My Home Inventory, now is when the rubber meets the road. You need to get started on actually taking the inventory. Sounds easy but how do you get started?
There are several ways to divide this up. The simple solution that comes to mind is to perform the inventory, room by room.
However, I assure you that items do not stay in one room forever! What if you move?
Room by Room
The best way to perform "My Home Inventory" will be room by room. Make sure you complete one entire room before moving on to the next one.
So the best solution is to use a room and category inventory. Make sure you have a copy of the home inventory checklist.
Realize that you will want to take the home inventory by item. In other words don’t list “Hummel Collection” and put down a value. You want to be detailed like “boy hunting rabbit Hummel” along with a value.
Start this by taking one room in the house to accomplish the "My Home Inventory."
You will want to print out one copy of the category list for this room. Write the name of the room at the top of the sheet (i.e. Master Bedroom, Den, and Kitchen).
Remember, you are only doing one room. To get started pick the simplest room, the room with the least amount of "stuff." You have drawn a picture of the room on a separate sheet. This will help you get started.
Go around the room and list under the sketch of the room everything that will need to be included in "My Home Inventory." At this point just list it. That's all.
You can make the list with an "A", "B", "C", or "1", "2", "3" beside each item. Then on the sketch of the room you can indicate by the ABC or 123 where the item is located in the room. This is entirely optional.
Take inventory of everything that has value. Granted, some possessions you will not (or could not) replace. For instance your family pictures can never be replaced in the case of fire. They also have no value to someone else outside your family. However, the antique frame that is around your great grandparent’s picture on the wall may be valuable. Use your judgment.
Keep in mind there is a big difference between sentimental value and market value. All you can really be concerned about here is replacing the things that have market value. If you lose these things your net worth would be diminished.
Complete the list for everything in the room that will need to be included in the inventory.
When you are done with this room you will have a list of items you need to include in the home inventory.
Get the Details
Let’s begin with the first item on the list.
How about the example of a flat screen TV? Now you want to get the value and other details of this item.
Get a separate piece of paper. On this you will write down all the information about the TV. They would include size, ID number, make, model, etc. If you purchased the TV write down what the purchase price was at that time.
Prove the Value
Now comes the tricky part. You need to prove that value. To make sure your "My Home Inventory" project is complete you will need a value of everything.
If you have the receipt, or a copy of a service agreement, or a copy of your credit card statement that will do it. If you do not have any of these documents, then you will need to dig a little deeper.
One of the first things I would try is to get a copy of the credit card receipt, or a cancelled check. You could also do some internet research.
Try going to the manufacture’s website and see if you can get some information there. You can also try stores like Best Buy, Target etc. to see if they can help you with a price list.
Whatever you do just remember, the insurance will want some sort of valid proof as to the costs of the item.
And one last thing.....And the last thing you will do for this item is take a picture of it. I assume you will be taking it on a digital camera, but it might be a good idea to print out the picture and keep it with all the other information.
Once you are done with "My Home Inventory" you should have a stack of paper that documents all the items in the room on which you just performed the inventory.
Move to Step 4 and learn about Appraisals and if you may need one.