Holding Onto These Important Home Records Is A Must, According To Our Real Estate Expert

The timeline for buying a home for the first time can be a bit daunting. Finding the best house for your family and budget is only a small part of the process. You must find financing, go through inspections, survive the negotiations process, and hopefully move into your new home. Don't forget to keep track of the key documents related to the home purchase during all of the commotion. When things are hectic, it's easy for you to make mistakes when organizing your papers, leaving you unable to find key documents when you really need them.

Clearly, one of the best tips for first-time home buyers is to keep track of your important documents related to the purchase. However, what's the best way to do this? House Digest has you covered. We contacted an expert, Demetrios Sourmaidis, the Director of Operations at Square Foot Homes, for some advice. He says a good starting point is making digital copies. "It is a great idea to keep hard copies of important papers, but what most people aren't doing is keeping an electronic copy that they can access from anywhere at any time," Sourmaidis tells House Digest in an exclusive interview. "Most people might require that you present an actual hard copy of your documents for certain activities, but an electronic one can buy you time if you need it. So, make sure to have access to these documents electronically."

What documents do home buyers need to have on hand?

Sourmaidis says that although you have many important documents related to the home purchase, a few documents are especially vital, starting with the deed and title records. "These documents prove ownership of your property and can come in handy with any future sale, refinancing, or to resolve any legal questions about property boundaries or ownership," he tells House Digest in an exclusive interview. Another important contract is your homeowners insurance policy. Should you need to make a claim, or if there's a dispute about what kinds of damage are covered at your home, this document should have the answers. "This can be useful in the event of future claims or disputes," Sourmaidis says. "Luckily, most of them can be found online in the event that your paper one gets destroyed or lost."

If you decided to purchase a warranty for your home at the time you bought it, or if any of the appliances at the home are still under a warranty period, Sourmaidis says you should be sure to have a copy of this document available. "If your home or appliances are still under warranty, keep these documents handy," he says. "You will need them if something needs to be repaired or replaced." Home warranty companies often will attempt to use loopholes to try to avoid paying your claims, so this document can help you make your case to receive the payments you deserve.

How to recover copies of lost or destroyed home ownership documents

Unfortunately, even if you are being as careful as possible, you may accidentally lose some important documents related to your home purchase or misplace them. It happens to everyone. Fortunately, it's not overly challenging to regain access to these documents. If you lose your deed or title records, for example, Sourmaidis says you should be able to obtain a new one more easily than you may think. "It might seem like a bigger deal than it is, but you can usually just head over to your county's recorder's office or land registry office to ask for a copy," he tells House Digest in an exclusive interview.

Obtaining new copies of your homeowner insurance policy or any warranty documents for your home's appliances is even easier. "Your insurance company can provide you with a copy of your policy and any claims information," Sourmaidis says. For warranty documents, "contact the manufacturer or warranty provider to ask them for another copy of your policy information." It's important to note that insurance companies and home warranty companies cannot change the terms of your contract without providing you with notice of the modification and without your agreement. So, any document these companies send you as a replacement should be identical to what you had previously. They legally cannot sneak in changes under the new document.