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What Do You Know About Financing a Straw Bale Project?

Written by Andrew Morrison

House made of moneyI am trying to compile as much information as I can about two major subjects as they relate to straw bale construction. The first is mortgages and other straw bale funding options. The second, which I will discuss in another post, is insuring a straw bale project. It’s no secret that the mortgage industry is not what it used to be. I imagine that we could have a long conversation relating to the reasons for the sudden decline in available financing; however, that’s not what I’m most interested in. What I really want to know is: how do we move forward under current conditions? I would love to hear what you know about how to make financing a straw bale project happen. Consider that the lack of straw bale lending can stop projects in their tracks and your input could be the difference between success and the abandonment of a dream.

Perhaps you recently started, or even completed, your own straw bale project. Did you get financing? Did you get a standard mortgage or did you have to get creative? What was your down payment percentage? Were you able to use local financing or did you have to shop around to a larger, more national scale market? Any and everything you can share with me is appreciated.

My goal here is to create a document to help other people learn what it takes to finance their straw bale dream. I have lots of people ask me about finding specific lenders who will loan on straw bale. I can see the importance of having an updated list of lenders available (in other words, please supply me with names and contact information for those who provided your funding as well so I can list them in the document); however, I think it’s more important to know what details are involved in finding financing no matter where you live and who is immediately available to you.

My point is simply this: if I can help teach people how to get financing in any market, then the list of those willing to provide financing will continue to grow. If we stick with the same lenders over and over again, the list will ultimately shrink as policies and personnel change as we have seen over the last few years. It’s like the old saying: give a person a fish and they will have a meal. Teach a person to fish and they will never go hungry.

If you have details to offer, whether it is names and contact information for lenders, or details of what it took to get financing, please email me directly ([email protected]) and share that information. I look forward to compiling everything I get and putting it in one place for people to use.  The more recent your data, the better, by the way as I’ve found that even people I used to rely on for funding have stopped providing it in the “new” financing market.  Thanks for your help!

7 Responses

  1. When you get an (any) good answer, please let me know also. I am another straw bale house builder who had his house discounted on the appraisal because of ‘functional obsolescence’

  2. I have a lot in Dojran in R. Macedonia near the Greek border. There is now issuing permits for ragging and should build around 100 new weekend house. Building permits are the basis of 80m2 and maximum height of 7.2 m. I read the book by Barbara Jones Handbook for building homes of straw Bale, I saw your 7 lessons and I think it is enough that they can build their house. House to build ground floor 80m2 and 80m2 roof to maximum height of 7.2 m. Load-bearing columns and plates I think are of concrete. Wood seems weak for this burden of what to wear.

    It is applied to the environment I gave this book an architect in the municipality of Dojran, have information that can be built from straw bales. One of the already built but others that are just starting, I will try to keep them informed about this mode of construction.
    Full cordial greetings

  3. Hi Andrew,

    The Department of Energy in Oregon is very familiar with straw bale construction and support it. They have a financing program for homeowners. If someone from another state is interested, I’m sure transfer of information could occur between states and DOE’s. Sharing what someone offered me about insuring the home, post and fill without identifying the straw bales and referring to it as cellulose fill worked for them. Hope this helps and thank you for your work!

  4. One thing I know about appraisals is that a good appraiser will see the advantage in a house that is few and far between on the resale market because owners don’t like to sell them. They aren’t rare because nobody likes them. They are rare because nobody wants to sell them!

  5. I am a real estate agent trying to sell a strawbale home. I am trying to find financing to do a resale, I have a buyer just need the money. I am in Farmington,NM.If you know anyone would be grateful for the information! Thanks, Sydona

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