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How can I find out how old a house is

Have you ever found yourself gazing at the walls of your home, wondering about its origins and the stories it holds within? If you have ever pondered the question, “when was my house built?” you’re not alone.

If you own property in England and Wales, as the homeowner, it is your responsibility to be clued up on all your property's information, including its age. Knowing the age of your property can often influence your credibility as a seller and even your sale price.

If you want to find out when your house was built out of curiosity, for renovation, getting building insurance or for valuation when you sell your home or apply for a mortgage, then there are multiple ways to find the age of your house — which we will cover in this article.

Knowing the property's age could put you at a significant advantage if you are looking to buy a house and want to find out its age. Not only will you be more aware of any potential issues, but you'll also be able to make a clear judgement on how much to offer for the property.

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When was my house built?

The short answer is to check with previous owners, neighbours and the local authority to find a rough suggestion for when your house was built.

But, if you would like a more in-depth and accurate house timeline, you can check the HM Land Registry for the property title deeds.

The older a property is, the higher the chances it's been damaged in some form or other from natural causes or poor craftsmanship over the years.

Knowing the age of your property can have a massive impact on any construction and renovation decisions you make, as older buildings were built with different building regulations than newer builds.

This can also affect the saleability and insurance cost of your build.

What is an old house?

Typically in the United Kingdom, an old house was built between 1920 and 1970, usually as a post-World War II Addison house or a 1970s mid-century semi-detached.

Any property built before the 1920s may be classed as a period home.

What is a new house?

Typically, any property with more than two owners is considered to be an old house, so houses bought in the 1980s are still lived in today by the same occupants and are considered new houses.

New houses in the United Kingdom is a subjective term as, technically, any house from the 1980s onwards is considered new.

However, the age of your house should not deter you from buying, selling or acquiring a building or home insurance, as the condition of the property matters.

Previous owners will have looked after some older properties, going through several modernisation periods over the decades, while other newer properties will have been damaged and not well maintained.

But knowing the era of your property can help you or a surveyor identify potential problems in your property before they appear, allowing you to risk assess a property properly.

Want to sell your period home? We'll buy!

How do I find out when my house was built?

While new builds can often run rings around period properties in saving money on utility bills, heating, energy consumption and usually price, a period property may offer more home value in terms of living space.

If you are searching for your property's build date, you should locate and look at your property's title deeds or title register.

Alternatively, you can ask your local authority, neighbours, estate agents or previous owners, who can also give you the area's history.

If you are looking for the age of a property, then you should ask the property seller or estate agent; as part of the sale, the seller must complete a 'Seller's property information form', which may contain the property's age.

If you have a mortgage on a property, then the survey may provide the age of the building.

The local authority may have a record of when planning permission was granted.

How to use the Land Registry to find out how old my house is?

The HM Land Registry doesn't record what is built on the land. Instead, it records the chain of land ownership, meaning that if your property was sold by the developer who made it, you could find its approximate age using the date of the first transfer or lease by the developer.

How accurate is 'year built' data?

The land ownership data from the HM Land Registry might be accurate if the property was built after the 1940s. If the property was built before 1940, there is a chance the land ownership title deeds won't show when the property was built.

Can you find out the previous owners of a house UK?

You can find the previous owners by acquiring a copy of the Property's Title Deeds from the HM Land Registry, as this is part of the chain of ownership.

The previous owners can provide more information about the house's history as they may have researched the property.

Where can I find out the history of my house UK?

The local council will have a local archive of house data and property developments, showing any planning permission applications, regional studies or family histories of a local area.

The local archive should show the history of your house or the neighbouring properties around it.

How can I find out the original plans for my house UK?

If your property has undergone any renovations since its original layout, then you can find the original plans for a property via the local authority's register of planning decisions.

Here you can find all developments that need planning permission, like extensions or structural alterations.

What other ways can I find out how old is my house?

If you live in a property made of different materials from the rest of the properties on your street, this may indicate that the property was built at a different time to your neighbours.

You could hire a local historian to help you determine when your property was built, as they will be well-versed in the type of property materials available over the years.

