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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This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. I was foreclosed on almost 2 years ago. Do I need to keep any of the documents pertaining to the purchase of that house and do I need to keep any of the foreclosure documents? And for how long? Thanks!

    1. That’s a good question, Amy. I’m going to have a home loan expert reach out to you. They’ll help you work through the answer. Have a good Thursday!

  2. I bought a house in 1997 and cannot find the HUD1 statement for it. How do I determine my cost basis without it?

  3. I had a short sale in feb of 2010, I am in the process of buying another home. The escrow officer wants the HUD 1 Settlement, I don’t have it, attorney doesn’t have it Escrow company on sale doesn’t have it? I have a 1999S form from my taxes of that year showing the sale. That’s it What can I do?

    thanks

  4. I too have many years of loan re-finance papers starting as early as 1988 to 2009. Home sold in 2011. Is it safe to shred documents older then 10 years.

    1. Hi Valerie,

      It’s never a bad idea to hold on to your past documents, although they may be a bit dated. However, as the article states, documents associated with a loan can differ by state, so I would suggest getting in touch with a Home Loan Expert here: http://www.quickenloans.com/about/contact

      Thanks for reading!

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

  10. 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

  11. 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.

    1. 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!

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