How to Find Your Property’s History



Every home has a story, and when you feel like you’ve found the perfect property, it can be hard to rip the rose-colored glasses off and dig a little deeper. Want to be 100% sure that the property you’re about to purchase is a good fit for you? Look into its history!

Whether you’ve heard rumors, have a feeling, or are just the slightest bit curious, doing a search on a property’s history can help set the record straight and give you the little extra confidence you’re looking for to close a deal. Here’s how you can get more than just the basic details of your potential new home or property.

How to Find the History of Your Property Online

You’ll be happy to know that no P.I. skills are necessary here – in fact, you can likely do most of this work from your smartphone while laying on the couch watching a movie.

What are the things you should be looking for? This really depends on your specific situation, but in general, most people who are looking for more background on their home’s history are after environmental information, details of previous sales, names associated with the property, any deaths that have occurred on the property, history of major construction and work, fire or gas leaks reported, and even historic photos.

Now that you understand a bit more about why people would want more insight, here are the simple steps you can take to get more background on your property.

Look at the title:

Your home’s title will give you the age of the home, any remodeling projects, and the types of appliances the home has. Some even give more detailed info, like if the hardwood floors are original in addition to any special historical info about the property.

Check property records:

Use the Public Records Online Directory to check if your city and/or county has public records available online. These records will give more insight into the home, like its square footage or any changes to it, the chain of ownership, tax history, and architectural style.

Contact your town clerk:

Even though most records are digitized now, it will be valuable to get in touch with the town or county clerk. They can help find where property deed records are kept, which can help you trace the line of who has owned the home. Property deeds are sometimes kept in a town hall, a local library, or at a historical society.

Dig into Census records:

Looking through census records can give even more insight into the identity and amount of people who had lived in your home previously. U.S. News notes that for privacy protection reasons, census records are confidential for 72 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, so you’ll be unable to look up Census details for a specific address or individual after 1950 unless it’s about yourself or a direct ancestor of yours.

Ask for help:

If you’ve got an older home on your hands, then chances are the search for documents, deeds, and property records can get a little tricky. Even if you are able to successfully acquire all of the documents you’re after, it may be tough to decipher. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a local historical society or town clerk for help!

Pro tip:

If you’re just curious if your home is historical you can search the National Register of Historic Places or on the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).

We hope this information is helpful whether you’re looking to close a deal or just curious about your own property. This information could also be interesting to include in a listing should you be putting your property on the market. Find more land selling and buying resources from Land Hub.

 

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