As a homeowner, it seems like you’re always working on your home, whether it’s routine maintenance or cosmetic upgrades. But in addition to completing the actual work, it’s important to keep accurate records of what was done. The details of repairs, upgrades, or renovations are not only important for your own reference, but also for tax purposes, future appraisals, and potential resale. Here is some of the information you should be hanging onto.
Do you have your HVAC system serviced annually? Has your roof been repaired or replaced? Have you had a recent pest inspection or treatment? Staying on top of preventative home maintenance is a great way to protect your investment and keeping records of this work will show future buyers the home has been well cared for.
Keep a log of dates and services performed on your property, including the names and contact information for contractors, inspectors, plumbers, electricians, pool maintenance companies, landscapers, etc.
Jason Murton with Accurate Inspections, LLC, says having this information can be useful to home inspectors during a sale.
“If a homeowner notes that their roof was replaced in 2015, but I see a lot of issues with it, then I’m going to do some more digging and try to find out why that roof is aging prematurely,” he said.
Murton says while many homeowners do keep track of work, they often forget to document major installations like termite systems or basement waterproofing systems.
“Knowing when these were installed and by whom is helpful,” he said. “And some of these systems come with warranties that may or may not be transferable to the new owners. It’s crucial information for the sale and upkeep of a property.”
Whether you renovated a bathroom, finished your basement, or installed new flooring throughout the house, be sure document all upgrades and improvements. Again, not only is this information beneficial for future buyers, but Beth Graham with Beth Graham Appraisals says it’s also helpful for appraisers.
“When I complete an appraisal for a refinance or other type of appraisal, I ask the owner to prepare a list of improvements with dates, so I know what has been done and when,” she said. “This helps me provide more accurate and reliable information in my report and make condition adjustments if necessary, based on that data.”
Graham provides REALTORS® with a short seller questionnaire that can either be loaded into the MLS or left for the appraiser at the time of the appointment. The form specifically asks homeowners to list all improvements made to the kitchen and/or bathroom in the last 15 years, as well as any other improvements made to the property during the last 10 years.
This information is considered by the appraiser when determining property value. For instance, when asked to describe the condition of the property, the appraiser may include a note like, “kitchen remodel 1-5 years ago; bathroom remodel 1-5 years ago; the subject appears well maintained with a newer roof, furnace, water heater, replacement windows and updated decor. Dates provided by the owner.”
“I highly recommend homeowners start a spreadsheet or some other type of record with receipts of improvements they’ve made since the purchase of their home,” Graham said. “They may need these records for a future sale, tax or insurance reasons, divorce/separation purposes, etc.”
Other helpful information to have on hand
When you purchase a new appliance, you’ll likely throw the manual in a drawer and forget about it. But if your security system starts randomly beeping or your oven displays an error message, it would be great if the instructional booklet was easily accessible. Be sure to hang on to any manuals and warranties for all appliances and systems, including the refrigerator, water heater, washer/dryer, HVAC system, etc.
Also, do you happen to have the original blueprint for your home? What about the brand and style of carpeting? The brand and color of your paint? Keeping this information handy not only serves as a great reference, but if/when you decide to sell, the new homeowners will appreciate this information.
While it doesn’t necessarily have to do with repairs or upgrades, your record keeping should also include HOA information, if applicable. Hang on to a copy of HOA rules and bylaws, as well as HOA contact information and any notes on monthly or annual dues. Appraisers and/or future buyers will want this information, and while they can access it through your REALTOR®, having it readily available speeds up the process.
How to save information
Record-keeping doesn’t have to be tedious or cumbersome. Just make sure you store everything in a place where it won’t be lost or destroyed. Scan important documents and save them electronically, keep paper records in a three-ringed binder, or check out one of the many home maintenance apps. There are also several inexpensive, downloadable maintenance logs available online.
For more local real estate news and information, follow the Greater Lansing Association of REALTORS® on Facebook and visit the website at www.lansing-realestate.com.