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Hello
I have just had an offer accepted on a lovely bungalow in north Wales near Conway. The owner informed me its is steel framed and built around 1967.
Will I have problems with a mortgage and house insurance ?
Is the value of the house lower than the equivalent standard brick construction ?
I have read a lot of negative things on line ref steel framed houses, not sure what to believe. Checked on the house selling websites and there have been many houses on the same street bought and sold in the last 20 years so it wouldn’t appear to be stopping people getting mortgages.
Do I need a detailed structural survey and/or an inspection of the steel work at the base of the uprights ?

Any other advise you can give would be appreciated.
Thanks.

Ron S.

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Thanks Marc,

Lots to think about. I’m an engineer and I’ve worked with carbon steels all my life so there’s only one real option and that is inspect the steel. Love the house and we don’t want to walk away from it so we’ll see how far the current owners will go towards inspection.

I’m told by a local surveyor the construction is brick around the steel frame but I’ll know more today as we are going for a second viewing (we live 100 miles away from the house)

Your right in what you say regarding the content of peoples opinions posted on the internet, most of it is absolute rubbish.

Thanks again, as soon as I know the construction I’ll ask your opinion.
Ron

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Hello Ron,
Welcome to our site & congratulations on your offer being accepted.

As you are probably now aware, there are many different types of steel frame constructed buildings with some fairing better than others in terms of longevity.

There has always been a certain amount of negativity surrounding steel framed buildings, which in part is due to people associating all steel framed buildings with the vast numbers of temporary, poorly built, houses that littered the country following the post war temporary housing program.

This lumping together ideology does nothing to enhance the reputation of the remaining steel framed homes, many of which were built as permanent buildings with lifespans similar to traditional brick homes.

But, and I’m afraid that there is a big but here, not all steel frame buildings are the same as some were built much better than others and as such, some, depending on their build type, are better investments than others.

As you have not identified the build type of your bungalow, I can only guess what the construction type may be but when buying any steel framed building, I would strongly suggest that you obtain a full and where possible, invasive structural survey in order to determine the condition of the frame and in particular to assess if the stanchions or upright legs of the property have corroded.

As for insurance and mortgages, it’s not simply that a case that companies don’t like to insure or lend on steel framed homes, it more a case that the majority of companies won’t lend or insure on anything that is not built of good old fashioned brick. Thankfully though, there are are a number of insurers and lenders who can see past this negativity and as such, they have no problem lending on or insuring non-traditional properties, including steel framed buildings, subject to survey of course and providing the property is not classed as defective under the defective housing act of 1984.

Much of what you read on the internet will probably have been written on forums discussing house buying and investing, the majority of which I have read myself. I can truly say that most of it is utter rubbish, spouted through hearsay and without factual grounding.

I personally would have no problem buying a steel framed house providing I did my research into the build type as this is critical. I would of course order a full survey too and if this was acceptable I would approach Santander or the Halifax for a mortgage.

As for values, steel framed properties are typically around 10 – 20% cheaper than nearby brick equivalents which makes them a very attractive prospect in todays market. However this amount can vary wildly depending on area as in some parts of the country, prices hardly vary at all.

Can you find out what the build type is as this would be very useful?

I don’t think you have anything to fear though as long as you take the usual steps associated with buying any other house.

I hope this helps.

Marc

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