Wednesday, January 21, 2009

75 Things to Know About Your Home

Our home is often our largest investment, our sanctuary from the outside world, and the place where a whole hunk of our paycheck goes. In the interest of preparedness, here are the 75 things you should know about your home (many of these things apply to homeowners but others will apply to all):
  1. your complete address (address, city, county, state, country)
  2. legal description of property
  3. year your home was built
  4. square footage of your home
  5. size of lot
  6. type of home (stick built, manufactured, modular, timber-framed, etc)
  7. information on any property easements
  8. zoning of property (single family, multi-family, commercial, etc)
  9. was all building and remodeling properly permitted and inspected?
  10. property boundaries
  11. any classifications of the property (wet lands, floodplain, etc)
  12. location of any hazards on property (old mines, old wells, creeks, etc)
  13. history of home (previous owners, previous use of property, has anyone died in home, historical society info, etc)
  14. if there is a Home Owner's Association (HOA) and any HOA rules/restrictions
  15. copy of home's most recent appraisal
  16. copy of most recent home inspection
  17. current value of home (check
  18. tax assessor information (valuation, tax rate, etc)
  19. if the home is paid off, where is the deed?
  20. mortgage company info (name, address, phone number, account number, etc)
  21. interest rate and terms of the mortgage loan
  22. type of loan (FHA, VA, conventional, other)
  23. are there penalties for pre-payment of the loan?
  24. information on any second or third mortgages on the property
  25. information on any levys or liens on the property
  26. location of gas shut off and emergency contact number for the gas company
  27. location of water shut off and emergency contact number for the water company
  28. location of electrical shut off and emergency contact number for the electric company
  29. location of main line drain cleanout access point
  30. well information (location, depth, most recent water test, etc)
  31. septic tank information (location, location of drain field, last time emptied, etc)
  32. name and phone number for home service providers (housekeeper, gardener, plumber, electrician, handyman, pool guy, etc)
  33. info for all utility providers (name, contact info, and account number for phone, cable, electric, water, gas, sewer, garbage, etc)
  34. home insurance information (name of insurance company, contact info, account number, agent's name, etc)
  35. copy of insurance policy (be aware of what is covered and what is excluded)
  36. special insurance policies (flood, earthquake, special property riders, etc)
  37. copy of most recent insurance policy update (know amount of land, structure, and personal property coverages and amount of deductible; increase or decrease amounts and deductibles if necessary)
  38. security system info (name of company, account number, contact number, code numbers, etc)
  39. how to open security door and window bars
  40. set of master keys for all locks in home (interior and exterior)
  41. roof info (age, type--shake, tile, composite, any warranties in affect)
  42. siding info (age, type--shake, aluminum, vinyl, LP, any warranties in affect)
  43. Heating/Air conditioning system info (appliance info--serial #, brand, etc, current warranties, previous service info, fueled by--gas, electric, propane, etc)
  44. info on all interior and exterior paint used on home (brand, color code)
  45. info about drainage system (location of sump pumps, location of exterior drains, etc)
  46. written instruction on how to use unique features of home (solar power system, composting toilet, cistern, dumbwaiter, etc)
  47. contact information for neighbors (name, address, contact phone numbers, etc)
  48. annual safety equipment check (smoke detector, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, sprinkler system, etc)
  49. warranty info for all appliances (range, refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, clothes washer, dryer, et al)
  50. water heater info (type--electric, gas, capacity, age, warranty if any)
  51. location of seasonal items (storm windows, screens, awnings, etc)
  52. fireplace info (when was flue last cleaned, rain cap/spark arrester is in place, etc)
  53. energy efficiency of home (how much insulation in walls/attic/basement, type of windows, etc)
  54. internal home hazards (lead paint, asbestos materials, lead pipes, radon, etc)
  55. large appliances/furniture/bookcases are secured to the wall to prevent falling over in the event of an earthquake/tornado
  56. parking information (location if off site, permits needed, etc)
  57. type/location of exterior property hazards (dead standing trees, poison oak patches, vicious neighborhood dogs, wild animals, etc)
  58. neighborhood: location of local sex offenders
  59. neighborhood: annoyances (located in flight path, commercial/industrial odors/noise, traffic, etc)
  60. neighborhood: existing or proposed development
  61. neighborhood: crime statistics
  62. location of: nearest public transportation stops
  63. location of: nearest fire hydrant/fire department
  64. location of: nearest school, church, hospital, grocery store, bank, post office, library, etc
  65. location of: mail delivery (to home or box)
  66. location of: trash pick up
  67. any problems with mold, mildew, rodents, termites, etc.
  68. most likely local natural hazards (hurricanes, tornadoes, winter storms, earthquakes, etc)
  69. location and operation of safes, trap doors, escape tunnels, panic rooms, etc
  70. multiple evacuation routes from property to freeways, the next town, the next state (taking into consideration that bridges, tunnels, and overpasses may close roads)
  71. written and practiced fire escape plan
  72. location of exterior family gathering spot in case family must flee from home
  73. written and practiced lock down plan
  74. home safety hazards are addressed (loose rugs/stairs/handrails, adequate lighting, window blind cords are not a strangulation hazard, etc)
  75. outbuildings (are secured, items in building are safely stored, etc)


  1. Great post.

    I have an eassement on my property. Thats to the power co"s.

    I hardly make a comment, that is because you cover all the bases really well. I find it hard to say anything when there is no faults.

    Great site you have here.

    Thanks. Too bad that thanks is the only word we have to express how to say a job well done.

    You must spend a bit of time preparing this works. I must let you know that at the shop, you are the only one we read, because you focus in the subject written.

    Thanks Again and again.

  2. Thanks for the comment. Actually reader's comments let me know that what I write is useful and they keep me posting. I am always happy to receive comments...correct me if my information is incorrect, provide information that could be useful to other readers, add any information I forgot...all comments are valuable and appreciated!