Alternatively, if your property has high ceilings, lead-cut windows, picture rails or other features such as a grand fireplace or outhouse, then it may suggest that you live in a period home.

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Why is it important to know when was my house built?

Knowing when your home was built could make or break a property renovation or extension project. A property listed or within a conservation area may be under strict regulations to keep the characteristics of the original building.

You may also face strict regulations from the local council if your property becomes damaged in a storm, flood or fire and you need to repair it.

You will be required to source the same materials of the same age and colour to restore the building to its original likeness.

What era was my house built-in?

If you live in a periodic property, it may be helpful to understand what era your property was built for historical context, preservation, restoration, maintenance, repairs, value and marketability.

Examining the architectural style, materials used, and distinctive property features allows you to differentiate between popular features from specific periods, giving you an educated guess on the property's age.

Below is our spotters' guide to finding out which era your property was built:
When was my Tudor house built?

The typical Tudor house was built between the 1480s and 1603. They are iconically thatched and came to be recognised by their wooden outer frame, known as being 'half timbered'.

Tudor houses were built around and during the rise of the Church of England and were inspired by the increase of quintessentially British trends at the time.

When was my Jacobean/Stuart house built?

The Jacobean era was between 1603 and 1714 and was a time of change. The favoured housebuilding material switched from timber to brick, which took influence from the rest of Europe.

The first Jacobean architecture in the UK was the work of Inigo Jones, an architect who designed buildings for the Royal Family.

When was my Georgian house built?

Georgian houses were built between 1714 and 1830 and were a fusion between Stuart-era housing and Italian influences.

When was my Victorian house built?

Victorian houses were built between 1830 and 1901, heavily inspired by the Gothic style and classical revival of the 1800s.

Victorian houses tended to lose the symmetry seen throughout the last few centuries and focus more on eclectic features as the middle classes strived to express their wealth.

When was my Queen Anne house built?

Queen Anne houses were built between 1880 and 1900 and took on a far more eccentric take on Victorian-era architecture. While they were made within the same era as Victorian houses, they took their liberties with artistic flair.

Most Queen Anne houses are made with ornate brickwork, lighter colours and less gothic and are heavily reliant on Dutch architectural influences.

When was my Edwardian house built?

Edwardian houses were built between 1901 and 1914 and would sit on a large plot of land that no longer boasted a cellar or span over three storeys.

Edwardian houses were the first signs of modern family-orientated living, leading the way to the modern family house.

No matter the era, we'll buy your house!
When was my Addison house built?

Addison homes were built in 1919 to meet the growing demand for the working class after WW1. Christopher Addison introduced the Housing Act of 1919, in which hundreds of homes were built within a year.

The houses were easy to build and satisfactory places to live, with their design based on that of countryside cottages.

When was my 30s Semi-Detached house built?

30's Semi-detached houses were built between 1920 and 1939 when the housebuilding industry took off. It's arguably one of the most popular housing styles in Britain.

When was my Art Deco house built?

Art Deco architecture was favoured between 1920 and 1940, taking inspiration from Modernism, the industrial age, ancient and exotic cultures, Hollywood, cubism and decorative crafts.

The properties became known for their architectural significance and geometrical designs.

When was my Airey/BISF house built?

Airey / BISF houses were built in the 1940s and are characterised by the lack of materials due to the growing war effort. The houses were built in factories and then assembled on-site.

They get their name from the famous design by Sir Edwin Airey.

When was my 70s Terrace/Semi-Detached house built?

The 70s terraced and semi-detached houses were built during the 1970s and are usually characterised by their flat front, hanging tiles and weatherboarding.

When was my New Build house built?

A new build property will be any property that was built after 1980. A property developer will have created most new builds throughout the last 40 years.

Since the 2000s, however, minimalist new builds have taken centre stage, usually built in the suburbs to conserve energy and maximise family living.

These family homes often include a main bedroom, open plan living and dining room, spare bedrooms and ample garden space.

To prevent getting caught out by a new build developer, always be sure to check out flood maps, read the developer's reviews and of course invest in a new build snagging survey.

However, it is essential to note that not all buildings built in the last 40 years are new build developments; this is just the most common form of housebuilding.

