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non standard construction mortgage

Written By:
Myles Robinson - Expert Finance Advisor

Posted: Feb 6, 2023

Non-standard construction mortgage

This industry covers many types of non-standard construction properties. Any building that does not have brick or stone walls can be considered a non-standard construction property. This could include anything from a rural cottage made of clay to a penthouse in an iron and concrete highrise.

This article will cover non-standard construction mortgages. We’ll cover how a non-standard construction mortgage works, the differences, and how you can get one.

Click the link below to speak with our mortgage brokers. The mortgage broker will then introduce you to a lender who works with non-standard construction mortgages daily. We have a few mortgage providers lending for a non-standard construction house. We will ensure to match you with the mortgage lender with the best mortgage deal.

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What is a non-standard construction mortgage?

If you want to purchase a property not made from bricks or mortar, you might require a non-standard mortgage for construction. A standard property, according to many mortgage lenders, has a roof made of brick and concrete foundations. Everything else is considered ‘non-standard’.

The ‘non-standard construction’ category even applies to a wide range of cases:

  • Thatched roofs
  • Steel frames
  • Concrete prefabs
  • Country cottages listed
  • Flats located high ups
  • Single brick
  • Timber frame

Learn more about steel-framed house mortgages, timber-framed mortgages and single-brick mortgages.

Can I get a mortgage for non-standard construction property?

Yes, a specialist mortgage provider can offer a non-standard construction mortgage deal, such as a concrete construction mortgage or a prefab house mortgage.

Lenders can reduce their risk by categorising things into standard and non-standard categories. As a rule, non-standard properties can be more challenging to finance and are therefore considered riskier.

However, you will see that non-standard properties can be less reliable than standard properties. Every lender has its criteria and may favour specific properties over others.

There are many unusual properties that, structurally speaking, are perfectly acceptable. However, this does not mean that risk-averse lenders will grant you a mortgage to purchase a house of non-standard construction if the property violates their criteria. It may be worth looking further.

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What other information do I need about non-traditional construction loans?

The following should be noted by customers looking for non-standard mortgages in construction:

  • Maintenance
  • Conversion of a non-traditional building property
  • Selling the property after
  • Insurance
  • Valuers comments

Maintenance is essential but can also be costly.

Non-standard constructions, such as listed buildings, require special maintenance and can be more expensive. Thatched roofs must be replaced every 30 years.

Maintenance is something that should be taken seriously. In many non-standard properties, improper maintenance can cause damage over time, significantly decreasing the property’s value. You need a survey before applying for a non-standard construction loan.

A non-standard building may be possible to mortgage.

You can modify certain property types by moving them into the standard category or significantly reducing their structural risk.

This is possible with certain types of steel-framed houses, such as the ones that can be strengthened to make them more secure. It is usually done as part of a certified repairs scheme and can be expensive depending on the property.

Selling a property that is not standard may prove more difficult if you purchase it.

Even if you can obtain a mortgage for a non-standard property, it doesn’t necessarily mean someone else will be able to. Eligibility is crucial in a smaller lending market. Lending criteria can change, and eligibility can be challenging to determine.

Insurance may be more expensive or complicated.

Non-standard construction is often treated in the same way as lenders by insurers. It is possible not to receive the same competitive premiums as you would for a standard property.

Some specialist insurance companies can better understand your property and offer you a better deal. It is good to know that our expert brokers are familiar with each other and enjoy a strong working relationship.

Comments from the valuer can either make or break a deal

Lenders who are less confident about their property knowledge will often rely more heavily on the opinions of the valuer than on their usual criteria. Mortgages for non-standard construction will usually be treated individually.

The lender may also request more information than they would get in a standard survey. A specialised Listed Building Survey is required if the building has been listed. A more thorough structural survey is required if the initial study shows that the building may contain asbestos or have an unusual frame.

Standard mortgages don’t have to be too different from non-standard construction mortgages.

From a practical standpoint, non-standard construction mortgages don’t seem to be too different from mortgages for houses built regularly.

