For Realtors and Sellers: The Must-Keep Documents Post-Home Sale

The conclusion of a home sale marks the beginning of a new chapter for sellers and the realtors who guide them through this intricate process. While the exchange of keys might signify the end of transactions, the importance of retaining certain documents after the sale cannot be overstated. These documents not only serve as proof of your compliance with legal and financial obligations but also safeguard against future liabilities.
In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into why these documents are essential, which ones you should keep, and the potential consequences of neglecting this important step.

The Importance of Documents Post-Home Sale

Keeping thorough records post-home sale is not just about staying organized; it’s a crucial practice that can safeguard sellers from future legal issues, tax implications, and other potential disputes. These documents serve as a concrete history of the transaction, providing proof of your compliance with all legal and financial obligations.

What Documents to Keep After Selling a Home

Buyer’s Agent Agreement

This is a contract between the seller and the real estate agent or broker. It outlines the terms of the agent’s representation, including the commission rate and the duration of the agreement.
Retaining this agreement is crucial for referencing the terms of your arrangement, including any obligations or fees you agreed upon. It can also serve as evidence in any disputes over commission or representation.

The Must-Keep Documents Post-Home Sale

Purchase Agreement

The purchase agreement is the core legal document in any real estate transaction. It includes the agreed-upon sale price, closing date, and specific terms and conditions of the sale, such as contingencies that must be met before the sale can proceed.
This document is a binding contract that outlines the rights and duties of both buyer and seller. Keeping it ensures you have a record of what was agreed upon, which is invaluable in resolving any post-sale disagreements or legal issues.

Addenda, Amendments, or Riders

These are changes or additions to the original purchase agreement, often necessitated by issues discovered during the home inspection or changes in financing terms.

They are legally binding parts of the sale contract that can significantly affect the terms of the deal. Retaining these documents helps document the final terms of the sale and can protect against future claims that the contract was not fulfilled as agreed.

Seller Disclosures

Seller disclosures are documents where the seller is required by law to disclose known defects and malfunctions within the property. This can include issues with the home’s structure, any history of pest infestations, or problems with major systems.

These disclosures serve as your declaration of the property’s condition at the time of sale and can protect you if the buyer later claims they were unaware of certain defects. Retaining these documents helps prove you were transparent about the property’s state, mitigating potential legal disputes.

Home Inspection Report

This report is generated by a professional home inspector and details the condition of the property at the time of inspection. It includes information on the home’s structural integrity, systems (electrical, plumbing, HVAC), and any repairs that may be needed.

It provides a detailed account of the property’s condition before the sale, which can be crucial if disputes arise about the property’s state or if there were undisclosed defects.

Keep your Home Inspection Report

Closing Disclosure

The Closing Disclosure is a detailed financial summary of the real estate transaction, provided to both buyer and seller. It outlines the final sale price, loan information, closing costs, and other financial details.

This document is essential for tax purposes, as it details the financial aspects of your transaction. It’s also necessary for accurately reporting the sale on your tax returns and can be useful for addressing any post-closing financial queries.

Title Insurance Policy

Title insurance protects the buyer (and lender) from future claims against the property’s title. It ensures that the title to the property is free from disputes, liens, or other legal encumbrances.

While the policy primarily benefits the buyer, sellers should retain a copy to confirm that title insurance was provided and to document that they delivered a clear title at closing. It can also be useful in the event of future claims against the property’s title.

Property Deed

The property deed is the legal document that transfers ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer. It contains a description of the property and the names of the old and new owners.

Keeping a copy of the deed proves you have transferred ownership and fulfilled your contractual obligations. It’s a crucial document for resolving any future questions about the property’s ownership during your period of ownership.


Q: How long should I keep these documents?

A: It’s advisable to keep these documents for at least seven years due to IRS auditing practices. However, some documents, like the property deed and title insurance policy, should be kept indefinitely as they have lasting legal significance.

Q: Can I store these documents digitally?

A: Yes, digital copies are acceptable and can be more convenient and secure. Ensure they are backed up in multiple locations and protected with strong security measures.

Q: Who can help if I have questions about these documents later?

A: Real estate attorneys, tax professionals, or the real estate agent who facilitated your home sale are excellent resources for any queries regarding post-sale documentation.