Whether you’re looking for a shiny new investment property, a new house, or a place to operate your business, it’s important to know the history of the property you’re interested in. A property’s history can tell you a lot about its condition, any zoning changes that have been made, and even past owners. Knowing this information can help you make an informed decision about whether or not to purchase the property.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find the history of a property. Here are a few tips on how to go about it:
Talk to the current owner
Your first stop should be the current owner of the property. They may be able to tell you about any major changes or renovations that have been made to the property, as well as its general condition. If the owner has lived in the house for many years, they may even know some of the property’s history.
However, keep in mind the current owner is likely looking to sell the property, so they may not be entirely forthcoming with information about its history if there is anything negative to report.
Talk to the neighbors
If the current owner can’t or won’t tell you about the property’s history, your next best bet is to talk to the neighbors. They may have lived in the area for a long time and could tell you about any past problems with the property, such as flooding or foundation issues.
Even if the neighbors don’t know much about the property itself, they may be able to tell you about the previous owners and any interesting stories about them.
Do a reverse address lookup
Reverse address lookups can be done online and will give you a list of all the previous owners of a property, and possibly their contact information. This is a good way to get in touch with past owners and find out more about the property’s history.
Depending on the site, reverse address lookups can also show you the property’s sales history, any permits that have been filed for work on the property, and even crime reports in the area.
You might have to pay a little bit to use some of the more comprehensive reverse address lookup services, but it’s worth it to get all the information you can about a property.
Search public records
If the current owner is unable to provide information about the property’s history, your next best bet is to search public records. You can start by searching the county recorder’s office for deeds and other documents related to the property.
You can also search for Building Permits, which will give you information about any major renovations or changes that have been made to the property.
Finally, you can check with the local zoning office to see if there have been any changes made to the property’s zoning designation.
All of this information can be helpful in understanding a property’s history.
Check with the local historical society
Sometimes, you’ll find information from the unlikeliest of sources. In this case, it might be worth checking with the local historical society to see if they have any information about the property you’re interested in.
They may have old photographs or documents that can give you a sense of what the property looked like in the past and who its previous owners were.
Granted, this may not give you information on any negative aspects of the property’s history, but it can still be helpful in understanding its overall story.
Hire a professional
If you’re still having trouble finding information about a property’s history, your last resort is to hire a professional. There are companies that specialize in this type of research and will be able to track down any information you need.
While this option will likely be the most expensive, it’s also the most likely to give you the information you’re looking for.
Furthermore, it will also save you the time and effort of doing the research yourself. You must decide whether or not that’s worth the cost.
Researching the history of a property can be a challenge, but it’s worth it to get all the information you can about a potential purchase. By talking to the current owner, and neighbors, and searching public records, you should be able to get a good sense of a property’s story. Ultimately, the decision is up to you as to how far you want to go in researching a property’s history.