8 Real Estate Documents to Keep—and What Happens If You Don't

May 30, 2018

Which real estate documents should you keep after buying a home? After all, you don't want to have to file all of it if you don't have to; but you also don't want to chuck something crucial.

 

Your closing company is required by law to keep a record of your closing documents, so that's a good fallback in case you misplace yours. Still, it's smart for you to keep important documents on hand—particularly if, later on, you need to file a claim against the seller or your professional representation team (i.e., your real estate agent, home inspector, or mortgage lender). Hopefully, that doesn’t happen, but it’s wise to be prepared.

 

So, of the hundreds of documents you’ll encounter during the home-buying process, here are the ones you should keep—and why.

 

 

1. Buyer’s agent agreement

When you choose a real estate agent, you sign a buyer’s agent agreement—a contract between you and the brokerage, stating that the agent represents you in the purchase of your home.

 

This agreement outlines the terms of the relationship with your agent—including who pays the agent’s commission (in most cases, the seller), the length of the agreement (90 to 120 days is standard in most markets), and the terms for terminating the agreement.

 

Why you should keep it: This contract spells out what services your agent agreed to provide you with—and it can come into play if you have an issue with your agent after the transaction closes.

 

2. Purchase agreement

Every home sale starts with a real estate purchase agreement—a legally binding contract signed by home buyers and sellers that confirms that they agree upon a certain purchase price, closing date, and other terms.

 

Why you should keep it: The provisions stated in this contract must be followed to the letter. If you or the seller fails to fulfill these duties, there could be legal ramifications.

 

3. Addenda, amendments, or riders

These types of documents alter or amend the terms of your purchase contract. For example, if a survey reveals that there’s an encroaching fence built by a neighbor, and you’d like the fence removed, the sales contract has to be formally amended.

 

Why you should keep them: Addenda, amendments, and riders are often related to home inspections or appraisals, and because they change the original terms of the signed contract, they’re worth holding onto.

 

For instance, if both parties signed a repair addendum, where the seller agreed to make certain repairs based on the home i