Updated: February 25, 2022

Thatched Property Mortgages

Considering a thatched property but unsure about the mortgage? It's easier than you might think! Find out how to get a thatched mortgage in our expert guide.

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: February 25, 2022

Thatched cottages are the epitome of English countryside living, so it’s unsurprising that many people dream of owning one. Getting a mortgage on one of the 60,000 thatched roof properties in the UK can be slightly more difficult than it is for modern properties, however, particularly if you don’t know where to look.

Not all mortgage lenders will lend on thatched buildings, but don’t be dissuaded just yet. We’ve put together this guide covering all you need to know about mortgages for thatched properties, including how to get one, the challenges you’ll face and much more.

Is it possible to get a mortgage on a thatched property?

Yes! The charm of ‘chocolate box cottages’ is undeniable, however, many potential buyers worry that it might not be possible to get a mortgage for one. The good news is, it’s perfectly possible to get a mortgage for thatched properties, so long as you know which lenders to approach.

You might be surprised to hear that even some of the larger high street lenders will consider thatched properties on a case-by-case basis. There are also many more specialist independent lenders available, who lend in the non-standard construction marketplace.

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Why it can be more difficult to get a mortgage on these properties

Mortgage lenders generally exercise more caution when considering a thatched cottage mortgage, than they would with standard construction buildings, as they are seen as a riskier investment.

Those who are willing to lend may limit the maximum loan to value quite significantly on the purchase of thatched homes, or impose other forms of restriction to mitigate some of the lending risk. They will be heavily guided by surveyor valuations, as there are a number of distinct factors to consider when deciding whether to approve a mortgage on a thatched cottage.

Listed building status

English Heritage classifies over 75% of all thatched properties in England and Wales as listed buildings. If the property is both listed and thatched, it further reduces the availability of lenders, however, there are a range of lenders who will accept mortgages on properties that fall under both categories.

You can find out more about how the different grades of listed building can impact a mortgage application in this article. *Link to 0152*

The roof and overall property condition

Whilst the lenders’ surveyor will play a key role in guiding their decision, it’s a good idea to organise an additional surveyor that specialises in thatched properties for your own peace of mind.

Lenders will be looking for the surveyor’s comments to instil confidence that the roof is in good repair, and will possibly want to see a history of its maintenance, including when it was last thatched. They will look to their surveyor to confirm the property’s insurability, resalability and remortgage suitability, and are also likely to require an electrical inspection certificate.

Whether or not you can afford to maintain the roof will also be an important consideration when lenders calculate your affordability. See the below section on high maintenance costs for more detail.

How a mortgage broker can help you overcome these barriers

Whatever your circumstances and type of mortgage you’re looking for, a mortgage broker can help you to save money, time and stress with your application. For something as niche as buying a thatched property, however, it’s important to ensure that you opt for a broker that has expert knowledge in the area and can navigate the additional lender considerations.

The mortgage advisers that we work with have helped many people to buy their dream thatched cottages, as they have strong relationships with lenders who frequently approve mortgages on non-standard construction properties. Many of these lenders are not accessible by the general public, and require a referral from a qualified broker.

The value of speaking to a specialist in this area goes beyond simply helping you to secure the appropriate financing for your home, however. They can also offer tailored advice on other important factors, such as sourcing a suitable surveyor and insurance policy, and what to be aware of when taking on the responsibility of a thatched property. Use our trusted broker matching services today to find a broker who can help you achieve your home ownership goals.

Other factors that impact eligibility

Aside from the specific consideration of buying a thatched property highlighted above, standard mortgage eligibility factors will also apply. These include:

  • Affordability – Typically, you can expect to borrow 4.5 times your salary, however, there are lenders willing to offer up to 6. Depending on your circumstances, it might not be possible to borrow this high of an income multiple for a thatched property.
  • Employment status – Regardless of your income level, if you’re less traditionally employed, either as self-employed, a business owner or a temporary worker, some lenders will see you as being a higher risk borrower.
  • Deposit availability – The maximum loan to value available from most lenders on non-standard construction buildings is capped at around 75%. This means that you’ll need at least 25% deposit for a thatched property. Offering a larger deposit can improve your options of both lenders, and attractive interest rates.
  • Age on application – Many lenders have age-restricted mortgage products, and can limit the borrowing or term length for older borrowers.
  • Credit status – Most lenders will be looking for a strong credit score, however, there are some that offer bad credit mortgages. This will depend on the age, type and amount of your credit issue, however, and it can impact the interest rates available to you.

