Hi guys

Let me start by mentioning that you guys have convinced me into buying a BISF house. I am a first time buyer, looking for a semi detached bisf in Harrow.

I am struggling to put a value to houses in the area. To give you an idea, I might be considering the house below which has an asking price of £350K:
I see that NON-BISF houses of similar type/size in the area have been sold in the recent past for around £400K.

Although it is still a big discount, I am trying to convince myself if it is still reasonable given the little reputation BISF houses have got. Obviously, I am looking to get a full building survey done once I have found the right house.

I am also little worried about getting mortgages for BISF, especially for its buyer when I may try to sell it in the future. Is it likely to become more difficult?

Please be considerate if you don’t like my question. Any comments or opinions will be appreciated.


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Hi again Marc

I am also considering the house in Ufford Close:

This house is also in need of some renovation. The kitchen does not open up directly into the living room which is not particularly great. Trying to put a value to it.

I would appreciate if you could share your thoughts on the same.


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    Hi Amit
    It looks as though this property has received an offer or at the very least it has been removed by the agent so it’s not particularly easy to see all the images as they are somewhat greyed out.

    As for the Kitchen wall and not being opened up, I wouldn’t worry too much about that, as removing this wall is a very simple job that would take about half a day. Of course you may need the odd electric light switch to be re-located if they are present, and a little plastering to the ceiling where the old wall would of sat, but otherwise it’s one of the easiest jobs to tackle.

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Hello there

Thank you so much for taking the time out for looking deep into my question and the detailed response. It does help quite a lot.

We went to view this property. As you mentioned, the kitchen is moved into a side extension and the amount of work required before we could move in is a bit too much for us. Apparently, they have reduced the asking price to £330K.

While you seem to do it so easily, I cannot easily tell a BISF from a brick house. They look quite similar to me. You mention things like missing external insulation, but I do not know how to identify it.

The brick house in headstone lane which is up for 350K is a smaller terraced house. Based on the rough 20% discount guide on BISF, I assume that a reasonable semi-detached BISF house should also be about £330K in the area?


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Hello Amit
Thank you for your question and welcome to our website
Prices for a typical BISF house in an un-modernised condition, i.e. No external wall insulation, are typically valued around 20% lower than a standard brick built house.

A good example of this can be seen below.

In nearby Courteney Ave, there is a similar sized brick built 3 bedroom property, currently for sale with offers around £365.000
There is also another 3 bed terraced brick property in Headstone Lane with offers around £350,000.

The BISF property that you are looking at has been internally modernised to some degree, but I am aware that this property has been on the market for quite a while for one reason or another.
Without being critical of the sellers, I firmly believe that the kitchen may be holding this property back from a quick sale, as it appears to has been moved into a very small, (possibly the outhouse) area at the side of the house, creating a galley style kitchen which is not to everyones taste.
There also appears to be a few finishing touches that need to be completed in the hallway as well as the possible need for the ceilings to be re-plastered as the current trend has moved away from Artex style ornate ceilings. The bathroom also appears to require some work, possibly even a new suite and new tiling etc.

With these factors in mind, I would calculate the costs of this remedial work including the reinstatement of the kitchen. Once I had reached a realistic figure I would want to re-negotiate a sale price based on the estimated work costs.
Having not visited the property myself, I cannot state what that figure might be, but this is something that you would have to decide.

Obviously, as with any BISF house, it is essential that you undertake a full structural survey by a surveyor who has experience with BISF properties.
If the steel frame is in good condition, I would not hesitate to purchase any BISF House. If you do succeed in buying this or any other BISF house, I would strongly recommend installing external insulation as this will not only prolong the life of the house but in can also increase the value and mortgage ability in the future.

As for mortgages, most BISF owners find Halifax and Santander to be the best options.

Contrary to popular belief, its not because it’s a BISF house that reduces the number of willing lenders, it’s because it’s a house built of non-traditional or Non-standard construction and the same circumstances would apply to owners of any house that falls into this this category. It’s worth noting that just under 30% of all houses in the UK are non-standard construction.

In our experience BISF houses often sell very quickly when they come on the market.
Houses that do not sell quickly can often have underlying issues, often caused by the previous owners choice of decor or lack of maintenance or is in this case, layout changes that put some potential buyers off.

In Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands there are a small number of BISF Houses that often attract bidding wars, such is the popularity of these houses, so providing the house is in good structural order and well presented, I cannot see anyone having a problem selling in the future.

I hope this helps


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