How to Finance an Unconventional Home

Advice about mortgages for environmentally-friendly homes.

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She knew the banker. He was familiar with her flawless credit history. They'd even worked together on several real estate deals. But when Mary Magdalena tried to get a mortgage for her dream home in Lyons, Colorado, five years ago, the loan officer was more than a little skeptical. "He didn't want to do the loan," she recalls. "He was concerned about resale value."

Magdalena's large geodesic dome, a circular structure composed of glass triangles, was a far cry from a plain-vanilla tract home. Although it seemed the ideal green home with its 15-inch walls, R-40 insulation, and active solar design, the banker required certain concessions to make the house mortgage material.

"I couldn't do an active solar home," Magdalena says. "I had to give that up. And when the banker found out I wanted to install composting toilets, I thought he'd die!" Magdalena, a real estate developer, finally did get the loan, but only because she had a long history with the bank. "They did it as a favor to me," she explains.

Check out the July/August 2000 issue of Natural Home for more about financing the unconventional home, including:

· How to Educate the Bankers and Find the Right Appraiser
· Lender-Speak
· Advice from the Experts
· The Green Advantage