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Reports Trace the History of Your Home-To-Be

Published: March 30, 2013

A house is probably the biggest purchase you'll make. So finding out all you can about the home-to-be is essential.

Trace history of a homeIt's all about the history of your home, and several companies have sprung up across North America to enlighten potential buyers as they begin their home search.

These organizations provide inexpensive reports that include a history of the home dating back years.

That means you can find out about additions and repairs through building permits and leaky roofs via insurance claims.

Previous selling prices and even some of the more unsavory aspects of the home, such as a history as a drug lab, are available.

Some firms also will provide names of the companies that made previous additions (such as swimming pools), so you can follow up if you like the workmanship, or if you don't.

In the U.S., one company offering this service is BuildFax; buyers can obtain a report through their real estate agent. But if you have time and energy, you can also conduct searches yourself; virtually all the information is contained in official records, available to the public at little or no cost.

History reports like these can help potential buyers avoid unpleasant surprises at closing time or later down the road.

A track record of problems might make a house a lot more expensive to insure, but if a potential buyer knows about the issues before purchasing, he or she could decide against buying the home or at the very least will be prepared for the additional costs.

Single-family homes are still much sought after; according to NAR, almost 80% of last year's buyers purchased a single-family detached home. It appears the American dream isn't dead; like previous generations, families have and will continue to seek a place of their own.

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