Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400)

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Rainmaker
187,523
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011
HomeSmart - Scottsdale, AZ
Real Estate Made Easy

I keep important documents like these forever. I have been in my house 17 years and just recently I had a legal issue that required me to find a copy of my original settlement statement. The title company was no help. Surprise! I found it in the back of my file cabinet with some other important papers.

As John Juarez said, you might want to calculate your tax basis.

Nov 17, 2018 09:55 AM
Rainmaker
758,481
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

I am not sure what I would tell them. I might advise they talk to an accountant or someone other than me and I would tell them that I keep mine forever. You can also get them all scanned in and put on a thumb drive and shred the actual paper. Title companies around here are doing that for settlement already instead of print copies. 

Nov 17, 2018 09:25 AM
Rainmaker
1,515,722
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Margaret, I'm not a good one to ask on this. I have the documents for every house I bought through the 90s. I'm not really a hoarder. It just sounds like it. 

Nov 17, 2018 11:36 AM
Rainmaker
643,558
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA
ePRO, SRES, GRI, PMN

I keep them forever. Need to be able to prove basis if a sale ever takes place.

Nov 17, 2018 09:41 AM
Ambassador
1,206,709
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

Why not forever?

Nov 17, 2018 08:50 AM
Rainmaker
2,756,120
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Once the time period for tax reasons has lapsed I do not see any reason to hold on to them. 

Like Carol Williams - I do keep mine longer.  

Nov 17, 2018 08:42 AM
Rainmaker
3,218,300
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Thank you for your email. I hope you are still enjoying your home/neighborhood.  I have been advised by xxx that "x" is the reccomended length of time but I have a couple of questions for you. Is that okay?

Nov 17, 2018 08:39 AM
Rainmaker
4,280,959
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

I would advise them to ask their CPA.

Nov 17, 2018 10:53 AM
Rainmaker
1,389,914
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

I've been scanning paperwork I want to get rid of lately. Scan it, put it in a electronic file somewhere, and throw out the actual documents. Then everything is still available but it sure does clear up a lot of space.

 

Nov 17, 2018 10:45 AM
Rainmaker
1,554,349
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor

My reply would be until you move again and you close on the sale of your home Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland . Those docs don't take up that much space, you can store them somewhere.

Nov 17, 2018 09:23 AM
Rainmaker
1,267,187
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

I would say at least three years after filing the tax return with the IRS. That is the amount of time they have to audit a return. 

I am notorious for keeping records longer but that's mainly because I think they are interesting to look back on many years later.

Nov 17, 2018 08:12 AM
Rainmaker
738,186
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

If it's your personal stuff, keep it no less than 10 years. Forever is preferred.

It does not matter what the 'professionals' say is the limitations, a judge makes up the rules as they go. That also applies to the IRS. 

Nov 17, 2018 01:00 PM
Rainmaker
4,835,472
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

I keep my tax records for 7 years.... I keep the files of properties I've bought and sold for at least 10 years after I sell it...... if I don't sell it, I keep the files.... If it's a home I lived in, I keep that for longer than 10 years....I'm never in a rush to shred deal folders....... 

Nov 17, 2018 12:15 PM
Rainer
117,906
Anthony Kirlew
Keller Williams Legacy One Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Helping You Make Fiscally Sound Choices

I would have them contact the title company, or whoever did the settlement.

I am a stickler for documentation, so I still have my purchase in 2014, and I may me able to find the ones from my purchase in 2003.

Nov 17, 2018 11:28 AM
Rainmaker
1,000,268
Anthony Acosta - ALLATLANTACONDOS.COM
Harry Norman, REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Associate Broker

Hi Margaret, I would say at least 5 years.

Nov 17, 2018 10:51 AM
Rainmaker
525,189
Dave Halpern
Keller Williams Realty Louisville East (502) 664-7827 - Louisville, KY
Louisville Short Sale Expert

Scan them and keep them in the cloud somewhere.

Nov 17, 2018 04:28 PM
Rainmaker
674,388
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

I have every personal transaction going back 30 years. My tax person always told me keep them forever. That's not necessary, but some of them have sentimental value now.

Nov 17, 2018 03:38 PM
Rainmaker
2,859,842
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

We keep them stored on the cloud indefinitely.

