Historic Properties


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.


We've 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 look up the history of your home, (Architectural Digest, Feb. 9, 2018)

8 ways to uncover the history of your house, (Findmypast Blog, Jan. 15, 2018)

Historic house research: 7 steps to learning the story of your home, (Curbed, Aug. 24, 2017)

A guide to researching the history of a house, (HomeAdvisor Blog, Aug. 8, 2017)

How to trace the history and geneaology of your home, (ThoughtCo. Blog, May 15, 2017)

How to research the history of your house, (WikiHow)

General Information About Historic Property

Restoring a historic house: 8 tips and tricks 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)

On the Front Porch of History: Old Houses Are Growing Center of Attention, (Vineyard Gazette, Mar. 31, 2016)

35 Tips for Restoring Old Houses, (Old House Journal, n.d.)

Four Approaches to the Treatment of Historic Properties, (National Park Service, 2013)

Tax Incentives for Historic Preservation, (HouseLogic, Dec. 21, 2012)

The challenges of preserving a historic neighborhood, (Washington Post, Sept. 28, 2012)

Preserving the past: Developers, contractors keep historic properties up-to-date without losing what makes them unique, (Business First of Louisville, July 6, 2012)

Historic preservation tax credit in not-too-distant future, (Philadelphia Business Journal, July 16, 2012)

35 tips for restoring old houses, (Old House Journal, Feb. 17, 2012)

Making Historic Properties Accessible, (Old House Web)

Buying in a Historic District: Still a Good Value, (Old House Web)

A Community Home, (Journal of Property Management, May/June 2012) E

Tax breaks save historic old houses, (Old House Web)

Can old be gold? Historic homes as investments, (Old House Web)

Historic Homes and Tax Breaks, (Old House Web)

Insuring Your Historic Home, (Old House Web)

Inspecting Historic Properties, (Old House Web)

Architectural Styles

Architecture Quiz, (REALTOR® Magazine Online)

13 Popular Architectural Styles to consider while house hunting, (U.S. News & World Report, Oct. 13, 2016)

Classic Home Collection, (Architecture Week)

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

Home Style Guide, (About.com)

Historic Buildings, (Historic Buildings)

Painted Ladies, (Wikipedia)

Buying & Selling Older Homes

Buying Newer or Older Home?, (The Balance Blog, Nov. 18, 2017)

5 reasons why buying an old house is a great idea, (Realtor.com, June 26, 2017)

Tips in Buying and Restoring Old Houses, (Realty Today, Jan. 18, 2016)

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

Special Considerations for Staging Historic Homes, (ActiveRain, Aug. 30, 2010)

Obsessively Seeking Original Occupant, (New York Times, May 5, 2010)

What the Walls Would Say, (New York Times, April 28, 2010)

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)

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)

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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