How Long Should You Keep Your Mortgage Documents?

How Long Should You Keep Your Mortgage Documents? If you’ve ever refinanced or owned a home, you probably have a stack of papers in your personal records.  When you’re selling your house, these records can come in handy.  But after you’ve sold your house, how long do you need to keep the records on your old property?

First, as long as you actively own the real estate in question, it is recommended that you keep all records associated with the home.  It is useful to keep these records separate from your yearly tax records for easy reference. 

If you sold a home before 1998, keep Form 2119 until you’ve sold the replacement home.  Form 2119 was used to report the sale of an old home and any purchase of a new one within the replacement period.  You would have filed Form 2119 with your tax return the year you sold your old home.  Keep a copy of Form 2110 with your tax records for the year of the sale.  Keep an additional copy with your records for the basis of your new home.

In terms of other documents, such as your promissory note, security instrument, HUD statements and all other mortgage and refinancing closing documents, experts have varying opinions regarding how long these need to be kept around.  The minimum recommended time to hold on to these documents is at least three years after the transactions are completed.  However, holding them for up to ten years or even forever is not uncommon.  Basically, you never know when you might need these documents.  It probably isn’t a bad idea to hang onto your mortgage & refinance documents permanently.

Be sure to keep:

  • All records documenting the purchase price and the cost of all permanent improvements – such as remodeling, additions and installations.
  • Records of expenses incurred in selling and buying the property, such as legal fees and agent commission.

Both of these types of documentation are used in calculating capital gains.  A capital gain is a profit that results from the sale of an asset that amounts to more than the purchase cost.  Any improvements made on your house, as well as expenses selling it are added to the original purchase price or cost basis.  The difference between sale price and original price (cost basis) is the capital gain.  Keeping records of these items can help lower your capital gains tax.

Keep your documents in safe deposit boxes along with other investment-type documents that require safekeeping.  Any documents that serve as proof of ownership should be protected.

Remember that the documents associated with a loan can differ by state, so if you’re overwhelmed by documentation and want to try to lighten up, talk to your tax advisor and a Home Loan Expert before heading to the shredder.

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12 Responses to How Long Should You Keep Your Mortgage Documents?

  1. Sara August 1, 2010 at 9:37 pm #

    Hi,
    Is it necessary to keep the loan application documents as well as all of the closing documents & statements etc.? The application documents such as good faith estimate, truth in lending disclosure, lock-in disclosure, etc. – after the loan has closed is it necessary to keep all this stuff? Thanks.

  2. Amber Hunt August 2, 2010 at 10:46 am #

    Hi Sara!

    The safest bet is to hang on to these documents for at least 10 years. You may not need them, but we’ve found it’s always better to be safe than sorry. You can file them away in a safe place that’s also out of the way so they aren’t contributing to clutter. If you really want to minimize what you have on hand, confirm with your tax or financial adviser before you get rid of any documentation. Thanks for reading!

  3. James Reid March 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    To whom this may concern,

    If I refinance my house for a 2nd or 3rd time, do I have to keep the documentation for the the prior refinancing.

    Thanks

    JIR

  4. Amber Hunt March 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    Hi James,

    A Home Loan Expert will contact you directly and follow up. Thanks for reading!

  5. Bill Simmons July 24, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    Which real estate forms should I keep from the Initial purchase, several refinancing, and the sale of my home.
    What kind of situation can come in to play that you would need paper work from homes you have already sold?

  6. Amber Hunt July 25, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    HI Bill,

    These are great questions! We’ll do a follow up post about this. Thanks and keep reading!

  7. Alice Blankenship April 15, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    I was wondering if James Reid who posted on March 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm, has recieved his answer. I am in the same situation. I have a couple of sets of old refinancing papers that I would love to get rid of.

  8. Victoria Araj April 16, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    Hi Alice, yes, we contacted James and I’ll share your inquiry with our team and they will reach out to you as well and answer your questions. Thanks and have a great day!

  9. heidi May 6, 2013 at 1:09 am #

    I am in the same boat as Alice and James and would like to know if I need to keep previous loan docs from previous refi’s. Thank you.

  10. Karen May 30, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

    I would also like to know the answer to the question about keeping older refinance docs

  11. Julie Weir September 11, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    I to have refinanced several times in the last 5 years. Do I need to keep old mortgage statements and old GFE’s that no longer apply? How long do you need to keep the GFE after closing on the current morgage? It seems that this document is just an FYI for the consumer but once the loan closes and is officially documented there is no reason to keep it.
    Thanks
    Julie

  12. Kate September 19, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    Do I still need to keep both the purchase and sale records on a home we sold 5 yrs. ago? I understand the logic of keeping all records on the home we currently own but not on one that was sold years ago.

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