Make A House Manual

When the S.O. and I bought our pile of rocks, we found (and are still finding) lots of little and big gotchas. These are things that the home inspector (and we) missed. Things that were not done quite right.

It would have been great if the previous owners had left a list of things they’d done to, or noticed about, the rock pile. We’d have saved a lot of trouble.

A list would also have helped *them* keep track of issues in their rock pile – such as improvements or energy savings that could have tax-writeoff benefits. The long-term project tracking is really nice, also.

So, what do you put in a House Manual?

  • Emergency Contact Information – home owners’ association (HOA), fire department, police/sherrif, plumber, electricity supplier, electrician, city/county water
  • Emergency House Information – location and pictures of the main power switch, location of the main water shutoff, location of the septic/sewer pipes
  • Copies of report from the rock pile instpector
  • Copies of all permits for work requiring such
  • Copies of all rock pile feature additions (HVAC, exhaust fans, etc.)
  • Copies of warranty cards for appliances (water heater, stove, etc.) and repairs
  • Copies of receipts for all of the above, along with the contact information for the company/person who did the repairs.
  • Log of rock pile/primordial scrub changes (Decided to put compost pile *here* and why, plans for hedge, putting vegetable garden *here* and why)
  • Copies of the HOA agreements
  • Copies of neighborhood covenants
  • Pictures of original features that were upgraded.
  • Pictures of upgraded areas, including receipts, warranties, etc.
  • Contact information for the tax assessor’s office, along with date of last assessment and the amount. (Make sure you remove/redact any social security numbers, account numbers, or similar identity theft information.)
  • Copies of your home insurance agreement and contact information for same. (Make sure you remove/redact any social security numbers, account numbers, or similar identity theft information.)

Where do you keep the House Manual?
Keep it next to a phone, with your phone books. You don’t want to spend time looking for it.

If you have a scanner, scan the pages in and keep them on your computer – you can quickly reference them when you’re searching online for information.

Also keep a copy in your Safe Location – fireproof safe, safety deposit box, trusted friend/family member.

How often do you update the House Manual?

Whenever something changes in the rock pile or primordial scrub. If nothing changes, go through it monthly (when you pay your mortgage, cable, phone, or other monthly bills) and check to see if anything needs updated or changed.

How often do you use the House Manual?
Quite often during the year. Water heater breaks – pick up the House Manual. Electricity goes out during storm – pick up the House Manual. Want to do a little landscaping – pick up the House Manual and make sure you aren’t planting a tree too close to buried pipes, and that its allowed in any contracts you have. Two-legged rats move into your neighborhood and start vandalizing your stuff – pick up the House Manual and request that the local law enforcement send a two-legged rat-catcher.

Level of effort: Low, spread out over time. Can easily be merged into general record keeping.

Cost: $7, less if you have a spare binder lying around. Cost includes binder, folders, and sheet protectors. Hole punch not included.

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