How Long Should You Keep Your Mortgage Docs?
A lot of people are cleaning house these days. They’re emptying out closets, clearing out the garage, and throwing out old paperwork they no longer need.
It’s a smart move — especially if you have time on your hands.
But make sure you’re careful when tossing out old documents, particularly mortgage-related ones. While you don’t need to keep every piece of paperwork from now until forever, there are some documents you’ll need on hand for future reference.
Which ones should you keep and which ones should you toss? Let’s dig in.
Mortgage documents you should keep indefinitely:
- Your closing statement. This is particularly important if you’ve claimed any home-related deductions on your tax returns. (Mortgage interest, points, and other costs are deductible in many cases). The IRS can audit you at any time, and proof of these expenses will be required.
- Your deed. This is your proof of ownership, so keep this one on hand until you’ve sold the home.
- Your survey. This can protect you in case boundary disputes crop up down the line.
- The seller disclosures and home inspection report. You’ll need to refer back to these if problems arise with the home after you purchase. In some cases, the sellers could be held liable if they didn’t disclose a known issue.
- Payoff statements. If you pay off your loan at any point, you’ll want to keep the final payoff statement on hand. This can protect you in case there’s an issue with your credit report.
Documents you may be able to toss:
- Home warranties. If the warranty has expired, you no longer need the documents.
- Monthly mortgage bills. You might want to keep the most recent one on hand, but as long as you’re current on your loan payments, you can toss (ideally, shred) the rest.
- Property tax statements. You should keep the last year or two of these, but since they’re public record, you can always pull them up through your county’s assessor’s office if necessary.
- Documents for homes you sold or loans on previous houses. Once you sell the house and have reported your capital gains on the sale, you’re probably safe throwing them away or, at the very least, just keeping your final closing documents.
Consider going digital
If you’re not a fan of keeping old documents for years on end, you can also consider digitizing some. Just scan the documents and store them in a safe, cloud-based folder (like Dropbox, for example) until you need them.