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Mortgage Statements: What Are They And How Long Should You Keep Them?

May 29, 2024 8-minute read

Author: Hanna Kielar

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    It’s easy to let statements and other loan documents pile up, and it can be tempting to throw these papers out, especially if your mortgage is close to maturity. But how long should you keep your mortgage statements – and which mortgage documents are worth keeping?

    We’ll answer these questions, plus give you some advice on the best way to store your documents.

    Overview: What Is A Mortgage Statement?

    A mortgage statement, which may also be referred to as a billing statement, is a document that comes from your lender and includes information on the status of your loan. Many lenders issue mortgage statements once a month, but you can usually access them online anytime.

    Now it’s time for a close-up look at some of the information you might see on your mortgage statement.

    A Monthly Payment Summary

    Your monthly payment summary lets you know your total payment due each month. It typically includes the amount due on your principal balance, the interest owed and any taxes or insurance you pay to an escrow account. Overdue balances or late fees are usually also listed in this section. It can be useful to get another mortgage statement to see your updated summary if you make an extra payment on your mortgage loan.

    Loan Information

    Your loan information section provides the most important details of your mortgage account. This section might include information such as your account number, the address of your property and your current interest rate.

    Keep an eye on both your interest rate and current market rates. If market rates fall, you might be able to save money by refinancing your mortgage.

    Year-to-Date Payments

    This section tells you how much money you’ve paid on your principal balance and in interest for the year to date. This information might be especially relevant if you have a home office or you claim any home-related income tax deductions.

    Transaction Activity

    Your transaction activity provides a more complete look at how you reduce what you owe over time. This can help you better understand the amortization process and see how making an extra payment can benefit you.

    Client Service Information

    Most mortgage statements also include a section with client service information. Use this section to contact your lender if something on your loan looks wrong.

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    What Are The Most Important Mortgage Documents To Keep?

    Let’s walk through a few of the most important documents for homeowners to save.

    Deed

    The U.S. government recommends that you keep your deed for as long as you own your home. However, most municipalities now have online land records with virtual deeds and land record databases. You may still want to keep a copy of your deed as a fast method of proving you own your property. You receive the deed from the county where you live.

    Deed Of Trust And Promissory Note

    Your deed of trust and promissory note are agreements to the conditions of your loan as spelled out by your mortgage servicer. A deed of trust is an agreement with your mortgage lender saying your lender will hold the property’s title until the full loan amount is repaid.

    A promissory note is the written agreement stating your intention as the borrower to repay the loan.

    You may want to refer to both documents at some point, so it’s a good idea to not get rid of them.

    Purchase Contract And Seller’s Disclosure

    Your purchase contract and Seller’s Disclosure include information on your home’s condition. You may have a case against the seller if a problem occurs in your home after you buy the property and the seller didn’t include the problem in your contract or disclosure.

    Home repair bills can add up to thousands of dollars, so these documents are very important to keep. They’re part of the home purchase process, and you and the seller should receive a copy of them.

    Home Inspection Report

    Your home inspection report details the condition of your home. It may include information on items such as the age of your roof or the state of your heating system. This report can give you valuable insights into any home maintenance needs. You’ll get a copy from the inspector.

    Home Warranty

    If you have a home warranty, it’ll include information on the parts of your home that have protections on them. Keep a copy of your warranty on hand so you can quickly see what is and isn’t covered under your valid policy. The home warranty company will be able to give you a copy of your contract.

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    Why Should You Keep Your Mortgage Documents?

    It’s important for a few reasons to save your mortgage documents. Let’s review some now.

    They Provide Documentation For Audits

    Buying a home and paying off your mortgage may have tax implications. You’ll want to have your documents on hand to show the IRS if you file your federal taxes and get audited. The IRS may ask you to provide written proof of any deductions, income or credits for up to 3 years after you file your tax return.

    Keep in mind that there are no statutes of limitations on audits if you fail to file a tax return in any given year. If you’ve missed a tax due date for whatever reason, you’ll want to keep your loan and property documents indefinitely.

    They Help You Calculate Capital Gains Tax

    You may be responsible for the capital gains tax if you sell your home. This is money you pay when you sell an asset for more than the amount you bought it for. You can add the cost of any improvements you make on your home to the original purchase price of the property.

    This increases the amount you “paid” for your home and also lowers the difference between your purchase and sale price. As a result, your capital gains tax liability decreases.

