Bonnee Proo's Blog
If you live in an older home or neighborhood there’s a good chance your house holds a rich history within. Aside from talking with the previous owners, most people don’t look much further into the stories their house might have.
If you’re curious about your family history there are resources available so you can find long lost relatives and discover where your family lived over the years. Most people don’t think to do the same research for their home, even though they might spend years in it.
Why should I research the history of my home?
There are many reasons why someone might want to learn more about the history of their home. The main reason is because it’s fun and interesting. Your search will bring you to places you’ve likely never been before, whether it’s federal records on the internet, or to dusty microfilm archives in your basement.
Aside from the fun of researching, your work could also bring to light useful information. You might be able to add to resale value by discovering additional details about the home. Similarly, if you come across old photos of the home you could attempt to restore some architectural and design details to their original form. Whether you do this to stay true to the roots of your home or to attempt to add value is up to you.
Where should I begin?
Like most research projects, the internet is probably your best place to start. To learn more about the property your home sits on you could search the National Archives land records. These records detail when a piece of land was transferred from the U.S. government to private ownership. In other words, you might be able to find information about the first person to ever own your home.
A good place to head from there is to run a title search on your property. You will most likely need to visit the town clerk or your local courthouse to access titles. This will paint a fuller picture of who the people who owned your home were.
Now that you know who, learning about the home itself will be much easier. There are several genealogy sites online (some free, others paid) which will help you learn about the previous inhabitants of your home. Feel free to Google their names, especially if they were a public figure. You might even find photos of your home.
What to do if you can’t find any information
Just because you can’t find any photos or details online doesn’t mean they don’t exist. You might need to reach out to relatives of previous owners to find out more information.
Another option is your local library. Not only do libraries have a local history section complete with town records, but the librarians are also trained researchers who will be able to help you navigate the stacks. You could discover books containing details like population, town meeting notes, and new ordinances, including building codes.
Once you’ve learned a bit about the history of your home, see if you can spot the changes that have been made to it over the years.
More areas are struggling with droughts today. Conserving water has become a necessity. Even if the area you live in isn’t drought-stricken, cutting back on water use has many benefits for you and the environment. You’ll have a lower utility bill for one. You’ll also help to conserve the most precious resource on the planet. There’s plenty of ways that you can conserve water. You’ll be happy that you implemented some of these tips into your daily routine. Small changes in your life can make a big impact on your water bill and the environment.
Turn Off Water While You Brush Your Teeth Or Wash Your Hands
Did you know that water comes out of the faucet at an average of 2.5 gallons per minute? That’s quite a lot of water to waste while you’re merely brushing your teeth or washing your hands. Turn off the tap while you brush (you’re supposed to brush for 2 full minutes!) or scrub your hands. Think of how many gallons of water you’ll save over a week’s time if you shut the water off even for those few seconds! Water is a precious resource and we should use it wisely.
Put A Bucket In The Shower
This sounds like kind of a crazy idea. You know how long it takes the shower to heat up every morning, and now you can save that water which normally heads down the drain. Place a bucket in the tub while the water heats up. You can use that water later for watering plant or keeping the lawn fresh. This way, nothing will go to waste!
Take A Shorter Shower
We all love to hang out in the shower for a bit, but taking a shower is one of the biggest uses of water in our homes. A shower uses about 2.1 gallons of water per minute. That means the typical 8 minute shower consumes somewhere around 16 gallons of water. If you cut your showers by even one minute, you’d save 14 gallons of water a week! That’s nothing to sneeze at!
You know the old saying, “If it’s yellow let it mellow.” Maybe this tip isn’t for everyone, but your toilet is the fixture that uses the most water in your home. Higher efficiency toilets use about 1.5 gallons per flush, but older toilets can use anywhere between 3.5 and 7 gallons of water per flush! Consider flushing the toilet a bit less for the sake of water conservation!
Load The Dishwasher Fully
The dishwasher is a fantastic invention and a necessity in our homes. Every time you run the dishwasher, it uses between 4 and 6 gallons of water. When you run the machine, be sure that it’s full of dirty dishes to avoid putting it on too often.
Buying a house involves dozens of interrelated decisions, many of which could affect the quality of your life for years to come. No pressure, though!
Working with an experienced real estate agent with whom you feel comfortable is one strategy for successfully navigating many of those pivotal decisions. The ideal buyers' agent will be familiar with neighborhoods in your target area, and is trained to help you match your requirements with properties in your price range. They can assist you in developing a priority list of things you want and need in your next home.
In addition to noticing the features of each individual house you're considering, there's also the bigger picture of the character of the neighborhood in which homes are located. Here are a few things you may want to keep in mind as you visit different homes for sale.
- Street traffic: There are several distinct disadvantages to living close to a busy street or highway. First of all, there's the noise factor, which is often a deal breaker for people who thrive on peace and quiet! If you have young children, a busy street can also be a potential safety hazard. When you have cars constantly driving by your house, privacy is another issue to consider.
- Proximity of houses: Speaking of privacy and quiet, there's also the question of how physically close houses are situated next to each other. If they're only ten or twenty feet away, then you might end up knowing more about your neighbors than you really want to! (The reverse of that is also true.) In those instances, privacy hedges and tall fences can provide some benefits.
- Appearance of the neighborhood: If nearby houses are in run-down condition or poorly maintained, that's generally a "red flag," in regard to the quality of the neighborhood. The same can usually be said about prospective neighbors who keep junk vehicles or construction debris on their property for any length of time. If you're considering a neighborhood with one or more abandoned houses on the street, proceed with caution. However, what you see, is not always what you get! Appearances can be misleading, and there may be plans underway, for example, to demolish a fire-damaged house and replace it with a new and improved home. Very often your real estate agent can find out more about the circumstances surrounding an abandoned or boarded-up house. They may also be able to help you research crime statistics for a particular neighborhood or street.
- Convenience factors: All things being equal, it's nice to live within walking distance or a short drive from grocery stores, drug stores, banks, public parks, the post office, child care services, schools, doctors, dentists, hospitals, veterinarians, restaurants, and other amenities.
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