You can read more about general mortgage eligibility in our guide to mortgage applications.

Risks factors and how to overcome them

If you’re in the market for a mortgage on a thatched property, here are some of the risks you might encounter with your property and what you can do to get around them…

Fire risk

It’s a common misconception that thatched properties are at more risk of fire than buildings with other roofing materials. Statistics show that the likelihood of a thatched roof property catching fire is no greater than it is for tiled roof properties, however, the devastation from fire damage is likely to be far greater. As thatched cottages are expensive to replace, the increased risk relates mostly to insurability and the potential for financial loss.

Fire-resistant membranes can be added to a thatched roof to mitigate some of the risk, however, it’s important to understand that this doesn’t make it fire-proof. It will, however, provide the necessary time for you and your family to leave the building safely, and can reduce your insurance premiums.

High Maintenance Costs

Thatched roofs are more vulnerable to the elements than tiles, meaning that they need additional maintenance to prevent build up of moss and algae, and the rotting or discoloration of the thatching materials over time. If maintained well, thatched cottages retain their value, so can be good investment properties, but this can be costly, and should be investigated prior to making a purchase.

There is also a slightly higher risk of leaks during periods of heavy rain, and wind or storm damage, than for other roof types. In balance, however, thatched roofs offer great insulation, which can help keep the property cool in the summer and warm in the winter, meaning lower fuel bills.

Insurance cost

Due to the vulnerability and high rebuild cost of thatched properties, insurance premiums can be up to three times as expensive as for modern properties. This is especially the case if your home is both listed and thatched.

The good news here is that the brokers we work with are experts in thatched property home insurance and can make sure you get the right cover for your needs and circumstances.

Get the right advice from an expert broker

Whatever your circumstances, we can help you to navigate the mortgage market more easily by putting you in touch with expert brokers. If you’re looking to purchase a thatched property, we work with mortgage brokers who specialise in this property type, who can confidently navigate your application, as well as overcoming other potential obstacles, such as bad credit, self-employment or being an older applicant.

Call us today on 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry and we’ll match you with your ideal mortgage advisor for a free, no-obligation chat today.

FAQs

How expensive is it to maintain a thatched roof?

Most thatched roofs will need to be replaced every thirty years, and be re-ridged every ten to fifteen years, so it’s important to consider the additional maintenance costs involved in ownership before you set your heart on a purchase. To add another layer of expense, thatched roofs require specialist tradespeople known as ‘master thatchers’. As a largely forgotten skill, this niche service is very costly.

It’s a good idea to seek out multiple quotes for thatching, and ask experienced neighbouring property owners for advice. It’s also worth checking whether your local councils provide historic building funding schemes to help owners protect and repair their listed properties. This type of grant is sometimes available in areas with a substantial amount of thatched buildings.

Will I be able to source the materials to restore my thatched roof?

There are a range of materials used to thatch roofs, and this often depends on their location. Materials include longstraw, water reed and combed wheat reed, and the longevity of your roof will depend on which materials have been used. 

Material Area of use Lifespan
Water reed Norfolk, East Anglia, Devon and Cornwall 25 – 40 years
Combed wheat Predominantly Devon, Cornwall and Northamptonshire 25 – 30 years
Longstraw  East Anglia 10 – 15 years

Some thatchers use a variety of the above materials, as well as turf and lavender, to a smaller extent. As the harvest differs from year to year, it can be difficult to find the exact materials used for your existing roof, however, a good thatcher will be able to work with the available materials.

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We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with mortgage brokers who are experts in all different Property Types. Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

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Pete Mugleston

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Expert

About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for OMA of course!

FCA Disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the 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 that 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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