Struggling how to find out when your house was built? Not anymore you're not...
Knowing how to find out when a house was built should be common knowledge. If for you it’s not, then stick with us. You see, as a homeowner it’s your responsibility to be clued up on all your property’s ‘ins’ and ‘outs’, including its age. Don’t underestimate facts like these, as they can very often influence your credibility as a seller, and even your sale price too. Use age in the right way and in many cases it can become a selling feature.
But that being said, knowing how to find the age of your house doesn’t just benefit you as a seller. It’s also useful for eyeing up your onward purchase as well.
Whether you’re after a 1930s semi or a Georgian town house, knowing the age of you’re walking into puts you at a significant advantage. Not only will you be far more aware of any potential issues, but you’ll also be able to make a more clear judgement as to what era of property is for you. All things that make your buying decision easier and prevent you from making a wrong turn. So with that in mind, here’s the simple way of how to find the age of a house.
Fed up of asking ‘when was my house built?’ and want your answer fast? Simply use the menu below…
- How old is an old house?
- How to find out when a house was built
- When was my house built? It’s really old
- Can the age of my house affect its saleability?
- FAQs on how to find out the age of a house
Ultimately you can't really categorise a house as new or old. That's entirely subjective. However, the general rule of thumb stands at 50 years. So basically that means any house under 50 years of age, would be classed as newly built. Whereas anything beyond that 50 years would be considered a more of a traditional build. However, we wouldn't suggest you judge a house purely on its age. It's the condition that really matters.
You see, every house that's 'old' has lived a different life. Some have been well looked after, others have caught fire and being rebuilt. Some have been modernised with solar panels and exterior wall insulation, where others have been left stock. The ground under a house can differ too, which could affect the likelihood of unhouse repaymentsable issues like subsidence. Not something you want to get caught up in.
To be honest, when you really consider just how many factors influence a property's condition, its age seems like a pretty minor detail. Then again, it's always something worth knowing, as doing so gives you the advantage when it comes to viewings. Know what age of property you're looking at as well as all the era's noticeable features, and you'll find it far easier to spot any issues with its condition. Always a good weapon to have in your arsenal, especially if you want to curb the likelihood of issues down the line or just like to haggle.
We'll buy your house in 7 days! No - that isn't a typo...
Judging a house purely by its age is dangerous - don't do it! Yes, on the surface you'd assume that new builds were the more sensible choice, in comparison to anything from the Georgian or Victorian era. They're newer after all, so they must to be better, right?
Well not necessarily. You see, while new builds do run rings around period properties when it comes to energy consumption and usually price, they don't necessarily equal value. The main difference between them and a period home is why they're built. Your typical new build is built purely to be a house - functionality sits at the heart of what it is. Whereas, period homes have a bit more decorum about them. Yes, they're still built to be a house, but they've got that extra va va voom. They're quirky in their own right and don't look like they've been designed with an Etch A Sketch.
Neither were they build on a budget like new homes, which means the construction and materials used are often a lot better. The land they sit is often more premium too. After all, when you really think about it, new build developers have essentially had last pickings when it comes to land. Hence why they're often further outside a city centre and in some instances, are built on floodplains. Not that you'll see that reflected in the price
So, now you're aware that age isn't the 'be all and end all', here's our quick spotter's guide on how to find out when your house was built...
- Its thatched roof, as back then tiles weren't really used. However, if you do come across a Tudor home that has since been tiled, then chances are the roof will feature a steep gradient.
- Tall chimneys, which lead to enclosed fireplaces. Pre-Tudor homes didn't really have chimneys, merely a hole in the roof to let out any smoke.
- Their overhanging jetties which overhang the street every so slightly to make life upstairs a bit more roomy.
- The fact there was less in the way of symmetry when compared to previous eras. At the time, symmetry wasn't really a focus, so Tudor properties varied quiet substantially in size.
- Their layouts, which usually imitate the letters 'E' & 'H'
- Fine details, which were one of the main focuses of the Tudor era. Windows and doors, while small, were ornately decorated with intricate patterns, similar to other exterior features like chimney stacks.
- Exposed timber frames, that are usually painted black to contrast to their neutral exterior. Now while these do look stunning, they cost a pretty packet to maintain.
- The sheer amount of symmetry across Jacobean houses, despite their size.
- Grand wooden staircases, that were arguably the main feature. The modern alternative would be worth thousands!
- Sash windows, which made their first appearance in this era. Windows in buildings of this era were far larger than those of previous Tudor properties.
