How to check a home’s history
Do I Need a Permit to Structurally Modify My Home?

How to check a home’s history

Checking a home’s history can be a valuable step before purchasing or renting a property. It helps you understand important details such as previous owners, sales history, potential issues, and any major events associated with the property. Here are some steps to check a home’s history:

  • Public Records and Property Tax Records: Start by accessing the public records and property tax records for the home. These records are typically maintained by the county or city government and are often available online. You can search for the property’s address or parcel number in the local property appraiser’s or assessor’s website.

  • Online Real Estate Websites: Various online real estate websites offer historical data about properties, including sales history, past listings, and price changes. Some popular websites include Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and Redfin. Simply enter the address of the property in the search bar to access its historical information.

  • County Recorder’s Office: Visiting or contacting the county recorder’s office can provide you access to additional historical records, such as deeds, liens, and encumbrances associated with the property.

  • Title Search: Consider conducting a title search on the property. A title search will reveal any outstanding liens, ownership disputes, or other legal issues that may affect the property’s history.

  • Local Historical Society: If the property is old or has historical significance, local historical societies may have information about its past. They might be able to provide details about previous owners, renovations, and other relevant historical facts.

  • Neighbors and Community Members: Engaging with neighbors and members of the local community can yield valuable insights about the property’s history. They may be aware of previous events or issues related to the property.

  • Building Inspection Reports: If the property has undergone inspections in the past, you can request these reports to gain information about any past structural issues or repairs.

  • Online Forums and Neighborhood Groups: Online forums, social media groups, or neighborhood-specific websites may have discussions or posts about the property’s history. These platforms can be useful for gathering anecdotal information.

  • Environmental Reports: For additional information, consider obtaining environmental reports to check for any potential environmental hazards or contamination associated with the property’s history.

Remember that some information might not be readily available or may require special permission to access. It’s essential to verify any information you find through multiple sources to ensure accuracy. If you have concerns about specific aspects of the property’s history, it’s wise to consult with a real estate agent or legal professional to assist with your research. 

How to check a home's history

How to check Public Records and Property Tax Records

Checking public records and property tax records can provide valuable information about a home’s history. The process may vary slightly depending on your location, but here are the general steps to check these records:

  • Identify the Property Address or Parcel Number: Make sure you have the complete and accurate address of the property you want to research. If you have the parcel number (also known as an assessor’s parcel number or APN), it can be even more helpful, as it uniquely identifies the property.

  • Visit the County or City Government Website: Most counties or cities maintain online portals where you can access public records and property tax information. Search for the official website of the local government entity responsible for property assessments and taxation.

  • Locate the Property Search Tool: Once you’re on the official website, look for a property search tool or a section related to property records. It might be labeled as “Property Search,” “Property Records,” “Assessor’s Office,” or similar.

  • Enter the Property Information: Use the property address or parcel number to search for the specific property you’re interested in. Some systems may require you to enter just the street name and number, while others may need the full address.

  • View Property Details: After entering the property information, the website should display relevant details about the property, including its ownership history, tax assessments, past sales, and sometimes even building permits.

  • Review Property Tax Information: You should find information about the property’s tax assessments, current and past tax amounts, and payment history. This will give you an idea of the property’s tax liabilities and whether there are any delinquencies.

  • Check for Additional Records: Depending on the jurisdiction, you might find additional records related to the property, such as building permits, code violations, or historical documents.

  • Contact the County Assessor’s Office (If Needed): If you encounter any difficulties or the information is not available online, you can contact the county assessor’s office directly. They can assist you in accessing the necessary records and answering any questions you may have.

Keep in mind that not all counties have fully digitized their property records, and some smaller municipalities might have limited online resources. In such cases, you may need to visit the county offices in person to access the information you seek.

Additionally, be cautious about using third-party websites that offer to provide property records for a fee. While some of these services can be legitimate, it’s best to rely on official government sources to ensure the accuracy and authenticity of the information you obtain. 

How to check a home's history

What are the most important things to look for when buying a house?

When buying a house, several important factors should be considered to ensure that the property meets your needs, preferences, and financial goals. Here are some of the most crucial things to look for when buying a house:

  • Location: The location of the house is one of the most critical factors to consider. Look for a neighborhood that suits your lifestyle, is convenient for commuting, has good schools (if applicable), and provides access to essential amenities such as grocery stores, healthcare facilities, parks, and recreational areas.

  • Property Size and Layout: Evaluate the size of the property and its layout to determine if it meets your current and future needs. Consider the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and overall living space to ensure it accommodates your family and potential lifestyle changes.

  • Condition of the Property: Carefully assess the condition of the house during a home inspection. Look for any red flags or major issues that might require costly repairs or renovations. Consider your budget and willingness to invest in fixing up the property if needed.

  • Price and Affordability: Set a budget and ensure the house is within your price range. Be mindful of other costs, such as property taxes, insurance, and potential homeowner association fees, when calculating the overall affordability.

  • Resale Value: While you may be focused on your immediate needs, it’s essential to consider the home’s potential resale value. A property in a desirable location with good features and a sound structure is likely to hold or increase its value over time.

  • Neighborhood Safety: Research the safety of the neighborhood and check local crime rates to ensure you are comfortable with the area’s security.

  • Home Insulation and Energy Efficiency: A well-insulated and energy-efficient home can lead to lower utility bills and a more comfortable living environment.

  • Natural Lighting and Ventilation: Look for a house that allows ample natural light and has good ventilation, as this can enhance the overall living experience.

  • Future Development and Zoning: Investigate any planned or potential developments near the property, as they could affect your quality of life and property value in the future. Check the local zoning regulations to understand what types of development are allowed in the area.

  • Accessibility and Transportation: Consider the proximity to public transportation, major roads, and highways, especially if you rely on commuting or need convenient access to key locations.

  • Noise Levels: Pay attention to noise levels in the neighborhood, especially if you value peace and quiet.

  • Homeowners Association (HOA) Rules: If the property is part of an HOA, review its rules, regulations, and fees to ensure they align with your preferences and lifestyle.

  • Legal and Title Issues: Conduct a thorough title search to ensure there are no legal or title issues associated with the property that could cause problems in the future.

  • Future Expansion or Renovation Possibilities: If you plan to expand or renovate the property in the future, consider the space and potential for customization.

Before making a final decision, it’s beneficial to work with a reputable real estate agent who can help you navigate the buying process, negotiate with the seller, and provide valuable insights about the local market. Always take your time and conduct due diligence to make a well-informed decision that aligns with your long-term goals and preferences.

Are you ready to take the next step to buy(or sale) your home and start building a legacy for your family?…Let me help you!

“Your Dream Home is my Mission”. I am a Brazilian Licensed Realtor at Re-Connect, LLC with 18+ years of experience in the Real Estate industry. I speaks 3 languages (Portuguese, English, Spanish). Let me join your journey in the Real Estate Industry, and receive my assistance above and beyond to accomplish your DREAM!

CALL NOW: (617) 201-9188 Ana Roque | 209 West Central Street, Natick, MA

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