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How To Find the Age of Your Old House

Research is the Key

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Man in blue shirt in research room, studying papers

Man studying documents in research room

Photo by Stephen B. Thornton/Stringer, Getty Images News Collection, ©2014 Getty Images

How old is your house, really? Follow these steps to find out. Then... have a birthday party!

Difficulty: Requires perseverance

Time Required: Plan to spend many weeks researching

Here's How:

  1. Try to identify the architectural style of your house. Begin with House Style Guides.
  2. Examine the building materials and construction methods used for your home.
  3. Check the title. Get the names of previous owners.
  4. Talk to previous owners, neighbors, and anyone else who might be familiar with your house. Visit with your local historical society or Town Historian.
  5. Study the tax roll. A sudden increase in property value may mark the year your house was built or remodeled.
  6. Check the tract index or a grantor-grantee index for names and dates.
  7. Search paper documents such as local newspapers, city directories, insurance records and town guidebooks.

Tips:

  1. Houses often aren't built all in one piece. The home you live in today may have evolved over many years. See through the upgrades, additions, and remodeling.
  2. An architectural investigator can date your house by studying its wood, plaster, mortar and paint.
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