Getting a Mortgage on a Timber Framed House
Need a mortgage on a timber framed house? Worried about possible problems? There are now plenty of options! Find out how to get one in our expert guide!
Firstly, is the property timber framed or of timber construction?
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Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert, MD
Updated: March 01, 2022
Properties with a timber framework are generally cheaper and quicker for builders to construct, but have a reputation for being difficult to get a mortgage on. However, the right advice can make it much more possible to find the financing you need.
In this article, we’ll look into why, historically, mortgage lenders were reluctant to approve mortgages on timber framed homes, but many are now more receptive to it.
We’ll also highlight the potential pitfalls of timber framed property purchase, and how to avoid them, with the help of expert advice.
The following topics are covered below...
Can you get a mortgage for a timber framed house?
It is certainly possible, but as many lenders consider them non-standard construction properties, your choice of lenders will be more limited.
There’s a number of factors that can influence a lender’s decision, such as the build quality of your chosen home.
We work with a large network of mortgage brokers who have expert knowledge in the field of timber frame mortgages.
They can help you to find those lenders who are most likely to accept your application, and offer the most favourable rates.
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What factors will lenders consider that affect mortgageability?
If you’re looking to get a mortgage for a timber framed house, a lender will look in more detail at the following property-specific areas to try and identify any potential problems when assessing your application:
The type and age of the property
The build quality of timber-frame properties can vary quite considerably, making this an important factor for lenders. According to the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA), the vast majority of timber-frame properties in the UK were built after 1945.
The build year can be hugely important to the mortgageability of the property, as there are distinct periods of time where the least reliable construction type of the 200 known, were predominantly built, such as the period between 1920 and 1965.
As well as an extensive valuation, it’s possible that lenders will also ask you to instruct a timber and damp survey, which could also require you obtaining a full structural engineering report.
If surveyors are not able to access the frame fully, the lender may insist that ‘hidden defects insurance’ is in place, as a condition of lending.
The current condition of the property
Dampness and timber decay are common concerns for the lender, as timber-frame properties are more vulnerable to moisture damage than traditional brick and tile constructed buildings.
Modern timber framed properties are largely built to much higher standards than earlier types, using more resilient materials, and often adding a vapour barrier between the frame and the inner wall, which is why many lenders consider timber framed properties built post 1970 to be standard construction.
Older properties are at greater risk of wet and/or dry rot, as well as fire damage, as building standards were less strict at the time of construction.
The expert brokers we work with understand these potential pitfalls, as well as which lenders offer mortgages on timber framed properties, and under what circumstances.
The other materials used in the property
Beyond the building’s framework, some mortgage providers restrict lending based on the type of cladding used. Halifax, for example, will not consider buildings clad with certain precast reinforced concrete (PRC), and will only lend on a timber framed and clad property, if the cavity between frame and cladding has been retrospectively insulated.
Getting a mortgage for a property clad with other materials, such as metal, plastic, or additional timber is possible, but it will narrow down your choice of lenders.
All mortgage lenders require property insurance to be in place as a part of the application process, however, insurance policies covering non-standard properties, particularly timber frame houses, can be difficult to attain, given the perception of increased fire risk and reduced durability by most insurers.
It is possible to secure a suitable insurance policy for a timber framed home, through a relevant specialist insurer. The mortgage brokers we work with will be able to assist you with finding suitable insurers.
Lenders need to feel confident that they could recoup their investment in the event of a repossession of the property, when considering mortgage approval.
Some lenders are therefore concerned by the resale potential of a timber framed property, given that they are usually in lower demand than masonry homes.
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How a mortgage broker can help
Getting a mortgage for these types of properties can be difficult – particularly finding the right lenders. This is why the shrewdest move you can make, from the outset, is to seek the help of an experienced broker.
Here’s how they can help.
Identifying the right lenders with the best rates
As well as pointing you in the direction of those lenders most likely to approve your application, an experienced broker, like the ones in our network, can make sure you find the most appealing rates from across the market.
Lending criteria can change all the time, and brokers stay on top of these changes, so they know which lender is most likely to offer you a mortgage at any given time. They can also find the most preferential rates for your circumstances, as well as broker-exclusive deals that could save you money.
