What happens when I correct the deed to my home?
February 14, 2011 12:03 PM   Subscribe

What are the possible consequences of correcting the age of my house on the deed?

The deed to my house says 1900, but I know from reviewing a Sanborn fire insurance map I found online that it was built after 1912, but I can't find enough maps online to get any more specific. I plan to visit my state historical society's library, where many more maps are available for review on microfim, and narrow down the correct year.

Assuming I tell the city assessor's office and offer proof, what could be the consequences of making this change official? Could it affect my homeowner's insurance?
posted by look busy to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Well, conversely the recent computerization of records in my town led to my house being identified as about 10 years older that it was previously thought. My homeowner's insurance did go up a small amount. I think it was about $75. So perhaps if you can prove your house is younger your insurance premium may go down a bit.

However, in your case the difference may simply be moot given that it's a pretty old house you're talking about. 1900 vs. 1970 would be a big difference; 1900 vs. 1912 may not change anything.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:43 PM on February 14, 2011

The significance? Pretty much nil. Your home has probably been inspected at least half a dozen times since it was constructed, so regardless of the date, there's presumably a pretty good picture of what's going on in there structurally.

I think you'll probably do better at the county recorder's office. You can actually do a property information search online for free, assuming you're in the county I think you are. From there it's probably going to be more productive to wander down there to check their physical records than to consult the historical society.

If the choice is between a government document and something prepared by an insurance company, the former is probably what I'd go with, personally.
posted by valkyryn at 2:08 PM on February 14, 2011

Response by poster: The government document is wrong. I'm a GIS person and I've used my county's online parcel database for several projects and have found errors each time (including the address of an apartment I lived in at one time).

My realtor said that for houses in my part of the city, 1900 was often used when they didn't have clear evidence of the construction date available. Houses on either side of mine have construction dates of 1908 and appear on the 1912 Sanborn map I found through the county library. I absolutely trust insurance maps of the time before any records held by the city or county.
posted by look busy at 2:20 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: TINLA: The real question may not be the factual issue, but a practical or legal one. What benefit or detriment is enjoyed or suffered if you cause this point to be corrected? In some states, there is a rebuttable legal presumption in the accuracy of things like title which might benefit you if the age of the structure is in issue and if you benefit from the older date. On the other hand, it's not clear if anyone could win that legal challenge now, and in any fight, you may start out on top of the hill if you're defending the accuracy of the deed.

Sometimes the age of a structure will determine eligibility for variances from zoning ordinances and other kinds of laws. Sometimes that benefits you, and sometimes not. You might want to check with an appraiser and see if the value is impacted at all, especially from an insurance perspective.
posted by Hylas at 2:59 PM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

The government document is wrong.

Hey, fine. I still say you should check with the recorder's office, because if there are records related to your property before 1912, that'd be relevant, yes?
posted by valkyryn at 5:34 AM on February 15, 2011

Response by poster: Oh yes, absolutely. Sorry, I didn't mean to be short. It's just that I've found the accuracy of the county data online to be poor, and my Sanborn map junkie friend has instilled in me the belief that Sanborn maps are highly accurate for that era.

The house has seen a lot of transformations over the years and I'd like to put together a timeline, and recorder's office information will be very helpful for that. It's just that the earliest records were either not recorded there or lost over the years.

I don't think that having the deed corrected by 12-15 years will impact any plans I may have. The house went through an extensive renovation in 2009 and not much will need to be done in the foreseeable future.

Thanks everyone! I have some trips and calls to make and I'll report back if I find anything interesting or unusual about this process.
posted by look busy at 6:21 AM on February 15, 2011

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