When was my property built? – step by step guide

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a window that was built in the past

Knowing when your property was built can offer insight into its history, construction quality, and potential maintenance needs. In this article, we go into the details.

How to find out when your property was built

To begin finding out when your property was built, the easiest thing you can do is visit the land registry and request a copy of a property’s title deeds. This process will cost you £3 if you haven’t already requested it

How to check the title deeds step by step

The process of. checking title deeds begins with confirming the land or property is registered with the land registry and ends with requesting a deeds request form. Follow the below steps:

Step 1: Confirm Property or Land Registration

To begin, verify whether the property or land is registered with the land registry by reading the property summary you can access for free. You can do this by clicking here and then searching for a property.

You do not have to pay anything at this stage as you are simply searching the property summary for the title register. If there is a title register you can proceed.

Step 2: Verify if there is a title register

Within the information found by searching for a property in the land registry as found above, you will be able to find the title register if it is available by ‘viewing available documents’.

If there is not a title register, read on as there are other methods of verifying a property’s age if it is not registered with the land registry.

Step 3: Download Title Register

This is where you have to pay for the title register available on the property. Before you proceed, make sure you have a working email address and a working debit or credit card on hand.

The government website may time-out if you leave the payment portal open for too long and do not sign in in time.

Step 4: Find the title number

One the payment is made and you have access to the title register then you can locate the property’s title number which will be used to fill in the deeds request form and obtain more information about the property.

Finding the title number of a property

The title number is usually at the top of the title register as this is an important number in the register form.

Step 5: Complete Deeds Request Form

Next, visit the deeds request form page on the government website which you can find here. This is also called an 0C2 form.

Utilise the property’s title number obtained from the title register to fill in the deeds request form and find useful information about the property.

Step 6: Look for the property history

Once you have obtained the title deeds, you have to know where to look to find out when your property was built. The title deeds include a lot of information such as information surrounding the mortgage of the property and other information about the contracts.

You want to only focus on the information to do with a property’s history and previous owners.

It is useful to note that all title deeds appear differently depending on the property but in general, you can work out when a property was built by looking for

  • Previous owners and going back to the first owner of the property
  • Finding details about the property construction and
  • Looking for anything on the deeds that explicitly tells you about when the property was built

How accurate is this information?

Information about the registered owners and the previous mortgages and sales history of a property are always accurate.

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However, other information such as a properties boundaries may be vague and not very definitive as some property information is never recorded or updated with the land registry.

What should you do if the property is not registered with the land registry?

If a property is not registered and you have exhausted what you can do yourself, then you may need to find alternative methods such as:

  • Speaking to your local council to see if they have any history of the property
  • Speak to the owner of the property or an estate agent to find out
  • Ask the current owner to register with the land registry (They will have to evidence of an unbroken chain of at least fifteen years)
  • Search the title deeds of a property next door
  • speak to a solicitor who can help you.
Get information on using solicitors here

In general, if a property is not registered on the land registry, finding out when a property was built will become more of a guess, using information you can gather and your own education to come up with the most likely period of construction

How does when a property was built impact property price?

The age of a property plays a significant role in determining its market value. Generally, newer properties tend to command higher prices, while older properties may be more affordable.

However, it’s essential to consider several factors alongside the build date to accurately assess a property’s worth. Here’s a table that illustrates how the build date can impact property prices, along with a more in-depth analysis:

Build Date Impact on Property Price
New Build (<5 years) Highest prices due to modern amenities, energy efficiency, and lower maintenance costs.
Recent (5-20 years) High prices, still relatively new but may lack some cutting-edge features.
Mid-Age (20-50 years) Moderate prices, well-established neighborhoods, may require some renovations.
Older (50-100 years) Lower prices, charm and character but potential for higher maintenance costs.
Period (>100 years) Prices can vary significantly based on condition, location, and historical significance.

In general, newly constructed properties command premium prices due to their modern amenities, energy-efficient designs, and minimal maintenance requirements. Properties built within the last 5-20 years also tend to fetch higher prices, as they offer contemporary features while still being relatively new.

Having said this, there is a high chance that a property built within the last 20 years and is listed as a new build property is a leasehold property. And this class of property is often around 10% cheaper to purchase compared to a property of freehold status. Find out more about this here.

Older properties, ranging from 50-100 years old, usually come with lower price tags but may involve higher maintenance costs and potential renovations to update systems and structures.

Older property in the UK

Period properties, those over 100 years old, can have widely varying prices depending on their condition, location, and historical significance. Well-preserved, period homes in desirable areas can command premium prices, while those requiring extensive renovations may be more affordable.

Things to look out for if you have a house built in the 1960s and earlier 

if you have a property that is very old, it may have the following issues:

Poor insulation

Older properties, particularly those built before the 1960s, often lack adequate insulation, leading to higher energy costs and inefficient heating. Poor insulation can result in excessive heat loss through walls, roofs, and floors, making it challenging to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. This issue may require retrofitting insulation, which can be a costly and disruptive process.

Asbestos

Asbestos was widely used as a building material in the construction industry until the late 20th century due to its insulating and fire-resistant properties. However, exposure to asbestos fibres has been linked to serious health risks, including lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Asbestos in a wall

If a property built before the 1960s contains asbestos, it is crucial to have it safely removed or encapsulated by licensed professionals, which can be an expensive undertaking.

