We take pride in our homes, but when is the last time you did a home inventory? Not only does a home showcase our personal taste, but it also holds a collection of mementos that we’ve gathered over the years. Photo albums and family photos on the wall are displayed proudly, surrounded by artwork and trinkets from past vacations, sharing memories with friends and family. Along with all of those memories that hang on the wall, we also surround ourselves with the comforts of home like 3D televisions, state-of-the-art gaming systems and quality sound systems. But what if a home disaster strikes?
No one likes to believe that a natural disaster or house fire can happen, but unfortunately emergencies can occur. In the event of an emergency, irreplaceable items lost (like photos) can be devastating. Fortunately there is something you can do about household items and purchases that you’ve made over the years. By keeping an inventory of the items in your home, it will be easier to assess their values and obtain replacements. Because even if you can’t replace that antique grand piano, your insurance company will still be able to assess its value and replace it with a new one…to be enjoyed for future generations.
If you don’t have a home checklist, it’s probably time to start taking inventory so that you can keep tabs on how much you own. Although this process does take a bit of effort, focus on tackling one room at a time. Once you’ve accomplished completion of this important undertaking, you’ll be able to enjoy more peace of mind because you’ve planned for adversity.
- Create a spreadsheet. You can either purchase a software program or app to help get you started, or simply create a spreadsheet on your own by using Excel or another program. FEMA, for example, offers an online checklist to follow or you can check with your insurance agent on their recommendations.
- Document what you own. The easiest way to outline your possessions is to list the items by room, item description, quantity, model and serial number. Also, it’s ideal to include the year and store where the item was purchased, along with the cost. Larger, more expensive line items should include receipts and appraisal information, if applicable.
- Include photos and/or video. It’s never been easier to include digital photographs within your checklist document. Take photos of your homes’ exterior along with interior room photos, too. Today, many homeowners walk through their homes and create a video that showcases what they own. Have you recently purchased a big, beautiful entertainment center that you intend to pass on to your adult children one day? Take close-up photos or video of the items you consider to be “big-ticket” items.
- Back it up! Now that you have created a spreadsheet for each room of the home with accompanying photographs, it’s important to back up the document on a flash drive. It is also a good idea to print out one or two hard copies, keeping one in a secure location at home and another at a close relative or friend’s home, just in case.
Moving forward, it will now be easier to track receipts and warranty information, adding key purchases to your list as time goes on. Many insurance agencies recommend that homeowners purchase bank safe deposit boxes for warranty paperwork as well as insurance policies, legal documents and marriage and birth certificates. Today, there are many options available for placing a fire safe in the home for easy access to the paperwork and your backed-up home inventory checklist. In the event your home is robbed, having a fire safe is also an ideal place to keep expensive jewelry or items that you only use occasionally. Having a clear picture of what you own will also make it easier to decide if a future purchase is really necessary. Many homeowners, after creating a home inventory checklist, decide it may be time to start downsizing their possessions after all!
Continue to follow my blog for future home-ownership tips. As a licensed Realtor, not only do I understand the local real estate market, I also understand the many intricacies that go hand-in-hand with buying and selling a home. If you are planning on buying a new home, selling your existing home, or even are in need of expanding or building, I have the experience and knowledge you want to make all of your dreams come true. Contact me for your real estate needs at 618-978-2384.