4 Ways To Find Out The History Of Your Home

4 Min Read
Updated March 28, 2023
Written By
Breyden Kellam
A young couple with a toddler laughing on their couch in the living room.

When you find the home of your dreams, you might quickly start to imagine your future. Maybe you envision the festive family gatherings you’ll host or the beautiful garden you’ll grow in the backyard. But an equally important part of buying a house is considering what’s happened in the past. With a home history report, prospective homebuyers can uncover crucial information about the history of a home and its surrounding area.

In this article, we’ll briefly discuss potential ways to research the history of your future home.

How To Find Your House’s History

Digging deep into the history of a home takes effort, but it can be rewarding — with use of the right resources, that is. There are many resources available that can help you find information on the history of a house, including its previous owners, any past damaging events or deaths that occurred, major construction work done, and much more.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of such resources that you may find helpful. While the resources we share today will get you off to a great start, keep in mind that this is by no means an exhaustive list. There are many creative ways to learn more about the history of your house.

1. Registry Of Deeds

A registry of deeds contains official documents that establish property ownership. Generally preserved by county officials or public officers, these documents can be accessed by the public to gain information regarding property deeds, mortgages, real estate contracts, and other property documents. You can check out your local registrar’s website or visit a local office to look up your property’s deed. A deed can help you find not only the names of homeowners, but also construction dates, plot maps, and changes in value and use of the home.

2. Census Record

Census records can reveal interesting details about individuals who lived at a home long before you did. You can learn the names, ages, birth states, year of immigration, and even the occupation of past residents. But, for privacy reasons, you’ll only be able to find information from before the year of 1950 — unless it’s about yourself or your direct ancestor. The extent of information you find will also depend on the specific year, as some years don’t include certain details.

3. Local Libraries and Historical Societies

In such a technological age, it’s easy to overlook the value of paper trails. However, a local library or historical society may be a great place to learn more about the history of a home. Historical societies are organizations that aim to preserve the history of a region, period, or subject. Chances are you’ll find local gems such as these with collections of artifacts, books, newspapers, maps, photographs, and records that offer fascinating insight into a home. Perhaps you’ll discover that a noteworthy historic event was held near your home. You may also be able to see how the appearance of a home has changed over the years.                              

4. Ask Current Homeowners

Why not consider asking the current and previous homeowners what they know about the home’s history? You may be pleasantly surprised at what they know and are willing to share. Maybe they have old photos of the home or can humor you with precious memories from their time having lived there. And if you can’t track down any homeowners, you could also try kindly asking neighbors. Some may have been in the neighborhood for decades and can provide a wealth of knowledge.

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The Bottom Line: Completing Your House History Search

Learning about the past can add much value to the present and future. Conducting a home history report can help you to grasp the history of a prospective home before deciding to buy it. By using resources such as public records, historical archives, and the knowledge of past homeowners, you can feel confident about the home you choose. But first, make sure to learn more about the essential steps to buying a home!

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