Property inventories are written documents that record the condition and contents of a property. They are often written for properties that are to be rented out as proof of the property condition at the time a new tenant moves in. The tenant is supposed to look after the property while he or she is staying there and the value of the property inventory comes at the end of the lease when the landlord and tenant refer back to the document to see whether any changes have occurred to the property.
There are property inventory services companies who write property inventories professionally. However, anyone can write a property inventory. So if you are a landlord who would like to save money and do your own inventory the only things you need are not much more than a pen, paper and a digital camera. I assume you already have a computer and printer to print out the document so that it looks neat and professional.
1. Recording the information
Go to the property with a pen and paper and record relevant information for each part of the property. This should be done systematically so you fully record information for one room or one part of the property before you go to the next room. For each room that you enter have a process going in which you methodically look at each aspect of the room. You may do this literally from top to bottom such as you examine the ceiling first, then walls then the contents and finally the flooring so that no aspect of the room is left unrecorded.
For each part of the room record relevant details, for example, if you are examining the ceiling record things such as its colour and any special features such as any special decorative plaster work. Similarly, if you are examining the flooring relevant things to record are what type of floor it is such as whether it is carpeted, varnished wooden floor or tiled etc. The key thing to remember is that you should be as descriptive as possible to fully describe and identify the item you are recording. You should also include any marks, imperfections or blemishes so that the inventory is fair and accurate.
A similar process is also carried out for the contents of the room such as furniture. For example, if there is a sofa in the room write down what type of sofa it is such as whether it is made from leather or fabric and how many people it can seat and whether it is in a new condition, good condition or poor condition. For electrical items such as washing machines additional details such as the model and serial numbers should also be noted.
Try to be as descriptive and comprehensive as possible in your recording in order to produce an informative and detailed property inventory survey. At the end of the recording process you should have a description and condition of each item or aspect of the room.
2. Take digital photographs
As you go through each room, take digital photographs of notable things. This may be valuable items or electrical items. Take any photos that you think is important which should be recorded. A general overview photo of the room that pans the entire room is also helpful. You don’t need to restrict the number of photos that you take and in fact photos convey far greater information than words when it comes to property inventories. Therefore, take as many photos as you think are necessary. For the property inventory to be fair and accurate you should also take images of any imperfections, for example, if there is a crack in a window a photo of it should be taken.
3. Transcribe the information into a computer and print out the document to be signed
Once you have the raw data, input the text and images into your computer. You should layout he document so that it looks professional, clear and easy to understand. One way to lay out the document is to have three separate columns one column for the item, another column for the description and a third column for the condition. The document can also be organised room by room so that each room is given a separate section in the document. Photos for each room can be embedded at the end of the section for that room.
Basic details such as the property address, the names of the tenant and landlord should also be on the document. Blank spaces for gas, electric, water meter readings and the number of keys to be given is to be left on the document so that it can be later added by hand at the time the tenant moves in. The document is now ready to be printed and verified by the tenant on the moving in day. On that day the last details will be hand recorded on to the inventory such as the meter readings and the number of keys given. The property inventory document can then be finally signed and dated by the tenant.