How Old Is My House and How Do I Find Out?


17 December 2018

Part of the fun of owning a property is knowing its history and a little about its previous owners. Many people also need to know as it is a question on most insurance application forms. If you have just bought a brand new property, you will certainly know its early history as you will be creating it, but there is still plenty to learn about the history of the land that it stands on. The big question is how to find out such information.

First Port of Call, Hm Land Registry

The first stage of the detective trail to uncover information about your property is HM Land Registry which registers the ownership of all land in England and Wales. The Land Registry records information about the land rather the buildings on it.

Having said that, the Registry will hold the details of the property developer who bought or leased the land. If the building was constructed by an individual, an approximate age can be gleaned from the date of the first transfer of the land.

House Buy Fast realised how many people are curious about the age of their home and created a fun quiz to determine the age with surprising accuracy. The one minute questionnaire is free to use as many times as you want to find out how old your house is HERE.

Or the Local Authority

Another source of information is the Local Authority as it will be able to provide key information about when and to whom planning permission was granted.

Information Sources for Older Properties

There are a number of ways to pinpoint the year your property was built if it is an older one. The 1862 Act Register lists 2,000 older properties in England and Wales and the Census returns between the years 1841-1911 contain details of many older properties as do the National Heritage List (England) and the Cadw’s National Historic Archives of Wales.

Other sources of information are local archives which include parish records, local libraries and County Records. A exciting line of investigation if you live in a rural area, is to study some old maps of your area in the hope of finding your property marked.

And Perhaps the Fun Option

Asking your neighbours what they know about the history of your home is certainly the most sociable way to learn some interesting facts about your property. They may well know the year the property was built if it is similar to theirs and may know additional information about the builder and the architect used. If you live in a rural community, it is well worth seeking out an elderly resident who has lived in the village for years as they will certainly have some amusing stories to tell about previous owners – even if they can’t age your home!

Architecturally, the design of your property and the materials used in its construction will help to pinpoint its age and such features as picture rails, bay windows, tiled front steps and even window shutters are all valuable clues to a building’s age. If you are in the process of buying the property, its age is often stated on the survey or on the title deeds of the property.

There Will Be the Incentive to Learn More

Once you have established the date that your property was built, you may well find that your curiosity about the village / town at that time has been awakened and it really is interesting to delve into the local history and to sit back and imagine what your home looked like and what daily life was like all those years ago.

Article provided by one of The National Association of Property Buyers founding members House Buy Fast. Written by Chris Steven.

This content has been provided to us by the writer. Whilst believed to be factually correct, we cannot accept responsibility for content contained within it.

Jonathan Rolande

Jonathan Rolande (MNAEA MICBA MARLA) began in the property business in the late 1980’s and is a Director of House Buy Fast and helped to found The National Association of Property Buyers in 2013. He has worked closely with The Property Ombudsman to develop a Code of Practice for Residential Property Buying Companies.