Overview

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.

References

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 the member's nar.realtor login.


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

‘When Was It Built?’ Science Used to Determine Age of Historic Buildings (The Democrat, Mar. 22, 2021)

How to Find the History of a House (Old Historic Houses, Feb. 6, 2021)

How to Search Property Records and Learn Everything about a House (HomeLight, Feb. 27, 2020)

Research Your House’s History with These Online Tools (Groovy Post, December 24, 2019)

Tips for Determine the Age of Your Home (The Spruce, Nov. 24, 2019)

Where Do You Find a Professional House Historian? (Everyday Old House, Sep. 27, 2019)

Land Records (National Archives)

General Information about Historic Property

U.S. Cities with the Most Historical Homes (Homes.com, May 26, 2020)

Palm Beach Tour Illustrates Flexibility of Landmark Restoration (The Palm Beach Post, Mar. 9, 2020)

20 Things You Learn from Living in a 100-Year-Old House (Apartment Therapy, Jan. 28, 2020)

Property Rights and Historical Preservation Clash in Zoning Decision (Statesman, Aug. 2, 2019)

One SC Homeowner Saved $700K Renovating His Historic House. You May Save, Too (The Post and Courier, May 5, 2019)

Four Approaches to the Treatment of Historic Properties (Technical Preservation Services, National Park Service)

Tax Incentives for Preserving Historic Properties (Technical Preservation Services, National Park Service)

National Register of Historic Places (National Park Service)

Architectural Styles

The Top 6 Most Popular Architectural Home Styles in the U.S. (Family Handyman, Mar. 23, 2021)

American House Styles – Just the Basics (RTA Studio, Dec. 1, 2019)

An Agent’s Guide to Home Styles, Architecture, & Design (The Close, Sep. 11, 2019)

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

Guide to Residential Styles (REALTOR® Magazine)

Architecture Quiz (REALTOR® Magazine)

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

Buying & Selling Older Homes

The Charms and Headaches of Buying a Historic Home (Millionacres, Mar. 25, 2021)

Ask an Agent: What Should I Consider When Looking to Buy a Historic Home? (Northforker, Mar. 12, 2021)

Should First-Time Homeowners Buy New Homes or Older Homes? (the balance, Feb. 24, 2020)

4 Things to Consider Before Buying an Historic House (Millionacres, Jan. 4, 2021)

Old Houses for Sale: What to Know When Buying a Historic Home (List With Clever, Dec. 2, 2020)

What You Should Consider Before Buying an Old House (NerdWallet, Oct. 27, 2020)

10 Tips for Selling Your Historical Charmer of a Home to the Right Buyer (HomeLight, Sep. 30, 2020)

The Price of Preserving Neighborhoods: The Unequal Impacts of Historic District Designation (Economic Development Quarterly, 2020) E

What to Consider When Buying a Historic Home (RISMedia, Oct. 10, 2019)

5 Tips for Selling a Historic Home (360 Training, Jun. 4, 2019)

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)

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

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

Useful Websites

National Trust for Historic Preservation – The National Trust for Historic Preservation is leading the movement to save places where our history happened.

Preservation.com Directory – The online resource for historic preservation, building restoration and cultural resource management in the United States & Canada.

This Old House – When This Old House premiered in 1979, the show launched a new television genre, empowering legions of home remodelers. More than four decades later, the company boasts two of the three highest-rated home improvement shows on television in This Old House and Ask This Old House and the highly regarded This Old House Magazine.

Books, eBooks & Other Resources

eBooks.realtor.org

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)

Buying an Old House (Kindle, eBook)

Green Restorations (eBook)

Better Than New (Kindle, eBook)

Tracing the History of Houses (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 (Chicago, IL: 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

Caring for Your Old House: a Guide for Owners and Residents (Washington, D.C.: Preservation Press, 1991) TH 4817 N21

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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