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Mortgaging a Cottage Property

Can you get a great mortgage on a charming cottage - and why might a specialist lender be a far better prospect than your mainstream bank?

Almas Uddin
Almas Uddin

Founder and Mortgage Advisor

Almas Uddin2024-07-17
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Mortgaging a Cottage Property

Cosy rural cottages and period homes are an aspiration for many homebuyers. However, cottages can present a few challenges in the mortgage application process!

Here we'll explain what to look out for when buying a cottage, and the lending criteria you are likely to encounter.

For professional advice from an independent brokerage team, contact Revolution on 0330 304 3040, or email us at [email protected].

Are Cottages More Difficult to Mortgage Than Other Properties?

Not necessarily, but they can be. The general criteria around affordability and deposit requirements all apply, but a lot relates to the type of cottage, construction materials, and location.

Very remote locations are always considered high risk. Likewise, you'll find it harder to mortgage a cottage in a flood zone, a thatched cottage, or a property needing significant renovation through a high street bank.

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What are the Requirements for Securing a Mortgage on a Cottage?

The good news is that Revolution Brokers works with many specialist lenders, who offer non-standard property lending and have experience in countryside homes.

Lenders will consider:

  • Whether you are buying a cottage as a second home. Many applicants buy a cottage as a holiday home or weekend residence. In this case, you will need to demonstrate affordability if you have an existing mortgage on your primary home.
  • Whether the cottage is residential or a buy to let. If you intend to rent out your cottage, either all the time or when you are not using it, you will need a buy to let mortgage. The terms are relatively similar, but you will usually need a higher deposit and demonstrate that the rental income will cover at least 125% of the mortgage payments, and sometimes more depending on your tax bracket.
  • Whether you are investing in a cottage as a holiday let. This is similar, but not identical to a buy to let scenario. In this case, you need a specialist holiday let mortgage, which has comparable affordability criteria.
  • Whether the cottage needs significant renovation. Cottages are nearly always period properties and need modernisation works. If you are buying a cottage that is not currently habitable, it may be impossible to get a mortgage. An alternative is to consider a bridging loan to finance the repair works, and refinancing on a traditional mortgage when complete.
  • Whether the cottage is in a conservation area, or a listed building. If you buy a listed building, a lender will carefully consider the restrictions on what you can do and whether that is likely to impact the home's resale value.
  • What materials the cottage is made from. Cottages may have a thatched roof or a steel frame and vary from the typical bricks and mortar house building materials. In this situation, you may need a specialist lender with experience in non-standard properties.

Are There Mortgages Available on Cottages with Thatched Roofs?

Yes, but this will almost certainly fall into the non-standard property sector and need a niche lender.

Thatched roofs are riskier because they need replacing periodically, carry maintenance costs, and present a higher fire hazard.

Therefore you might find that you need a larger deposit, or are offered less competitive interest rates than on a property with a regular tile roof.

What Questions Should I Ask Before Purchasing a Cottage?

Of course, there are thousands of different types of property. Before going ahead with a purchase, we recommend you consider:

  • The structure and title deeds. A full structural survey is vital, and you need to know whether there are any maintenance issues, such as damp. If the property is listed, you will also need a Listed Building Survey.
  • The condition of the property. An older cottage can need considerable repairs and renovations. You should budget for those renovation costs in your mortgage application.
  • Energy efficiency. Most period homes are not energy efficient and can cost more to heat as well as being harder to mortgage. You could consider upgrades to the property to make it more energy-efficient.
  • If the property has a thatched roof, you will need to have electrical checks carried out along with the survey, with an expert assessment of the roof's condition. The seller should also advise on when the thatch was last replaced or repaired.

Bear in mind that thatched roofs need replacing around every 30 years, and you will need specialist insurance that may be significantly more expensive.

Many thatched cottages are also listed and protected by English Heritage.

Can I Get a Mortgage to Buy a Cottage Overseas?

Potentially, yes. You can buy a cottage abroad, but there are also considerations:

  • You will need a reliable Conveyancing solicitor with knowledge of the local property laws in your intended purchase location.
  • Residency and visa rights may impact how many times you can visit per year, and for how long.
  • Property taxes can be steep in other countries, so you need to check what these are before you purchase.

Professional Assistance with UK Cottage Mortgages

If you have your heart set on a period home, but have been turned down for a mortgage, or are interested in moving to the country and need help finding the most affordable lending, the business finance broker team can help.

Give us a call on 0330 304 3040, or send a message to [email protected]. We will consult on your circumstances, and the property you wish to buy and recommend the best lenders to apply to for the mortgage you need.

Almas Uddin
Almas Uddin

Founder and Mortgage Advisor

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FCA disclaimer

The content included in our articles, blogs, web pages and news publications is based on information accurate at the time of writing. Note that policies and criteria can change regularly throughout the UK mortgage lending market, and it remains essential to contact the consultation team to receive up to date guidance. The information included on the Revolution Brokers site is not bespoke to any circumstances or individual application scenarios and therefore is not intended to be used as financial advice. The content we share is designed to be informative and helpful but cannot be relied upon to provide individual advice relevant to your mortgage requirements. All Revolution team members are fully qualified, trained and experienced to provide mortgage advice of an independent nature.

We collaborate with lenders and providers who are regulated, authorised and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Should you require specific mortgage borrowing types, some products such as buy to let mortgages may not be FCA regulated. The Revolution team can provide further information about regulated and unregulated lending as required. Please remember that a mortgage is a debt which is secured against your home or property. Your home can be at risk of repossession if you do not keep up with the repayments or encounter any other difficulties in managing your mortgage borrowing responsibly. This also applies to any remortgage or home loan secured against your property, including equity release products.

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