Found this forum a couple of days ago, so much useful advice!
Partner & I would like to buy some land in Central Victoria and have a house built on it. Some conventional options are pricey for the land we have in mind, so we are looking at off-grid options. Off-grid also suits our personal preferences.
Specifically, we're looking at:
- Solar system and batteries.
- Composting toilet (waterless).
- Grey water processing system.
We can spec out all of these things to suit the house size, our budget, meet Australian Standards & EPA requirements. The local council mentions a composting toilet & grey water on their planning website so it shouldn't be a major problem for planning approval.
Our problem is that no lenders want to pre-approve Construction Loans for this kind of house. Our mortgage broker has tried a few and we talked to our own bank (Bendigo) as well. The standard conditions seem to be:
- Sealed road.
- Electricity to block.
- Septic tank.
Otherwise they say we have to present our exact case and have formal valuations done and then it goes to the bank's High Risk unit to assess it, and "maybe" then it'll be possible.
There aren't any other problems with our preferred land itself, as far as we can see (it's very close to a town, zoned Rural Living, etc.)
I understand the basic reasoning (an ordinary house has a bigger market of potential buyers, weird hippy stuff may only appeal to weird hippies) so the potential bank valuation is lower.
We don't need approval for a Construction Loan at this point. But we're looking at buying some land as a first step and it would be good to know beforehand that some lender is likely to give us a Construction Loan for the house we want, when we get to that stage (after plans, permits, etc).
Does anyone have any examples of lenders giving construction loans for this kind of thing? Any recommendations for who to approach or how to present it?