Address help!
July 7, 2018 1:41 PM   Subscribe

Hi all - so I worry this will seem stalk-like(ish?). All I am trying to do is identify my childhood lakefront cottage. Would love to see if I can make an offer once the existing owner wants to sell.

Ok - so clearly need an explanation. I spent my childhood back and forth from Cleveland, OH to Glennie, MI at my grandfather’s cottage. Nobody (except me) seems to be overly fond of the place and I want to see about someday purchasing. No clue if the current owners would be willing, but nonetheless I’d like to at least have the address. You would think I could figure this out - here is what I think are the LAT/LONG via Google, near Curtis Township, MI

Thanks for any help!
posted by tdabbott to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am a bit concerned that you've placed this geographic coordinate in a public forum. You might want to ask the mods to remove the specific link (not your overall question).

I'm assuming that you currently live far enough away that simply driving up and noting the address isn't a good option. If I were in your shoes I would contact a local realtor or attorney and ask them to make enquiries. As a property owner myself, I'd still have my guard up if a commercial third party approached me, but not nearly so much as if an individual did. Might be a small cost associated with the service, but given that the alternative might be a lot of travel, that might be an option.
posted by randomkeystrike at 2:00 PM on July 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

What I do when I’m looking for a specific place is use google street view. I can often see the house numbers and other details that help me find what I’m looking for. It’s as if I’m driving down the actual street, and I can look from side to side, zoom in, etc.
posted by MountainDaisy at 2:00 PM on July 7, 2018 [5 favorites]

If you right click on the street in front of the property and select "What's here" it will give you a range of possible addresses. I don't want to write the street name and numbers down in my answer here.
posted by ilovewinter at 2:01 PM on July 7, 2018

With the latitude & longitude as the destination, when asked google for driving directions, it provided me with a street address. I'm not going to post the address but one came right up.
posted by countrymod at 2:02 PM on July 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I notice Street View doesn't work for this street. Maybe look it up on Zillow or Trulia? I found that street on Zillow. Some of the houses have photos.
posted by AppleTurnover at 2:25 PM on July 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

I know the feeling, I've had my eye on my mom's childhood home which my grandmother sold to its current owners shortly after my grandfather died in 1973. I'll tell you though, my mom has lived in my childhood home since 1969 and her counter is positively filled with little notepads the local realtors send to her with "If you're ever thinking of selling!" cards. She hasn't had to buy stationery in a decade.

All in all, it sounds like you want the reverse of this question, in which case I'd follow the same strategy.
posted by rhizome at 2:36 PM on July 7, 2018

You can also get property information (owner, etc.) from the Alcona County Recorder's online information, in conjunction with what countrymod cited. Very often mortgages, etc. are publicly recorded (and thus public information), giving you an idea of how much the current owner paid for a property, etc.
posted by WCityMike at 2:49 PM on July 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

I can also see the address after clicking for directions in Google Maps; once you have that, you can check that it's the right house by plugging the address into Zillow to view it.

Once confirmed, put the address into the property tax public search database for that county in Michigan for the owner's name. (Just mailing an enquiry to the house probably isn't the best idea, as it might be a rental now. Having a local realtor reach out for you is easiest.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:49 PM on July 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

In addition to tracking down an address for directly contacting the current owners, you can set up an alert on Zillow (and I assume Redfin et al.) that will email you when a home matching your criteria comes available. You might want to set up a narrow geographic area (using the "draw" tool) so you're notified if it ever officially goes on the market.

Also, I just wanted to say that so long as you're not extraneously creepy in how you approach contact, I'd consider personally writing & mailing a letter to the current owners to be inside the bounds of OK behavior. People expect others to be nostalgic about their past, and so long as you aim for a tone of "hope this house is treating you as well as it did us" (rather than "get outta my house!") I think you're fine.

(My bounds for creepy depend on who's doing the stalking -- if you bring in a local realtor, it's not weird if they look up owner names/contact info. If you do it yourself and address it directly to the owner names, rather than to the house ... it's creepy. If it's clear you've made a personal trip to the area just to scout out the house ... that's creepy too.)
posted by Metasyntactic at 2:58 PM on July 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you have any old family pictures of the house, you might want to include them in the letter you write to the current owners.
posted by ShooBoo at 3:05 PM on July 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

My family owned a small farmhouse on eight acres and we occasionally got letters from people wanting to know if we would sell. It never seemed creepy. We weren’t living there at the time. The letters would usually talk about how beautiful the property was. It was actually kind of charming. I’m not sure how they found us.
posted by FencingGal at 3:13 PM on July 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thank you all - so much great help!
posted by tdabbott at 4:21 PM on July 7, 2018

I've lived in a couple of houses where old residents have knocked on the door and said "hey, we grew up here and are nostalgic".

mrs straw also knocked on the door of her grandmother's old house and said "we were in the neighborhood and have fond memories" and they invited us in.

I've never found it creepy.
posted by straw at 8:16 PM on July 8, 2018

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