- Separate servants' quarters, particularly in the larger properties of this era. Now they're most likely staged as a utility room. Their flat fronted facades, which often included mismatched bricks.
- Its generous room sizes, which when combined with high ceilings make for a very grand place to live.
- It's tall. Typically Georgian properties consist of three or more storeys. Town houses are typically the most common form of Georgian properties. You'll see many of these if you go to central London.
- They have rectangular windows, which are often sashes. Georgian houses are great if you like light and airy living.
- The render is smooth, although you can also find Georgian properties rendered in Stucco or with brick facades too.
- It boasts a grand entrance way and usually a tall door.
- It has a hip roof - one with a gentle slope. Some of the time, these will feature a dormer as well. Common in those which have had an attic conversion.
- It features ornate motifs above the windows and doors. Such motifs are said to have been inspired by Greek architecture.
- Just like in Jacobean properties, the room sizes are generous. In many cases probably double what you'd find in a new build.
- Outside they'll likely be a parade of railings, providing they weren't cut down in the 1940s to help with the war effort.
- High ceilings and large bay windows, designed to let in lots of light.
- An offset entrance way. Whether the door will be to the left or right of the house depends on its position.
- Narrow hallways, which are usually rely on light from the front door. A lot of Victorian houses today have neutral coloured hallways to encourage them to feel light and airy.
- Intricately designed gables, which are usually painted black and have some form of spire or ornament on the top. However be warned, these do require frequent attention and if rotten can cost thousands to replace!
- Geometrically tiled floors. You'll usually find these in the hallway or porch area. However hardwood floors are also common throughout the rest of the house.
- Internal features like dado and picture rails, which add character to the space. Fun fact - before picture hooks came along, they were suspended on wires. Wires that were attached to the picture rail, hence the name.
- Its ornate gables and pitched roofs. Characteristics that it carries over from the Victorian era.
- The contrasting colours of the outside brick and stonework. Red brick is most common of this era and usually juxtaposed with white stone-framed windows. Terracotta was particularly popular, as was limestone.
- The style of windows. Find a property that's from the Queen Anne era and you'll likely discover oriel windows (a small form of a bay) as well as a round oculus window towards the top of the front facade. The windows usually had leaded bars running through them too.
- Its wide door and porch way, which often have grand stone steps leading up to them.
- Their vast gardens. Part of the perk of owning an Edwardian property is the size of their garden, which is often pretty generous. Hence why anything Edwardian usually makes for a great family home.
- Their use of mock-Tudor cladding. As a way of making Edwardian properties look older they featured mock-Tudor cladding, particularly across the top half of the house.
- Their use of Art Nouveau stained glass. A feature that only really started used towards the end of the Victorian era, but coincided perfectly with the Edwardian love for art.
- The vast amount of elaborate carvings. Be they on the apex or around the porch, wood calvings were big in the Edwardian era.
- The sheer space in their hallway, when compared to previous Victorian era.
- The fact that rooms were both wider and brighter. They still retained the high ceilings of previous eras too.
- The intricate details like parquet wood floors inside, and hanging tiles outside.
- How they feel more open and light. It was common to have French doors out onto the garden.
- The way they're arranged. Usually you'll find Addison homes built in avenues, crescents and cul-de-sacs. These were often in parts of the suburbs known as 'garden estates'.
- The fact they're set back, quite a way from the pavement for privacy. This also meant they usually featured both front and back gardens. Today, many front gardens have since been block paved or gravelled for car parking.
- The amount of rooms they feature. Usually it's three, although sometimes it can be four. Potentially even five if there's been a recent attic conversion.
- Often red bricked and partially rendered. This could be with Stucco or pebbledash.
- Wide bay windows, both on the upper and lower floors. If there's one thing to say about a 30s Semi, they're light and airy.
- Their red brick construction, which is often masked with render or pebbledash. Sometimes this could cover the whole house, and other times could mereley be the upper or lower part.
- Their hipped roof - essentially a roof with a more gradual slope.
- The sheer amount of space. Just like Edwardian properties, a 30s Semi is usually built on a decent sized plot. So, in many cases they often boast garages, family-friendly gardens and a generous amount of off-street parking.
- Their originality. Many featured oak parquet flooring and even boasted oak doors with stained glass too.
- The fact they're not a semi at all. You see, while these properties were most commonly built as a semi, they also came detached as well.
- Their extravagantly shaped windows. The main focus with any Art Deco property was sunlight, so windows could be more or less from floor to ceiling, and even curved too. A more modern substitute for bay windows.
