How To Research The History Of Your Home

home history, how to, property history

If you are the owner of an old property or you want to buy an older home, it is obvious that you want to be 100% sure that you know as much as possible about it. The problem is that it can be quite difficult to research home history. However, it is important because it allows you to learn about how to maintain the property. If you need to learn how to research the history of your home, consider the following.

home history

Local Historical Society Or Courthouse

These locations know the lot number of the property. Most of the official records are kept with the use of a system that is different than the address we are used to. The property lot/grid system may have changed but these locations can help you to backtrack. If you know lot numbers, the entire research goes faster.

Since you visit, try to get a copy of the building permit that was originally issued. They usually include so much information about the home’s construction dates, original dimensions, architect name, contractors and original owners. Look at the county courthouse or the historical society for permit copies and remember that you have to pay a small fee for this.

Property Abstract

This is an important document because it records all the legal transactions and deeds that are associated with the property. You would gain a scoop of the previous owners of the home. When you buy the house you may receive a property abstract but there are situations when this does not happen.

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Look at the history of purchases and the selling prices. Dramatic increases usually mean that large renovations took place. You have to check the building permits, owners, extra details and construction dates. In USA we have records that are indexed based on block and lot numbers in cities and range, township and sections in rural regions.

Newspaper Archives

The archives are usually located in the library. However, you can also check the county courthouse and the historical society. Try to find construction mentions in the neighborhood, the owners that the property had, rental ads, sales and basically anything related to the home address. Sometimes old photos are found. The idea is to check backwards. Do not try to first find the old records. You have to look for a pertinent time period, starting from current time.

Municipal Planning Agency

You need to look for the office that is responsible for issuing building permits, recording home sales and assessing property taxes. Public records are usually available there. The old house goes from one owner to the next and that is not always recorded inside the deed. Surveyor maps should be analyzed in order to see if something was demolished or added.

Try to start with taxes. There are always records associated with the taxes. Old city directories can be checked, together with county histories, with the main purpose of finding statistics and census records.

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Inspect The Home

This is always a really good idea. You can learn so much about the property when you look at it. See what building materials were used, examine moldings and walls. House design can change along the years and you can figure out when a property was built, together with the changes that were made. Analyze the water tank since toilets are date-stamped right under lids. This offers an estimate of when a property was built. Try to figure out when a room was remodeled. This offers a lot of information.

Talk With Neighbors

This is such an easy way to learn a lot about the properties you inspect. You can learn so much about a home’s recent history thanks to the longtime neighbors. Try to see who lived before current owner. If the neighbors cannot help you, at least learn who the previous owners were. Track them down and see what improvements were made in the past. Deed history can be used to track down owner information.