A Non Standard Construction property describes a building that isn’t built from traditional bricks and mortar; like rural cottages made from clay, or high-rise buildings made of steel and concrete.

This customer guide to non-standard construction mortgages gives you all the information you need about how the mortgages work, and how you can get one.

What is a non standard construction mortgage?

It may be necessary to apply for a non-standard construction mortgage if you are looking to buy a property that is built out of anything other than bricks and mortar. For almost all mortgage lenders, a ‘standard property’ involves brick walls, concrete foundations, and a tiled roof. For anything that deviates from this, lenders class them as ‘non-standard’.

This means there are all sorts of construction types that can fall into the non-standard category, including;

  • Thatched roofs
  • Concrete prefabs
  • Steel frames
  • Listed buildings
  • Single brick
  • Flats in high rises
  • Timber frame

Getting a mortgage on a non standard construction property

We have access to specialist lenders who accommodate non-standard construction mortgages.

By categorising construction types as ‘standard’ and ‘non-standard’, lenders can mitigate the risk. Generally, non-standard construction properties are considered a higher risk, which makes them more difficult to secure a mortgage against. However, as there are so many non-standard property types, they cannot be classed as equal in terms of risk. Every lender has their own criteria, with certain non-standard property types preferred to others.

Although plenty of non-standard property types are, structurally speaking, very strong and reliable. Even so, if a non-standard construction property doesn’t fully meet their criteria, a risk-averse lender still may not offer a mortgage on it. It may be necessary to seek out a specialist lender.

Things to keep in mind

Maintenance may not be cheap.

Many types of non-standard construction require special maintenance or treatments that can be expensive. For example, thatched roofs must be replaced entirely every 30 years.

In many non-standard property types, failure to keep up with maintenance can cause damage that diminishes the property’s overall value. This is why it is critical to have surveys carried out before applying for a non-standard construction mortgage, and maintenance may be a key component of any mortgage deal you get.

Non-standard construction could be converted into a more mortgagable property

It is possible to modify certain property types to move them within the boundaries of a ‘standard’ construction property, or at least reduce the structural risk. With certain types of steel-framed houses, it is not uncommon to have the frame reinforced to make the construction safer. Often, this is done as a component of a certified repair scheme, however, this can be very expensive to have done.

It could be more difficult to sell a non-standard property later on

Although you may have managed to secure a mortgage against a non-standard property, it doesn’t mean that another buyer will be able to later on. Non-standard mortgages are a niche lending market and eligibility is particularly important. If lending criteria change, you may find it very difficult to find a buyer who can obtain a mortgage later on.

Insurance can be difficult to get, and be expensive

Insurance companies tend to take a similar approach to non-standard properties as lenders do. The most competitive premiums that you’d see on a standard property may not be accessible. However, there are specialist insurers who are more familiar with non-standard property types and may offer a good deal. Here at Dolphin Financial, we can find the right insurer for your property needs.

Non-standard mortgages are similar to standard mortgages

Realistically, non-standard construction mortgages are fairly similar to standard construction mortgages. The main difference is the perceived level of risk, so with non-standard construction being seen as a higher risk, you can expect more demanding terms, including:

  • Higher interest rates
  • Lower LTVs
  • Stricter affordability requirements

How to get a mortgage on a non standard construction property

To get a non-standard mortgage, the best way is to seek financial advice from a whole-of-market broker. Here at Dolphin Financial Limited, we are whole-of-market, which means we can use your criteria, and see what lenders will accept you for a mortgage. We have a specialist team of advisers that are happy to help you with whatever your situation might be.

Some lenders will refuse a mortgage on certain properties that really aren’t a big risk to them. Other lenders consider their criteria to be more of a guide than a set of requirements, and will pay more attention to the survey and valuation. Therefore, the most important factor that will dictate whether your application is successful is choosing the right lender.

Speak to an expert today

If you would like more information, or have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our team are here to answer any queries that you may have.

Get in touch today!

As a mortgage is secured against your home it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with mortgage repayments.


Heather Dolphin

Independent Mortgage, Protection, and Equity Release Adviser

Tel – 01928 761001

Email – heather@dolphinfinancialltd.co.uk