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By Pete Mugleston | Mortgage Advisor

Pete has been a mortgage advisor for over 10 years, and is regularly cited in both trade and national press.

Updated: 22nd March 2021*

Can you get a mortgage for a timber frame house? It’s certainly possible. People have been building properties with these kinds of frames for centuries, but getting a mortgage on one can still be difficult, as some lenders see them to be a risk.

In this article, we’re going to talk about timber-framed house mortgages, and how to get one.

Here’s what you’ll learn in this article:

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What is a timber frame property?

Timber frame construction is again growing in popularity – though houses have been built this way for a long time. As you’d imagine, it describes a category of houses in which the internal frame is made from timber. Most timber-framed properties have an outer layer of brick, so it’s not always immediately obvious if the house is a timber frame or not.

Timber frames are relatively cheap to construct and it’s for this reason that many new builds are constructed this way, but – like most houses, there can be a large variety in quality from one to the next.  

The main issues that can affect timber-framed properties are dampness and timber decay. Many properties are being built with timber frames and at much higher standards. As such these new-build timber frames can be much easier to finance than older examples.

Can I get a mortgage on a timber-framed house?

Yes, you can, but it depends. Despite their popularity, some lenders deem timber frame properties to be ‘non-standard’, which can make getting a timber frame mortgage difficult – but not impossible. And that’s where the advisors we work with come in.

What could affect if I can get a mortgage or not?

There are a variety of factors that can affect whether you’ll be able to get a timber frame house mortgage, and if so, the kind of terms that a lender might offer you.

The type and age of the property

There’s a lot of variety within the category of timber-framed properties. Many timber-framed house mortgage problems are caused by the less reliable varieties of the house – there are more than 200 varieties of timber frame property on the market. The timeframe in which the property was built can be a big factor – and newer is not necessarily better. For example, there are reports of houses built in the 1400s holding up better than houses built in the 1970s.

This is why a detailed survey is so important. You may find that your lender will want to carry out timber and damp survey for mortgage on this type of property – to determine specifically what kind of timber frame you’re dealing with.

This could include a full structural engineering report – which could cause problems if surveyors are unable to access and inspect the frame (for example, if the cavities have been filled with foam). ‘Hidden defects insurance’ may be required if this is something that concerns you or the lender.

The other materials used in the property

Lenders are often interested in the kind of cladding and exterior of the building. They like timber-framed properties with an exterior that is predominantly brick, or stone. An exterior consisting of more brittle materials such as metal sheeting, timber or plastic could make getting a mortgage on a timber-framed house a lot more difficult.

The lender

Some lenders are more open to financing timber-framed properties. – and at better rates. The expert advisors we work with know who these lenders are and may be able to help you find one of them.

Your credit history

Your credit history will determine how risky your lender will deem you. It can be a barrier, but is usually not a dealbreaker. Things that can affect your credit history include any recent missed payments, defaults or repossessions. If you want to know more about how your credit history can affect your application, take a look at our article on bad credit mortgages.

The size of your deposit

Some lenders will be willing to lend, but may want to see a larger deposit to reduce the risk.

Whether you can put up any more security

The ability to provide additional security against your loan (such as another property) will often make a lender more open to working with you.

Can I finance a timber-framed extension with a mortgage?

Yes, this is theoretically possible but a timber-framed extension might require a specialist lender as some providers are conservative when it comes to the external finishes they permit.

Timber frame extensions can be more affordable than traditionally built ones due to being less labour intensive, but whether you refinance an existing mortgage or take out a new one on a property you own outright, you should always make sure the value the extension will add to your home exceeds the amount it costs to bankroll.

Will I need planning permission?

If the project does not exceed a certain size and scale, you may be able to extend without planning permission under Permitted Development Rights (PD). Anything outside of PD criteria will require planning permission from the local authority. You should also consult with the local council if your property is located in a conservation zone or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Can I get a mortgage on a home with timber cladding?

If the property you’ve got your eye on has timber cladding, this could well be specialist lender territory. Most lender accept decorative cladding over blockwork, but if there’s no blockwork beneath the timber cladding, some will turn you away outright.

Some lenders are cautious of timber cladding because it requires regular maintenance, and if the property owner does not keep up with it, the home could depreciate in value and therefore be more difficult to resell in the event of a repossession.

