Home Inventory Guide
Home Inventory – A Guide for Homeowners and Renters

Home Inventory – A Guide
for Homeowners and Renters

The many reasons for a home inventory, plus a do-it-yourself guide and templates.



Prenups Are On The Rise – Time For An Inventory

I never thought I had something Kim Kardashion would need, but stranger things do happen! A recent CNNMoney article by Janice Revell discussed the increase in numbers of prenuptial agreements. This means more people will need a third-party inventory service to provide the document to support the agreement.

Surprisingly, Miss Kardashion is a role model of sorts – at least in the area of financial responsibility. She and her fiance, Kris Humphries, are preparing a prenuptial agreement prior to the day they say “I do.” A prenup is a legal document that itemizes how the assets of each spouse will be distributed if the “I do” turns into “I will not any more.” It used to be that only the rich and famous signed prenups, but these legal documents are becoming quite popular in all economic levels.

Revell’s article states, “Nearly three-quarters of attorneys surveyed in 2010 by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers said they had seen a marked increase in prenups in recent years. A key reason: The financial crisis left people anxious to protect what they have. A glance at marriage statistics underscores the importance of planning ahead. Almost half of all first marriages end in divorce, and the divorce rate on subsequent unions is even higher.”

If you don’t have a prenup, the courts will decide who gets what. Having this document – and the personal property inventory – prior to your marriage will take the guesswork, and possible huge loss, out of the equation. This is because you’ll be able to prove what assets each person brought into the marriage.

So, Kim – did you get your inventory completed yet? If not, have your people call my people and we’ll get you on the calendar.

Prepare For Storms – Tips for Business Owners and Home Owners

Prepare for Spring Storms – Tips for Business Owners and Home Owners

Spring is a great time of the year. Brown grass turns green. Trees and bushes burst with buds. Flowers poke up through the soil. But not all is this sere ne. Spring also brings lightning storms, tornadoes, floods and hurricanes.

Are you prepared for the losses that could occur in your home? Do you have a personal property inventory of the belongings of your home and/or business? If you are a business owner, have you taken precautions to help keep your employees from being at risk? Taking that one step further, are you prepared so you don’t have to shut down your business for a few days, weeks or even possibly permanently? Roughly 40 to 60 percent of small businesses never reopen their doors following a disaster.

For your business:

  • Review your Evacuation and Take Cover procedures with your employees.
  • Review your Business Continuity Plan so this information is fresh in your mind.
  • Determine if your asset inventory is up to date.
  • Check the exterior of your building. Secure loose siding, shutters and shingles.
  • Inspect trees and trim branches that are brushing against the building or could fall and take down a power line.
  • Inspect the interior of your facility for structural integrity. If you discover any problems areas, contact a general contractor.
  • When a severe storm is imminent, ensure that you have plenty of plywood, nails, tarps and any other supplies appropriate for your area of the country and the type of storm developing.
  • Purchase a generator if you don’t already have one.

These easy steps will help you ensure everyone’s safety and reduce the amount of damage you’ll experience. Additionally, you’ll most likely be able to be back in business much faster since you were properly prepared for the worst when it finally does happen.

For your home:

Purchase a generator. This may seem like a frivolous expense, but it can be used for so many different disasters. When there is a severe hurricane or tornado, you could be without power for weeks.  Think of all the items in your house that require electricity: appliances, electronics, power tools, lights and heaters. Imagine not having a refrigerator or television for more than a couple hours. Now think of how your life will be if you are without them for days or even longer.

Other items to consider when preparing your residence for the spring storm season:

  • Talk to your family about your Take Cover and Fire Escape plans. Be sure to include even the youngest child. Talking about it when calm and not “in the moment” will give them a sense of security. Assign someone the responsibility of the family pet.
  • Review your personal property, or home, inventory to ensure that all recently purchased items have been added. If they haven’t, contact your inventory service provider to update your file.
  • Call our insurance agent if you have made any major updates to your home in the past year. The worst time to find you are under-insured is when you’re filing a claim.
  • Inspect the exterior of your home and tack down any loose shingles, shutters or siding.
  • Look at all of your trees and shrubs. Cut back any branches that are up against the house. Cut off or trim branches of trees that could fall on power lines.
  • When you are facing a storm that requires extra reinforcement, purchase the supplies appropriate for your geographic area and the type of storm you are facing.

