Offbeat Homie Kathryn asked us a question that we can’t answer. But maybe you can?
I’m wondering if you/your fabulous readership would have any advice about getting financing for nontraditional living spaces. Banks seem to be incredibly reluctant to finance anything other than a traditional home mortgage, but that’s not at all what we want!
My husband and I have dreamed for years of purchasing a small building in our adopted city. We’ve never been drawn to traditional neighborhoods, and feel like our souls are slowly dying, as we’re currently trapped in Suburbia.
We have the perfect neighborhood in mind, and are eying a particular building that we could easily inhabit while doing renovations at the same time. We’d convert the top floor into a swinging loft where we’d reside, and the bottom level would be studio and manufacturing space for my husband’s freelance art business, possibly with a storefront gallery.
Yet, we’re having a terrible time finding funding for such a building. We’re certainly not rich, but I’m established in my career, and could walk into pretty much any bank and get a “normal” residential mortgage of $150K. But no banks will even talk to me when they learn that we want to purchase a building for our primary residence instead of a house. They immediately want to know how much rental income we’ll be bringing in (none — we just want to live in the damn thing!).
We’ve considered trying to get a business loan, but organizations like the SBA try to encourage us to rent a space for my husband’s business instead of buying a building, so the doors seem to slam shut there as well. No one seems to understand that we just want to live in a nontraditional space!
So many cities make noise about building artist communities and being artist-friendly. Everyone knows artists make neighborhoods nicer! In days past, it was quite normal for people to live above their shops. Why is it so difficult for banks to catch up to current trends, and be willing to fund live-work scenarios? What financing options are out there for people like us who aren’t at home in a “normal” home?
Live/work spaces? Industrial lofts? Or maybe one of those cool fire station homes? Do you live in a home that’s not technically a home? Tell us all about your financing options for non-traditional homes!