    As mentioned, keep documentation of any repairs, additions or renovations you make on your home. This will help you calculate your capital gains tax dues and likely also be beneficial if you’re ever audited.

    They Indicate When To Schedule Maintenance

    An inspection is a report telling you about the condition of your home. You can use this documentation to schedule maintenance and predict when something will need replacing. For example, you’ll need to spend more time on roofing maintenance if you buy a home and your inspection reveals that the roof is falling apart.

    They Ensure Your Payments Are Accurate

    Your monthly mortgage statements detail how much you owe on your loan and what you’ve already paid off. Compare your statements with one another and make sure all your payments are accurate.

    This is especially important if you want to make an extra payment on your loan. Some lenders may apply an extra payment to next month’s balance instead of directly to your principal. Keeping tabs on your statements will allow you to catch this mistake quickly before more interest can accumulate.

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    How Long Should You Keep Your Mortgage Statements?

    The amount of time you should retain your mortgage statements on a piece of real estate will depend on the specific mortgage statement in question. You typically don’t need to keep monthly statements very long because the information on these statements gets outdated fairly quickly.

    You should keep mortgage statements for longer if you notice a mistake on one of them, however, because you’ll want to dispute the error, make sure the lender fixes it and ensure that statements with errors don’t become the norm.

    Even though your lender will have copies of your monthly billing statements, it’s a good idea to have the physical ones close by for at least a little while. Rocket Mortgage® clients can access their statements online as well.

    Other Mortgage Papers To Keep

    You’ll also get a Loan Estimate and a Closing Disclosure. These documents come separately from the mortgage statement itself and show the details of your loan. Keep these documents for your records so your lender will be accountable from application to closing.

    Some other mortgage-related documents you should hang onto indefinitely include:

    • Your purchase contract
    • Records of any renovations you make on your home
    • Your home inspection
    • Your home warranty

    All of these documents contain key information on your property’s condition and can be invaluable when you sell your home or do maintenance.

    FAQs: Mortgage Statements And Other Mortgage Papers

    Can I throw away old mortgage papers?

    You can throw away old mortgage statements, but proceed with caution, because in some cases you should keep old mortgage papers for a long time. For example: Keeping the promissory note, Closing Disclosure, deed of trust and proof of title insurance for the life of a loan is typically required.

    How long should I keep my home insurance statements?

    You should keep your homeowners insurance statements and account information until you get a new policy. You may want to keep them even longer for tax or accounting purposes.

    How long should I keep my refinance documents?

    It’s a good idea to keep any paperwork on your refinance for at least 3 years. However, some professionals might recommend keeping it for at least 10 years.

    You may need to refer to your refinance paperwork if there are any errors in your future mortgage statements or you see a sudden change in your interest rate or payment amount.

    How long should I keep my property tax records?

    You should keep tax records for at least 3 years after selling the property. If you still own the home, you should keep the property tax statements and store them in a safe place.

    What’s the best way to store my mortgage paperwork?

    In this digital age, you might be tempted to upload everything to your online file-sharing service or cloud and forget about it. These services aren’t tamper-proof, though. A hack or data breach can cause you to lose your information.

    If you keep online records, also keep a physical copy of all your important messages or documents in a locked fireproof cabinet in your home. Tell any other person on your loan where your documents are and how to access them.

    Should I keep records of work done on my home?

    Yes, these documents can be important if you choose to refinance your loan down the road. When you make home improvement repairs or additions to your house, you should also retain detailed records on the cost and materials. Warranties, receipts and sales records all verify any work you’ve done on your home.

    The Bottom Line: You Shouldn’t Need To Keep Mortgage Statements As Long As Other Mortgage Documents

    A mortgage comes with a lot of documentation that’s useful for tax, accounting and maintenance purposes. While it might not be necessary to keep mortgage statements for all that long, be sure to keep your personal copy of your deed, promissory note, proof of title insurance and Closing Disclosure for as long as you have your loan.

    You should also hang onto your inspection report and Seller’s Disclosure as long as you own the home. However, you can throw away your home warranty policy when it expires. Again, keep the files you do need to keep in a secure online storage system as well as in a fireproof filing cabinet at home.

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    Hanna Kielar

    Hanna Kielar is a Section Editor for Rocket Auto, RocketHQ, and Rocket Loans® with a focus on personal finance, automotive, and personal loans. She has a B.A. in Professional Writing from Michigan State University.