Writing a good inventory

Writing a good inventory

Articles on 17 Oct , 2015

The key to writing a good inventory report is to an adequate description of each item and an accurate account of the condition for each listed item.

Inventory reports vary greatly from informal summaries used when moving home, to providing a record for calculating net worth and making legal claims. Therefore, it is important to remember that it needn’t be a work of art; it should simply state, in the clearest possible manner, the necessary information.

Here’s 5 helpful tips to get you started on creating your own inventory report.

1. Make it plain

It’s important to use language that is not flowery or industry-specific. Basic language used to describe objects will be sufficient. For example saying ‘Dark pine rectangular dining table’ leaves no mistake as to what you are referring to.

Remember that the inventory report needs to be easy to read and understood by a number of people. Tenants, Agents and most importantly, should you ever need.

Tip: If you do want to use abbreviations to speed up the process then make sure you include a full list of terms within the inventory report for everyone else to see.

2. Break it down

It helps to divide your report into a series of rooms ie, Kitchen, Bedroom, Bathroom, Reception etc. You can then break it down further and list all the component parts, which can be used as a template for every room.

InventoryClerks 4 U reports break each room into the following categories:

  • Door
  • Return of door
  • Door fixtures
  • Framework
  • Ceiling
  • Walls
  • Skirting
  • Flooring
  • Wall fixtures ie fitted cupboards or shelving
  • Lighting
  • Sockets and switches
  • Heating
  • Attached to walls
  • Furniture
  • Small items – ie picture frames, cushions, cleaning products

It’s important to note every item supplied from rugs to chandeliers.

Of course, each room will be different so make sure you include additional items like fireplaces, smoke alarms and the worktops in the kitchen. Don’t forget the doors to the garden!

Tip: Include other parts of the property such as a hallway, balcony, landing including the garden shed.

3. Count your cutlery

Be sure to count the items you list, even down to how many spoons in the kitchen drawers.  This is extremely important when it comes to check out.  You cannot contest that items are missing if they are not on the inventory report in the first place.

Tip: If you have recessed lights in your ceiling note exactly how many there are rather than just saying the lights are recessed.

4. Be informative

Alongside each item you must have a clear description of its condition and you can include other information such as age, model and price although this is not always necessary and usually kept for high priced goods.

Colour matters too so ensure you report that your cushions are purple. Otherwise the tenant could take them and replace them with red!

Also, note if items are newly painted or brand new. For example:

Description:   Condition:
x2 white sash windows with brass fittings Brand new
Ceiling cream painted over plaster Newly painted

You should also test all electrical goods, switches and sockets.  InventoryClerks 4 U use the terminology ‘power tested and working’. Testing switches and sockets often gets forgotten but by doing so ensures that there are no disagreements between landlord and tenant about what worked and what did not.

Tip: It is not always necessary to write the brand or make of all your fittings but we do recommend you record make and model numbers of any white goods..

5. Have a Schedule of Condition

The last stage is to create a Schedule of Condition which lists the condition of each component part all on one handy page.

We include the following in our residential inventory reports:

  • Property cleanliness
  • Decorative decoration
  • Flooring
  • Windows
  • Curtains & blinds
  • Appliances
  • Lighting
  • Fixtures and fittings
  • Furnishings
  • Linen
  • Kitchen
  • Keys
  • Telephone

Your tenant is liable to leave the property in the same condition as it was at the start of their occupancy, so if the property has been professionally cleaned, the inventory or check in statement of condition must reference that. This means that they will have to have your property professionally cleaned upon check out.

Keys often get lost and need replacing so it is wise to list every key that is given to the tenant and what there use is ie x2 Yale front door, x1 lounge window, x2 garage door.

Tip: Make sure you take note of the utility readings and serial numbers. It’s a good idea to say where they are too especially if you have a letting agent or a property management company looking after your premises.

So there we have it. Five basic rules to either follow or look out for when finding the right report for you.

But remember residential inventory reports are best conducted by an independent third party and find out why here.

So, if you would rather leave it to the professionals contact us to discuss your inventory requirements.