We’re always happy to discuss any aspect of our house history service so let us know if you have a question or just want to talk through the process. Here are our answers to the questions we get asked most frequently.
How does your service work?
First of all we invite you to request a free no-obligation consultation to discuss what you would like to find out about your house and the people who have owned it and lived there in the past. This can be done in person, by phone or by email to suit your needs. You can ask questions about our service and we can give you a quotation tailored to fit your personal requirements.
If you decide to go ahead, the next step is for us to visit you to look at your property, find out what you already know, review any documents you might have such as deeds or photographs, and agree a research plan. If you have also commissioned our architectural history service, we arrange for our architectural historian to visit your property as well.
We then begin our research during which we identify candidate resources to explore, visit archives to order and view these resources, and record all the information that is relevant to your property. Where possible we photograph documents or obtain a copy for reference and inclusion in your house history. We review the information from each research visit and integrate it with what we already know about your property. Years of experience and knowledge of potential sources help us to answer any questions that arise during the review process and lead us back to the archives for the next phase of research.
We keep you informed throughout the research process with regular progress reports to keep you up to date with what we have found. We love to get your feedback as we go along and it gives you an opportunity to ask some of your own questions to feed into our research.
The final part of the process is of course for us to write your house history in your chosen format and incorporate any photographs or documents you would like us to include, such as how your house looks today or pictures of your family. We send you an electronic draft of your report to review to make sure you are completely happy with it before it is printed. After making any final amendments and receiving your approval, we print your house history and deliver it to you.
How long does it take?
This depends on the age of your property and how much research you ask us to do. Typically for a full house history covering 1-3 centuries it would take 2-3 months from receiving your order to delivering your house history. Older properties obviously take longer as there is more research to do and more history to write, so a 500-year history of your house could take 4-5 months in total. Smaller projects may only take a few weeks.
We always tell you whether we will be able to meet any particular deadlines you may have such as a birthday or anniversary. If you are considering a house history as a gift, it’s a good idea to order it in plenty of time, taking the above estimates into account.
How much does it cost?
This depends on the age of your property and how much time we spend researching its history. As this is a very important factor we have a dedicated pricing page giving you full details.
When do I have to pay?
We ask for a deposit of 25% of the order value when you place your order, with the balance due on delivery of your house history. For large projects, we request an interim payment of a further 25% at the end of the research phase. We accept cheques and online BACS payments.
Can you research the history of my house if I don’t have any title deeds?
We have successfully researched many properties without having access to title deeds. Some deeds may be in private hands, with solicitors or banks, have been lost or even destroyed. We use many different types of resources to look for information about your property and use our best endeavours to get the most out of what is available in archives and libraries.
What if you can’t find anything about my house?
We can always find some of the history of a property. There is a risk that it may not be possible to positively identify your property in some records, perhaps because its name or number has changed, or the source simply lists householders within a parish with no means of knowing who lived where. In such cases we try to get round the obstacle by using other sources. Sometimes there are gaps in the history because records are simply not available. If the situation arose where we could not get back before a particular point we would contact you to discuss whether you want us to continue.
What’s special about your service?
We specialise in house history. It means we’re experts at finding your property in the records. We know what to look for and where to find it.
We’re local. We are regular users of archives in the West Midlands and are familiar with their holdings and finding aids. It means we can get on with the job right away.
We’re flexible. We can do as little or as much research as you want. We can focus on those aspects of your property’s history that are important to you. We can do it all in one go or in stages.
We’re professional. In all our dealings with you we will be professional, honest and fair. We don’t just give you a set of documents. We explain the sources we have used, what the information means and how it relates to your property’s history. We use meticulous research techniques and intelligent interpretation of material to investigate your house history. We provide citations for all the source material we have referenced in our research. You can be confident of a professional job well done.
We value your business and want you to be delighted with our work. Our enthusiasm and energy combined with rigorous research and a methodical and professional approach are the trademarks of our work. We invite you to share our passion for old buildings and their history.
How do I get started?
Request your free consultation and tell us about your house. We look forward to hearing from you!