How to Discover the History of Neighborhoods

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Neighborhoods don’t have to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places to have a compelling past. Neighborhoods don’t even have to be decades old to have interesting histories. Featuring the history of a neighborhood can help attract the interest of potential buyers and help listings stand out from others on the market. Knowing a neighborhood’s story may also help buyers feel a connection to the property. Here are some ways to learn about neighborhoods so you can share that information with buyers and other agents:  


The current owners may have heard stories and local lore about the area while they lived there. Ask sellers to fill you in on any facts and anecdotes so you can pass them along. If the current owners have old photographs or documentation about the home’s past, be sure to have those on hand to show prospective buyers.


People who live in nearby homes probably know something about the history of the neighborhood, particularly if they are longtime residents or grew up there. Chat with neighbors you see outside or invite them to a coffee or special showing of the home to find out if they have information to share.

Garden Clubs

If the neighborhood has a garden club or HOA, contact the president or board of directors to inquire about the history. Meeting minutes and communications over the years may shed some light on past events.


Search the archives of local libraries for the neighborhood’s name to find news articles or mentions of the neighborhood in books and journals. Ask the librarian to help you with your search or if anyone who works in the library has connections to the neighborhood.


Public records can often glean more information than you may suspect. Enter the street number of your listing as well as neighboring street numbers into city, county, and state property, deed, tax, and census records to see if you get any results.

Historical societies

Visit your city or municipality’s historical society for information. Even if they don’t have any information about a specific neighborhood, they may be able to fill you in about what was happening in your town when the first homes were built or as years went by.

Social media

Put out a request for historic information on social media platforms. Ask your friends to share your request and to tag any people who may have lived in the neighborhood.


Your real estate colleagues may possess information about neighborhoods. Ask veteran agents what they know or if they can point you in the direction of someone else who might be familiar with the neighborhood in question.

If you know the names of any architects or contractors who built homes in the neighborhood, they might be a good source of information. Contact them directly or find contact information through local professional associations.

For more helpful information from our partners at American Home Shield, check out their blog.

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