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 Hello Dave,

When can I shred the documents from homes I have bought and sold over the years? Is there ever a need to hang on to closing documents, etc, past 2 years or so?

I would like to shred them. Please tell me if there is anything I need to keep. Thanks!

Have a great day,
Diana, Grand Junction


What a great question!   Wow…. It amazes me how many great questions I get and how relevant they are to everyday life! I never really think about some of these things because I know my wife will! LOL! She is the paperwork person in our house and Lord knows I could not get along without her help on all the things she does behind the scenes that keeps the ball moving forward.  I joke all the time that her job is MUCH harder than mine, plus I would be horrible at it!  I would never want her job!!  Moving on to your question.

From my research, it does not appear under any circumstances that 2 years is long enough!  , When you purchase a home you should hold all your purchase contracts, closing documents, and loan documents for as long as you own the property.  If you refinance and close out a loan It appears to be good practice to keep the records of your closed loan for at least 3 tax return years….assuming that you filed your tax returns each of the 3 years.  After year 3 you should be able to shred a closed loan.  As long as you have a loan that is open or “active” you should keep all documents and payment history on record.

When you sell a property, it is a good practice to keep your documentation for seven years after the home sale.  This appears to be based on the IRS’s timeline for audits.  Apparently, the IRS has 3 years to audit your tax returns if good-faith errors are in question and six years if they suspect you underreported income.  If you sold a home more than 7 years ago I would believe that you are safe to have a shredding party!

I hope this helps you gain some clarity!  I very much appreciate the question as I had to do some research and thus learned a lot in the process.  Please keep in mind that I am not an attorney or an accountant and before you shred, you might consider asking one or both if the data here jives with their recommendation.  On questions like these, I always get follow up comments that are different from my recommendations so I will preface all this by saying that this is to be used as a guide.  With that disclaimer, thanks again and happy shredding!!

Dave Kimbrough
The Kimbrough Team



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