Buying a non-standard home 2018
Key factors to consider when purchasing a non-standard construction home
Non-standard construction properties
A non-standard construction house is built from materials that do not conform to the ‘standard’ definition. Standard houses have brick or stone walls with a roof made of slate or tile. A non-standard construction is therefore anything that falls outside of this.
Non-standard homes tend to be common areas where the materials used to build them are (or have historically been) more readily available. When you buy a non-standard home, you need to be aware that the cost of building maintenance and the cost of non-standard construction home insurance may be higher.
Issues to consider
Non-standard homes include timber framed houses, log-style cabins and prefabricated concrete houses. There are currently around one and a half million concrete prefabricated homes in the UK, most of which were erected during the post war period as a stop-gap measure to provide affordable housing to those who lost homes to the Blitz.
The problems with concrete homes become more apparent over time, therefore, you will need to source specialist modern materials home insurance when you own such a house.
Concrete walls will typically begin to crumble as they age, and cracks begin to appear as the steel binding rods that hold them together corrode. Though there is no telling how quickly this will happen, the known susceptibility of the material makes it harder for an underwriter to judge the risk a house might face and can make it difficult for you to obtain modern construction home insurance. In turn, this also makes it difficult to secure a mortgage to buy a modern construction property (which consequently makes it difficult to sell one on).
Is there a high demand?
Demand for non-standard modern construction homes is usually limited, as many people are now aware of the difficulties associated with their ownership. The problems that arise from maintaining a wooden or concrete construction home can discourage both buyers and mortgage lenders, often because it is difficult to tell whether the property has been looked after sufficiently in the past. Improper maintenance can lead to a modern construction home losing its value very quickly. If this happens then it can make it hard for owners or mortgage lenders to recoup losses. When modern built property deteriorates, it can be very costly for non-standard construction insurance providers to pay out claims.
Non-standard construction mortgage lenders
You may encounter difficulties when trying to buy a non-standard construction home, not just when finding the buildings insurance, but also when you try to organise the mortgage. Mortgage lenders tend to look upon non-standard homes with the same suspicious gaze that insurers often adopt.
There are a number of reasons for this, the first being demand. Because demand for non-standard housing is rather more restricted than that for an ordinary property, mortgage providers (always anticipating the worst) think that it will be harder for them to recoup their losses if you default on your mortgage. The second reason is maintenance. Because a non-standard home may require more TLC than the norm, lenders worry that you will not maintain it as it needs to be maintained. Again, poor maintenance can lead to decreased property values and could result in the lender losing out in the event of foreclosure.
When buying a non-standard property, there are a few steps you should take to minimise the hassle you might encounter. Firstly, be aware if you are buying a home made of non-standard materials. Many are sold at auction, so you should make sure you know what a house is made from before you make a bid. Secondly, plan for any additional conveyancing, legal or mortgage costs and understand that you may have to sell the house at a lower price than usual to attract a buyer down the line. Finally, you need to make sure that you can find an insurer willing to provide you with the non-standard buildings insurance that you need.
The difficulty associated with finding insurance for a non-standard home is often a result of mainstream insurers lacking the specialist knowledge necessary to properly assess the risk. When insurers are unfamiliar with the actual risk they will usually either charge too much for premiums, or refuse to offer quotes altogether to protect their own interests.
This is not the case with HomeProtect. With us, you can get a competitive quote for non-standard home insurance online no matter what material your home is made from. If your home is on fixed foundations and is in the UK, HomeProtect can help.
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Really pleasantly surprised at the attitude of this company - couldn't have been more helpful in starting a new policy. Situation was not straightforward but the representative referred to a supervisor when in doubt and a positive response was given very quickly. Impressive! Trustpilot, 18 April 2017
Our home insurance needed sorting asap for our house purchase but had special requirements. The staff couldn't be more helpful and proactive in sorting it out. Has everything I wanted included and was a really easily sorted. Review Centre, 12 May 2017
I found the service very good for my non-standard policy with unusual circumstances. Review Centre, 2 August 2017