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6 Apr

Unique Homes Have Special Problems

General

Posted by: Kimberly and Cindy Walker

Recently one of the former members of the boy band New Kids on the Block expressed an interest in buying this lighthouse off the coast of Virginia in the U.S. Unique homes can be a lot of fun to own and to live in. However, there are some things you should be aware of before you make an offer on a unique property. He probably paid cash for this property because unique properties can be difficult to find financing for.

While we don’t have lighthouses in Western Canada, another type of property does come onto the market from time to time; church conversions.
I had a client last year who owned a church conversion in a small town in Saskatchewan. The building was great. It had lots of room, and it was on a large lot.

The problem was trying to find a lender who would lend on a church conversion. I found out that the big banks would lend but only in larger cities and towns. They would lend on homes in small towns in Saskatchewan and Alberta but not both. The only solution was to go to a local credit union that knew the property and the town.

Why won’t big banks do unique homes like this in smaller centres? Marketability – if the borrower doesn’t keep up their payments it would take months to find a buyer who wanted something like this and it would cost the bank a lot to keep the property until a buyer could be found.
Another lesson to be learned – before you make an offer on a unique property always check with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professoinal to see if you can get financing on your special home.