I guess what I’m asking is this: is there such a thing as a bag of real estate?
A: Twenty years ago, we could have answered this question by suggesting to our correspondent to copy all the relevant documents and put them in a safe in a bank. The idea being that these documents would be safe there.
Today, it’s much easier to just scan your important documents (not to mention photographs) and create a cloud-based storage system. You can duplicate these scanned documents and keep copies in other places in the cloud as well, creating a backup system in case a cloud goes down or is otherwise destroyed.
What should you scan? Start with signed copies of everything your lawyer or title company gives you at closing: your mortgage documents, closing statement, and other documents you signed. If you receive warranties for a new home or appliances, you can also scan those (or, at least, the page that contains the numbers).
Keeping these documents well organized in the cloud will serve you well over time. You can create a personal file and keep it, along with scanned copies of your tax return and other important documents, in a safe place. Just be sure to use an extremely strong password that contains lots of letters, numbers, and symbols.
You should also have a scanned copy of a recent mortgage statement so you have your current loan balance, lender phone number, and loan account number. It won’t hurt to have a copy of your home insurance policy along with photos or videos of your home’s exterior and photos and videos of your home’s interior. If your home is a total loss due to a tornado, hurricane, or flood, you will need sufficient evidence of the appearance of your home and any personal property you owned that went there. found.
Even better, the cloud makes this information accessible wherever you are, from various devices.
COMMENT: I very much appreciated your article on the coverage of special contribution insurance. I am a real estate agent. I always encourage buyers to add a term to the contract requesting meeting minutes from at least the past six months. Super important. Moreover, I never knew that it was possible to insure against certain special contributions. Please keep readers well informed.
ILYCE AND SAM RESPOND: There are many innovations in real estate, but some things are constant: always look at the finances of the condominiums or cooperatives (and at least one year of meeting minutes) before buying the property. You will learn a lot about the priorities of the board and how decisions are made. Glad you found this useful.
But remember that Special Assessment Insurance coverage only covers items covered under this policy and will not cover you for maintenance, upgrades and other routine special assessments. Only risks which were not covered by the insurance cover of the association can be authorised. For more details, read our recent column.
COMMENT: A water heater is not called a hot water heater because it heats cold water, obviously not hot water.
ILYCE AND SAM RESPOND: Thank you for your comment. You are right. We looked at the website of a local home improvement store and found the following options: commercial water heaters, tank water heaters, electric tank water heaters, gas tank water heaters, water heaters commercial tank heaters, hybrid water heaters and more tankless water heaters.
In your opinion, there were no water heaters for sale.
Ilyce Glink is the author of “100 questions every first-time home buyer should ask(Fourth Edition). She is also the Managing Director of Best Money Moves, an app employers provide to employees to measure and reduce financial stress. Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Contact them via the website, BestMoneyMoves.com.