What is a barndominium? An Introduction.

Are you looking to build a new home, but you want an indoor arena for your horse training activities? What about ample space to work on DIY projects in a fully-equipped workshop? If so, building a barndominium might be the right option for you. Barndominiums are an increasingly popular way of combining a home with an arena or shop building, particularly in more rural areas of the country. 

So what makes a barndominium unique?

There’s a chance you have passed by barndominiums and have yet to put a name to them. They’re the big barn homes with AC. They’re the crossroads between a barn and a condominium; sometimes referred to as “barndos.” A barndominium is constructed from metal — that’s one of its defining characteristics.  

First popularized on HGTV’s Fixer Upper, barndominiums differ from conventional homes because they use metal posts that are grounded in a concrete foundation versus being built into and supported by one another. 

A barndominium’s design resembles a modern barn home. The metal can be framed to give as modern or rustic of an interior as you desire. Far from being limited to utilitarian-looking finishes, barndominiums are done in all kinds of attractive styles. 

You can also emulate the barn look using board and batten siding without building a true barndominium if you prefer.

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Barndominium homes can include:

Work Spaces - Whether it’s an office or woodshop or another type, you can have a work space with plenty of room dedicated to your craft. 

Play Areas - Perfect for families with young children who tend to leave toys everywhere.

Home School Rooms- A great room to have packed with all the educational equipment and materials needed for your children to learn and focus.

Shop Buildings - Barndominiums make it possible to live and run your business out of your home without feeling cramped, all while keeping living space and work space separate. 

Lofts - Usually an elevated room with an open space, perfect for a bedroom or just extra living space. 

Mud Rooms - Barndominiums leave room for a secondary entrance dedicated to removing muddy boots, jackets, and wet clothing. That can be important if you’re out working on your land!

What are the benefits of barndominiums? 

Barndominiums make for an all-around great home with immediate access to your animals, hobby or lifestyle components (think custom car garage or shop). Their design usually consists of metal framing, metal shell,  concrete foundation, lofty ceilings, and energy-efficient windows.

Construction Time

Barndominiums usually take six months or more to complete. The barndominium building process, at least for the exterior, is fairly streamlined. As a result, they take less time to get to the dried-in phase which helps reduce weather delays. The interior work will be about the same as a traditional build.

Building Costs

In Oklahoma, the cost to build a barndominium is about the same or even a bit more than a traditional home. With either, finishes and fixtures play an important role in the final costs.

Open floor plans

You can keep your open space concept with a barndominium’s structure because you don’t have to worry about adding unwanted walls to solve structural problems.

Greater Longevity

The unique metal framing and shell of barndominiums make these homes durable. Unlike traditional homes, you will not run into the same kinds of mold problems. The steel building is also resistant to termite damage.

How much does a barndominium cost? 

Just like any other custom home, there are multiple factors to be considered when it comes to cost. Like traditional homes, barndominiums’ prices also increase with more luxury additives and finishes.

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The cost of a barndominium also depends on some of its parts. Costs to consider include for the exterior are metal framing, roofing, concrete slab, plumbing, and land clearing. Cost to consider for the interior are appliances, electricity, flooring, countertops, hardware, and installation.

In general, barndominiums aren’t cheaper to build than traditional homes unless they are built very large. It’s best to see them as a lifestyle choice. If a barndominium is the right pick for the kind of life you want to lead, then the cost should be worth it.

What are the disadvantages? 

There are many ways a barndominium can make the perfect home! However, it’s important to consider every factor before you jump right in. There are three major disadvantages of living in a barndominium.

Zoning

Barndominiums tend to fall outside of most cities and municipal towns' codes. It’s likely you’ll have to build in rural areas. Living in a rural area is great for privacy, but it may be hard for those who are used to everything they need being within a five to ten minute proximity. You’ll definitely need to prepare to spend more on gas going to and from your dream home. And if you know a rural lifestyle isn’t for you, a barndominium may not be the best bet either.

Financing

Getting the typical mortgage may be quite difficult because they’re not fully classified as homes, so it will be harder to go through larger lenders. An alternative is to go through local banks or the Farmer’s Credit Bureau.

Buyer’s Market

The buyer’s market for these homes is something to consider if you’re not set on living in the house for a long time. One factor that makes these houses hard to sell is their location. It may be on the market longer because rural areas don’t have as much traffic as cities. Another factor is the high customization of these houses. When a house is fully catered to your every need, it’s likely that it will be too much for another buyer.

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Is it right for you?

After reading, you should be fairly familiar with barndominiums! Barndominiums are best for people who don’t mind living outside of city limits, love their privacy, need room for their animals or hobbies, and want more than just a house for their home. Barndominiums aren’t for everyone, but they might be perfect for you.

Keep Your Checklist Handy!

Before you meet with a builder, make sure you download our handy checklist “10 Questions to Ask a Homebuilder”. It will provide great insight into finding the perfect fit!

4 minute read