Lead based paint

Lead-based paints were commonly used in older properties until their harmful effects on health, particularly for children, were recognized.

Lead exposure can cause various health issues, including developmental problems and neurological damage. If a pre-1960s property has lead-based paint, it must be properly remediated or encapsulated, which can be a costly and specialised process.

Subsidence

Older properties are more susceptible to subsidence, which is the gradual sinking or downward movement of a building due to various factors, such as soil shrinkage, tree root activity, or underground mining.

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Subsidence can lead to structural damage, including cracked walls, sloping floors, and sticking doors or windows. Addressing subsidence issues can be complex and costly, often requiring underpinning or other structural reinforcement work.

Lack of modern amenities

Properties built in the 1960s and earlier often lack many modern amenities and features that are now considered standard, such as open-plan layouts, en-suite bathrooms, and ample storage space.

an old uk kitchen

Updating these properties to meet contemporary living standards can involve extensive renovations, which can be expensive and may require planning permission.

Outdated electrical wiring and plumbing

Older properties may still have outdated electrical wiring and plumbing systems that do not meet current safety standards and regulations. These systems can pose potential fire hazards or increase the risk of water damage.

Replacing outdated electrical wiring and plumbing can be a significant undertaking and may involve extensive work, such as re-routing pipes or installing new wiring conduits.

Things to look out for in property built between 1960 and 2000

If you have a property dated in this era, pay attention to the issues that might be in property before the years of 1960 as well as the reasons below.

Non-traditional construction methods

During the 1960s to 2000 period, some properties were built using non-traditional construction methods, such as prefabricated reinforced concrete (PRC) or high aluminum cement (HAC).

high aluminium cement

These methods were often experimental or intended as temporary solutions but have been known to experience structural issues over time. Properties built with these materials may require thorough inspections and potential remedial work to ensure their structural integrity.

Dated kitchens and decor

Properties from this era may have kitchens and decor that are outdated and no longer align with modern tastes and preferences.

While cosmetic updates can be made, significant renovations or reconfigurations may be necessary to create more open and functional living spaces, which can be costly and disruptive.

In-efficient windows

Many properties built between 1960 and 2000 have single-glazed windows, which are less energy-efficient than modern double or triple-glazed alternatives.

single glazed windows

Replacing these windows can improve insulation and reduce energy costs, but it can be a significant expense, especially if the property has numerous windows or non-standard sizes.

Things to look out for in property built after 2000

If you are looking at a property that was built after 2000, it may be a new build property in which case you should look out for issues like snagging issues and poor build quality. it is worth noting that these types of properties are often leasehold proeprtys.

Snagging issues

New build properties may have snagging issues, which refer to minor defects or incomplete work that needs to be addressed by the developer or builder.

These issues can range from cosmetic problems, such as poorly fitted doors or scratched surfaces, to more significant issues like faulty installations or structural defects.

Snagging issue

It’s essential to conduct thorough inspections and address any snagging problems before completion.

Poor build quality

While new build properties should comply with current building regulations such as those set out by the NHBC, there can be instances of poor build quality due to factors such as substandard materials, rushed construction, or inadequate oversight.

Poor build quality can lead to problems like structural defects, damp issues, or premature wear and tear, which may require costly repairs or remediation in the future if you don’t have insurance.

Poor resale value

Some new build properties, particularly those in oversaturated or poorly planned developments, may suffer from poor resale value in the long run.

Get more informatioin on property trends by reading here

This can be due to factors like limited demand, lack of amenities, or the mass production of housing in our area, increasing supply. It’s crucial to research the local area, developer reputation, and long-term market trends to assess the potential resale value of a new build property.

Unexpected ground rent

Many new build properties, especially leasehold properties or those within managed developments, may be subject to ground rent and service charges.

These ongoing costs can be significant and may increase over time, potentially impacting the overall affordability and long-term ownership costs of the property. It’s essential to understand and carefully review these obligations before purchasing.

What other things can you check alongside the property’s build date?

The Land Registry and ordnance survey are valuable resources that provide a wealth of information beyond just the build date of a property. When you purchase official copies of the title register and title plan, you can access various details about the property.

Checking the floor area of a property 

While the title register may provide some general information about the property’s size, obtaining the title plan can give you a more precise understanding of the floor area and boundaries.

To access the title plan, you typically need to pay a fee of £3.

Get a full guide on using the land regsitry

The title plan, which is essentially a scaled diagram of the property, will show the exact boundaries and measurements of the land and buildings. This can be particularly useful when considering extensions, renovations, or any work that may impact the property’s footprint.

Finding the ordnance survey

The Ordnance Survey (OS) is the national mapping agency for Great Britain, responsible for producing detailed and accurate maps of the country. The Ordnance Survey maps provide precise information about land boundaries, buildings, roads, and other topographical features.

screenshot of ordnance survey

When purchasing a property, having access to the Ordnance Survey map can be valuable, especially when combined with the build date information. The Ordnance Survey map can help identify the exact location and boundaries of the property, as well as provide insights into the surrounding area, including nearby amenities, infrastructure, and potential development plans.

Where do you check your property’s ordnance survey? – link

To check the Ordnance Survey map for your property, you can visit the official Ordnance Survey website. On the website, you can search for your property’s address or location, and the interactive map will display the area in detail.

Additionally, you can purchase various Ordnance Survey map products, such as large-scale plans or digital mapping data

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