What papers do I need to keep?

Asked by Adrian Sarno, Savannah, TX Fri Feb 22, 2013

I bought a property with a loan; after the closing I just received a huge pile of papers from the closing agent; these includes things like HUD-1, Deed of Trust, Note, Riders, Affidavits, copies of my own 1040 (tax return), W-9, 4506-T, my loan application, the list goes on and on ... I'm sure most realtors out there know.
My question is, is it necessary to keep the physical papers or would it be OK if I just scan them and keep them in my electronic files?
Most of the papers (or maybe all of them) are copies, so I guess they are not physically important, right?

I appreciate your help with this simple question.

New Home Buyer.

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T.E. & Naima…, Agent, Dallas, TX
Mon Feb 25, 2013
In general you can keep electronic copies of everything EXCEPT the DEEDs and NOTE and the SURVEY.

You will receive the deed to you, if not already, after recording at the county clerk's office. Despite the prevalence of electronic records, including deed records, you would have to pay for certified copies, if you didn't keep a real, hardcopy with original signatures.

This also brings up the law concerning notes and deeds of trust. Many homeowners have been foreclosed and evicted in the last 5 years. One of the few defenses that seems to have been successfully used is attorney's claiming that foreclosure cannot occur without actual original documents, not mere electronic copies. This may or may not influence you decision to maintain these documents in hardcopy form also.

Your survey is an originally (hopefully). That's worth money when you sell the property. It also is often too large to scan. Keep that safe, too.

The other documents are probably not important to keep in hardcopy, and only the HUD-1 is important in the short/medium term for filing your income taxes and possibly for filing a real estate tax protest, since these show expenses for the Feds and sales price for the assessor.
0 votes
Monica Pineda, Agent, Dallas, TX
Sun Feb 24, 2013
Assuming everything has been filed properly you most likely won't need any of the physical copies, but as Josh said you might want to keep some of the really important stuff like the deed.
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Andrea Brooks, Agent, Plano, TX
Sat Feb 23, 2013
Hi - yes it's fine to scan them and save them electronically. Many title companies will give the settlement docs to clients on a thumb drive rather than hard copies.
0 votes
Kenneth "Ken…, Agent, Dallas, TX
Sat Feb 23, 2013
Scam them and keep on a flash drive. That way you have them should you need it in the future.

Turtle Creek Realty
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David Whites…, Agent, Dallas, TX
Sat Feb 23, 2013
Put on DVD good idea to keep all and this will take up less space
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Josh Barnett, Agent, Carney, OK
Sat Feb 23, 2013
Scanning the files will be fine, ensure your deed has been filed at county prior to discarding, and even with the deed being filed at county, you may not want to discard the deed.
Web Reference:  http://www.GetSoldOKC.com
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Sat Feb 23, 2013
Believe me, I know the feeling!

Going paperless is a very new wave...one that many important entities have not yet completely embraced. With this said, it probably would be wise to keep all of the original paperwork. You never know what the future will bring but it certainly helps to be prepared.

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