Your choice of lenders may come down to how much of the property has timber cladding. Some providers will lend if it covers the entire home, while others will only do so if the ground floor is brick and block, and the timber restricted to the first floor.

Are there mortgages for timber lodges?

To finance the purchase of a timber lodge, you could apply for a log cabin mortgage from a niche mortgage provider or construct one yourself (assuming you have the means and expertise) by going down the self-build mortgage route. Insurance and interest rates tend to be higher on log cabin mortgages, as are rates on self-build mortgages.

Self build-mortgages are harder to come by than standard residential loans, so if you need one to finance a non-standard construction property such as a log cabin, seeking specialist advice is doubly important.

This is niche lending territory, but with the help of the whole-of-market brokers we work with, you’ll stand the best chance of finding timber lodge finance at favourable rates.

Can I get a buy to let mortgage on a timber frame property?

Yes, this is certainly possible if you pass the lender’s eligibility requirements. The factors which affect whether a timber frame property is ‘mortgageable’ are the same for a buy to let property as they are for a residential home.

The only real difference as the way affordability is assessed. The mortgage provider will likely base their lending decision on the viability of the investment, i.e. whether the forecast rent income will cover the mortgage payments each month.

Head over to our other article if you require more information on buy to let mortgages.

Can I get a self-build mortgage for a timber frame property?

This may be possible, but only if you have the means and expertise to build your own timber frame property, or at least oversee its construction. Timber frame is a popular material among self-build mortgage borrowers due to its energy efficiency and the fact it’s a relatively quick method of construction.

With self build mortgages, the funds are usually released in staged drawdowns as the building work progresses, and most lenders insist on carrying out site inspections ahead of each stage to make sure the building work is progressing as planned. Specialist advice is important for a timber frame self-build mortgage, so make an enquiry to speak with a whole-of-market advisor and find out what your options are,

Potential problems with a timber frame house 

Like many non-standard properties, timber frame houses could be harder to insure and/or sell on afterwards. Insurers will mostly be concerned about the perceived fire risk of a timber frame, whereas property buyers and mortgage lenders will be wary of a house with a wooden frame because they may be perceived as being less ‘durable’ compared to standard construction properties.

Are there any specific timber frame mortgage lenders?

There’s no one lender that is specifically best for timber frame mortgages.

Below are some of the more high street lenders’ current stances on timber frame property mortgages:

Lender Stance
Nationwide timber frame mortgages Nationwide typically treats timber framed property built after 1970 as ‘standard’, provided the outer walls are built with brick, reconstituted stone or block.
Halifax timber frame mortgages Halifax assesses such properties on an individual basis and relies on the surveyor’s comments. They don’t lend on buildings where the cavity (between the frame and cladding) has been filled with an insulation material.
Santander timber frame mortgages Santander tends to consider each timber framed property on its own merits, merits in a similar manner to Halifax.
HSBC timber frame properties HSBC will potentially lend on timber frame mortgages, with a maximum LTV of 80%. They tend to avoid anything built between 1920 and 1965
Natwest timber frame mortgages Natwest will consider timber framed properties, even those with a timber exterior. They won’t lend on anything that has cavity wall installation, unless this was installed during construction.

Information correct at time of writing: 01/04/2019 Of course, there are other lenders out there who would consider timber frame mortgage applications and it’s often the case that a specialist broker is required to get the best rates on these properties or, in many cases, get a mortgage in the first place. Make an enquiry to speak with one today.

How can a broker help me?

Whether your property is ‘non-standard’ or ‘regular’, one of the whole-of-market mortgage broker’s we work with is probably your greatest ally in getting the finance you need for the property you want.

They’re one of the best sources of mortgage advice regarding timber-framed houses you can find and sometimes can get you access to broker-only deals and lenders that are not available to the general public. A great broker knows from experience what kind of lenders are best for your unique circumstances, and can save you the heartache, wasted time and money of rejected applications.

Need mortgage advice regarding timber framed houses? Speak to an expert on them

If you have questions about timber framed property and want to speak to an expert for the right advice, call Online Mortgage Advisor today on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry here.

Then sit back and let us do all the hard work in finding the broker with the right expertise for your circumstances.  We don’t charge a fee and there’s absolutely no obligation or marks on your credit rating.

Updated: 22nd March 2021
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FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs. Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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