Mortgage statements provide evidence of principal and interest payments, so it's important to keep them around. Once you've paid off the mortgage, they support the claim that you own your home free and clear. Since they're such significant documents, experts recommend keeping mortgage statements and payoff statements forever.
Why You Need to Keep Mortgage Documents
Statements are handy to have if there's every any confusion or challenge about the amount you've paid on your mortgage. If you disagree with your lender about the outstanding balance on your mortgage, a copy of your mortgage statement can verify the payments you made.
The documents are are also crucial in case you are audited by the Internal Revenue Service. Many homeowners deduct the amounts paid for mortgage interest and private mortgage insurance premiums during the year. Mortgage statements, along with your annual Form 1098-T, documents that you actually made these payments.
How Long to Keep the Documents
It's worth keeping mortgage documents for as long as you can. The IRS statute of limitations on tax return audits is three years in most cases. However, the agency has no statute of limitations if you didn't file a tax return or it believes you filed a fraudulent return. Even after your mortgage is paid off, a lender can always claim that you didn't pay it in full.
Quicken Loan recommends that you keep your mortgage statements for as long as you own the property, and HouseLogic <ahref="http: www.houselogic.com="" home-advice="" taxes-incentives="" how-long-to-keep-tax-records="" "=""> </ahref="http:>recommends that you keep the documents forever.
Other Documents to Keep
Along with copies of mortgage statements, keep a copy of any certificates of satisfaction or lien releases you receive after you pay off the mortgage. If you have any of these records, HouseLogic <ahref="http: www.houselogic.com="" home-advice="" taxes-incentives="" how-long-to-keep-tax-records="" "=""> </ahref="http:>recommends that you keep them for at least three years after you sell the property:
- Home sale closing documents and HUD-1 settlement sheet
- Section 1031 exchange records
- Receipts for home improvements
- HOA covenants, codes and restrictions
You should also keep the deed for as long as you own the house.
Storing and Organizing Documents
You can keep physical copies or digital copies of mortgage documents. TurboTax notes that digital copies of mortgage statements will suffice in the case of an IRS audit. Paper can fade or be destroyed in a natural disaster, and it takes up a lot of space, so electronic copies may be more practical.
Many lenders allow you to download electronic copies of your mortgage statements from an online portal. If you only have physical copies, you can use a scanner to create a digital one. Whether you opt for physical or electronic copies, save it in a secure area. Save an extra copy of electronic statements on a thumb drive or a cloud-based service like DropBox in case your computer is damaged or the hard drive becomes corrupted.