- Their flat rooves, which help maintain their boxy design.
- The fact they're smoothly rendered. A welcome change from the pebbledash and exposed brick of the 30s.
- The way their design combines rounded and sharp edges. Most houses of this era are built around geometric shapes.
- Their use of metals or metalised surfaces. For instance a lot of Art Deco properties incorporate stainless steel and aluminium elements to contrast to the bright white exterior.
- Use of concrete instead of brick or stone. Airey houses are made up of ship-lap concrete panels and posts that are reinforced with metal tubing.
- Small windows. Unfortunately windows weren't what you'd call a feature on an Airey house - they were merely windows.
- Lack of a porch. Instead an Airey house usually had a small outside canopy as a substitute, commonly held up with two metal posts.
- Lack of house repaymentsability. Very few (if any) lenders will provide finance for an Airey house, since in 1985 they were listed as part of the Housing Defects Act.
- Their floors, which are usually concrete slabs.
- Their big flat windows. Today these will be double glazed, however if its worth checking the age of the windows, as new double glazing runs rings around its predecessors.
- Their use of insulation. Many 70s builds were the first to feature insulation.
- Weatherboarding and hanging tile. Weatherboarding will usually consist of either wood or plastic. Plastic being the easiest to maintain, but if you ask us, wood is the more stylish.
- More modern red and yellow bricks, which were often roughly textured opposed to the more glossy finishes used in previous eras.
- A variety of ways to live. You could get a 90s build as a semi, terrace and even a three- storey town house! Now that's a throwback to Georgian times.
- The occasional bit of mock Tudor panelling. One of those traditional habits we were talking about. Panelling could also be wood too if mocking the Tudors wasn't your thing.
- Lower ceilings to preserve energy efficiency and reduce reverb or echo.
- Rosewood windows - basically a posh way of saying brown. While popular at the time, these features are now often controversial amongst buyers. Let's just say they're a 'required' taste.
- Clay tile roofs. These are often a lot more durable and far less delicate than traditional slates.
- The sheer amount of insulation they use. This could anything from insulated plasterboard right down to insulation under the floors and inside the wall cavities too. Although if there's a gap between these cavities it can cause damp.
- Their open plan layouts. If you're fan of kitchen diners or have always wanted an island in your kitchen, then a new build could be the answer.
- The suspiciously small size of their rooms. Look at a new build in terms of square footage and it's more than likely a 5-bed is the equivalent to a 3/4 bed from back in the Georgian or Victorian era.
- Their triple glazed windows, which often come frames in various colours. At the moment graphite and a light shade of olive green seem to be enjoying popularity.
- Their deceptive use of stone cladding. Ever wondered why 'stone' new builds look so regular and perfect? It's because in most cases they're just red brick house, clad in a thin layer of stone tiles.
- The hordes of solar panels that perch on their roof. A giant PLUS for energy bills, but expensive if they require maintenance.
- The fact they often sit on second class land. Let's face it, the vast majority of period properties are built on far better land than new builds. In some instances they've even been built on floodplains!
Tudor (1480’s – 1603)
Your typical Tudor house is thatched and can also be recognised more or less straight away by its wood outer frame. A building type known as 'half timbered'. Tudor houses were built in the eras after Henry VIII founded the Church of England. All of which means they're architectural style wasn't all that influenced by continental Europe; Tudor homes were quintessentially British.
You can identify a Tudor property by...
FYI: Don't mistake an Edwardian house for something Tudor. At the start of the 20th century, many houses featured 'mock Tudor' elements to in a sense 'rip off' the style used in Tudor homes. Still, at least it shows the style was timeless.
Struggling to sell something Tudor? We'll buy it!
Jacobean/ Stuart Period (1603 – 1714)
The Jacobean era was one of change. The favoured housebuilding material switched from timber to brick, as well as design too, which took greater influence from European architecture. The first Jacobean architecture in the UK was the work of Inigo Jones - an architect who designed buildings for the royals!
You can tell a Jacobean property by...
Georgian (1714 – 1830)
Georgian properties mix the style of Jacobean properties with a touch of Italian influence. Symmetry still reigned supreme with these types of properties.
You can tell a property's Georgian because...
Georgian properties aren't the easiest to sell... but we'll make you an offer
Victorian (1830 – 1901)
Come the Victorian times and architecture was taking a more gothic slant. Typically this forced houses to lose their symmetry and instead focus on fancy features, as the middle classes strived to express their wealth. Some of the most notable are pointed arches and ornate gables.
