file on each buyer and seller, and they should therefore be able to give you a copy of the transaction documents. However, the agent, escrow officer or lawyer usually keeps the closing documents, which will include financial and legal paperwork.

The mortgage documents will be filed at the county recorder and therefore become a public record. This means that you will always be able to get a copy of these documents from the recorder's office or Title Company.

Documents to keep as photocopies for future reference: the purchase agreement, request for repairs, seller disclosures, escrow instructions, summary of the home inspection, home warranty plans, truth-in-lending statement, mortgage, insurance policy and title policy. And finally, documents to keep as originals after buying a home: the HUD-1 settlement statement, which contains the charges and credits on your home purchase, and the deed, the property's legal description and title.

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