Nov 17, 2018 03:29 PM
Rainmaker
2,415,688
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I have heard that tax data should be kept all your life....Go from there

Nov 17, 2018 03:05 PM
Rainer
219,806
J.R. Schloemer, CRS
Kentucky Select Properties - Louisville, KY

For a minimum I would keep them for 7 years with my tax documents. After than it is up to them, but I would keep them longer since it is for my property I live in and still own. 

In today's digital world, why don't they just scan their docs and keep them on an external drive that takes much less space and can be kept forever, with a lot less space.

Nov 17, 2018 02:20 PM
Rainmaker
2,943,219
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Hi Margaret, I actually have a document I give to all my clients at closing that outlines what documents to keep and for how long. Email me and I'll forward it to you.

Nov 17, 2018 12:44 PM
Rainmaker
378,406
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

What does their accountant say?

Nov 17, 2018 12:16 PM
Rainmaker
720,211
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

I think attorneys keep doc's for 7 years.

Nov 17, 2018 08:49 AM
Rainmaker
1,066,115
Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI
Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates - Gilroy, CA
REALTOR and Broker

I would hold them for 5 years personally.

Nov 17, 2018 08:39 AM
Ambassador
4,012,190
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

I keep mine forever, but others may be more likely to throw out in less than a decade.

Nov 17, 2018 05:24 PM
Rainmaker
539,461
Steve Higgins
RE/MAX Kelowna - Kelowna, BC

I would check with your accountant.

Nov 17, 2018 05:22 PM
Ambassador
3,154,195
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

I would probably say, "I keep mine for years...until my husband makes me get rid of them! But, I would probably ask my CPA before shredding any of the critical documents. I would personally recommend to keep them at least until you've sold and Closed on the home - there could be vital documents included in that paperwork, needed to list your home."

Nov 17, 2018 04:55 PM
Rainmaker
5,225,474
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

The IRS says you should keep tax returns and the paperwork supporting them for at least three years after you file the return — the amount of time the IRS has to audit you. 

The law requires a real estate licensee to retain copies of listings and documents pertaining to the provision of real estate brokerage services for five years after the closing of a real estate transaction, or five years after the listing expires if the transaction is not closed. A licensee who provides property management services must keep records for five years following the termination of a management agreement. Records may be retained in electronic form if specified criteria are met.
A licensee must allow a representative of the State Real Estate Commission to inspect these records if the commission provides reasonable notice. Upon request, paper copies of a document must be provided to the commission at the licensee’s expense. On demand of the Commission, the licensee must display all records, books, and accounts of any money held in trust.

Nov 17, 2018 04:37 PM
Rainmaker
1,204,273
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA
www.HugginsHomes.com - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

Typically they get used the first year on the tax return and that's it.  I'd suggest scanning them and burning them to CD.  Other than that, you'd just need to keep the closing statement until the time frame for tax documents is over.

Nov 17, 2018 04:23 PM
Ambassador
2,341,639
Fred Griffin presently on Leave of Absence
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Talk to your CPA or attorney.

* Do NOT keep them longer than necessary.  If you were to be a defendant in a civil suit years later, those documents could be subpoenaed and you would have to provide them to the Court. They might contain information that could be used against you.  Throw them out when the required time is up.  (Yes, I know a Realtor in Tallahassee who this happened to).

Nov 17, 2018 04:07 PM
Rainmaker
725,664
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

When in doubt, throm them out! Actually, I'd probably suggest they scan them or save them in digital form before throwing them away.

Nov 17, 2018 04:05 PM
Ambassador
3,899,762
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

For as long as the tax period requires it, minimally.

Nov 17, 2018 02:49 PM
Ambassador
1,598,443
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

I keep records as long as I own them.

Nov 17, 2018 02:26 PM
Rainmaker
436,710
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

I would keep my paperwork until I have sold the house.  Take no chances.

Nov 17, 2018 02:24 PM
Rainmaker
721,889
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Realty - Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

I tend to keep documents like that forever. Of course, we haven't moved in over 35 years. I still have them ion a file 

Nov 18, 2018 06:09 AM
Rainmaker
2,928,036
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents

I keep paperwork for 10 years however on my house, i keep it as long as i am living there. When sold, i keep it for 10 years then shread. 

Nov 18, 2018 05:50 AM
Ambassador
1,960,118
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

My old accountant told me once to keep it as long as I own the property. 

