Are you envisioning yourself in a cosy thatched cottage in the countryside? Perhaps you dream of building an eco-friendly prefab home, or maybe you want to get more value for your money with a steel-framed house. If you’re an aspiring homeowner thinking outside the structural box, you’ve undoubtedly encountered someone telling you, “Don’t do it”!

A non-standard construction home is great if you long for unique features, a more eco-friendly lifestyle or value for money. Most lenders view these homes as riskier as they are harder to value and resell. Getting a mortgage on a non-standard home is possible, but it may come with stricter terms and higher costs.

While it can be more difficult, The Mortgage Pod is here to dispel the myth that non-standard construction properties cannot be mortgaged. Plenty of regular and specialist mortgage lenders out there will consider you for a mortgage if you’ve got your heart set on something a little bit different from the norm.

Read on for our helpful guide on getting a mortgage for a non-traditional construction house, or contact us for one-to-one advice today.

Find out more about our non-traditional construction house mortgage services

What is the difference between traditional construction houses and non-standard construction houses?

A standard or traditional construction house is typically one made from bricks/stone and mortar with a slate roof. Homes constructed from different types of materials, e.g. concrete housing systems, timber or steel framed, prefabricated, and thatched roof houses, are considered ‘non-standard’ properties by mortgage lenders.

Most lenders consider non-standard property a higher risk as they are sometimes harder to insure, value and sell.

What construction materials are non-standard construction properties made from?

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but non-standard construction houses are built with the following non-standard materials. In short, anything other than traditional bricks and mortar.

Prefab or modular homes – A staple of 1950s Britain, prefab homes were constructed with a timber or steel frame, concrete and sometimes asbestos. They are seeing a slight resurgence as they are cheap to build, albeit with more modern and safe materials.

Steel or timber systems – Timber or steel-framed homes have high repair costs and are more prone to fire damage, so they are, therefore, more challenging to mortgage. Approximately 150,000 steel-framed houses were built in the UK after the Second World War by the British Iron and Steel Federation (BISF), some of which were in the Paulsgrove area of Portsmouth.

Concrete or steel-clad properties – This is where a property’s exterior surfaces are covered with concrete or steel panels to protect it from the elements. From an insurance and mortgage point of view, they are problematic due to the potential maintenance issues, corrosion, and the cost of repairs.

Cob homes – Homes constructed from clay-rich materials, sand and straw. There is a long history of this type of earth construction in the UK, especially on the south coast. Homes built from clay lump have even seen a slight resurgence as a green building technique.

Thatched roof homes – thatched roofs made from bundles of dry vegetation such as straw, reeds, or heather; a common sight in Hampshire and along the South Coast.

Whether you’ve just had an offer accepted on a property and you’re ready to go, or you’re simply wondering how much you need to save for a deposit, it’s never too soon to reach out.

Is it more difficult to get a mortgage on a non-standard construction house?

The terms ‘standard’ and ‘non-standard’ are used by mortgage lenders to help them measure the risk involved. Many mortgage lenders view non-standard property as high risk as they are harder to value, insure and sell.

While some traditional lenders may be nervous about lending for a non-standard construction house, some specialist lenders will look upon your application more favourably. That’s why it’s best to go through a mortgage broker like The Mortgage Pod, whose knowledge can help steer you towards the right mortgage lender.

Remember, there may be additional legal or mortgage costs when buying a non-standard construction house, so be sure to factor this into your budget.

What are the advantages of buying a non-standard construction property?

1. Unique and distinctive character

If you want your home to be as individual as you are, a white-walled new build might not cut it. Non-standard construction properties stand out with unique architectural features, setting them apart from traditional homes. Whether it’s a thatched roof, timber frame, or prefabricated design, these homes exude individuality.

2. Eco-friendly potential

Modern non-standard properties, such as straw-bale homes or those constructed from recycled materials, contribute to a greener environment and so are great for buyers set on eco-conscious living.

3. Historical charm

Thatched roof homes and cob constructions offer a tantalising glimpse of the past, showcasing historical craftsmanship and exuding tradition and charm. This connection to the past is important for a lot of buyers, particularly if they are buying in an area that has been important to their lives and family.

4. Cost-effective

Contemporary modular homes can be cost-effective and very quick to build. As they are built off-site, there is minimal disruption to the owner.

Some non-standard construction materials, like timber, are also cost-effective and readily available. This can lead to potential savings compared to traditional building materials, i.e. brick or stone walls.

What are the disadvantages of buying a non-standard construction property?

1. Fewer mortgage options

It’s true that you may face more challenges getting a mortgage on a non-standard construction as opposed to a traditional construction home. Many mainstream lenders prefer traditional constructions because they are easier to value.

Lenders willing to finance non-standard construction homes may have stricter criteria, such as requiring detailed surveys, structural reports, or higher deposits, adding complexity to the buying process.

2. Higher insurance costs

Along with bigger mortgage bills, you can also expect higher insurance premiums. Insurance providers generally view non-standard construction homes as higher risk as they are vulnerable to damage and costly to repair and maintain. You may find you require specialist insurance in some cases.

3. Resale difficulties

Just because you see the beauty in an ageing property doesn’t mean that you’ll find another buyer who sees it the same way. A lot of buyers are hesitant when it comes to non-standard construction property due to concerns about maintenance, potential building issues, or difficulties in getting a mortgage.

When you do come to sell, you might find it challenging to get an accurate valuation. Surveyors and estate agents may find it challenging to assess the property’s market value, which could hinder the mortgage application process.

4. Maintenance challenges

Finding contractors familiar with these non-standard construction methods can be more difficult and costly. Re-roofing a thatched property, for example, can take up to two months and run into tens of thousands of pounds. Steel-framed or timber-framed homes can also require a lot of work to maintain their structural stability.

How can The Mortgage Pod help me get a non-standard construction mortgage?

As a whole-of-market broker, The Mortgage Pod has access to many mortgages for non-traditional construction properties. We help borrowers in Portsmouth and throughout the whole of the UK to secure the homes of their dreams, including those with less conventional construction methods and materials.

We will thoroughly assess your circumstances and search the market for the most appropriate deal for you and your chosen property. We’ll stay on hand throughout the mortgage application process to ensure it goes smoothly.

To contact our team today, just tell us what you would like to do:


Properties constructed with materials other than brick or stone, e.g. timber-framed houses, are classed as ‘non-standard construction’. Many mortgage providers consider these types of properties to be higher risk due to the difficulty in valuing and reselling them.

If you’ve got your heart set on a non-standard property, don’t give up hope of finding a mortgage. Many specialist lenders are willing to consider a mortgage on such a property. However, they may come with stricter eligibility and higher costs. A broker like The Mortgage Pod can steer you in the direction of a suitable mortgage lender.