Home owner or business owner – or both – being prepared before the storm is bearing down will help you in many ways. You’ll be at ease financially, emotionally and have a comfort level from knowing that you’re ready.

Thanksgiving Greetings

I awoke this morning with devout
thanksgiving for my friends, the old and
the new. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Oh, the dilemma of moving a blog

I’m thinking about moving my blog from Blogger to WordPress. Why? Mostly because Blogger took away spell check! Oh, No! No spellcheck?  YIKES!

I found a couple reasons given for removing spell check during their recent update. One is that it created a lot of HTML issues. Another reason offered is that with all the languages supported by Blogger, spell check was impractical to offer. 

It may seem minor, but I like to know when I misspell a word because typos bug me. But I must weigh the good against the bad. I’ve been happy with Blogger. It’s easy to use, their technical support is helpful, and they have tools that make it easy to create and publish the blogs.

Well, I asked on Twitter and Facebook about switching to WordPress. Was it difficult? Did anyone have issues? I received replies that it’s easy. Even @ablegragon sent me a link to a blog post that gives the step-by-step process. (I love my fellow Peeps!)

So now there should be nothing holding me back. But what if I run into issues? Everyone who knows me knows that I am NOT a techie by any stretch of the imagination! What if I lose everything? Is all of the time and torture I’ll spend ‘fixing things’ worth it just to get spell check again? Is the value of a perfectly-spelled blog worth the issues I might run into? And then – OMG – what if WordPress chooses to stop offering spell check? AUGHHHHHH!

I don’t know the answer, so I guess I’ll sit on the fence for a while. Thoughts, anyone? Can someone give me a very good reason to make the move, or should I stay where I’m safe. Then get therapy to stop making a typo such a huge issue?!?

All that’s left are the memories

Saturday night – and into early Sunday morning – local firefighters fought to save a Brown County landmark – the Little Nashville Opry.

There are fires every day of the year, but when a special building falls into smoldering embers, people take notice. My heart goes out to the owners as well as the fans. All are feeling a sense of loss today.

At this point, too, I feel it necessary to remind everyone how quickly you can lose everything you own. An inventory will not bring it back, but it will make the recovery process easier. I’ve been told by those who have been through it, that using a document to list items when filing the insurance claim is much less stressful and emotional than having to dig through the rubble while attempting to identify each item that is now charred, melted or destroyed beyond recognition.

Please take some time to create your list of assets. You will be so happy you did if or when you experience a fire, theft or natural disaster. If you never experience any of these, the peace of mind your inventory will provide was worth the time and effort to create it.

Photo: Indianapolis Star

Mack writes about who? About Cindy Lou

The Grinch is everywhere, it seems – and not only at Christmas. In a recent post, I shared a phone call I received from one of our customers who had just been burglarized. Last week at our monthly ITEX (a barter group) meeting, this customer was giving a testimonial for our home and business inventory service, explaining to the group how helpful it was after his vacation home was burglarized.

Mack Earnhardt of Agile Reasoning, a custom software design firm, was also in attendance. After hearing “Willy’s” story, Mack chose to blog about it while proving that some “techies” have a fantastic sense of humor.

How Cindy Lou Foiled the Grinch

Vacation homes let us escape for a bit,
But the Grinch is so jealous, he just has a fit.

So while Willy was working and his back was turned,
The Grinch took some things that he hadn’t earned.

Candles from mantles, and runner from halls,
Food from the freezer, and artwork from walls.

Take a moment and check out the remainder of Mack’s very funny, creative blog.

An impromptu education session

When we started our home inventory business 5 years ago, one of our criteria was to educate people. Now, to be honest, we realize that once people learn the importance of knowing what they own, some will become customers. But there are also those who will want to do their inventories themselves. And that’s great, too!

Thus, that’s why we share this information … how insurance works, the different types of coverage, the claims process, etc. We also discuss estate planning and estate settlement, why a business owner needs to have this information, plus all the other reasons you should have an inventor of your home and business. The key is knowing WHY someone should have an inventory.

