Ever wonder who lived in your home before you? Would you know how to find out? If your home is a landmark or if it housed a famous resident you may already know its history. Others require more effort and research.


NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require a password.

Useful Documents for Researching a Home's History

  • Courthouse deeds and records
  • Mortgages, wills, and probate records
  • Tax records
  • Town and county histories
  • City directories
  • Insurance maps

Source: Finding the History in Your Home (OldHouseWeb)

How to Research Your Home

How to Find Out the History of the Land Your House Is On (Legal Beagle, Dec. 19, 2018)

How to Search Public Property Records (the balance, Nov. 1, 2018)

How to look up the history of your home (Architectural Digest, Feb. 9, 2018)

A Guide to Researching the History of a House (HomeAdvisor Blog, Aug. 8, 2017)

General Information about Historic Property

35 Tips for Restoring Old Houses (Old House Online, Jan. 16, 2019)

Restoring a Historic House: 8 Tips and To getting Started (Curbed, Feb. 18, 2018)

How to Protect Your Historic Property (National Trust for Historic Preservation, Dec. 28, 2017)

7 Insurance Tips for Historic Homeowners (National Trust for Historic Preservation, Nov. 8, 2016)

Four Approaches to the Treatment of Historic Properties (National Park Service)

National Register of Historic Places (National Park Service)

Tax Incentives for Preserving Historic Properties (Technical Preservation Services)

Architectural Styles

Home Style Guide (ThoughtCo., Apr. 22, 2019)

The Ultimate Guide to Popular Architectural Styles: From Mid-Century Modern to Mediterranean (realtor.com, Sep. 3, 2018)

Guide to Residential Styles (REALTOR® Magazine)

Architecture Quiz (REALTOR® Magazine)

Explore by Architectural Style (U.S. General Services Administration)

Buying & Selling Older Homes

Home Renovation: 3 Routes You Can Take After Purchasing a Historic Home (RISMedia’s housecall, Feb. 19, 2019)

Is Buying a Historic Home Right for You? (HAR Blog, Feb. 1, 2019)

Should First-Time Homeowners Buy New Homes or Older Homes? (the balance, Jan. 31, 2019)

Buying a Historic Home: Pros and Cons (neighborhoods.com, Jan. 24, 2019)

FAQs About Buying a Home That's a Designated Historic Property (NOLO, Nov. 10, 2018)

National Treasures: Top 10 U.S. Cities Where You Can Live in a Piece of History (realtor.com, Oct. 15, 2018)

The Impact of Age on the Value of Historic Homes in a Nationally Recognized Historic District (The Appraisal Journal, Fall 2011) E

Books, eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

American Architectural History: A Contemporary Reader (eBook)

Building Codes for Existing and Historic Buildings (eBook)

Green Restorations (eBook)

Better Than New (Kindle, eBook)

Tracing the History of Houses (Kindle, eBook)

Victorian Cottage Architecture (Kindle, eBook)

Books, Video​s, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Member Support. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Member Support at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Appraising Conservation and Historic Preservation Easements (Appraisal Institute, 2011) HD1387 R587

Beyond Takings and Givings: Saving Natural Areas, Farmland, and Historic Landmarks with Transfer of Development Rights and Density Charges (Marina Del Rey, CA: Arje Press, 2003) NAC 1565 P95b

The Restoration Economy: the Greatest New Growth Frontier—Immediate & Emerging Opportunities for Businesses, Communities & Investors (San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2002) HD 9715 C86

If This House Could Talk: Historic Homes, Extraordinary Americans (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1999) E 1569 B82

Dictionary of Building Preservation (New York, NY: John Wiley-DM, 1996) NA 31 D55

Historic Properties: Preservation and the Valuation Process (Chicago, IL: Appraisal Institute, 1996) HD 1387 Am3hi

Historic Preservation in American Communities (Washington, D.C.: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1987) NAC 1276 N21h

New Life for Old Houses (Chicago, IL: Preservation Press, 1989) TH 3411 N21

Easements and Other Legal Techniques to Protect Historic Houses in Private Ownership (Washington, D.C.: Historic House Association of America, 1981) K 762 H62

The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings (Washington, D.C.: United States Department of the Interior. Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service, 1980) NAC 250 Un3si

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The inclusion of links on this page does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this page complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.


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