The difference is that non-standard construction mortgages are considered riskier. Because of this, lenders are more likely to offer them more restrictive terms, such as lower LTVs, higher interest rates, and stricter affordability criteria.

Are there other types of non-standard houses?

These materials can also be used to build houses.

‘Clay lump’

Clay lump is associated with houses in Norfolk and was popular between 1700-1900.

It is a type of earth construction that uses clay-rich materials. Unfortunately, clay lump buildings aren’t very well maintained. Those that remain are often replaced with modern materials like brick and cement.


Cob, another style of old English construction, was very popular in Southwest England and Cumbria.

Clay is used for making it. Crushed flint (or sand) is often added to increase strength and volume. As a green building method, it has seen a revival.

‘K Lath’

K Lath is a type of reinforced mesh that can be used to strengthen stucco walls and cladding.

Although “K Lath” is a proprietary product, the term is now used to describe various reinforced lath construction methods.

Which non-standard mortgage lenders are the best?

There are generally no ‘best’ lenders. It all depends on the profile and property of the applicant.

  • Santander will finance steel-framed property subject to valuation. Santander doesn’t restrict the maximum height they will lend on ex-local authority flats (assuming the property passes inspection).
  • Halifax uses a cautious approach and excludes certain types of pre-cast reinforced concrete and properties where frame cavities have been filled.
  • Nationwide will not lend on anything over five stories (except if it’s based outside of London).

The brokers can also arrange non-standard mortgages for construction with these lenders…

  • Natwest
  • Barclays
  • HSBC
  • TSB
  • There are many other options.

Many mortgage lenders will lend on these properties. It is worth seeking advice from an entire-of-market broker. This is the best way for you to get the best deal possible.

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What makes it more challenging to get a non-standard construction mortgage?

Lenders always look at the resale marketplace if a buyer defaults with their payments and the bank has to resell the property. Lenders are concerned that the property will not sell due to lower demand.

They are also concerned about the lack of maintenance that could lead to a decline in price.

How can I get a mortgage for a property that is not standard?

A whole-of-market broker like those we work with is the best way to start your mortgage application.

Understanding these differences in lender criteria can make the difference between getting a mortgage and not.

Lenders will refuse to lend money on properties they don’t think they are good enough. Other lenders view their criteria as guidelines and pay more attention to the survey and valuation of the property.

This means that choosing the right lender can often determine whether or not your application is approved.

The best chance of being approved for a non-standard mortgage is often choosing a specialist lender. For instance, specialist lenders can help you get a flat roof mortgage, a flood zone mortgage, a flying freehold mortgage and other types of non-standard mortgages requiring specialists.

Click the link below to speak with one of our expert advisors. They can help you find a more suitable lender for your situation.

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Can I get a mortgage to finance a property that is not standard in construction?

Yes. However, it is more complex than getting a standard construction mortgage in England or Wales. There are fewer lenders offering mortgages for Scotland.

Non-standard lenders for construction that operate north of the border often have postcode restrictions. This can make it challenging to obtain a mortgage for a property in the Highlands or elsewhere on the mainland.

Bad credit can make getting a non-standard mortgage for your property more challenging. There will be fewer options. Take, for example, a mortgage with a debt management program against you. This type of credit issue will require you to locate the best lender.

This can lead to rejection by some high-street lenders. However, if you add non-standard construction, your options for mortgage providers are suddenly limited.

A specialist mortgage broker for poor credit or non-standard construction is necessary to get you the best rates in these lending areas.

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Talk to an expert about non-standard construction properties.

It’s worth talking to mortgage brokers early in the process if the property you are looking at is unusually constructed or you suspect it.

They can help you arrange mortgage lenders for non-standard construction properties. This could save you time, effort, and excessive valuations.

Brokers can connect to lenders that aren’t publicly accessible. A good broker can identify the non-standard construction mortgage lenders.

We find lenders for a non-standard construction mortgage daily so click the link below to begin your non-standard construction mortgage journey or contact us now.

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