Alternative living and small spaces: Shipping container homes
The Dutch popularised shipping containers as living spaces as a response to a shortage of student accommodation and since this and many other innovative projects, prefabricated homes have gained steam for being durable, cheap and requiring minimal construction.
But what are the realities of buying a shipping container and are there mortgage lenders who provide loans for shipping container homes?
What is a shipping container home?
This type of property is built predominantly from shipping containers. There are companies who sell pre-made homes that can also deliver and install them although many people who choose to buy a shipping container home opt for a self-build.
For a novice with little to no experience of building, welding and plastering this will likely prove very tricky.
To make your home habitable, it will need to be warm, with running water and electricity, so if you do decide to take the self-build route, be prepared to source tradesman and manage the project.
How much does a shipping container home cost?
The cost of a shipping container can vary widely depending on the quality of the container and whether or not it has already been converted into a liveable space.
Pre-made shipping container homes can cost anywhere between £10,000 upwards while containers that are essentially just shells can be purchased online for as little as £1,000.
Like any significant purchase you’ll want to inspect the quality of the product. If possible, ask the seller if they know what the container carried and whether or not it has been painted in a toxic industrial paint.
They may not have this information but it’s worth asking as some shipping containers are used to carry hazardous materials, which although may have been effectively contained, could still pose a risk.
Do I need planning permission for a shipping container?
In the UK, container homes often do not require planning permission as they are not considered to be permanent however, every council is different so always check before erecting a shipping container home.
How long does a shipping container home last?
You can expect your containers to last typically around 25 to 30 years but of course, the durability of your home depends on the original condition as well as how well you maintain the building, including rust and water damage.
What are the pros and cons of shipping container homes?
You could be reusing a leftover product of the shipping industry to make a home.
Construction can be quicker than a traditional build, especially if you’re buying a ready-made container.
The costs of construction and maintenance can be cheaper too, which makes them extremely appealing to first-time buyers
The potential to create a unique property, customised to your exact taste
What you save on cost you may end up spending on the purchasing of the land, connecting utilities etc.
A shipping container is very strong at the corners but the roof is typically not as strong. If you live in an area with harsh weather conditions such as snow or heavy rain, you’ll likely want to build another roof over the top for extra protection.
The size of shipping containers is quite limiting and can quickly be consumed by plumbing, insulation, and bulky kitchen items but clever designs and small space storage systems can reduce this issue.
Can I mortgage a house made from a shipping container?
If you want to purchase land, buy a shipping container and finance a self-build project, you may want to consider a self-build mortgage.
This type of mortgage pays out cash instalments as new stages of the build are complete. While there are a range of self-build mortgage lenders in the UK, some lending criteria can be stringent and borrowers with a “poor” credit score or low deposit may find it tasking to find a lender with affordable rates.
How can I get the best deal on a mortgage for a shipping container house?
An in-depth comparison of the available mortgage products is the most efficient way of finding a good deal and while there are good comparison sites online, not all lenders advertise on all sites meaning you could miss out on the best price.
Finding a lender that specialises in finance for shipping container purchases can be frustrating if you don’t know where to look but a mortgage broker can provide you with this information upon talking with you.
Our experts have access to hundreds of lenders throughout the UK and can pinpoint the most viable options to help save you time and possibly money.
They’ll compare the available products and consider the pros and cons of each finance agreement. If they think a better option could be found elsewhere, it’s their job to let you know and help you achieve a successful application.
How much could I borrow?
Every lender has different qualifying criteria for shipping container mortgages agreements but usually, most UK lenders will want to look at the below factors when deciding whether they can approve your loan and if so, how much they’ll lend to you.
Number of dependants
Your credit history
Typically, a self-build mortgage provider might be happy to loan 75% of the land cost, and 60% of the build cost. For example, if the land you wanted to purchase was valued at £80,000, you could borrow 75% at £60,000 with a 25% deposit of £20,000.
If you were able to borrow 60% of the build cost which for this example would be £30,000, you could borrow £18,000 with a 40% deposit of £12,000.
However, it’s important to remember that the above figures are used for the purposes of an example and the amount that you can borrow will be highly reliant on your own situation and circumstances. There really is no ‘one size fits all’ mortgage as every lender and every borrower is different.
Where can I get advice about mortgages for shipping container projects?
We’re happy to answer your questions about shipping container projects, including whether you’d be eligible for finance and how you can go about taking your next steps to homeownership, whether that be via a shipping container, new-build or even a canal boat.
Call 0238023 55555 or make an enquiry today.