If you just purchased your home, or you have lived in it for a long time you should consider this advice. Following these steps will be beneficial in several possible situations that could arise for homeowners from insurance & warranty claims, to the future sale of your home.
I recommend picking up a three-ring binder, and a bunch of page protector sleeves to collect the following information. This will help keep the information organized in a single place and will make a nice presentation piece in the event of a future sale.
- Take high-quality photos of the interior and exterior of your home throughout the year. Take photos of your home inside and out each season. Get out the camera when your home is all cleaned up for a party, or decorated for the holidays, before all the people arrive, take pictures of the house, not people. Take pictures of the exterior in the spring after spring clean up, when the flowers bloom, when the first snow falls, and in the fall when the leaves are turning colors. The photos can be used as proof of ownership of personal items in insurance claims, as well as help tell the story of your home if you decide to sell.
- Document all home improvements completed on your home. Keep receipts, manuals, building permits, and a photo journal for all updates and repairs on your home. If you have the major systems in your house maintained by a technician keep the itemized invoice showing what was done when it was done, and any recommendations. This information will be valuable for warranty claims, as well as showing that you have done an excellent job of maintaining your home if you decide to sell.
- Keep your inspection report from when you purchased the home and document when each item was resolved with dates, receipts, permits, and photos.
- Keep copies of the above materials, and photos on cloud storage space so that if something happens to your home the information will be backed up. The pictures that you took and all the receipts won’t help you with an insurance claim if they get destroyed.
These things will take only a few minutes for homeowners to do if you do them immediately when changes happen. Install a new furnace as soon as you get the documents to file them on the cloud and in the binder. A new roof was installed file the permit, invoice, roof warranty, and photos on the cloud, and binder. Each time you do something file it right away. You will thank me when you need the above information for warranty or insurance and it is easily available.
When people buy a home they think “I am going to live here forever.” Yet I need to point out that the majority of people will sell their homes within five to ten years. Homeowners should plan ahead for the eventual sale of their homes.
Imagine a home listing with photos of the home in each season, decorated for parties and the holidays. People are thinking about not only living in the house but also entertaining when they are looking at buying a home. The photos you took can help tell those stories for the new buyers. Imagine the homeowner providing the home buyer with a portfolio of receipts, manuals, and permits for all of the work done to maintain the home. Buyers will be better able to see themselves in the home and feel more comfortable that they are making a sound investment.
What items would you add to the list?