To spot a Victorian property you must look for...
Queen Anne (1880 - 1900)
Think of Queen Anne properties a wackier take on Victorian architecure. While properties built within the Queen Anne era retain quite a few Victorian features, they bring them their own artistic flare. By that we mean slightly more ornate brickwork, lighter colours and are overall less gothic. It's believed that Dutch influence is behind the style.
You can distinguish a Queen Anne property by...
Struggling to sell a period property? Not any longer you're not...
Edwardian (1901 – 1914)
The Edwardian era brought with it a bit of artistic flare, and was one of the first signs of suburbia. Your typical Edwardian house will sit on a large plot and no longer boast a cellar or span over three storeys like previous eras. Think them as the first nod towards modern family living.
Edwardian houses are characterised by...
Addison homes (1919)
After WW1, a lot of the working class were in need of housing, and fast. So when Christopher Addison introduced the Housing Act of 1919, up went hordes of what have become known as Addison homes. Houses that were easy to build, but equally pleasant places to live. Their design was based on that of countryside cottages.
You can distinguish an Addison home by...
We buy Addison homes, Semis, Airey (BISF) houses - the lot!
30s Semi (1920 - 1939)
During the 20s and 30s, housebuilding really took off, hence why practically everywhere you go you'll come across what's become known as the 30s Semi. It's arguably one of the most popular housing styles in Britain! You'll often find these properties of the people, outside of a city closer to the countryside. Reason being that thanks to more railways and better transport links, it was now more accessible than ever.
A 30s Semi is characterised by...
Art Deco (1920 - 1940)
These are homes that often have a futuristic air about them. Put it this way, if Flash Gordon was ever to come to earth, we'd be pretty certain he'd opt for something art deco. Usually painted white, these geometrically designed properties are 'the' home for anyone with a bit of a wacky edge.
Art Deco houses are known best for...
Yet to find a buyer with the 'acquired' taste for art deco? (cough) We'll by it...
Airey/ BISF houses (1940s)
Don't be fooled by the name. These aren't houses with big windows - they were built with functionality in mind. Because of WW2, in the 40s raw materials were in short supply, forcing houses to be mass produced in factories. They'd then be transported, before being assembled on site. The most popular design was by Sir Edwin Airey, hence the name.
You can define the typical Airey house by its...
70s Terrace/ Semi (1970s)
Come the 70s and terraced and Semi-detached houses were all the rage. However, they didn't look like the traditional counterpart. You can usually distinguish a 70s property by its flat front and use of hanging tiles and weatherboarding. Now, some say this adds character, however in today's world we'd say that's debatable. Saying that though, 70s semis and terraces were popular, so who are we to judge.
A 70s terrace/ semi stands out because of...
The new build (1990s)
Despite the more recent Art Deco and modernist properties, UK homebuyers leaned back on tradition when it came to buying a house in the 90s. Traditional features (and habits) started creeping their way back into property design, alongside the more modern additions. It also lead to some trends, which have become a cause for debate amongst today's buyers.
New builds in the 90s incorporated...
Yes - we even buy new builds!... no joke
Minimalist new builds (the present day)
If you're a fan of minimalism and ultra-mod, you can't really go wrong with a new build. Usually built towards the suburbs, these are properties that pack the latest in tech and gadgetry. Arguably then they're the best bang for the buck, both when it comes to purchase price and running costs. Plus, for those who care about their carbon footprint, they're the most eco-conscious choice too.
Today, new builds can be distinguished by...
FYI: 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.
How to find the age of a house can be tricky, particularly if it's really old. And by really we mean so old that you have to do a fair bit of digging to find out the exact year in which your property was built. Nevertheless, that's not to say it's impossible. In fact, if you keep on reading and follow the advice we're about to give you, it could actually be quite straight forward. So with that in mind, here's our step by step guide on how to find out what year my house was built...
YET TO BUY? An easy way how to find out the age of a house, is to simply ask the seller. They may well already have the answer, or be willing to find out if it's what's stopping you from submitting an offer.
STEP 1: Ask around
If you're yet to ask anyone about how to find out when a property was built, then we'd advise you start with your neighbours, particularly if they have a property of the same era. Your neighbours may have actually asked the same question when they moved in and already found the answer. So why waste your time? Or that could have been their family house since being built. In which case they'll probably have known the house age from being young. Plus, if you're new to the neighbourhood, the phrase 'do you happen to know the age of my house?' is actually a really unique icebreaker.
