I somehow missed this back when you posted it, but I came across it doing some clean-up today. Hopefully you found someone to write you a mortgage. If not, you might try Farm Credit Services (http://www.e-farmcredit.com/)
. According to their website, they do have some branches in Tennessee. (They don't have to have one in your town, btw, to write you a mortgage. Ours comes out of an office at least an hour away from us...) I don't know that they have any particular history with straw bale houses, but they seem to have a different approach to "comps" then most other banks and I'm guessing that was the official reason your bank gave for not being able to mortgage your code-approved home (that they couldn't find any comparable homes to determine the market value from)?
When we were looking to buy the farm whose house we're currently (and apparently permanently...) renovating, no conventional bank would take it on - despite excellent credit ratings and a 40% deposit - because it was over 5 acres and they wouldn't be able to find any recent comparable sales to establish an appraisal value from. Because FCS is chartered specifically for farms (although I'm pretty sure they'll do 'regular' homes too...), they are used to dealing with properties that are hard to find comps for, so they tend to be more flexible in that regard.
FWIW, I wouldn't necessarily volunteer that it's made of straw bales. When calling around, I would describe it as a superinsulated house with really thick walls. If they ask for more details, I certainly wouldn't lie to them, but sometimes it's better not to risk activating biases if you don't have to. In our case, although we said were going to re-plaster the interior of our renovation, we didn't tell them we were going to use straw and clay. I deliberately put off having the inspector come for a draw until most of the finish plaster was completed because I didn't want the straw in the base plaster to scare her. When she did finally come to see it, she thought it was absolutely gorgeous and took WAY more pictures than she normally did - mostly of the sculptural stuff. (Although she didn't take any of the 8 foot long snake my son sculpted around his window. I don't think she cared for that one...)
Anyway, sorry again for the late reply and I hope this helps...
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, April 15, 2013 9:22 AM
Subject: [SB-r-us] Financing?
Can anyone give me tips on financing a straw bale home? We have actually already built our home, but need to put various other loans we took out here and there into a mortgage. It is a very long story but as of now we have a codes approved home financed as a land loan, a personal loan and a credit card. Anyway, our main banking institution won't do it so I'm looking for other options. Does anyone know of a company? Private financier? Any suggestions? I am happy to share more details with anyone who needs them to help. We are in middle Tennessee. Thank you!!
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