Geodesic Dome Financing

I have a client who owns a Geodesic Dome that we are going to re-list after the 1st of the year. Iâ??ve sent 4 appraisers over and all 4 backed out. Has any one ever sold a dome home before & how did you tackle the financing?
  • December 14 2007 - US
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Answers (22)

What state?  I have used Wells Fargo in the past.

  • December 21 2007
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You have to be able to comp the property out and show it's marketability.  The fact that 4 appraisers have backed out is a pretty good indicator that they can't comp it out.  That is going to be a tough deal all around.

 

I worked at Wells and the above applies.

  • December 21 2007
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Yea L&F owns a mortgage company (Prosperity Mortgage) with Wells so I definitely have them in mind. I am just worried about my sale price tanking with an underwriter.

There are defiantly not many comps for this place in my market area. The last geodesic dome that was listed in my MLS was in a different county, was 2500 square feet smaller & was in tear down condition. I have my client contacting LSI hopefully between their local appraiser and some of their other appraisal contacts we’ll get a reasonable estimate of value.

It’s going to be a lot more art then science for sure. But I’m open to any other suggestions.

The property is in suburban Philadelphia PA.

  • December 22 2007
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Profile picture for chasmader

Hmm.  Sounds like a tough one.  You could try the old fashioned way: Lot Value + Constuction Costs.  You will need a buyer with a large enough down payment; probably 25%, to overcome any hesitation on the part of the lender.

  • December 22 2007
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I finaly have it listed, I thought i'd share the info with you. www.RoseHillDome.com

My virtual tour guy will be heading out Friday afternoon.

let me know what you think...

  • January 17 2008
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Profile picture for Double Domes

Hi,

I am not a realtor, but I am trying to sell my double dome home on the Hoods Canal in Wa. state.  As far as I understand, lenders are often uninformed about domes.  I was floored when I found out that a realtor at a brokers open said Countrywide would not finance domes.  Had my realtor been on his toes he would have stated that the mortgage is indeed held with Countrywide.  Anyway, my point is that if my realtor or buyer needs help with where to line up financing, I am going to hook them up with the original company that sold the plans and some of the materials for my dome home.  There is usually a parent company (mine is Oregon Domes), and hopefully your owner has that information.  They have a vested interest in helping dome owners buy and sell competitively in the home market.  On a personal note - I have learned that domes seem to appeal to artists (acoustics, open, etc.) and women seem to get tuned in faster than men to my home anyway.  It's probably because they relate to the architecture - my neighbors call it the Dolly Domes, for obvious reasons.  We have alot of earthquakes here and I point out the benefits of the dome strength.  If you have a few moments take a look at the information available online about domes.  It is really amazing the amount of snow load and wind speed they take.  Buckminster Fuller (don't quote my spelling) was the original guy who researched the attributes of domes. I am sure that you will find a buyer for that home.  It is alot of house for the price.  If you want to see mine, go to Remax and search Poulsbo, WA, my price is 425K. 

 

Good Luck

  • March 03 2008
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thanks for the input. My client is the second owner of this dome. the builder was his own general contractor. If you go to http://www.naturalspacesdomes.com/ they will post your dome or in your case domes for sale for free.

  • March 04 2008
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Profile picture for planetwalker2

That's good info to have Dan. I researched domes quite a while back and even had an architect draw up a large commercial plan who wanted the experience. Sad to see it hasn't gotten much easier to get them on the market for resale. In the energy crisis mode we are in, it really is a viable alternative to traditional building. Very strong and efficient, but a challenge to decorate sometimes if the inner contours are kept.

  • March 04 2008
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most of the negitives I get from buyers / agents is that it is just too different from what they are used to. That and since they are not many in my area, you can't find a contractor who has worked on one.

  • March 04 2008
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Profile picture for Double Domes

Yep, these are structures that are not common in some areas.  Your listing looks like a Hybrid type.  My sister tells me that my home in New Mexico would be considered pretty "normal".  My home is situated in a Norwegion community, and bless everyones heart out here they are not all open to new concepts in living spaces.  Jump on over these people and understand that the generation before us apparently connected domes with counterculture, and they're still fired up about it!  I found all this out after I decided to sell..........who would have known?  Anyway, it is really important for professionals in real estate to get educated about the benefits of these homes, they are just like every other home, except more efficient and strong.  I just hope that I am in my domes when the next shaker comes.  These domes don't have any problem distributing the stress load when the earth moves.  The only thing that moves is my houseplants.

