It’s that time of year when those of us in the south are very aware of the tropics. Someplace nearby seems to always be having some property damage related to weather, usually flooding from too much rain or actual damage to homes from wind or wind-driven debris. I don’t know which is more of a hassle, cleaning up the place or dealing with the insurance appraiser. One thing that makes the latter much easier is to have an up-to-date Property Inventory.
A Property Inventory is a file that has photos of each and every item in you home (that you would want to have replaced or be compensated for) along with invoices, descriptions or appraisals or each item. There are three ways to do this. But the following procedure has to be done for all of them.
Pull out two large pieces of cloth (sheets or blankets), one in a light or white color and one dark. Use these as backgrounds so that the items are isolated for the photo. Take pictures of each item or set of items. A sofa is an item (and probably doesn’t need the background) and your silverware is a set of items. If you have a collection of artwork or collectibles, photograph each of them individually, because each item will have a different value. In the case of silverware or crystal, photograph the forks and knives separately because forks have a different value than knives. Just be sure the photo shows the number of the items.
Once you have this process down, you are ready to choose your method.
Method 1. After you photograph each item or set, print out the photos and attach them to the invoice, appraisal or written description of the item. Make a file folder of these photos and documentation and put the file in a safety deposit box.
Method 2. After you photograph each item or set, upload the photo to a photo sharing website online, such as Google Photos or Flickr. Scan copies of the invoices and appraisals or descriptions and then upload them to a file you create in Google Docs or some other cloud based program. When all the docs and invoices/appraisals/ descriptions are in, link the photo of the item or set directly to the written document. This actually costs you nothing and you will be able to access the information from anywhere in the world that you have a computer.
Method 3. Subscribe to a cloud based property file. I use HomeZada for my customers. The property inventory part of the program is free and the ease of use and peace of mind is fantastic.
The program comes with simple software that you download to your computer, and apps that each adult in the household can download to their phones. You don’t need to scan anything, just take photos of the documents and upload to the items preset in the program or that you have added yourself. Everything is sorted according to rooms, closets or garage/yard areas and you put all the photos you want, along with the receipts, appraisals and descriptions in the correct place without having to create documents yourself. If you need to make any kind of insurance report, it’s as simple as uploading to your insurance company from any computer or tablet.
HomeZada has tons of other features that are available to you with the premium package, but the home inventory portion is completely free. I do not get any compensation of any kind from this company. I just happen to think it is the best closing gift for my customers so I give a year of the premium plan to each of them following the closing.