Learning a Home’s History
If you’re buying anything other than a new construction home, then you might wonder about its previous inhabitants. Who lived there before you? What were they like? And if your home is more than a few years old, you may even be curious about its early history and how it played into the development of your neighborhood. As a homebuyer, you certainly deserve to know as much about a home as possible before you move in. If you’re curious about a home’s roots, then here are some suggestions on how to learn more about its history.
Search the National Register of Historic Places
Is the home you’re interested in listed on the National Register of Historic Places? Then this is the best place to begin your search. This registry can give you all kinds of information from who built it and when to the style of the architecture. You should also be aware that if a home is listed on this registry, then you may qualify for tax credits for the home’s maintenance.
Check public records
If the home you’re researching is not on the National Register of Historic Places, then you can continue your search by checking public records. First, try searching the property records from your local or county government. This could include plat maps, deeds, tax records, and building permits. You can search online or in person at their offices. Census records can also help to uncover information about the home’s previous owners. Once you’ve got some names attached to the home, you can search those names online to uncover more information.
Uncover darker secrets
Are you concerned that a house once may have belonged to criminals? Or worse – maybe the home was the scene of a death or a murder? Then head to your local Vital Records office or search their website. Search for your address to see if it is listed on any death certificates. You can also look at criminal records for the home through your local police station or their criminal databases online. If you know the names of previous owners, then you can search for their names in the database.
Get to know the neighbors
One of the best ways to learn about the history of your home is by talking to the neighbors. When you’re touring a home, be on the lookout for any neighbors who may be out in their yards or taking a walk. It’s a great time to introduce yourself and let them know you’re interested in buying the home. You can ask them if they know anything about its history or the people who have lived there previously. If you’re lucky, then you may bump into a neighbor who has lived in the neighborhood for decades. They can provide a wealth of information that you wouldn’t necessarily uncover in public records. It will also allow you to meet potential new neighbors so you can get a better sense of what the community is like.
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