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How to Learn the History of Your Home

by Bonnee Proo 10/16/2018

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.

About the Author

Author
Bonnee Proo
A Penn State undergrad with an MBA from University of Redlands, I specialize in the sale of new and existing homes in San Diego County. Licensed for 12 years in the Real Estate and Mortgage Banking industries, I have a strong background in Mortgage Banking and Investment property. Prior to real estate. I spent 18 years as a Corporate Accountant specializing in Healthcare and Biotechnology. I’ve always been a "numbers person.” However, my joy comes from working with and helping people make well-versed decisions with sometimes the largest investment they will ever make in their life…their home.


Leveraging my experience over the years, I am known for outstanding client service, available 7 days per week or whenever called upon to assist, execute, negotiate, guide or encourage. I strongly believe it is my duty to not only represent my clients to the best of my ability, but also to educate them throughout every step of the home buying (or selling) process, arming them with topnotch information and market insight so that they are able to make the best decisions possible. I am honest and trustworthy. I wholeheartedly believe that commitments are made to be kept. Also, I am extremely hardworking and knowledgeable about the real estate/mortgage industries and I have an EXCELLENT team of affiliates (lender, escrow, title, inspectors, etc.) with whom I work that are just as hardworking and knowledgeable in their respective lines of work, and always ready to assist.


During my spare time, you will either find me swing dancing or swinging a golf club. I also enjoy walking/hiking or spending time at the gym always working on trying to stay healthy; socializing with friends; and spending quality family time with husband, Phillip and my sassy, little fur-baby, Sadi.


 


AFFILIATIONS


National Association of Realtors (NAR)


California Association of Realtors (CAR)


Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR)


Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES)


San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce (Ambassador)


East County Chamber of Commerce (Ambassador)


University of Redlands (Alumni Board)


Meals on Wheels (Volunteer)