Elizabeth Weintraub is a nationally recognized expert in real estate, titles, and escrow. She is a licensed Realtor and broker with more than 40 years of experience in titles and escrow. Her expertise has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, CBS Evening News, and HGTV’s House Hunters.
Homebuyers sign an enormous, intimidating pile of documents at closing. The loan paperwork alone can total hundreds of pages or more. Many of these documents are for the lender’s benefit. They want to avoid potential future lawsuits.
You might not have room to store all this paperwork after closing, but you really should maintain a completed file. This means collecting copies of all the paperwork was signed during your transaction with the seller, from beginning to end.
You’ll want to keep these documents for future reference-for your own review, or in the event that you have to file a legal claim against the seller, your professional representation team, or contractors.
You don’t necessarily have to have originals, but you should at least have copies of fully-executed documents with all parties’ signatures.
Where to Get Copies?
Your real estate agent should be able to give you copies of the transaction documents because brokers are required to keep a file on each buyer and seller.
But closing documents are typically kept by the closing agent or escrow officer. This paperwork is separate from the paperwork associated with contract negotiations, and it will include financial and legal documents.
The deed and mortgage documents are filed with the county recorder and these become public record. You can always obtain copies of these from the recorder’s office or from a title company.
Most documents are digitized in some form, especially those related to the transaction. Your realtor or transaction coordinator can probably offer you a safe download to store many of these documents safely on your computer or on a storage drive.
Your buyer’s agent agreement cites all the terms of your relationship with your real estate agent’s brokerage, including how long the agreement remains in force and how and when either you or the agent can terminate it.
It’s a legal contract, and it can be important to keep on hand so you have proof of the terms you agreed to. even long after the sale closes. Some issues can crop up later.
The purchase agreement is your contract to buy the home, setting forth all the terms and conditions required for closing. It’s the document you and the seller signed when you agreed to buy the property, and both parties are legally obligated to abide by its terms.
Documents on the Way to Closing
Addendums, amendments, or riders include anything that alters or amends the terms of your original purchase contract. These types of document might clarify the names on title or the spelling of the seller’s or buyer’s name. They might correct a street address.
Requests for repair record any monetary agreements or contracts to repair items, and they might be considered addendums to the purchase agreement. A repair addendum specifies the particular type of work to be completed. It could spell out whether the work will require a permit or if it must be performed by a licensed contractor.
Seller disclosures include material facts about things like lead-based paint. They might include a transfer disclosure statement, and other written warranties, guarantees, or disclosures that the seller provides. These documents are often the basis for future lawsuits against sellers when they fail to disclose an issue that becomes apparent later.
Escrow instructions often supersede the purchase contract and spell out the financial terms and conditions of the agreement between buyers and sellers. They authorize an escrow agent to perform specific acts on behalf of the parties involved.