9 Ways to Know: How Old Is My House?
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Knowing the age of your house is an essential part of homeownership. You will need to know how old it is when you apply for homeowner’s insurance and will use the age to gauge when the property needs various repairs. The age of your house can also help you better understand why certain design styles were picked during the construction process, as home decor trends change over time.
There is good news if you need to learn the age of your house: there are multiple ways to get the information you need. Here are multiple ways to answer, “how old is my house,” and what you can do with that information.
Start With Zillow
Most people turn to Zillow if they want to look at active listings, but you can also use this site to review key features related to off-market homes. Simply type your address into the search bar and you can see the original listing when you purchased the property.
Along with the year built, you can also learn other property details like your square footage, floor plan, lot size, and other features related to your home. You can even learn about your building materials and sewage hookup.
Other sites with real estate listings (like Realtor.com) should also have your home listings so you can answer, “how old is my house by address.” You don’t have to be the property owner to learn this information.
Move on to Google
If you can’t find the age of your house on a specific website, take a step back and complete a more general search of your property using Google or Bing. You might find sites that list the age of your home, government records on the property, and even some historical information about where you live.
There are plenty of documents on your home’s history that are worth exploring. You can see what the land looked like before the house existed and what the house sold for when it was new. You might even find advertisements for the house when it was first built, giving you an idea of what the original purchase price was. Could you imagine buying a six-bedroom house for less than $2,000?
Talk to a Real Estate Agent
If you don’t want to do the research yourself, call a Realtor and ask, “how do I find out how old my house is?” They will have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and can pull up information related to your home sale. A qualified Realtor should easily be able to tell you the year your house is built and might be able to pass on other useful information on the home’s history and previous owners.
Even if your house isn’t easily accessible in the MLS, a Realtor should know the right channels to help you find out how old your house is.
Contact the Title Company
Another source to find the age of your house is the title company. This organization likely has your deed and mortgage information on hand and can pull up the age of your house quickly. If the title company is unable to help you, they might at least be able to direct you to a government department or public records office that can.
While you are at it, you can also reach out to other bodies that were essential during the home process. Contact your mortgage company or your homeowner’s insurance provider to learn the age of your house. They likely have the year written down somewhere.
Tip: before calling your home insurance provider or mortgage company, check your documents. You might be able to find the age of the house in your approval paperwork. A quick search can save you a few phone calls.
Turn to Your Local Government Offices
If you need official documentation on your house’s history, visit your local tax assessor or your county clerk’s office. The assessor should have tax records on all the previous owners from the past century. You should be able to trace the ownership of your home back to when the land became a specific parcel (as opposed to a large tract of acreage). You can also use the tax records to look for sudden jumps in the value of the land. This indicates that something was built on the space.
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If you choose to visit the county clerk instead, search for the Registrar of Deeds. The information from this office will highlight the previous owners of the lot and provide a walkthrough of when the house was built, sold, and bought.
You should be able to find most of the information related to your house in your local city government. In some cases, you might need to reach out to the county records office if you live in a rural area or in an unincorporated zone. If you are worried about reaching dead ends, document each department you speak with so you don’t get bounced around from one office to another.
Order Formal Property Records
As you research the city or county offices in your area, ask about ordering formal property records for your home. Most places will allow you to order hard copies of these records that you can turn to whenever you need information. You can also store digital copies in the cloud in the event that something happens to your home and you need to file an insurance claim,
Visit Your Local Library
When all else fails, turn to your nearest librarian. Libraries store a significant amount of public records related to the towns and cities where they are located. The librarians you work with should be able to help you learn about the city and give you advice on pulling relevant information.
Your librarian also might be able to help you find newly-digitized information. For example, records created in the 1970s would obviously be in a paper format. However, if your city is working on a digitization project, these paper documents might have digital scans online. They will know what your local historical society is working on.
Librarians also know how to navigate different local government offices. They can help you learn how to request records online and what departments you should visit in person.
Your Realtor or title company should be able to point you in the direction of your local records office. You might have to pay a small fee for these records to be pulled and to have the entire deed history mailed to you.
Ask Your Neighbors
If you just need an informal, ballpark estimate about the age of your house, turn to your neighbors. Many homes in suburban neighborhoods were built around the same time. A developer would buy a large tract of land, divide it into various lots, and build a similar home on each lot. If your neighbor’s house looks a lot like yours, they might be the same age.
If you have nosy neighbors, you could also be able to learn about past residents and how they changed your home. This can give you clues for looking up building permits to install additions or change the home’s architecture.
Asking a neighbor might not be the best barometer for home age if you live in an older neighborhood. In some cases, you might have historic homes from the 1920s built next to houses from the 1950s and 1970s. You want to look for nearby homes that have a similar architectural style and features as yours to get a similar idea for their age.
Look for Clues Around the Home
If you want to learn more about the house you live in, put on your detective hat and search for clues about the construction date and architectural history of the property. Here are a few tricks to get information on the home:
- Check the toilet tank. If your house is new, then the previous owners likely didn’t replace the toilet. You should see a construction year somewhere under the tank cover.
- Inspect your air conditioner, furnace, or hot water heater. Service professionals are often required to put the date of installation on these units. You can also check your electrical box for installation and upgrade dates.
- Search for papers that came with the house. Sometimes the previous residents will save ownership documents, manuals, and other papers related to the home. Many homeowners toss these documents into a drawer until they need them. Pull out the papers and other documents to see what information you can learn about your house.
- Look for relics in the house. There might be features in your home that were popular before modern inventions. For example, you might find built-in ceiling fans that were installed before air conditioners became popular. This can give you a range for when the home was built.
You can follow these clues whether you have an older home that has changed over the decades or a new construction property that is only a few years old. You won’t gain physical proof of the age of the property but you can get an idea of its age.
Let a Realtor Help You Find the Information You Need
Whether you simply need help finding the age of the house or you want to take steps to sell the property, our team at FastExpert is here to help. We are happy to pair you with an experienced real estate agent who can easily help you reach your goals. This is the #1 trusted platform to search, compare and hire Realtors. Use our database of top real estate agents to find one near you.