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Keep these 8 documents after buying a home

Even in the digital era, buying a home still results in printed paperwork when the sale is finalized. When you bought your property, you put the closing documents away in the filing cabinet, but your spring cleaning unearthed it.

Do you really need to hang on to it after a few months or years, or can you shred it?

Under Florida law, the company that handles your closing must keep documents of the transaction. Still, you should hang on to copies of some documents. They are:

  1. The buyer's agent agreement. This outlines your agreement with the agent representing you in the transaction. Keep that because you might need it if an issue arises with the agent later.
  2. The purchase agreement. It confirms the terms of the sale, including price and closing date.
  3. Riders, addenda and amendments. These can override the terms of the purchase agreement.
  4. Seller disclosures. Here's where the seller lists any defects or history that could affect the home's value. Should you discover a major problem with the house, the seller could be held accountable in a lawsuit.
  5. The home inspection report. This records the home's condition at the time of sale and lists any potential issues under watch. Keep this because you might want to refer to the included photos in the future should you need to make a repair.
  6. The title insurance policy. You may need this to show there was no other claim to the property at the time of purchase. This is important in case another party disputes ownership.
  7. The closing disclosure. Mortgage lenders provide this before the settlement. Keep it because if explains your mortgage in a nutshell: the loan term, loan type, closing costs, interest rate and other financial particulars.
  8. The property deed. That's the legal document that proves you own the home. You typically will receive it in the mail after the purchase documents are filed in the clerk's office of your local jurisdiction. Your mortgage lender or a title company will not have a copy of this.

Buying a home can be stressful, and we've presented just a snapshot of a small part of the homeownership process. If you have any questions or concerns during the process, consult with anexperienced real estate attorney. This is the largest investment you likely ever will make, and you should do so knowing all the facts.

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