Creating a Home Inventory (Part 1)

A few weeks ago I came across an article posted on Facebook by Coldwell Banker on the importance of taking a home inventory. After reading what the author had to say I was pretty convinced that a detailed list of all my possessions wasn’t a bad idea. Fire, flood, theft or even just personal reference – they’re all justifications for committing to the process. Plus, compiling all the information can be useful when determining your homeowners insurance needs from year to year and keep your policy up-to-date.

Where to begin:
I first needed to decide how I was going to record and save the information. Excel, downloadable software on my computer, iPad, iPhone – the possibilities were pretty endless, and I thought of pros and cons to each. In the end I figured finding an app for use on my iPad was the best way to go – it’s portable, I can back it up, it takes photos and sometimes I find it easier to type on than my iPhone.

Choosing an App:
Type in “Home Inventory” in the App Store on your iDevice and you’ll find a lot of available options.
I had to come up with a few criteria to narrow the playing field:

  1. It had to be available for both iPhone and iPad. When we’re talking electronics you never know when one can fail. I wanted multiple options for use in the future.
  2. It had to have a Lite version that could be tested for free. Let’s face it – we’ve all bought highly reviewed apps that we never use because we just don’t see the same value as the reviewers. I didn’t want to pay for something that wasn’t going to be useful for my process.
  3. The full version had have no less than 4 stars or be on the top 6 for popularity.

That produced 2 choices:

Apps for Home Inventory

 

 

 

 

 

I downloaded both to my iPad, began browsing each and quickly discovered that Itemizer was going to be my choice of apps for this process.

Using Itemizer:
Itemizer’s clean and tidy design made it pretty easy to navigate my way around the app. The lite version only allows the recording of two items before purchase of the full version is required. No big deal, I just wanted to test it anyway and decided the first item to take inventory of would be my dryer.

Itemizer's Home Screen and How to Add an Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It got a little tricky when I realized I didn’t know the first thing about my dryer except than how to turn it on. But after a few minutes searching on GE’s website, I learned that my model number is no longer sold and was able to find a comparable one and its current price.

One of the nice things about this app is it gives you the ability to chose whether you want to base the estimated value of an item off its purchase price OR a comparable replacement cost. Since I don’t know purchase price for the big items that came with my house (washer, refrigerator, stove, etc.) I needed this option to be able to record an estimated cost.

After the information was recorded, I then added pictures and attachments to the listing. The in-app camera functions just like the iPad camera would and places the pictures taken right into the item listing. Adding attachments was simple as well.

Dryer Images and Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided to add the Internet listing of my current dryer model and its features, the comparable one I found on GE’s site, a picture of the dryer that I took with my iPad and a picture of its model and serial number.

That’s it and you’re done. It took me some time (especially in light of the internet research) but the point is that it was easy. Very easy.

Now what?
Itemizer will give two reports: 1) a basic report with showing items recorded and 2) a detailed summary of each item recorded along with its photos and attachments. The reports can be printed directly from the app or exported (as PDF or CSV files) and sent to iTunes, emailed, or opened in iBooks, DropBox, CloudOn or Evernote.

The app also provides a great search option so that once you’ve really gone to town and inventoried your entire house it’s easy to go back and find items for reference or to edit.

A time consuming, but worthy process
Creating an inventory of your home is not for the faint of heart! It’s a substantial time investment. However, when thinking about the long-term payoff of having that information right at your fingertips should you ever need it, it all becomes worth it!

Don’t have an iPad or iPhone?
Check back next week – I’ll be discussing other resources available for preparing a home inventory as well as some helpful tips to make the process more manageable.

Happy Inventorying!

Analeisa Dunbar
Marketing Creative Manager
Coldwell Banker Caine