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Will Robinson

How to date when properties where built by looking at them?

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You're going to hate me... I am pretty sure you can buy a book that goes through the 'styles' of property. Alas, I kinda know because I look at loads of them. Ok, I don't look at loads, I look at ones that are turn of the century, so 1900's. I like 'em, cause they are built like tanks. Paul.

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Define roughly....


Roughly speaking, 95% of properties you will be looking at as investment properties will be Victorian and so 1840's onwards.  There will be the odd one here and there from the Georgian era 1714 - 1837.... but one thing to remember about these timelines is the lag there can be from London outwards.  Standard Georgian buildings (e.g. Georgian, Gothic revival, Regency, Neo Classical etc.) can go beyond the 1837 cut off date the further away from London you get.  It took time for fashions to change, architects out in the sticks to keep up with the latest trend.  


I'm a particular fan of Victorian terraces for example, circa 1870 - 1900.  


I'd hazard a guess and say 85% of properties will be Edwardian onwards so turn of the last century onwards. 


How to date them will only come from experience, and a lot of it, and even then a good deal of the time you'll be wrong.  Those sneaky architects have a tendency to copy other past eras.  


But to try and give you some very borderline helpful hints here goes;

  • If it's got cavity walls, it's late 1920's / 1930's onwards.  A good indicator is the size of the walls, 9 inch brick walls tend to be solid.  Use the width of a piece of A4 as a helpful guide. 
  • Concrete tiled roof, it's 1910's onwards. 
  • Flat roof, 1960 - 1970. 
  • Sliding sash windows, pre 1920's. 
  • Metal window casements, post war - 1950's. 
  • Stretcher bond brickwork (i.e. all full length, no half bricks) 1940's onwards.
  • Dry lined internal walls, 1960's onwards. 
  • Medium sized pitch and hipped roofs, interwar years. 1919 - 1939. 
  • Timber framed, 1980's onwards. 
  • PVC guttering, 1970's onwards. 
  • No chimney, 1960's onwards. 


I think that is probably the time period you are trying to age.  It's not an exact science, but you'll get a feel of what style the local area has for each time period.  


As for useful resources, try www.english-heritage.org.uk for a lot of useful information.  

You can also check on the land registry for a copy of the title register which will tell you in some detail the age of the property.  It will cost you to get that though, but only about £3 I think.  



Caveats on all of the above.... it's 11pm and I've just got back from the pub.  :-)  

Happy property aging all! 

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