- I'll apologize as well for having missed your first post. I concur with everything Nick said. You might also be having trouble because you aren't looking for a conventional mortgage in that the house is already completed- you are looking for, essentially, a second mortgage- and not all companies cover that market. I would also advise not to tell them it's strawbale- superinsulated is what we used as well- if they even ask. If pressed we would next tell them it was built of cellulose blocks. Why THAT is easier to finance than strawbale is beyond me- but it seems to be. (when we got our plaster approved by the local planning dept we told them it was made from clay, lime, and 'pre-processed straw'. It was - but we call it manure! Its all about the words!) Usually finance institutions just want to know that it's code approved.
We had a minimum amount of problem getting comps but it had nothing to do with straw and everything to do with building on acreage in a 'gaited' community in a little tiny town. There AREN'T any other gaited communities here- so no comps! LOL
We were financed by a big bank- originally Wells Fargo but since sold several times and now with another big bank. Sometimes they are your better bet than small local banks as they have more money to invest and potential risks aren't evaluated the same way.
I hope you either have already been able to complete your financing or that we soon here that you have!!! Good luck!!
1a. Re: Financing?
Posted by: "N Leone" nlpub@... nick_sb_y
Date: Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:08 pm ((PDT))
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...