It is relatively easy for prospective home buyers to spot issues of structural weakness or mould and damp during a viewing, however, issues regarding non-standard construction are often difficult to note.
Modern buildings made from concrete or prefabricated construction appear to be flawless on the outside but when you take a closer look they are much more difficult to mortgage and insure.
Though the usual pitfalls of home buying are becoming better known, such as subsidence and damp issues, the dangers of non-standard construction might be harder to spot. This is a particular problem for those buying at auction, who might not have had time to research the property properly and only realise the problems later down the line when trying to secure finances or non-standard construction home insurance.
The old adage "buyer beware" is particularly important when you are bidding on a house at auction. If you see a property listed as being of "non-standard construction", or described as being built from "modern materials", there is a good chance that it will be difficult to mortgage and insure. This might not put you off if you are a cash buyer but it could also mean that any future buyers will also have to have cash ready should you decide to sell it on. It also means that you will need modern construction home insurance, which can be harder to find and more expensive than ‘standard’ cover.
A standard construction property will usually encompass any home that has brick or stone walls and a tiled or slate roof. The definition of non-standard is far broader, stretching to include anything outside of the standard range of properties. Some more specific examples of non-standard properties might be those built out of concrete, Pre-cast Reinforced Constructions (PRC), or timber-framed properties.
If you buy a concrete home, then it is likely to be thought of as "defective" unless it has been "repaired". Repaired, in this case, means that damaged concrete and supporting steel need to be replaced and the concrete construction needs to be bricked in to a specified standard. Though a repaired concrete property might still require non-standard construction home insurance, it will have a better chance of being mortgaged and insured.
Legislation and your policy
In the 1980s, coinciding (apparently by chance) with the "Right to Buy" legislation being brought in, it was discovered that many of the post-war concrete council houses were defective. The defect stemmed from the poor quality steel rods used in their construction, which were found to suffer corrosion and subsequent metal fatigue over time. Though PRC homes bought prior to 1984 may have qualified for government grants to help repair them, these grants are no longer available and current owners are forced to pay the repair burden alone. Even if you have suitable modern construction home insurance, such work is unlikely to be covered in your policy.
Pros and cons of buying a concrete home
When you weigh up the cons of buying a concrete home, it can be difficult to see the pros straight away. When you consider that you may get a concrete home for much less than the market value of a comparable standard home in a similar location (then accounting for the cost of repairing it) you could find that the equity generated by the repair work can allow you to turn a profit. This is a definite plus for any cash buyer, as we all know that it is better to have the worst house on the best street than vice versa.
Before you repair your concrete home though, it is essential that you obtain suitable home insurance. Though it can be difficult to source modern construction home insurance from a mainstream insurer, this is not the case with a specialist provider like HomeProtect. With HomeProtect you can get a competitive online quote for non-standard construction home insurance, no matter what type of unusual home you have.
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Really good price for a niche product. Very competitive compared to normal home insurance policies Trustpilot, 25 July 2017
Provided me with good cover and ease of purchase for a non standard build, very happy! Trustpilot, 2 March 2017
Home Protect was the best price for my non-standard construction house. It alleviated a lot of stress - thank you. Quick and simple ReviewCentre, 22 Feb 2017