Whatever type of house you have...

How do I find out the age of an old property?

To find the age of an old property within England and Wales, you must research the property's history.

Title deeds

  • The Title deeds of the property may contain information regarding its age or date of construction which you can obtain via the Land Registry or consulting a solicitor or conveyancer who can access this information for you.

Local archives

  • The local archives, such as country record offices or local history centres, often maintain historical records related to properties.

  • They may have documents like old maps, property registers or building plans that can provide insights into the property's age. If you have a periodic property built before 1862, you can search 2,000 properties recorded in the 1862 Act register.

  • Consult old Ordnance Survey & local authority maps of the area or postcode where your property is located. By comparing different editions of the maps, you can identify when your property first appeared, giving you an approximate idea of its age.

Local historians

  • Contact local historical societies or heritage organisations in your area, as they might have information or resources related to the history of properties in the region.

Census records

  • Census records can provide details about when residents inhabited or occupied property. The UK public has been naked about where they live and how many people have resided within a property since 1086 when the Doomsday Book was written.

  • In the 19th Century, completing the census every ten years became necessary; meaning you should be able to pin-point the decade in which your property was built.

Are older properties more expensive to insure?

For insurance purposes, older properties may have higher insurance rates in the UK than newer properties due to rebuilding costs, the scope of maintenance, the range of wiring and plumbing, the lack of security measures and their listed or historic status.

You will need to know ‘when was my house built’ in order to apply for insurance.

Insurance companies will assess the location, size, construction type and specific features of a property and not necessarily the age.

However, we recommend you seek financial guidance if you wish to insure an older property, as they can find you specialist insurers if needed.

New or old, we will buy

Can the age of my house affect its saleability?

In the United Kingdom, the age of a house can affect its saleability because of its historical significance, architectural style, condition, building regulations, market demands and buyer preferences.

Historical significance

  • If your house is of historical significance or is a listed building, it may be a selling point for potential buyers who appreciate such properties' unique character and heritage.

  • Older houses with architectural features or connections to notable historical events or figures can be desirable to specific buyers.

  • Certain architectural styles are highly sought after by buyers, and the age of your house may indicate that it falls within a particular architectural period.

Condition of house

  • The age of a house can affect its condition and maintenance requirements. Older properties may require more frequent repairs or renovations.

  • But if the house has been well-maintained, its age may be acceptable for buyers, so documentation of recent renovations is crucial to help alleviate potential problems.

Building regulations

  • Houses built before specific regulatory changes, such as introducing modern building codes or energy efficiency standards, may need to meet current requirements.

  • This will affect a buyer's purchasing decision as they will have concerns about the cost and effort required to bring the house up to current standards.

  • Unfortunately, as the UK Government moves to bring in stricter EPC rules and offer eco-initiatives to anyone building a new build property, there is a genuine possibility that period homes will become harder to sell.

Property demand

  • But, for the moment, the demand for older properties can vary depending on location and market conditions, as some areas will have a strong need for historical or period properties, while in other regions, buyers may prefer new builds.

  • Some buyers may have a specific preference or bias towards older or newer properties.

  • While some buyers are attracted to older houses' character, craftsmanship and uniqueness, others may prefer newer properties that offer modern amenities and lower maintenance costs.

How can I easily sell my period home?

As one of the UK's leading cash buyers, we recognise that period homes are built to last, with some Tudor homes still standing after 500 years!

We also understand that they're becoming increasingly rarer by the day as new builds are all over the country, and the government continues to incentivise first-time buyers to buy new builds and not period homes.

This is why we have pledged that we can buy your property, no matter its age, year of construction, condition, location or demand on the open market. We will buy your property for cash in as little as seven days.

Being a cash buyer powered by a team with over 50 years of combined experience purchasing homes, we can have you book your removals as early as next week. And that's not even the best bit. We don't charge fees either. We need to put the cost of surveys and solicitors onto you. They're both in the house.

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Tom Condon

Tom Condon, one of our content writers, has fascinating expertise in sustainability in the property industry. Tom thoroughly understands the market and has experience in both residential and commercial property. He enjoys attending conferences and staying current with the most recent property trends.