Whether you are looking for clues to restore your home to its original glory, curious about previous owners, or just trying to determine property boundaries, discovering your home’s history may be easier than you think. Check out these hacks to uncover your home’s hidden past:
REAL ESTATE WEBSITES You probably already know that property listing sites such as Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia’s Property Sitemap will provide you with basic public details about the home. These sites also offer some historical information such as sales history, property tax history, and the date the home was originally constructed.
PUBLIC RECORDS To research the home’s previous owners and purchase history, try accessing real property records from your county tax assessor’s office, the county recorder or the local city hall. The records of property sales will reveal who owned the home, the date it was purchased, the date it was built, prices paid and taxes assessed.
THE PUBLIC LIBRARY Visit your local public library and ask a librarian for assistance. They may have an archive of historical maps of the area or newspapers with articles that document the history of the local town. If you don’t yet know much about the architectural style of your home, the library is full of resources to bring you up to speed. By understanding the architectural style, you’ll get an idea of what your home looked like when it was originally designed and built.
GOOGLE SEARCHES If you search your address in Google Maps, you can click on the Street View and then look for the timeline, which may go back as far as 2007. You’ll be able to see exterior views of your home dating back several years.
UNCOVER As you work around the home, pay attention to what gets uncovered! Are there small treasures buried in the yard, or hidden in the garage or attic that give clues to the home’s past? Or maybe there’s an old architectural feature hidden behind updates that were made over the years.
ASK AROUND Talk to your neighbors. You may be surprised by how much they remember about the home and its owners.
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