As a homeowner, we begin to accumulate papers and documents the moment we choose to purchase a home. Offers to purchase, mortgage documents, home inspection reports, homeowners insurance, renovation receipts, and appliance warranties are just some of documents that you may need to refer to in the future. The ability to locate these important
papers easily can save you time, and even money.
Royal LePage Canada legal consultant Penny Egan recommends locating and organizing all these documents in single multi-tab filing system. “No need for an elaborate system—a simple accordion file with labeled flaps will do,” says Egan, suggesting the following categories.
- Contracts and legal papers: These documents include the deed, surveys, inspections and any other reports. You will need these records again if you decide to re-finance or sell your home.
- Insurance policy: Create a folder for your homeowners insurance policy, as well as mortgage insurance, if you hold a policy. Also use this space to keep copies of correspondence related to any past claims.
- Purchase and market data: Keep a copy of the original listing of your home, and as information comes available from homes sold in your area, slip this information into the file to include ongoing comparable market data.
- Property Taxes: Keep your tax bills and record of payment for as long as you own the home. If you have business-use-of-home expenses on your federal tax return, you may need these items if your tax returns are audited.
- Home maintenance and improvements: Create a folder for receipts for repairs, maintenance and home improvements. You may also wish to include a log of regular maintenance tasks.
- Warranties, manuals and receipts: Keep your warranties, manuals and receipts for all appliances for as long as you own them.
- Home Inventory: If you were ever to lose any of your possessions due to fire or burglary, having a home inventory can make it easier when filing an insurance claim. Make a list of valuables in the home and take photos of each room for visual documentation, including close-up photos of jewelry and other valuables. Another tip is to take pictures of all your home contents for insurance purposes. This will make things much easier in the event you have to make a claim.
Organizing your home files may take a lot of time initially, but is time well spent in the event you need the documents later on.