Last Updated on March 30, 2022 by Kathy Rukat Smith
Owning a home comes with a lot of paperwork…anything from the closing paperwork, warranties for your appliances, receipts and invoices for repairs and updates, pest treatments, annual HVAC system services and insurance documents. What records should homeowners keep and what should you toss?
Keep Your Closing Paperwork
Hang on all the paperwork your attorney gave you at closing. Several months after closing, you will get a copy of your Deed. You will also get a copy of your owners’ title insurance policy if you purchase owners’ title insurance. Keep both documents. Having these documents will help you with your taxes the year after you purchase your home plus when you sell or refinance your home.
Warranties for Appliances, Repairs and Updates
Keep all warranties and manuals for appliances in a safe place. When you sell your home, the new owner may like to have the warranties and manuals.
At some point, you will make repairs or updates to your property. Keep the records and invoices for those repairs and updates.
Receipts for HVAC System Services and Pest Treatments
Most likely, you will get set up with an HVAC company to have your HVAC serviced twice per year, you may get a termite bond and have regular pest control services. If you save any of this paperwork, I would only save the initial documentation showing what the service covers, anything that shows the services are transferrable and a year of receipts for the service. I would throw away the monthly or quarterly invoices.
Whether it be your homeowners’ insurance or your flood insurance, keep a copy of the most recent renewal paperwork. You will want the declaration page to show what is covered and who to contact if you need to file a claim. You may also want to add your insurance agent’s name, phone number, email address and your policy number to your phone. This way, if you evacuate during a hurricane and do not have your documents, you will have your agent’s contact information.
Storing Your Records
To keep up with all your important documents, I would suggest one of two things (or both if you like to have a backup). Scan all important documents and create folders on your computer or in the cloud (like Google Drive, Dropbox or iCloud). The good thing about cloud storage is you will always have access to your documents. Also, get a 3-ring binder and a package of sheet protectors. Use one sheet or more sheet protectors for your closing documents, one for the receipt, warranties and manuals for any new appliances you purchase, one for receipts and paperwork from any repairs or updates you do, one sheet protector for your insurance paperwork and another for any pest and HVAC services you have.
If you need to refer back to something, you have everything in one place and everything is easily accessible if you need to grab it quickly in a hurricane evacuation. When it comes time to sell, remembering exactly what was done when is hard. You have a record of what was done to your home to help you complete your seller’s property disclosure. You can also remove your insurance information, closing documents and any other confidential personal information and turn the binder over to the new homeowner. I’m sure the new buyers will be happy to have a history of the home.