Homes Under the Hammer: Renovators lay out plan for old house
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Some properties scream Tudor with their steeply-pitched gable roofs and decorative half-timbering, whilst others are a fair bit harder to identify. Finding out when your house was built is not only an interesting venture but also key in understanding the structural make-up of your home. The answer is almost definitely in the property documents, but which files should you be looking into to find out more?
Generally the details of property will be outlined in the series of documents which you will acquire when completing the purchase.
Seller’s property information form
If you’re looking at buying a house your seller or agent may know the answer so be sure to check or have a look in the ‘Seller’s property information form’ – a mandatory file in every house sale which may contain the property’s age.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Operations Director of conveyancing specialists Quittance Legal Services, Chris Salmon, said: “You can find out when your property was built by looking at your property’s title register.
“You can get this from HM Land Registry – a download of a PDF will cost you £3.
“If you recently bought the property, your conveyancer should have a copy of its title deed, so you can ask them for this information.”
If you’re still looking to buy – the estate agent or mortgage broker you’re working with will usually hold a version of the deeds too.
Although they check the sale of land, not property, you can check the age of the property by seeing when the transfer was originally made from the property developer to the first owner.
If you’ve studied the architecture of your property and believe it is a period property, be sure to look further afield into national heritage, listed buildings and utilise online services such as Old Maps to review pre-dated layouts of your postcode.
Whether you suspect you’re living in a Georgina, Victorian or Jacobean building, there will be more detailed pointers in the following resources.
Check out census returns made at 10-year intervals between 1841 and 1911 to find the first mention of the address
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Property Solvers recommends checking to see if your house is listed in Historic England’s National Heritage List or CADW’s National Historic Assets of Wales.
Grade I, II and III listed buildings receive various amounts of government protection so you can ensure it is preserved for future generations
Tip – when purchasing a property you should be aware if it is a listed building; this is generally a last-resort option for determining the age of your home.
Check the National Archives for information about your property’s history; most libraries will store information on your local area through the years – so this is also a great way to get clued up on the local history of your neighbourhood.
Fire insurance maps date back to 1885 so you have a strong chance of finding records of your home if you suspect it is an older property.
Talk to your neighbours
Join local property forums on social media to discuss the age of your house with neighbours and like-minded local people.
You might even find some common links in the people that have lived in your home before you.
Study the architecture of your home
Whether you’re interested in a property or are curious about your family home, the architecture of a building can usually provide some clues in your investigations.
Do your research and check out key features like layout, window styles, roofing style, chimneys and fireplaces.
If you have a newer property and are looking to pinpoint its 20th century background, be sure to pay particular attention to brick work, concrete and decorative features (or the lack of).
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