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The Must-Have Paper Checklist Before Closing


29 June 2016

Real estate paperwork can be overwhelming. Simply put, buying or selling a home buries you in printed materials. Some of them are obvious, for instance collecting your W2s and bank statements. The key is to start organizing and gathering them now before other closing responsibilities start piling up.

Take a look the most commonly needed documents, although you should always talk to an experienced real estate agent about anything you’re unsure about.

W2s and 1099s

You’ll want hard-copy proof of your earnings for the previous two tax years. When in doubt, just scan your whole tax return; some mortgage lenders prefer to have your entire return anyway. If you filed in NYS you can request a copy through the Department of Taxation and Finance.

Recent paychecks

Most of the time, your last two pay stubs will suffice, but some banks might ask for up to two years’ worth of payment records. If you receive payments via direct deposit, printable versions of your paycheck might take some legwork to track down, so it’s best to get on top of this one early.

Proof of any debts

Credit card statements, student loan statements, car loan statements, child support agreements — you need to provide records of them all. Honesty is key here; “forgetting” to include debts can put your loan approval and closing in jeopardy.

Purchase & sale (P&S) agreement

The P&S is a legally binding contract, not merely a pinkie-swear promise. As such, you should have your real estate attorney carefully review its terms before you sign it, then be sure to keep it handy as you begin the next stage of the buying process.


It’s not unusual to tack on some hard-copy changes to the original P&S, most often involving either the purchase price or the repairs that the seller has agreed to make to the property.

Proof of insurance

At closing, some lenders require proof of home insurance from the buyer, including hazard or flood insurance. Even after you secure the insurance itself, you’ll likely need printed copies of the policies.

These are a few of the items you’ll want to start gathering immediately in order to keep your closing process on track.


Have questions about where to start? Let us know and we’ll help get you started!

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