Not sure when your house was built? We're not that fussy
STEP 2: Investigate other properties in the area
If you're not too sure on where to start, begin by taking a look at other properties in the area. Find out what era they're from and you'll already have a timeframe in which to look. An easy way to assess house history, particularly in a city is to work your way out from the centre. Usually what you'll find is that as you work your way further out, the buildings become younger. Handy tip that.
STEP 3: Try the 1862 Act register
If you're still struggling to find out when a house was built, then you might have to delve a bit deeper. Thankfully, that all be done with the click of a button, as by visiting HM Land Registry you can access the 1862 Act register. This is an online database that contains historical records of properties and people. All you have to do to search it is simply type: the name of the person on the title, your county and your title number into the database. Then wait to see if you get any results. If so, then you may have just found your answer.
STEP 4: Search any local archives
Still struggling how to find out when your house was built? If so, local archives may be next best step. Most towns and cities will have a variety of achieves that you're able to check, however depending on where you are in the UK, your options will likely differ. A few examples of the most common sources of archives are...
- Parish records
- County record offices
- The local library
STEP 5: Investigate the census returns
If you're yet to have luck, then another way how to find out when a property was built in the UK, is to take a look at the census returns. The census itself is a national survey that's distributed across England and Wales. Anyone that doesn't fill in the census is technically committing a crime and could be charged a fee of up to £1000 + court costs. So it's highly likely that it'll be useful sourec of house history. Census returns were made every ten years between 1841 and 1911. Today, you can find all the census data by visiting ancestry.com.
STEP 6: Reach out to a local historian
If all else fails and you still find yourself thinking 'When was my house built?', then you could reach out to a local historian. Their local knowledge of house history could actually be the final piece to the puzzle.
Age is but a number, but time is precious... we'll buy your house in
Yes and no.
You see, whether the age of your house will affect its saleability purely depends on the buyer. Some buyers really warm to character properties and fall head over heels for their period charm. However for others, new builds are more of a sensible and reliable alternative. They're also less costly to maintain and run too. And that's really where the tide could be beginning to turn.
What with the government looking to introduce stricter EPC rules and offer eco initiatives to anyone who flies the green flag, it's only wise to say that come the future, period properties could be less saleable. Want to know more about these new regulations? See what our Co-CEO, Karl, had to say when speaking to the house repayments Introducer.
But it's not just government regulations (and bribery) that could make the age of a home a more significant factor in a sale. It could be down to the lives of buyers themselves. As life becomes more hectic and fast paced, buyers pin a larger emphasis on time. By that we mean if they can save themselves the hassle of renovating a period property or conducting regular maintenance, the likely will. All of which means that the age of a house could really turn into an off-putting factor.
Yes, as one of the UK's leading cash buyers, we recognise that period homes are built to last - there's no doubt about that. Tudor homes that are still standing today have lasted over 500 years! They're also becoming rarer by the day, as hordes of new builds spring up all over the country. But ultimately if buyers don't see period homes like we do, and the government continue to incentivise buying new, then selling a period property on the open market could become quite a task. Not that it has to be though.
Being a cash buyer powered by a team with over 50 years' experience in purchasing homes, we can have you booking your removals for as early as next week. And that's not even the best bit. We don't charge fees either. Neither do we put the cost of surveys and solicitors onto you. They're both on the house (get it?).
So if you're just wanting to move without all the hassle that comes with the open market, then what are you still reading this blog for?
Click the button below to get your no obligation CASH offer
Can you find out when your house was built for free?
While there are a few ways in which you can find out the age of property for free, you may have to pay for the privilege if these methods don't work.
Will insurers tell you when your house was built?
It depends on the insurance company. Some may have th resources to find out when a house was built and be willing to tell you, while others may be less enthusiastic. In the end, if an insurer will tell you your house age is more or less pot luck. Practice your telephone voice and you could be in with a chance.
Why would you want to know when your house was built?
You may want to know how to find out when a house was built for various reasons, Perhaps your insurance company has asked the question, you've had an issue with your house and think the age might tell you more - or, you're just curious. Either way, it pays to be inquisitive, so ask the question.
Is it bad to buy an old house?
No - buying a traditional or period home is a great thing to do. While it will come with a new set of challenge and likely cost you more to run and maintain, period properties are arguably some of the nicest places to live in the UK. In many cases they're also built to last. Important if you looking for a long term home or even thinking of handing your next house down the family.
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