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  • Mike Gratland

Thousand Oaks Real Estate | Are You and Your Home Prepared For Disaster

Hello, We are well into 2019, and I'm sure you have made plenty of New Years' resolutions. In the aftermath of all the tragic fires in our area, I’d like to encourage you to make one of your resolutions... creating a property inventory for your home or renter’s insurance. Not sure how? I can't say I'm an expert on insurance but I’ve got some basics covered. (I would recommend contacting your insurance company for further details.) I’ve compiled some things you need to know. As a bonus, I’ve also included a list of plants that will grow well in your home this winter and tips to avoid moving scams. Take a look, and if this year you or someone you know wants to make a move, let me know! I’ll be glad to help.


If disaster strikes your home, are you prepared? You want to ensure your home and family are protected and to maximize how much you can recover in the event of a disaster. Having homeowner's or renter’s insurance is a crucial first step to accomplishing this, but it isn’t the only step. Once you have insurance, you need to inventory all your belongings: furniture, appliances, clothing, collectibles, jewelry, cleaning supplies, toiletries, even the food in your fridge. This can be a daunting undertaking, but having an accurate inventory of your belongings can more than double the amount of reimbursement you can request. Here are a couple ways to create your inventory; be sure to check with your policy first to see what type of inventories they accept. Option One: Take Pictures Photographing or videotaping everything in your home is one of the fastest ways to create a personal property inventory. Just take a photo of every room in your house facing each direction. If you use this approach, be sure to take photos or videos of all drawers in both open and closed positions. If you have a drawer or closet full of items, pull everything out and spread it out on a bed or table to get a clear view of everything within. Option Two: Write Everything Out One of the best though most time consuming options is to go room by room and create a comprehensive list of everything in your home. A program like Google Sheets is great for this because it's easy to access, easy to edit, and can be accessed from any device if your computer or flash drive is damaged. Next to each item, jot down how much you paid for it or its estimated value. If you have receipts or model numbers for an item, or if you know when an item was purchased, add that in your document as well. Remember, creating an inventory isn’t a one-time thing. It will need to be updated. Whenever you purchase a big-ticket item, such as a new appliance or electronics, scan or photograph the receipts and add the items to your inventory.



You don’t have to have a green thumb to grow lush, green plants, even in the dead of winter. Just find a nice, indoor spot with plenty of natural sunlight! Some plants that can thrive inside are below.

Aloe Vera This common houseplant is very low maintenance and does wonders for your home’s air quality. This succulent was originally found in hot, arid regions such as the Mediterranean and northern Africa. As such, aloe vera plants don’t need much water or direct sunlight, but they do need warm air to survive. Just set a reminder to water your plant every three weeks and your plant should be happy and healthy. Spider Plant Spider plants are tropical plants that grow well in hanging planters in warmer temperatures indoors. This plant has long, grass-like leaves and doesn’t need much direct sunlight. Spider plants also love humidity, so they do especially well in bathrooms that have windows. Palm Tree If you want to add a little tropical flair to your home, a palm tree may be the plant for you. Palm trees need warmth - so make sure your thermostat is set to at least fifty degrees! These plants typically prefer shade, but can thrive in indirect sunlight too.



Most people move in the summer, but moving scams can happen at any time of the year. Protect yourself, your family, and your belongings by knowing how to identify a moving service scam.

Are they who they seem to be?

Just because a name is similar to a large, reputable company doesn't mean it’s actually associated with that company. Check their website to see if they’re actually associated with the company or if they’re freeloading on someone else’s good reputation.

How are they asking for payment?

Most reputable companies charge by the weight and distance, so they will need to see your belongings to make an accurate estimate. Get at least three estimates so you can see how each company compares to the others. If one company charges significantly less, it may not be reputable. Asking for payment up front is also a red flag; most companies will not require a deposit.

Be aware of your rights.

Scammers make money when people don’t understand their rights or don’t take important precautions. Always get a written estimate from your moving service. That way, if you do end up with a bill that’s significantly higher than your estimate, you’ll be able to fight back.

If you need a recommendation for a reputable moving company, let me know! I can help you find your next home and a good moving company to help you settle in.

Helping families move since 1999

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