Not all homes are of the bricks and mortar variety. If you’ve set your heart on a new home that’s just a little (or a lot) out of the ordinary, you will need to find a lender willing to accept these quirks.
There’s a lot of properties out there that aren’t your typical brick build with a tiled roof. Some of these can include the impressive and unique – such as historic properties or converted lighthouses – through to homes made entirely from concrete, as well as steel frames and glass walls! High rise flats, timber frame homes and listed properties can also be considered non-standard construction.
The range of what might be classed as non-standard or unusual construction is very wide and covers everything that is not built with brick walls and a tile roof.
If you want to buy a property that is outside of the norm, then you will need to find a mortgage lender that will accept its construction type as part of their underwriting criteria.
The fact that you may need to find a mortgage provider who will accept a property outside their standard construction criteria can limit the range of lenders available to you. This may mean that some of the best mortgage deals are out of reach.
The decision to lend against your property depends on the provider’s underwriting criteria and the assessment made by the surveyor valuing the property.
Some homes of unusual construction may carry higher risks that can cause the lender to be cautious about lending against that property. For example, thatched roofs – while they look great – are a significantly greater fire risk than ordinary tiling.
A historic, timber-framed manor house from the 14th century may be a rare gem, but is highly unlikely to have been built to meet modern housing safety standards. On the other hand, precast concrete buildings built just after World War II were not designed to be in use for so long and can be plagued with maintenance problems.
Lenders will want to check that the property is viable for a mortgage and will use a standard valuation process to do this. With certain properties the surveyor decide that they require more in depth information to be able to make an accurate valuation. They may then request a specialist report for example, a timber frame house may need a damp and timber report to check for its condition. This information is then used to finalise the valuation to the lender who can then form a decision about whether to lend or not.
Those wanting a mortgage for an unusual property will find that both your choice of lender and mortgages available to you will be less than for properties of a standard-build.
While some banks and building societies will happily consider a mortgage for non-standard construction, you can save yourself a lot of leg work by using the services of a mortgage broker. A good broker will know the market and can choose lenders with whom you have the best chance of being accepted with the least restrictions.
Lenders don't usually charge more for their mortgages due to the construction type of the property. However, you may find your choice of lenders and mortgages is more restricted due to the types of property they are happy to accept. Less choice may mean you cannot access some of the market leading mortgage rates available.
There are a few types of property that you will flat out be refused any kind of mortgage for. These include:
Those looking to buy a property with an unusual construction type or a converted property are likely to find that it is the challenger banks and building societies more often likely to accept these for a mortgage.
However, as with any mortgage product, the market can vary, with providers moving out of or into various markets for different mortgage products. A mortgage broker can help buyers to stay up-to-date with which lenders are active and looking to provide mortgages for unusual properties.
There are several issues to be aware of when buying a home with a non-traditional construction:
There are a few rarer types of non-standard construction. These are:
Disclaimer: This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.