Do you ever dream of traveling through time? Most of us do every so often! That’s because the thought of living in a different type is exciting. Time traveling is romanticized in TV and film, so this feeling is natural.
In today’s world, the closest you can get to time traveling is watching movies, or perhaps, restoring your house and exploring the history you find. So if you have ever asked yourself, “how old is my house?” then we have some answers for you.
If you don’t think finding out your house history is worth it, then give us a chance before you move on. Because that’s the first thing that we will get to. You most definitely need to know why house history is important.
What Is House History?
House history is an often-recorded history of the house that you live in. The house history begins the day that the house is built and ends the day that the house is taken down. This can be anywhere from months to centuries.
If you’ve built a house before, you’ve started a history story that will be retold many times in the future. New memories and historical details will be added by future owners of the house, until one day, the house history ends.
Why House History Is Important
History will forever be important, whether it is good or bad. House history is no different. Without the homes in the world, we wouldn’t have hardly any recorded history in our history books because so much happens at home.
Just take your own life for instance. How many of your best and worst memories happen at home? Most likely, a lot! That much hasn’t changed. It’s more than imagining the stories of your home, but being transported to a different time as well.
You may not find out that a famous person lived in your house at one point, but you will probably find out more about the lives of those who did live there. This is not only about finding out about your house but about history during that time.
How Old Is My House?
Now it’s time to go through the steps to find out how old your house may be. Finding out can be tricky without the resources but there are a few things you can do to help you find the exact date and any details about the story.
These are things you can do without even leaving your home. For things you can do in town to help you find out the history, keep scrolling. But if you want to do some work at home, then here you go!
Pinpointing An Era
Finding the era isn’t always easy but you can do so by stepping back and looking at the details of the house. For example, Dutch Colonial homes possess gambrel roofs that have curved eaves along the length of the house.
So if you have these, and the other things that make a Dutch Colonial home unique, you will know your house is probably from the mid-1700s. But that is just one way to start finding out where your home is from.
Look At The Details
There are many small details that can give things away on the inside. One of the biggest tellers in the house age is hardware. This means doorknobs, knockers, metal switch covers, and more. So check these closely.
You may have to learn about the different types of hardware first and how they fit into history. Or you can send pictures to a professional online and they may be able to tell you when the hardware was made.
If you can’t find anything that wasn’t installed more recently, then start peel pack paint, pulling up flooring, and digging down, so to speak, to find the original house features. Then you can start trying to find its age.
It can be fun to bring the house back to its original form anyway. Then it will really feel like you’re living in a piece of history. The older the house is, the better it feels to restore it to a more original form.
Word of mouth may be the easiest way to find info on a house. Neighbors will definitely know who lived there before you. The older people in the area may know even more than that so don’t be afraid to ask.
This may not take you far or it may take you all the way back to the day the house was built. So don’t underestimate the power of the grapevine because not only can it spread gossip fast, but it remembers everything.
Check The Attic
Count yourself lucky if your home has an attic, no matter how creepy it may be. Because there are very few attics out there that don’t have a piece of the house’s history that was missed in the move.
Sometimes, people leave everything they had in the attic there for the next owners. Especially if the owner passed previous because it is often forgotten. So if this happens, try to contact the family to ensure they don’t lose prized possessions.
Looking Up The History Of My House
If you have done all you can at home then it’s time to take a trip into town to look for more. Yes, it can be a bother to go out like this, but if it is for a good cause then anyone should be delighted to do so.
So don your gear and get your thinking cap on, you’ll need a level head and a way with people to find out everything that you can. Here are a few things you can do outside the home to search for house history.
Head to the country clerk’s office and ask for any records of the address they may have. They may even remember some things once you tell them the address and give them a picture of the house. Clerks can be very helpful.
But if they don’t know, then ask for any records, county archives, or even news about the house that they may have on hand. They’ll let you know what will help you find out more about your new home.
You can do this at home or on the go, but a simple Google search on your address or names of the family attached to it can help you find out more about the house history. So make sure to not leave that out.
Search the address first and if that doesn’t work, simply search the county and town you live in if it isn’t a large city. Try to search for news stories during the time that you believe the house was built.
Look For Building Permits
This can be done via a contractor or a building permit record database. So you can start there and expand if things aren’t working out. Just make sure that you use the address and are aware of any changes to the address.
Sometimes, address names will change for one reason or another. This is rare, but it can happen. The further back you go the more likely it would have been to change. So try to find this out before starting.
Go To The Library
Believe it or not, sometimes, the library is faster than Google when finding something local. That’s because Google is overwhelmed with non-relevant answers whereas a library’s local section will have just what you need.
Finding out the history of the town and county can be just as useful as finding direct info about the house. This is because if you find out how old the town is you can find out more about the general era of the home.
You can look at fire maps for a good idea as to when the house was built. If the house isn’t there on the map then the house is newer than the map. So find old fire and emergency maps to help narrow it down.
It is also helpful because you can find details on how the house was built. This can help date the house easily because some construction methods were only used during specific eras in history. Check the map’s date too!
Hiring A Professional
If you can’t find what you are looking for, a professional most likely can. From an appraiser to a historian, there are a dozen different types of professions that excel at finding the age of the house that you live in.
The price for something like this isn’t usually too high. You will end up paying anywhere from $20 to $200 an hour. Since they shouldn’t spend more than a couple of hours working for you, the price shouldn’t be more than $500.
Since you will be learning much more than $500 worth of info in most cases, the cost is worth it. History is important and should not be forgotten. We live, we learn, and we grow with it, so take it for what it is just remember to live in the present.