How to Get a Non-Standard Construction Mortgage

Unsure about non-standard construction mortgages? Get specialized advice for your unique property financing.

Is the property of Non-Standard Construction?

Home Property Types How To Get A Non-Standard Construction Mortgage
Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

Jon Nixon

Reviewer: Jon Nixon

Director of Distribution

Updated: March 18, 2024

How we reviewed this article:

Our experts continuously monitor changes in the financial space and work closely with qualified mortgage advisors for factual verification.

March 18, 2024

While most homes fall under ‘standard construction’ – the classic bricks and mortar – there are a significant number of properties in the UK that are classed as non-standard construction, meaning anything from a modern, steel framed house to a thatched country cottage.

In this article we’ll look at non-standard construction mortgages, how they work, how much you can borrow and how a broker can help you find the best deal.

What is a non-standard construction mortgage?

A non-standard construction mortgage is, as the name suggests, a mortgage specifically for properties that aren’t of standard construction i.e. not built of either bricks and mortar or stone and with a roof made of either tiles or slate.

Non-standard construction can cover a whole host of building materials and property types, including, but not limited to:

If it’s not immediately obvious, it should say on the property details if it’s non-standard construction. Your survey will then be able to go into more detail.

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Can you get a mortgage on a non-standard construction house?

Getting a mortgage on a non-construction house can be more difficult, but it’s definitely not impossible, especially with the right specialist broker in place.

The key issues with non-construction properties come from the extra inherent risk to lenders, which is why you can expect to pay slightly higher interest rates and be subject to a more rigorous application process. Anything you can do to help mitigate this risk will make it easier for you to get a mortgage, so if you’re able to put down a larger deposit for example, then this can bring down the cost and open up more options.

How a broker can help when purchasing this type of property

A broker is always a worthwhile addition to the mortgage application process but with non-standard construction mortgages they are invaluable. Anything that takes you away from a regular mortgage means fewer options, and with that come higher interest rates and stricter terms. A broker with experience in non-standard construction homes can get straight to the key issues, helping you identify the lenders who will be sympathetic to your home and bypassing those looking to make things difficult or charge you over the odds.

A broker can also help navigate any specific requirements relating to your property and help you get together any specialist documentation. If you want a mortgage for a high rise with cladding for example, your lender may ask for an ESW1 form, or if you’re looking to buy a concrete home you might be confused about how the large number of different construction methods can impact a mortgage.

Make a quick online enquiry now and we’ll assess your situation and match you with a specialist broker who can help.

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Which lenders will consider applications?

Because property type can vary so hugely under the ‘non-standard construction’ umbrella, there isn’t one single mortgage product that is offered by a defined number of lenders. There are plenty of lenders however, including the high street banks, who will be prepared to consider an application, it’s just a case of narrowing the search for your circumstances. Your broker will be able to help with this.

Halifax and Barclays for example are both open to non-standard construction mortgages on a range of property types including 100% timber construction homes, thatched roofs and concrete homes. As are Santander, who will also consider mortgages for converted churches and coach houses.

Barclays does not lend to homes made from defective precast reinforced concrete (PRC) but Halifax may consider it if the property has been repaired through an approved scheme.

If you’re looking to buy a high rise flat, a lot of lenders have limits on the number of storeys in the building. Bank of Ireland for example won’t lend on buildings over ten storeys high and the Scottish Building Society caps at eight storeys.

Rates for non-standard construction mortgages tend to be slightly higher than average rates for standard mortgages, but having a broker will make sure you find the best deals.

It’s important to remember that these lenders can consider offering mortgages for non-standard construction properties but there’s no 100% guarantee that they will. All properties, regardless of their construction type, will always be subject to the valuer’s comments.

How much can you borrow?

While it’s hard to be specific with this type of mortgage, due to the nature of the properties, our calculator can give you an idea of roughly what you may be able to borrow based on your personal circumstances and the property value.

Keep in mind that this calculator is for illustration purposes only. Your broker will be able to give you a much more accurate idea of what you can borrow.

Mortgage Affordability Calculator

Use this calculator to determine how much you could potentially borrow for a mortgage, based on the typical salary multiples used by most UK lenders.

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You could borrow up to 

Most lenders would consider letting you borrow

This is based on 4.5 times your household income, the standard calculation used by the majority of mortgage providers. To borrow more than this, you will need to use a mortgage broker to access specialist lenders.

Some lenders would consider letting you borrow

This is based on 5 times your household income, a salary multiple you might struggle to qualify for without the help of a broker. This income multiple is not widely available to customers who are applying directly with a lender.

A minority of lenders would consider letting you borrow

This is based on 6 times your household income, a salary multiple you will struggle to get without a broker. Six-times salary mortgages are usually only available under very specific circumstances.

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What is the eligibility criteria?

The difficulty with non-standard construction mortgages is that the property type and construction can be so different from one home and another that it’s hard to apply the same criteria across the board.

In most cases applications will be assessed on a case by case basis, with eligibility varying significantly. Flat roof mortgages for instance may be dependent on exactly what proportion of the roof is flat, with some lenders open to entirely flat roofs and others wanting to look at each case on its merits.

Lenders will want a comprehensive survey to get a good idea of the condition of the building, an accurate current valuation and an assessment of any potential future issues. For leasehold properties they may also have minimum requirements on the remaining lease term as well as other criteria such as ground rent and service charges. High rise flats with cladding may also be subject to an ESW1 form by some lenders. Although this isn’t technically a legal requirement you may find some lenders won’t offer a mortgage without it.

Other things to consider

Unusual properties and construction methods can impact finances and plans further down the line, not just at the mortgage application stage, so it’s important to consider the following implications too before deciding whether it’s worth getting a non-standard construction property.

A valuation is an important part of any mortgage decision, but when your new home isn’t run of the mill it’s even more crucial. Lenders will normally be less knowledgeable about unusual property types and so will rely on the results of the survey and valuation to inform their decision. Getting someone on board who understands your house and how it’s made is key as an undervaluation can be make or break for your mortgage.

Can you get a non-standard construction mortgage in Scotland?

Yes you can. Getting a mortgage in Scotland is a very similar process to in England and Wales, but it’s worth noting that overall there are fewer lenders offering mortgages in Scotland and some of them impose postcode restrictions, making it harder to get mortgages in some areas of the country than others.

Non-standard construction mortgages are more niche than a standard mortgage, and with fewer lenders around to choose from it may be even more difficult to find the right match if you’re buying in Scotland. Having a broker who understands the Scottish market as well as having specific experience of non-standard construction mortgages will help you find the best deals.

Get matched with a non-standard construction mortgage specialist

Finding a mortgage broker who specialises in non-standard construction mortgages isn’t always straightforward, but you can rest assured that all of the advisors we work with have been pre-vetted by our expert team. We look not just at the quality of their work, but also consider areas of expertise and relevant experience so that we can tailor our matches to your unique situation.

Make an online enquiry or give us a call on 0808 189 2301 and we’ll look at your circumstances and match you with an advisor that has the right mix of skills and experience to give you the best chance of securing your non-standard construction mortgage.

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About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for Online Mortgage Advisor of course!

Read more about Pete

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

Non-Standard construction property? No problem! Get started with a specialist mortgage broker

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