Nov 18, 2018 05:21 AM
Rainmaker
610,029
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

I just had someone call me and ask for their settlement papers from 1998

I had to disappoint them.  

Nov 18, 2018 12:25 AM
Rainmaker
904,776
Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, ePRO, CRS, RCS-D
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

I'd ask your CPA

Nov 17, 2018 11:36 PM
Rainmaker
1,472,060
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

I save them in the CAR zip forms, they comply with local legal terms and push them automatically after that into achieve. 

Nov 17, 2018 10:46 PM
Rainmaker
977,468
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

7 years. 

Nov 17, 2018 06:28 PM
Rainer
146,398
Dr. Karen Lewis, Broker 305-3231556
K1 Realty Group - Pembroke Pines, FL
Residential for Sellers and Buyers in S. Broward

I think it's normally three years but I am not sure..I personally would hold them longer..HEY Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland Miss you..I better get on the phone and check on you...I know you have the show today..

Nov 18, 2018 06:38 AM
Rainmaker
4,796,425
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

I would keep them until you sell it.

Nov 18, 2018 05:48 AM
Rainmaker
3,137,113
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Back in the day, at least 5 years unless there was litigation, then longer!

Nov 18, 2018 05:40 AM
Rainmaker
4,431,606
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I do not know,

Nov 18, 2018 03:10 AM
Rainmaker
1,133,114
Joyce Marsh
Regal | Christie's International Real Estate - Orlando, FL
Regional Manager Regal Christie's Int'l Realty

I also keep mine forever. 

Nov 18, 2018 11:02 PM
Rainmaker
1,411,888
Evelina Tsigelnitskaya
SIB Realty - Sunny Isles Beach, FL
www.SIBRealty.org 305-931-6931

Yes, one of the customer asked if I have his file, closing was almost 10 years ago. 

Nov 18, 2018 10:06 PM
Rainmaker
987,457
Valeria Mola
SIB REALTY - Sunny Isles Beach, FL
305-607-0709 SIB Realty

Reading the answers. Wow, seems we should keep it forever. :)

Nov 18, 2018 09:55 PM
Ambassador
2,169,010
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Prado Real Estate South - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Great question Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland! My answer without looking is...As long as you own the home.

Nov 18, 2018 05:57 PM
Rainmaker
688,052
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
WestUSA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

I would keep the docs for my own home(s) for ever. Scan everything. Keep on your secret file server in archives. Among many other documents.

Nov 18, 2018 07:02 AM
Rainmaker
1,037,109
Dave Martin (703) 585-4687
Fairfax Realty - Fairfax, VA
Making Realty Dreams a Reality #WeWillGetYouHome

The IRS can go back up to 7 years however depending on the whether the property was ever rented etc I would consult a CPA I would think given that TITLE issues could come back to haunt in the distant future it would make sense to hold on to these docs in your PERMANENT files Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland 

Nov 23, 2018 01:52 PM
Rainmaker
3,976,051
William Feela
WHISPERING PINES REALTY - North Branch, MN
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I tell my clients to never throw them away as they could come in handy

Nov 21, 2018 07:06 PM
Rainmaker
4,003,604
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

I have kept all my house papers over the years, and when I got my license, was fun to see what the contracts looked like back then, and the commission I paid!     For a homeowner, I would save five years, but check with a CPA for sure.

Nov 20, 2018 09:48 AM
Rainer
234,137
Libby Cousins
Extraordinary Processing - Spokane, WA
Contract Mortgage Processor, licensed in WA

It doesn't take up much space so I keep all real estate documents (actually, they take up no space as I scan them) forever. I would absolutely suggest keeping the papers until the property has been sold. I have had to ask borrowers for prior docs multiple times. This is the same for divorce records and child support orders. You'd think that after 18 years you wouldn't need to worry about proving that you no longer pay child support as the child is no longer a minor - not so with some lenders!

Nov 19, 2018 03:43 PM
Ambassador
2,934,721
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

And here's one more. My client/friend who originally asked this question received this answer.

"Hi Margaret: my attorney said no need to keep settlement papers beyond 3 years of income tax filing. Leslie"

Nov 19, 2018 11:03 AM
Rainmaker
3,043,614
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

I ould say 7 years  or life.

Nov 23, 2018 01:25 PM