Buying and selling properties of non-standard construction

Buying and selling properties of non-standard construction

What is a non-standard constructed property?

When deciding whether or not you think a property is of a non-standard construction just think is the property built of brick or stone walls? If not it is a non-standard construction.

Examples of non-standard construction homes

There are a variety of ‘non-standard’ construction homes,

  • Properties built purely of timber;
  • Concrete homes;
  • Prefabricated homes;


Reports state that there are over 1 million of pre-fabricated homes in the UK. A large proportion of these homes were built during the war as cheap and affordable housing. However, although at the time these properties will have had huge benefits people now trying to sell them are experiencing problems. Unfortunately, concrete does not last as long as stone or brick therefore a large amount of these properties are suffering from cracking. This is mainly down to the steel frames corroding. Lenders are obviously aware of this and as a result a large number of them are not willing to grant mortgages on these types of properties. Secondly, it can be very expensive to insure them.

The main reason why lenders are so strict on these properties is if they have to take possession of them because the borrower defaults they will find them difficult to sell.

A Cash Sale maybe the answer

If you need to sell your property and it is of non-standard construction the best way would be to find a cash buyer for the property. These types of buyer will know from the outset the type of property and are able to make their own decision as they do not need the approval of a lender. However, cash buyers know they are king so therefore you may not achieve the price you had in mind, so whether or not you accept their offer may depend on your personal circumstances. There are even companies that will buy your house. The we buy any house industry has evolved massively over the last five years and gives the vendor a safety net of a guaranteed buyer.

Tips when considering purchasing a non-standard constructed property

  1. Always make sure you know the style of property you are considering buying. If you are not sure of its construction do not offer and take advice;
  2. If you have established the property is not standard construction make sure it has been priced accordingly by the agent. If not offer a lower price to reflect the difficulties you may encounter when raising finance. Also bear in mind you at some time may need to sell the property yourself;
  3. Take into account surveyors’, mortgage and legal fees to purchase the property may be higher than normal;
  4. Ensure you have finance in place before making the offer. If not you may end up wasting a lot of your time and others for nothing;
  5. Make sure you instruct a specialist to survey the property. It may be a good idea to go round with the surveyor to establish any potential problems the property may have.
  6. Secure a specialist legal company to carry out the conveyancing, usually someone local to the area that has experience of additional questions that need to be asked.
  7. As with any property do you research on what the costs will be run the property. For example, heating, council tax water rates. More importantly because of its construction find out the cost of insuring the property. This may take longer than normal as you may find that a number of the companies you approach will not even accept it.

The main thing is always remember you may at some point have to sell the property. Therefore you may need to sell at a discount to find a buyer therefore make sure you buy at a discount.

The type of construction can be changed

Non-standard construction properties can be turned into ‘standard’ construction. However, planning permission will have to be granted to demolish the existing property and re-build the new one. You may be able to get away with just doing remedial work such as taking away the concrete panels and replacing with bricks and mortar.