The history of a property is researched by examining its deeds, building permits, mortgages, leases, utilities records, insurance records and tax records. More information is obtained by tracing its owners through city directories, phone books, census reports, church records, newspapers and obituaries.Continue Reading
Although some information on property deeds may be available online, historical searches necessitate a visit to the county recorder's office. Using old deeds, the chain of title or history of ownership, of a piece of property is traced backward through transfers of ownership to date of construction. Locating the building permit yields the original dimensions, materials and possibly a blueprint used by the architect. This allows a comparison with the original state of the building to determine any extensive renovation that was done. Utilities and insurance records also sometimes yield diagrams and construction details.
Sometimes long-time neighbors have information on the former owners of a piece of property. Reverse telephone directories and old newspapers in public libraries may yield details on former residents, but a search through microfilm or microfiche documents may be necessary. Census and church records may have information on the number of residents, their ancestry, how many children they had, their occupation and the value of the property at the time. Birth, marriage and death records provide more details, possibly even the names and addresses of living relatives who can give more information on the history of the property.Learn more about Real Estate
The main task of the register of deeds office is to create and maintain public records for land transactions, mortgages, land mapping and real estate sales. Some registers also deal with personal records such as birth, marriage and death certificates.Full Answer >
It is possible to find the owner of an apartment by looking up the tax records for the property, although the precise method for doing this varies from state to state. An alternative is to use an online commercial service.Full Answer >
To determine the age of a house, check property appraisal and tax records, look at the chain of the title, or inspect the electric meter or toilet. For very old houses, looking at how the house was built provides valuable clues to its age.Full Answer >
Drexel University's online guide called IPL2 provides research methods and resources necessary to obtain a house history, which includes deeds and even architectural facts about a house. Through maps, census records, Internet subscription sources and books, users will be able to find accurate historical information about a given house.Full Answer >