Certain types of construction can affect how easy it is to insure, mortgage and sell a home. One type of house that may bring about some of these challenges is the Wimpey No-Fines home.
So, what is a Wimpey No-Fines house? And what on earth does “no-fines” mean?!
Wimpey No-Fines is a type of non-standard construction house built from cast in-situ concrete. “No-Fines” refers to the type of concrete mixture used, which contains no sand or other small particles. Over 300,000 of these houses were built in the UK from the 1940s onward in response to the post-WWII housing shortage.
Our complete guide answers the top 10 most popular questions homeowners, sellers and buyers have on Wimpey No-Fines houses. From getting a mortgage to problems you might face when trying to sell, we’ve got you covered.
Not sure about the best way to sell your Wimpey No-Fines home? Our free quiz can help guide you in the right direction:
1. What is a Wimpey No-Fines property?
Wimpey No-Fines is a type of non-standard construction concrete house designed by George Wimpey & Co Ltd.
They were designed to be low-cost and quick to build. This was necessary, as there was a shortage of skilled labour, housing and materials following WWII.
Over 300,000 of these houses were built in the UK from the 1940s onwards. The houses are built from cast in-situ concrete. This means they didn’t need skilled bricklayers, who were in short supply after the Second World War.
“No-Fines” refers to the type of concrete mixture used, which contains no sand or other small particles. Instead, it is made up of 1/2" to 3/4" stone or gravel aggregate mixed with cement.
The Wimpey No-Fines construction method was used to build bungalows, 2-storey semi-detached and terraced houses, and flats across the UK.
2. Is Wimpey No-Fines standard construction?
Wimpey No-Fines houses are classified as non-standard construction. This is because they are built using non-traditional methods and materials (no-fines concrete).
Any house that isn’t built out of brick or stone with a slate or tiled roof is considered “non-standard” or “non-traditional”.
3. Is Wimpey No-Fines defective?
Wimpey No-Fines properties are not classed as defective under the Housing Defects Act 1984.
Buyers can sometimes confuse Wimpey No-Fines homes with precast concrete houses, such as Airey houses. This can cause problems when it comes to selling a Wimpey No-Fines home. This is because several precast concrete house types were designated as “defective”.
Generally, mortgage lenders will not lend on “defective” homes unless they are provided with a PRC Certificate. This confirms that structural repairs have been properly carried out.
If you are trying to sell a Wimpey No-Fines home, make sure to tell any prospective buyers that this house type is NOT defective. The last thing you want is a misinformed estate agent or friend scaring your prospective buyer away.
4. Do you need a PRC Certificate for a Wimpey No-Fines house?
You do not need a PRC Certificate for a Wimpey No-Fines house. This is because Wimpey No-Fines houses are not PRC houses, nor are they classified as “defective”.
“PRC” stands for pre-cast reinforced concrete. Wimpey No-Fines is a type of in-situ concrete house.
PRC Certificates are only required for repair works to defective PRC houses in order for them to be considered mortgageable.
5. Can you get a mortgage on a Wimpey No-Fines house?
You can get a mortgage on a Wimpey No-Fines house. It just might take a little longer to find a willing lender because of the “non-standard” construction type. There will be fewer providers to choose from. This means you may have to accept a mortgage with less favourable terms (such as a higher deposit or interest rate).
Here are some of my tips for securing a mortgage on a Wimpey No-Fines house:
- Speak with a mortgage broker. If you’re struggling to find a mortgage using the usual comparison tools, I would recommend speaking with a mortgage broker. They will be able to introduce you to lenders who are happy to offer mortgages on this type of property.
- Lower your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. Mortgage providers view non-standard construction properties as greater risk, which is why they are more hesitant to lend. A way to reduce the risk for the lender is by increasing the deposit you put down on the property.
Remember that there are other factors that affect your ability to get a mortgage, not just the type of construction. Lenders will also consider things like your credit history, employment status and existing debt.
6. Can you get home insurance on a Wimpey No-Fines house?
You can get home insurance on Wimpey No-Fines houses. However, not all insurers will be willing to offer cover because of the “non-standard” construction type. Insurance premiums may also be higher. This is because the risks and repair costs are less predictable than “traditional” homes.
If you are struggling to find home insurance cover, I would recommend speaking to an insurance broker. They will know which insurers offer home insurance on Wimpey No-Fines properties and help you get the best deal.
It is very important that you answer the insurer’s questions about the construction of the property as honestly and accurately as possible. If not, you risk invalidating the policy.
7. How to identify a Wimpey No-Fines house?
You can identify a Wimpey No-Fines house by getting a bespoke building survey to clarify the construction type. You should do this if you're thinking about buying a property and suspect it may be of non-standard construction.
You should ensure that the surveyor you commission is familiar with the Wimpey No-Fines construction type. They should also be a member of one of the two main accrediting bodies: RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) or RPSA (Residential Property Surveyors Association).