So yesterday, while working in the office, Mike said, “Let’s have an “Ask the expert” time on Facebook and Twitter. I thought it was a really good idea, so we started letting people know we’d be available for questions. Friends are so cool, and very quickly we got a note from James Ryan suggesting we post it as an “Event” on Facebook (thanks James!). Within minutes, he was sharing the information with others.

It was short notice, but a few picked up on it and we were able to answer some questions. We’ll do it again before the end of the month (with more notice) and are considering making it a monthly activity thereafter. Why? We want to share our knowledge. Questions come up and “need to know” is a timing issue. What you don’t need to know today might be an urgent issue a couple weeks from now.

Social media is not just for promoting products or providing inspirational quotes or tweeting “I’m sitting on the patio” (though I enjoy reading all of these, too!). Social media is also a great tool to share your expertise.

What can you offer of value to your followers and friends?

July 31, 1952

That’s my “birth” day. And today I’m celebrating! Celebrating that I’m still young, healthy and full of energy. Full of the DESIRE to grow, learn and improve every day. When people moan about getting older, I don’t understand their thought process. I WANT to get older, because it sure beats the alternative!

I have so much to do yet. I used to look forward to retiring, and now I believe I never will. You don’t want to retire when you’re doing what you love to do – what you have a passion to do.

I want to serve my passion of providing a contents inventory to every person who wants one. Notice I didn’t say “needs” one, because everyone needs one. But those who understand why – those who see the obligation to their family – those who know they will be better off in so many ways by having this inventory – those are the people I seek to serve.

We all have a passion, and that is mine. I have seen and been told stories of the people not being able to recover properly after a fire, theft, hurricane or tornado. Many spent hours working with adjusters instead of being able to tend to injured family members or take care of other family issues.

I have heard of the financial losses people have experienced because they were under-insured or couldn’t prove value of specific items. Of business owners who could not recover and closed their doors.

I have seen the pain and emotional anguish that an executor endures due to family bickering after the death of a parent.

Yes, I have a passion for taking care of those who want an inventory. And to share all the reasons to know what you own. So today, as I turn 57, I have a lot to do, a lot of people to serve, and I look forward to every single new day. And each customer is the perfect gift because it allows me to provide the peace of mind that I have a passion to give.

A warning to burglars: Doors can hurt you

Usually I’m giving tips to warn AGAINST burglars, and how a contents inventory will help you recover from a theft.

But this burglar is one you wouldn’t have to worry about. Feeling he needs a little advice, here is is:

Beware, doors can hurt you!

In pain, and after a few different attempts to enter the home, he left without anything – except maybe a bruised body and bruised ego.

The pain of saying goodbye

Many of us have experienced the loss of a loved one. As adult children, I’m sure a lot of you are listed as the executor for your parents. Thinking of what you will go through is not something anyone wants to do. But the fact is, you will have to, and being prepared for it will make the task a little less emotional.

In addition to providing our contents inventory service for disaster preparedness and recovery, we also help executors of estates. Please read Jim’s story (not his real name). He lived out of state and was traveling quite often while settling his dad’s estate. The visits with the attorney, trying to get the house ready to be placed on the market and traveling back and forth had begun to take their toll on him. Therefore, he had delayed doing the inventory of the contents of his father’s home. He was informed by his attorney that he could no longer put it off, so he picked up a tablet and pencil and sat down … and – stared – at – the – paper – for – who – knows – how – long!

He just couldn’t do it. Having to record all his father’s belongings was too emotional, too gut-wrenching, too sad. He knew it would take time and he really needed to get back home and back to work. Another trip would mean more time, more emotion, more expenses.

He called his attorney and stated how he felt, plus didn’t know what pricing to put on each item even if he could create the list. His attorney suggested he give us a call. One-and-a-half hours on site and we were done. Jim told us that he was just overwhelmed and couldn’t even figure out where to start or what to do.

Will this be one of your children? Creating your inventory now will be a kindness you can give to your executor at one of their most emotionally torn times in their life.

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