How to Find Original House Plans

When you buy a used house or a vacant lot with pre-existing plans, you may want to locate the original house plans. This can be done through different sources like your local building inspector’s office.

If you are looking to restore the original home that existed on the property, having access to the original house plans is important. You may also want check with your local historical society to locate photographs and other records related to your original house plans.

Tools, Materials and Resources Needed:

  • Old House Plans
  • Local Realtor
  • Local Home Builder
  • Architecture School
  • Building Inspector Office
  • Telephone
  • Computer

Step 1: Contact the Realtor’s Office

When buying a now-vacant lot, talk with the realtor who had represented the original house. Ask if they have any records or information on the type of home that existed on the property and if any pictures or plans existed.

In many cases, if the realtor is also representing the interests of the seller, information can be obtained from the seller or the seller’s family. If it is possible to get in contact with the seller directly, this will provide you with a wealth of information pertaining to the old house and its plans.

Step 2: Contact Building Inspector’s Office

After contacting the realtor, you will most likely need to go to the local building inspector’s office to look for the plans on file. Depending on the age of the home that used to stand on the vacant lot, this may be a quick process or you may find yourself on a wild goose chase through archives and other resources to locate the plans.

Step 3: Contact a Home Builder

A local home builder who has been in the community for some time may be able to provide you with home plans for houses in the neighborhood of the vacant lot. Look for a home builder who has been in the community for several decades, maybe 50 to 75 years or more.

If the home builder does not keep old house plan files, they may able to direct you to a local historical society or school of architecture at a local college.

Step 4: Contact a Local College or Historical Society

If there is a college located in or near your community that has a school of architecture, you can contact them for information on house plans for your neighborhood or the neighborhood where the vacant lot is located. The school keeps information on building trends and building styles and types and can provide you with some insight about the types of building that were built in the community.

An historical society is another source, if available, that can provide you with information on the types of homes that are were build around and near the vacant lot and provide you with plans that may be similar to the ones you are looking for the home. If you can find pictures, descriptions and accounts of the type of home built, have an architect sketch plans based on this knowledge and proceed with your build.