While Laguna Beach is widely known for its beautiful new construction homes, there are still many historical gems to be found in the community. In fact, did you know that over 30 percent of the homes in Laguna were built before 1960? Many homeowners have discovered that owning a property with a storied past increases their connection to their home and their community. Are you interested in learning more about your home’s past, but don’t know where to start? Here’s what you need to know and where to go to find out all the dirt.

Start with Your Neighbors

While we do live in the Internet age, you’d be surprised at how many public records have not yet made it online. The best place to begin to track down your home’s history is with your neighbors. Are there any longtime residents? They may be able to tell you names of former homeowners and any changes that have happened to the property over the years.

Have a Good Look Around Your Home

You can find out quite a bit of information just by looking around your home through the lense of time. Inspect the walls and moldings and note what kind of construction materials were used, which often indicates the time period. You might even use a metal detector in your yard, to uncover artifacts from bygone days that will add to the overall story of your home.

Take a Trip to the Courthouse or Historical Society

The County Recorder’s office will have copies of all the deeds in the community, and you can trace the previous owners of your home. You can also search for surveys done of your land as well as any building permits and inspections from the past. These documents will let you know if any work has been completed on your home during its history. The Laguna Beach Historical Society can also be a great place to start your search, as they have committed to preserving the local history since their inception in 1989.

Head on Over the Library

Another great place to find information about your home is in the newspaper archive at theLaguna Beach library. You can search for mentions of the previous owners or of construction in your neighborhood. You may even find old sales or rental ads for your home, which could even include a photo.

What Happens When You Own a Historic Home

Owning a historic Laguna Beach comes with its own set of perks and challenges. If your home is listed in the Historic Register you may be eligible for waived building fees or lower property taxes, but you’ll also need to seek approval for any changes you want to make.

Whether you own a historically significant home or are just curious about your home’s past, you can find the information you’re looking for if you’re willing to do a little detective work. In most cases, your time and effort will be rewarded with a deeper understanding and appreciation of all those who lived in your home before you, and connect you even more intimately with our incredible local culture and community.