Avoiding the potential pitfalls in your application
The brokers we work with are highly knowledgeable about timber framed properties, and are well aware of each lender’s criteria.
There are many ways they can help you to secure a mortgage, whether it’s using their knowledge of local demand to reassure the lender of the saleability or advising you which insurance providers will consider your application.
If you get in touch we can arrange for a broker who specialises in timber frame mortgages to contact you directly.
There are a variety of lenders who are willing to finance this type of property. Each one has their own criteria but, as discussed above, the property type, age, and condition will have a significant impact on who will consider your application.
Although property age is an important factor, there are over 70 lenders willing to consider timber framed properties built between 1900 and 1970, subject to certain additional criteria.
For example, HSBC will consider any age of timber framed property on its own merits, however, they are unlikely to accept one built between 1920 and 1965, due to the inferior vapour barrier used during this period.
Barclays, on the other hand, will potentially consider properties built in this era, unless they have lightweight cladding materials such as asbestos sheet cladding and/or roofs constructed with asbestos tiles or of felt.
This demonstrates the importance of utilising the services of an experienced broker, as the substantially varying criteria between lenders can make financing a timber framed property a minefield.
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Aside from eligibility from the property perspective, there are also personal eligibility criteria to meet that apply to any mortgage:
- Income/affordability – lenders need to be confident you can afford the repayments, and where necessary, any building works to be carried out in line with the lending criteria.
- Deposit – there is no specific minimum deposit requirement for timber framed properties, but it may be more difficult to find 95% mortgages, so the deposit requirement will likely be higher than the current marketplace minimum of 5%.
- Credit history – there are lenders who will offer a mortgage to applicants with bad credit, however, this will further reduce your options. Most will prefer borrowers to have a strong credit score.
Are mortgages available for timber framed extensions?
Yes, it’s possible, however, this is a highly specialist area of lending that is unlikely to be available on the high street. Despite their cost-effectiveness and efficient construction, this type of extension can be harder to finance than brick built endeavours.
Lenders will often be concerned with the external finish, and confident that the addition will add value to your property. From a personal perspective, it’s a key consideration that the added value exceeds build costs.
Whether or not you require planning permission to build an extension will depend on the size, and intended location of the extension on your property, as well as your home’s location generally.
If your property is located in a conservation zone or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, planning permission is more likely to be required. Consulting your local authority prior to making any plans is strongly advisable.
Speak to a broker experienced with timber framed properties
Whatever type of property you plan to buy, or personal circumstances you have, a trained and regulated mortgage broker has the greatest potential of finding you a lender who is receptive to your specific needs.
The highly experienced brokers we work with offer some of the most reliable advice available when it comes to mortgages for timber framed properties.
They have access to lenders and deals that are not publicly available, meaning that they can often find an appropriate finance solution, even if you’ve given up hope.
Give us a call on 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry and we’ll arrange for an advisor we work with who has the right knowledge in this area to speak to you straight away.
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It’s possible, depending on your circumstances, such as the age and value of the credit issue. As lenders are already taking what they perceive to be a risk with a timber framed construction property, adding bad credit to the equation could make the risk untenable for the lender.
Again, the key is finding the right lender for your exact circumstances, so using a broker is strongly advised in this situation.
Yes you can. The eligibility criteria for buy-to-let mortgages is based on the potential rental income of the property, however, lenders will also want to focus on local demand for rental properties of this type.
If you’re considering building your own timber framed property, it may be possible.
Timber is often used in self-build homes, as it’s cheaper, easier and quicker to construct, and has energy efficiency and sustainability benefits. Most lenders will prefer that you are qualified to oversee the build or have past experience of house build projects.
With a self-build mortgage that requires stage payment finance lenders carry out inspections at each stage of the build, prior to releasing funds for the next stage, the money is unlikely to be provided in a lump sum.
It can be possible, but it depends on the purpose of the cladding. Decorative timber cladding usually won’t affect your mortgage options, but if it’s structural, lenders are likely to consider it a non-standard construction property.
The quality of the cladding, and the amount used can also affect mortgageability. Some lenders are only willing to lend on properties with first floor cladding, for fully cladded homes, lender options will be reduced.
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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!