Which real estate documents should you keep after buying a home? After all, you don’t want to have to file all of it if you don’t have to; but you also don’t want to chuck something crucial.
Your closing company is required by law to keep a record of your closing documents, so that’s a good fallback in case you misplace yours. Still, it’s smart for you to keep important documents on hand—particularly if, later on, you need to file a claim against the seller or your professional representation team (i.e., your real estate agent, home inspector, or mortgage lender). Hopefully, that doesn’t happen, but it’s wise to be prepared.
Full disclosure: I’m a real estate agent, but I’m not a naturally organized person. In fact, until a few months ago, I kept the documents from my home purchase in a folder in my closet labeled “Keep Docs.” (I’m not joking!) But the important thing is, I know what forms I have to hold onto.
So, of the hundreds of documents you’ll encounter during the home-buying process, here are the ones you should keep—and why.
1. Buyer’s agent agreement
When you choose a real estate agent, you sign a buyer’s agent agreement—a contract between you and the brokerage, stating that the agent represents you in the purchase of your home.
This agreement outlines the terms of the relationship with your agent—including who pays the agent’s commission (in most cases, the seller), the length of the agreement (90 to 120 days is standard in most markets), and the terms for terminating the agreement.
Why you should keep it: This contract spells out what services your agent agreed to provide you with—and it can come into play if you have an issue with your agent after the transaction closes.
2. Purchase agreement
Every home sale starts with a real estate purchase agreement—a legally binding contract signed by home buyers and sellers that confirms that they agree upon a certain purchase price, closing date, and other terms.
Why you should keep it: The provisions stated in this contract must be followed to the letter. If you or the seller fails to fulfill these duties, there could be legal ramifications.
3. Addenda, amendments, or riders
These types of documents alter or amend the terms of your purchase contract. For example, if a survey reveals that there’s an…