Last edited 29 Nov 2018

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A guide to purchasing a non-standard home

A non-standard home refers to a property that has not been built using the traditional materials that your average property would have been built with. Standard houses are comprised of brick or stone walls with a slate or tile roof, whereas a non-standard construction refers to any property that does not conform to these traditional expectations.

You tend to find non-standard homes in areas where the construction materials are readily available, and we have seen examples of this throughout the decades. When buying a non-standard home, you need to fully understand the risks involved and you must be aware of the differences you will face when applying for a mortgage and insurance.

The Lifespan of Non-Standard Homes

One of the main reasons as to why people look upon non-standard homes with scepticism is due to the issues that present themselves as the property starts to age. Many non-standard properties feature concrete walls, and as time goes on, these walls begin to crack and crumble as the steel rods holding the property together begin to corrode.

Although any property can deteriorate over time and there is no timeframe as to when this could happen, non-standard homes are more susceptible to damage and material breakdown. This makes it more difficult for lenders to judge the risk of the property, which in turn makes it more difficult to secure modern construction home insurance, and this inevitably makes it more difficult to apply for a mortgage.

Demand for Non-Standard Homes

There is usually a limited demand for non-standard homes due to the difficulties that surround ownership. Not only is it difficult to obtain legal rights to a non-standard property through insurance and a mortgage, it is also difficult to maintain this type of property and this often discourages buyers as they fear renovation costs will leave a burning hole in their pocket. It is also difficult to tell whether a non-standard property has been looked after, and instead of falling victim to steep restoration fees, buyers opt for new and off-plan properties.

Applying for a Non-Standard Home Mortgage

It can often be difficult when trying to apply for and organise the mortgage for a non-standard home. Just like with everything in life, people often look down on things they don’t understand, and this is the same with mortgage lenders.

Lenders are hesitant when it comes to offering a mortgage for a non-standard home, and this is because the demand for such property is so limited. Therefore mortgage providers believe that should you default on your payments, it will be more difficult to recoup their losses in the form of a resale.

Another reason as to why it is more difficult to secure a mortgage for a non-standard home is due to maintenance. Non-standard homes will require more maintenance and upkeep, and again lenders worry that they could financially lose out if the value of a property decreases.

Non-Standard Buildings Insurance

With the issues surrounding non-standard homes becoming more prominent, you must have the correct insurance policies in place including non-standard buildings insurance and specialist modern materials home insurance.

Similar to mortgage providers, insurers often lack the specialist skills and knowledge to be able to properly asses the risks of a non-standard home, and in turn they will often end up dramatically increasing their premium fees or in a worst case scenario, refusing to insure your property at all.

Whether you’re buying a timber framed house, prefabricated concrete home, or a log style cabin, it is important to know he risks associated with buying non-standard property and you should be aware that you may have to sell your house at a lower price than you brought it for in order to generate buyer interest in the future.

--Indlu 14:18, 29 Nov 2018 (BST)