Before you sell, become a home historian

Castles in the Sand

Last week was Halloween, and we talked about disclosing everything, even if not required by law, that might be negative about your home to prospective buyers. What may seem ridiculous to you, like spirits real or not, deaths in the property or other than conventional activities, could be a hot button to a buyer. But do you know everything about your home, the good, the bad and the ugly? Putting your property on the market is the perfect time to delve into your home’s history and a unique marketing tool.

The state of Florida is not known for many historic homes like New York and Boston, dating back to the founding of the country, and even though there were settlements in Florida going back to the Spanish, not too many actual homes have survived compared to the northeast. Bradenton has some beautiful older homes downtown, as do other cities around the state like Jacksonville and St. Augustine, but it doesn’t matter if your home or the home you’re considering purchasing is 100 years old or 20, don’t you want to know its history?

There are professional house historians willing to do research, particularly on older homes dating back to years before records were efficiently kept. They will research public records, church records, history books and even do interviews with local residents who may be familiar with the property. This service, of course, is provided for a hefty fee and results in a nice book full of information for the owners and future owners.

I love the concept and feel that even if your house was built in more recent years, there may still be information about it you don’t know. For instance, who was the architect who designed the house, are the original drawings still on file, and what are the names of the previous owners, an answer which could surprise you, especially in a second home beach area like Anna Maria.

Wouldn’t you just love to know if famous people visited the Island and stayed in your house, such as actors or political personalities? We already know that professional ball players and circus performers came to Anna Maria, maybe they stayed in your home. The possibilities are endless, especially if you can find just the precise person who has been around long enough to point you in the right direction.

A search of the town records would also give you structural information about the home. Were permits pulled to repair damage that could have been from fire or flooding or pest infestation? Did a major hurricane occur in the early years of the home and are there any survivors from that event still around to interview?

You might want to include pre-renovation photos from the time you owned the property, pictures of some things unique to your house like the wall showing how your children grew through the years or a picture from your daughter’s wedding in the yard. Include dates of significant storms and if you evacuated and to where. Brief introductions to current neighbors and some history on the surrounding homes would be a nice touch.

Not only is a history book a great way to introduce potential buyers to your home, but it’s also a wonderful gift to new owners to pass down to future owners. It shows the love you have for your home and keeps the story of the house alive.

Every house has a compelling story to tell, and every room within the house represents a life lived. Make your house one for the history books.

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