The year that a home is constructed is one of many factors that help a potential buyer determine whether or not a property is a solid investment. General information about real property including current owner, estimated property tax, land and improvement value, square footage, and year built are available on a city or county basis through public property records. While researching public records used to be a cumbersome process, most property record repositories today can easily be accessed and reviewed online.
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Research public property records through the county clerk, county appraisal district, or tax assessment office to determine the year a home was built. Many counties now offer access to their databases online. Locate online records repositories by searching "public property records" online, combined with the name of the county and state where the property is located. Once located, query the database by entering either the address of the property or the current owner's name. Property records can also be researched in person by visiting the physical location of the agency of record. In certain areas staff at the office of the county clerk, appraisal district, or tax assessor can locate records for you in exchange for a small fee. Call ahead to determine if this option is available and standard protocol for initiating a request.
Initiate a home inspection with a certified home inspector. These professionals, who charge for their services, can deduce when a home was built based on factors such as architecture, physical inspection of plumbing and electrical systems, structural integrity, and the presence of asbestos or lead paint.
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Consult with either the listing agent for the property or your own realtor. Most realtors have access to property information via Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that is otherwise unavailable without a state license. In addition to the year that a home was built, MLS listings usually provide tax information, asking price, improvements, square footage, interior and exterior photos, and any other information fields that the listing agent chooses to include.
Contact the neighborhood association affiliated with the property. These types of associations, which may be mandatory or opt-in, typically collect historical information about a neighborhood and are comprised of people who have a vested interest in the area. Speaking with neighbors, specifically those in close proximity to the property, can yield valuable information that may not be recorded in a formal manner.
Based in Austin, Claire Ashton is an entertainment writer with a background in artist management/development, public relations and event coordination. She contributes to "The Austin American-Statesman," "Paste Magazine," "Venus Zine," "Stomp and Stammer" and "Blurt." Ashton has a Bachelor of Science in advertising from the University of Texas.