8. Should I buy a Wimpey No-Fines house?
Wimpey No-Fines houses are almost always cheaper to buy than an equivalent standard construction house. This can make them a more affordable option for some buyers.
Wimpey No-Fines houses often tend to be on sizeable plots and can have spacious interiors. If properly maintained, they can make great homes.
However, there are some things to consider before purchasing a Wimpey No-Fines house:
- Condition. Is the condition of the Wimpey No-Fines house good, or will it need any repairs or renovations? You should get a structural engineer to carry out a thorough inspection to identify any issues. Try and get a structural engineer who is familiar with Wimpey No-Fines properties, if possible.
- Financing. Wimpey No-Fines houses are mortgageable, but only certain lenders will be willing to lend on this type of property. Speak with the seller for recommendations or a specialist mortgage broker to find a suitable lender.
- Insurance. It can be harder and more expensive to insure Wimpey No-Fines houses. If you’re struggling to find a suitable insurer, speak with an insurance broker.
- Cracks. Does the property have any cracks or signs of the render blowing? This could be a sign that water has penetrated, which can cause the steel reinforcement bars to rust. The structural engineer should pick up on this during their inspection.
- Insulation. Unmodified Wimpey No-Fines houses are not up to the current standards of insulation and will lead to higher utility costs. There are things you can do to improve this, such as adding external wall insulation (which will also improve the look of the property).
- Future maintenance. If a problem does arise with the property in the future, you may need to enlist the help of a specialist. Not all builders will be comfortable working on a non-standard construction property. This could mean higher costs.
- Future saleability. Depending on the location and market conditions, it can be harder and take longer to sell a Wimpey No-Fines house compared to a traditional home. Keep this in mind if you’re planning to sell the property in the future.
Ultimately, whether you should buy a Wimpey No-Fines house will be a decision only you can make. Listen to the advice of the structural engineer after they’ve carried out their inspection. Make sure to weigh up the pros and cons of the particular property.
Try not to be influenced by people who don’t have as great an understanding about this property type as you do. (But keep in mind that when you come to sell, many other buyers will have the same fears and misconceptions about this property type!)
9. What problems might you face when you try to sell a Wimpey No-Fines house?
The good news is it’s possible to sell a Wimpey No-Fines house, but it might take you slightly longer to find a buyer.
Not sure about the best way to sell your non-standard construction home? Our free quiz can help guide you in the right direction:
There are a few potential challenges you might face along the way, including:
- Stigma. Non-standard construction properties carry a stigma with buyers and lenders alike. Buyers may wrongly assume Wimpey No-Fines houses are defective or not structurally sound. It can be difficult to dispel these myths. Some buyers simply avoid non-standard construction properties because of the blanket associated risks.
- Buyers may struggle to get a mortgage and/or insurance. Buyers might be put off if they cannot easily get a mortgage on the property or find affordable insurance cover.
- More expensive to maintain. Although not found to be defective, Wimpey No-Fines houses can still develop problems like cracking. A specialist may have to get involved due to the construction type, which generally means higher fees. This could put some buyers off.
- Future saleability. Buyers are also going to consider the future saleability of the property if they decide to move on in the future. Non-standard construction properties are generally harder to sell.
To improve your chances of selling, you can offer buyers some helpful suggestions of mortgage providers and insurers.
Do a bit of homework to find out who is willing to lend on, and insure, Wimpey No-Fines houses. This can put buyer’s minds at ease and increase the likelihood of them putting in an offer.
10. What is the best way to sell a Wimpey No-Fines house?
The best option for you will depend on whether you want to achieve the best price possible for your property, or if you value a faster, more certain sale.
- Best price possible. If price is the #1 goal, then selling with a good local estate agent will be the best way to sell your Wimpey No-Fines house. Make sure to tell the agent that this type of property is NOT defective and is mortgageable and insurable. Even better, look for an agent that has experience selling this type of property. Just be prepared that it might take longer to find a buyer.
- Faster and more certain sale. If you prioritise your time and want to achieve a faster sale, auction is your best option. Auctions offer a great balance between speed and price. Sales can be agreed in as little as 6-8 weeks, with a much greater deal of certainty than selling on the open market.
If you think auction might be right for you, and you want to save a lot of the homework, headaches and guesswork, I can help. Hit the button below to take the free quiz I've designed for you. It'll help uncover if auction's the right option for you. If it is, I'll connect you with my #1 Leading Auction House. You can get a free auction appraisal and have all your auction questions answered (for free) in the next 24 hours. Start with the free quiz:
You can find out more about the pros and cons of selling a Wimpey No-Fines house by auction and with an estate agent in my article, "What's The Best Way to Sell a Wimpey No-Fines House? [My 5 Top Tips]".
By Matthew Cooper, Co-Founder of Home Selling Expert