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“Before” Photos Can Save You

Have you snapped time-labeled “before” photos of the things that really matter to you and your real estate?

Real estate owners have hundreds more photos on their phones than they need, but often they’re missing videos and pictures of things that could save them time, aggravation, and money.

We’d love to hear your “thank goodness I had a before photo” story or your “if only I’d had a before photo” regrets.

Do your experiences match any of my five “glad I had a time-dated before photo” stories?

Time-Dated Before Photos
1. Construction Damage
Glad I had time-dated photos and videos of my house, from top to bottom, from ceilings and walls to windows and floors before construction began on the house across the shared driveway from mine. Among the contractor’s many disastrous post-excavation choices, was the decision, after a massive rainstorm, to drive heavy equipment up the already excavation-compromised driveway. The heavy backhoe put pressure on my foundation wall. The resulting crack led to water in my finished basement. My “before photo” proof meant the contractor did not dispute the problem or his cause of it. The wall and my home’s interior were promptly repaired at the contractor’s expense thanks to my video proof of solid foundation walls and a moisture-free interior in excellent condition.

BEFORE anyone starts building, renovating, or demolishing anything near your house, cottage, or property line, take videos and photos of everything to protect your interests. Large transit or condominium projects a block or more away may also cause damage when heavy, deep excavation continues for weeks.

2. Renovation Damage
Glad I had time-labeled photos and videos of my existing front and side exterior doors since side-door framing was damaged during the attempt to install the new exterior door which proved to be wrong in many ways. The new front door did not arrive which photos confirmed. Visual evidence helped significantly in my dealings with the international door company. The company did eventually refund all my money and repairs were made, so that I was free to find an alternate door manufacturer that could deliver on what they advertised.

BEFORE you have any part of your house or recreational property repaired, replaced, or modernized, take videos and photos of every detail of that target area and of any part of the property workers could damage while they are there. If legal action is required, your visual evidence may prove invaluable.

3. Interior Miscalculations
Glad I had taken photos of every foot of the bare interior walls of my new media room before sheetrock was installed. My intent was to establish where all the studs and wires were for future reference as I added shelving and other wall-mounted features. Turned out the contractor’s sheetrock guy covered all the electrical outlets, media jacks, and ceiling light terminal boxes without referencing their locations. Then, he did not know where to cut access holes in the sheetrock. My photos made it possible to estimate locations instead of damaging the new sheetrock, increasing costs, and delaying the project.

BEFORE new wiring, studs, HVAC equipment, plumbing, or other materials are enclosed in walls, floors, or ceilings, take photos for reference. They can save a lot of headaches later.

4. Exterior Damage
Glad I had video of the back yard and the 80-foot oak tree in the middle of it. When the tree pruners started work, the resulting huge felled branches damaged my garage’s weather vane and roof. The photos made it clear that all was in good shape before the arborists arrived. The tree pruning company paid for repairs without dispute.

BEFORE maintenance work or a big storm damages trees or buildings on your property, take photos and video to establish the condition of everything beforehand. If an insurance claim is necessary, your photo record can speed up payment and make it easier to prove loss.

5. Boundary Issues
Glad I had photos of the wooden backyard perimeter fence when it was replaced and then more shots over the years to establish the fence’s location relative to buildings, trees, and other permanent features. This precaution ensured the new replacement fence was installed exactly where the pre-existing fence had been.

BEFORE repairing or replacing fencing or adding a major feature like a swimming pool, making a photo record of the existing structure and back yard is prudent. Photos taken before storm damage or before a neighbor’s tree branch falls will help you prove your case with neighbors, insurance adjusters, and anyone else.

You’ll benefit from expanding your photo and video record to include jewelry, art, expensive clothing, stellar shoe collections, and other items you insure. Fire, flooding, robbery, or other damage may make it necessary for you to provide proof-of details to recover or replace items.

Store a set of your evidence –and your priceless family photos off-site in case of fire, flood, or robbery. A safe box or cloud digital storage will ensure you can prove your case and protect memories of things that matter.

After something happens or things go wrong, it’s too late to take a “before” photo or video to prove what you had and what condition it was in.

Written by PJ Wade for Copyright © 2019 Realty Times All Rights Reserved.