  • March 04 2008
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not much concern for earthquakes here in suburban Philly.

  • March 06 2008
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Profile picture for Double Domes

That's a good thing.  I wanted to thank you for the info. on natural spaces.  I guess my previous post took too long and I times out.  Anyway, I am going to get on that site for sure......even though I am techno challenged when it comes to pictures and links....I wanted to mention also that I struggled to figure out how to stage the interior of my domes so it would really pop.  I finally figured out that the issue is all the geometic shaped spaces that are not square or rectangle, and the openness that makes it challenging to define seperate rooms or areas.  I went with large round and oval rugs, and what a huge relief it was to my eye.  Defining the spaces with circular rugs and using furniture placement did the trick.  Also, I kept the color scheme similiar between connected space and that helped make a clean flow with the eye.  It took me years to figure this stuff out.  Funny thing is that I use to have a large rectangle rug in the living room, and for years I kept moving it around trying to make it look centered (like a crooked picture can bug a person).  So while staging these homes can be challenging it is so fun that I wish I could stage other domes.  I was fortunate that the builder of my domes made specific wall modifications for flush install on entertainment center, bed head boards, bookcases, etc.  I don't know what I would have done otherwise. 

  • March 06 2008
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Profile picture for robin398

There are companies that do handle the financing of non-traditional homes.

 

Check out this link:

 

http://activerain.com/blogsview/152304/Dome-Home-complications

  • September 14 2008
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thanks Robin that was very useful.

  • September 19 2008
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Profile picture for AliceC.Snedeker
I live in NJ and we are trying to refinance our dome home thru VA.  The VA requires 3-3 comps in the area and I would appreciate any help at all on how to get this info.  There are at least 10 dome homes in the radius of 20 miles, but I am looking for the best way to find out when they sold, w/o calling every township building in the area.
Thanks!!!
Alice
  • October 23 2011
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
If you have the addresses of the 10 + dome homes, you can open their property information page on Zillow and if sold in the last 10 to 15 years you'll be able to scroll down to price history and find the last sale date and sale price.
  • October 23 2011
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Profile picture for AliceC.Snedeker
TO:  wetdawgs.

I supplied the physical addresses of 8 domes within 15 mile radius, but the lenders are looking for specific sales. I did get info from Zillow.   I also had an appraisal done in 2005 and the appraiser had no difficulty estimating the living space as 2,750 sq. ft. - it's not rocket science! But since none of these domes have sold in the past 8 years, no luck!   If there is any info on lenders for a refinance, I'd be glad to have it! Thanks.
  • November 08 2011
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Profile picture for user053384
We listed our dome home near Decatur, Il, on April 19 this year and had a buyer in four days. They were prequalified and had a 20 per cent down payment. They applied for a conventional mortgage on April 23. Inspections and everything else went smoothly. Six weeks later, four days before the scheduled closing, the bank denied the conventional loan and said they would only do an adjustable. They told the buyers that houses like ours are very difficult to re-sell, so they backed out. Four days later, another couple made an offer on the house. They applied for a mortgage on a house they already owned free and clear so they could pay cash for our dome house. Their bank agreed to that transaction, but then advised them not to do it, telling them they might never be able to sell the dome in the future. So they backed out, too. Does anyone see the irony here? It looks as if the only way this house will sell now is if someone can pay cash, which is unlikely. We love our dome home, but really need to sell it for financial reasons. Can anyone provide us with some hopeful information?
  • July 06 2012
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Please let me know what you find out as I too have a dome home listed in Victoria Texas
  • July 07 2012
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Profile picture for MOUNTAIN MAN DAN
Hey Dan
Dan Easton here in Blairsville, GA 30512.
I have a Dome home listed and cannot find financing either.
If you run accross something please let me know.
Dan Easton
Three Springs Realty
[Contact information removed by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy.]
  • April 17 2013
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I recently sold one in Victoria TX.  My clients got a conventional loan at First Prosperty.
  • April 17 2013
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Bruce Gage here in Flemington NJ -- What other types of homes are you seeing the appraisers use for comparable sales in your experience with successfully getting a loan for a geodesic dome home? I am currently negotiating a sale for what we affectionately call The Pleasure Dome :) a few miles outside of Stockton NJ. It was built in 1977 and renovated in 2005, and it is in very good condition, great neighborhood and on beautiful acreage with views into the woods. We are hoping to get financing worked out using a conventional loan and a "conventional" appraisal. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!
  • September 07 2013
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