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How To Find Out When A House Was Built

What you'll find out:


Looks can be deceiving, and this applies to properties too.

For example, a beautiful stone house could be hundreds of years old but on the inside it's been ripped out and renovated and looks brand new. Alternatively, if a home hasn't been looked after and maintained, it may look older than its true age.

If you're not sure how old your house is, there are ways you can find out.

Why does knowing your houses age matter?

Weren't you always curious? Besides it being a nice little history lesson, the age of your house can actually matter for a few different reasons.

One of the main reasons that people are curious about finding out there houses age is for insurance purposes. A lot of buidling & contents insurers will require you to tell them the age of their house, as older houses could push you into a higher insurance bracket.

Another reason could be if you wanted to do some work on the house, it's worth while knowing the age of it as some of the features could affect this. One that springs to mind is that houses built before 1977 might have asbestos.

Lastly, the age of your house could in fact be a selling point. If you're interested in selling then you should try give as much information about the property as possible, if you're house is older you can sell it as having period features, or if it's newer, it would appeal to different people as it should mean it requires less work.

First, Check HM Land Registry

HM Land Registry relatively often receive requests from home owners asking how old their house is. This information is needed for building insurance so it can be essential that they find out the correct year it was built.

As suggested by their name, HM Land Registry only keep documentation on land ownership, not when property was built on this land. However, if you purchased your property as a new build from the developer, you can take a look at the age of the first transfer by the developer to get an approximate age of the home.

If you didn't buy your property new from the building developer, HM Land Registry won't be able to help. But don't panic! Keep reading.

house with plants growing up the walls

Ask your neighbours

Now this may seem like it wouldn't help much, but speaking to your neighbours is one of the best things to do and involves minimal effort, you'll potentially learn a bunch of interesting facts along the way as well!

Your neighbours may have done a bit of research themselves or know through recently purchasing what age their home is, and chances are if you're home is of a similar build type then it was built at a very similar time.

Alternative ways to find out how old your property is

When a vendor is selling their house, they have to fill out a seller's property information form which may contain the age of the property in question. If you're currently in the process of buying a house, you can ask the seller or estate agent for this information.

Alternatively, if you have a mortgage on the property, your survey may well state the age of the house.

Other routes are checking with your council when planning permission was granted, or speaking to your neighbours about when their properties were built, especially if they were built at the same time.

Find the age of older properties

old stone houses in a village

If you're strugging to find the age of your home because it's old, such as built in the 1800s, there are other methods you could try.

1862 Act register

HM Land Registry provides you access to the 1862 Act register, which contains historical information about properties and people. Here, there are recordings of 2,000 properties.

Local archives

Do you have anywhere local which holds archives or historical information? You can start by checking with your parish records, county record offices, or even your local library.

Census returns

Census returns were made every ten years between 1841 and 1911, and counted where everyone was at a particular time. You may find mention of your address in here. If so, have a dig for the first mention of it.

Architecture

Take a look at the style and features of your home, as this can be a good giveaway of the age. For example, they may have only built your type of roof between a particular period of time.

Local historians

Take a look online to see if you can get in contact with a local history society, they may be able to help you out!

Looking to sell your home?

If you're looking to sell your home, and need its age, we may be able to help. Get a cash offer from us today and see if we could help you get moved super fast.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you find out when your house was built for free?

There are a few ways that you may be able to find out what the age of a house is for free. There are a few methods we've explained in this article that are completely free.

Will insurers tell you when your house was built?

In researching this topic there where several conversations of people asking whether the insurance companies can tell you how old your house is, as some seemingly do. This isn't accurate however and is usually just based on your postcode area.

Why would you want to know when your house was built?

There are quite a few reasons you may want to know when your house was built, simple curiousity, insurance reasons, if you're doing work on the house or if you're looking to sell.

Is it bad to buy an old house?

No - it just comes with a different set of challenges in comparison to a new one. Older houses may need more work and are generally less energy efficient, but they usually have great character and are well built, often making them desirable.

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