When was my house built?

When it comes to home insurance quotes, the age of your house matters.

Kim Jones
Kim Jones
Updated 14 August 2023  | 5 mins read

Whether your home is new on the block or has plenty of history, you’ll need to know its age when you take out home insurance. 

Insurers will want to know the year your property was built to calculate your premiums.

Older and period properties are sometimes constructed using materials that might be difficult to source or costly to repair. They may even require specialist building techniques.

Factors like these can hike up the cost of your buildings insurance quote. But not providing the right age can leave you underinsured, or worse, could invalidate your cover.

Key points

  • Your home’s age can affect how much you’ll need to pay for home insurance
  • Older homes typically cost more to insure because they come with greater risk and higher rebuild costs
  • Providing the wrong property age could leave you underinsured or even mean your claim is rejected
  • There are several ways to find out your home’s age, including checking the title deeds and local authority records

How do I find out when a house was built?

It’s best to use reliable information to find out the year your property was built. Even if you can’t pinpoint it exactly, there are a number of ways to get a reasonably accurate estimate:

Your title deeds

If you own your home, the easiest way to discover its age is to look at your property’s title deeds or title register.

These may have been sent to you by your conveyancing solicitor a month or so after the sale was completed. If you can’t find your deeds, contact your solicitor or the mortgage company, as they may still have them.

Your title register counts as your proof of ownership of the property.

And it will show the date of registration - when the first transfer of the plot of land from the property developer to a new owner took place. So it’s likely that your house would’ve been built around this time.

Your mortgage survey or mortgage offer

If you took out a mortgage to buy the property, the documents you received are likely to contain details about your home’s age and may include the year it was built.

Your home survey

If you commissioned a survey when you were buying your home, the survey report should show the date your home was built.

Property information form

When you’re buying a home, the seller must complete a property information form which provides important details about the property. But it’s important to also check information from other sources, like the property’s deeds.

Your local authority

If you’re trying to find out how old your house is, you can also try contacting your local authority whose records may show when the planning permission was granted.

HM Land Registry

You can visit the HM land registry website to get a copy of the title deeds that will show the date your home was built.

How can you find out when a house was built through HM land registry?

If you can’t find your title deeds, you can get them from HM Land Registry provided your property has been registered there.

It keeps copies of title registers for more than 25 million properties in England and Wales which can be downloaded for a fee of £3 each.

You can request a copy of your own title register from them - or for a property you’re interested in buying, for example.

For properties in other areas of the UK go to:

Other ways to find out how old your house is

  • If there are similar properties in your neighbourhood, ask owners if they know when their homes were built.
  • You could ask the previous owner of the property if they have any mortgage or surveyor’s reports that include the date that your home was built.
  • You can also ask the estate agent if they have any information on when the house was built.
  • Of course, you can often tell when a property was approximately built by its architecture style - whether Tudor, Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian or more modern.

Can I find out the exact year my house was built?

If your house is a new build, you can easily find out the build-date from the developer.

In much older properties, it could be difficult to find out the exact year your home was built. It’s usually quite easy to come up with an approximate date that’s fairly accurate, though.

What is classified as an old house?

There’s no set definition as to what’s classed as an old house in home insurance terms. But generally, any property built more than 50 years ago might be considered ‘old’ and any built before the late 1900s could be classed as a period property.

Period properties include Edwardian, Victorian and Georgian homes - and those going further back to Stuart and even Tudor times.

It’s not always the case, but in many instances, the older the property, the higher the risk for insurance companies which translates as higher premium costs.

This could be because materials used to build period homes are expensive and hard to get hold of.

Some older properties may also contain hazardous construction substances like lead or asbestos.

And others might be more prone to damp or subsidence too.

How do I find out the age of older properties?

Search local archives

Go to gov.uk to find out where your local archives are located and how to visit them. They collect and hold records relating to the history of an area - things like papers, building plans, photographs and maps which could help you trace the history of a property.

Check the census

Look at the census forms from 1841 to 1911 to see when your house address was first included.

The 1862 Land Registry Act

This is a record of almost 2,000 properties registered in 1862. It's worth taking a look to see if your home is registered – it's free to check.

Listed buildings

See if your house is listed in Historic England's National Heritage List for England or Cadw's National Historic Assets of Wales.

House detectives

Contact a local history society or amateur historian that might be willing to take up the challenge.

Fire insurance maps

The British Library has records of fire insurance maps that go back to 1885. Each map is dated, so look for the earliest maps that feature your road to see when your property first appeared.

Why is it useful to know how old my house is?

It’s important you give your insurance company correct details about the age of your home as it can affect your insurance premiums.

It’s also something you’ll need to know when you’re selling your house in the future. The age of a property can affect its price - for example, period properties are sought after so can achieve higher asking prices.

As well as being useful to know, it can also be fascinating to discover more about your home’s history and who used to live there.

Plus, if you’re renovating your property, knowing the period or year your home was built means you can make changes that are authentic and sympathetic to its age. It can also help you to look for specific types of building materials, like Victorian roof tiles, so you can make accurate repairs.

How old your home is can affect the cost of your home insurance. Generally, the older your property, the more expensive it’ll be to cover because insurers view it as being higher risk – older wiring, outdated plumbing and pricey roofing repairs, are just a few examples of the risks insurers will think of. If you keep on top of home maintenance throughout the year, you can minimise many of these risks and keep your home free from general wear and tear.
Ceri McMillan - Home insurance expert

Frequently asked questions

Yes, your home’s age can make a big difference to how much your home insurance premiums will be - largely because older homes usually come with higher rebuild costs. But other factors can also affect the price, like your postcode and how secure your home is.

Generally speaking, this is usually the case. Any home that has period features and was built using materials or processes that would be difficult to source or replicate today will be more expensive to insure. And if you live in a listed property or your home has traditional features, like a thatched roof, you may need to take out specialist insurance.

If you’ve tried all the main routes to finding out your home’s age without success, you could try asking nearby neighbours.

It may also be worth finding out whether your road was directly affected by World War Two bombings - this could at least pinpoint when your home might have been rebuilt, especially if it looks different to others on the street.

If all else fails, you may need to simply estimate the age as accurately as you can using the architectural style and features of your home as a gauge.

You might do this accidentally or be tempted to reduce the age of your property to try and lower your home insurance premiums. However, if you later needed to make a claim, your insurer could reject it because you didn’t provide accurate information when you took out your policy.

Whether you’re renting an older home or a new-build property, your landlord is legally responsible for taking out buildings insurance - so it’s not something you need to worry about. But as a tenant, it’s worth considering contents insurance to protect your belongings from events like fire, theft, and flooding.

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