Buying a non-standard home 2021
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 some types of non-standard modern construction homes can be 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.
There has however been a resurgence in popularity of concrete homes in recent years, with architects re-inspired by concrete https://www.homeprotect.co.uk/discover/insights/concrete-homes/back-in-fashion
TV programs such as Grand Designs and an increased interest in eco-friendly living have also lead to increases in the usage of non-standard materials for residential properties, as architects look to cater to the demand for more environmentally friendly homes.
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 quote for non-standard home insurance online for almost all construction materials. If your home is on fixed foundations and is in the UK, HomeProtect can help.
Need insurance for a non-standard construction house?Get a quote!