How long must I keep real estate documents for property no longer owned?

While the basic rule is to keep records for three years after you have filed your return, that period is lengthened if any information is questioned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Then it becomes three years after the final resolution of the item(s) in question for records related to the item(s). To be on the safe side, some real estate records should be kept for six years, and some may need to be kept indefinitely.

For a more complete answer, go to the IRS Web site at,,id=98513,00.html.

Documents that indicate ownership, such as automobile title and lien release or property deeds, need to be retained until the item or property is sold. Then keep a copy of the sales transaction. Always keep these items in a safe place such as a safety deposit box or in another fire- and flood-proof location. You should also consult your tax preparer for specific advice about the storing the documents that you are inquiring about.

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