Why should everyone have a home inventory?
One never knows when a loss will occur, whether from fire, theft, tornado or other disaster. Of course most people have insurance, but the burden of claiming what was lost is on the homeowner. Could you list all of the items stored in one kitchen cabinet? One room? How about an entire house?
A photographic home inventory gives the homeowner the peace of mind of knowing that he or she has a basis for making insurance claims. Plan ahead and arrange your inventory before it’s needed!
How can an inventory be used?
Insurance claims: In the event of a loss, it’s up to the owner to provide the insurance company with a list of possessions lost. Even items you see every day may be forgotten when forced to recall the contents of your home from memory alone. A photographic inventory assists in filing a complete claim and provides concrete evidence of items’ quality and style for the insurance company.
Estate planning: When planning the distribution of an estate, words are often inadequate to describe treasured personal possessions. An inventory can help determine what particular items each family member hopes to receive. In addition, referencing a specific numbered photo can aid in identifying items included in a will.
Preservation of family history: Family members often wonder about the history of items passed down through the generations. The historical or sentimental value of an item may be far greater than its monetary value. An inventory provides a platform for sharing that history so that it is not lost.
Recovery from theft: A photograph provides far more detail than any written description in identifying a specific piece of property, and can be valuable in proving ownership of recovered property.
Stored items/moving: In the process of moving or placing items in storage, an inventory provides a record of what items are in transit or in storage and their condition. This can assist in the event of theft, loss, damage, or simply accounting for items that have been packed away.
Insurance coverage: Many people do not realize the full value of their personal property. Even small and inexpensive items can add up quickly when they need to be replaced all at once. An inventory may provide a basis for discussion with your insurance agent to determine whether your current insurance coverage is adequate.
Separation of assets: Creation of prenuptial agreements or separation of households may require a detailed list of assets. An inventory can assist in creating such a list.
A basic photographic inventory consists of hundreds of photographs, including:
- At least three wide-angle photographs of each room
- Photographs showing all furniture and items in each room that are visible without rearrangement of furnishings
- Contents of cabinets, closets, drawers, and shelves (visible without rearrangement)
- Contents of garages, sheds, accessible attics, and basements
- Exterior photographs showing the architectural features and scale of the building
- A limited number of individual photos of special furnishings as specified by the client, without rearrangement of items.
All photographs from the inventory are provided to the client on a USB flash drive. Permission to copy photos is granted to the client. The photographs are organized by room and numbered for easy reference, and a table of contents is included. For your security in case the drive is misplaced, the client’s name and address are not included anywhere on the drive. The drive includes the contact information of For the Record Inventories along with a client ID code to facilitate return. Additional copies of the inventory are available for $10 per flash drive.
A more comprehensive photographic inventory includes all items from the Basic Inventory. In addition, it includes more detailed photographs of collections, jewelry, silver, and other items requested by the owner, e.g., close-up views showing details and engravings; photographs requiring rearrangement of items during the inventory, etc.
A customized inventory may consist of any options from a Comprehensive Inventory, agreed upon during initial contract negotiations. In addition to the photographic inventory, a written description of specific items, including information such as their history, purchase price, and other details provided by the owner can be arranged.
Examples include inventories of:
- Specific collections of musical instruments, firearms, Christmas decorations, jewelry, silver, etc.
- Specific rooms
- Visible items only, excluding contents of drawers, closets, etc.
- Items to be packed for relocation or storage
Examples of the types of photographs taken during Basic, Comprehensive, and Customized Inventories are available here.
Free estimates are available. The cost of an inventory will depend on the type of inventory (Basic, Comprehensive, or Customized), the size of the building, the density of the contents, and the level of detail requested. Clients have the option to upgrade the level of detail during the inventory if special items or collections were overlooked during initial contract discussion.
The charge for a Basic Inventory is based on the area inventoried and the density of contents. It generally falls in the range of $0.12 to $0.19 per square foot. For example, a Basic Inventory for a 2500 sq. ft. home with average density of contents would be approximately $400-450.
A Comprehensive Inventory includes the Basic Inventory cost, plus an hourly rate of $55 for the extra time required for rearranging and taking detailed photographs. The hourly rate is charged only for extra time spent on the premises. Any additional time required to prepare the digital inventory is built into the listed prices—there will be no further charges once the last photograph is taken.
The cost of a Customized Inventory will be negotiated at the time of the free estimate based on the services requested.