Settlement Docs - What to Keep Where

kitchenredo2November 9, 2008

Where is the best place to keep the settlement documents from the purchase of your home? Should I take out certain documents and keep them in the safe deposit box (all of them wouldn't fit).

What about the documents from the purchase and sale of previous homes? Are there certain documents I should remove and keep in a safer place?


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Hi Kitchenredo,

If you don't have a scanner (about $40,) I suggest;
A) sign up for a free (free web fax) account,
B) Fax them to yourself,
C) When you receive them attached to an email, save the attachment to your desktop,
D) Burn the attachment to a CD
E) Stick the CD in your safety box.

You can do this with *ALL* your important documents.

My financial firm has over a decade of critical client archives burned to disk (we use DVDs instead of CD for more capacity,) and the equivalent of probably about 200 banker's boxes of paper all fit in a disk wallet held in my hand under a pound in wieght.

We have two duplicate wallets... one kept in a fireproof safe, another locked up offsite. We add DVD updates offsite annually.

REALLY simple when you write it on your calendar as a task... like cleaning the garage once a year, or your semi-annual dentist appt.

Dave Donhoff
Leverage Planner

    Bookmark   November 9, 2008 at 1:52PM
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That's a great idea for HOW to save them. But it seems to me that there are very few that you need to save.

For example, the contract with the other party buyer or seller - really, is there any reason to keep it?

Government docs relating to disclosures on various issues? Toss, I imagine.

Come to think of it, I've bought and sold houses for years and I don't think I have ever needed to dig up the settlement papers afterwards.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 12:07PM
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I'm with graywings in this one - in the same vein as why do we keep papers on cars we don't have anymore. For important documents you could invest in a fireproof file box - most of which are rated to protect paper (burns at 415F), but your CDs and computer media will fail at much lower temps. Obviously, one reason for off site backups.

I'm safety and preservation conscious to a point, and think those items in my SD box really belong there, but I've always found either a labeled file folder in a desk drawer or a lidded computer paper box on the top shelf of a closet adequate for much of the "important" paper that would otherwise clutter up my life.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2008 at 12:57PM
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When we closed on the last house we purchased, the mortgage company gave us a CD containing all the mortgage docs. They also gave us a loose leaf binder with the actual docs.

Most of the docs are computer generated so it should be fairly simple for the broker to do.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 6:52AM
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We bought our home in 1981 and re-financed several times. I went to my county seat (70 miles away) and got a certified copy of my deed. There was no problem. I have the closing papers from all the mortgages. It was quite a bundle!

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 11:18AM
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Am I doing something wrong? We've bought and sold several over the years. The only documents I have now are the papers from the last house we sold, and the last house we bought...the one we live in now. I didn't think you had to keep papers for property you sold years ago.

Please tell me it'll be OK....

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 12:40PM
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It's OK. You don't own past properties anymore, you needn't keep all the paperwork generated by PAST sales and purchases. The current ones for the home you currently own- yes. Should tragedy ever strike, you can always get legal copies of important documents.

jannie is saving documents because the current home was refinanced several times since purchased in 1981 and all the documentation kept is pertinent to the current home.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 1:03PM
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The purpose of keeping a lot of the records disappeared when the tax laws changed - wouldn't you say? I'm thinking of back when you had to be able to prove to the IRS that you rolled over proceeds into a new house and could deduct the cost of improvements.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2008 at 9:05AM
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Interesting question. I am about to make my FINAL MORTGAGE PAYMENT !

What docs can I expect to receive from the mortgage company and what should I do with them?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 9:17AM
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After the final payment you should get a reconvayence from the mortgage company. Make sure it is recorded with your county. I had to take ours to the county recorderÂs office myself and I think it cost $12.00. At least that how it works in California. Make sure you notify your home owners insurance company so they can take the mortgage company off your policy as loss payee.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 11:24AM
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Thanks. Good advice and an excuse to go downtown for some shopping with my new found wealth! I am going to use 20% of what my mortgage payment was for a little fun!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 3:14PM
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