Home ownership requires a lot of paperwork, estimates, receipts, agreements and contracts. Having a system for filing these records will create benefits long-term. You will easily locate records when you need them to compare pricing, contracts and service levels across the vendors you use over time. You will also become a resource for helpful information that you can share with friends and family whenever they have similar needs.
Furthermore, there are tax benefits that you can access if you have the proper records. Make sure to save records of all home improvements and expenses. You will need this when you are ready to sell your home and at tax time if you have a home-based business office.
Here are a few tips:
- Keep all of the documents related to the sale of your home (deed and loan docs) in a safe place. A fireproof or safe deposit box is best.
- Keep a file with estimates from contractors and service providers. You will need to compare these over time.
- Keep manuals and warranties and service records together for easy access. You will also want to show these to future buyers of your home. These provide evidence that you have maintained your home over time.
- Keep a list of model numbers, receipts and photos of major purchases and capital improvements. You will need these for insurance claims if there is ever a fire in your home or loss from theft or natural disaster. Keep a copy of this off-site at your work location or with a family member. Many insurance companies have apps that assist in recording inventory. Examples include: Liberty Mutual Home Gallery and the State Farm Home Index and the Allstaste Digital Locker. If you don’t wan’t to learn a new app, start a Google-docs or Evernote inventory list and start recording possessions by room. Make sure to include photos, purchase price and date, bar codes, item/model numbers, where you purchased the item and scanned receipts.
- Keep a separate file for major home maintenance projects. These will be helpful to provide to a future buyer when you sell. They will also be needed calculate capital gains when you are ready to sell.
- Create a complete budget for your home based on your monthly and annual expenses and emergency savings fund. This will help you make financial decisions when it is time to change jobs, make other financial investments or create college savings accounts for your kids.