Buying a non-standard construction house: what you need to know

When buying a traditional bricks-and-mortar house, we tend to take it for granted that aspects of home ownership such as insurance and maintenance will be straightforward and nothing to be too concerned about. If you’re buying a non-standard construction house, however, there are a few extra considerations. Let’s take a look at what you need to think about if you’re buying a home that’s a bit different from the norm.

What does ‘non-standard construction’ mean?

When we talk about ‘non-standard construction properties’, we’re referring to homes that have been constructed using alternative methods and/or that have been made from building materials that aren’t the usual stone or brick. For example, post-war concrete pre-fab homes are classed as non-standard, as are timber-framed buildings and log cabins. If the roof isn’t made from tile or slate, that’s also considered to be non-standard construction – so a thatched cottage would fall into this category, for instance.

The risks of buying a non-standard home

Non-standard construction brings its own sets of risks, which differ from one material to another. Concrete, for instance, may start to crumble over time, while log cabins or thatched cottage carry higher fire risks. They often cost more to maintain, not just because they may need a greater degree of care and attention, but also because of the greater challenge of sourcing the specialist materials and skilled tradespeople needed to carry out the work.

It’s also worth considering the fact that because of these added risks and costs, you may find it more difficult to buy and sell a property with non-standard construction. Demand is typically lower for these kinds of properties, as potential buyers can be put off by the challenges of owning and maintaining such a home.

Because of that – and because of the greater associated risks and the fact that diligent maintenance is necessary for such properties to hold their value – lenders may be more wary of non-standard construction homes, making it harder to secure a mortgage to buy one. You may also encounter extra costs during the purchase process, such as additional surveys and legal costs.

Specialist insurance for non-standard construction homes

Because of the risks and costs associated with owning and maintaining non-standard construction homes, it stands to reason that they require specialist insurance, which may cost more than insuring a regular house.

If you’re thinking of buying a home with non-standard construction, or you own one and want to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your specialist home insurance, talk to our specialist non-standard construction home insurance team. We’re experienced at finding the right cover for properties that don’t fit the standard mould, and we work with a panel of expert insurers who can offer the tailored cover you need for your home. Call us on 01252 725 725 or request a quote to find out more.