What is a Barndominium? Everything You Need to Know - The Home Atlas (2024)

Imagine a home you can custom-build at a fraction of your expected cost and look forward to moving into in a matter of months. Imagine having the budget to build a spacious living room, kitchen, garage, hobby room, and more. Think having a little extra for a wrap-around porch or even a swimming pool.

Believe it or not, even with the rising costs of buying land and building a house, there is a more affordable option that aspiring homeowners can consider investing in Barndominiums.

What is a Barndominium?

A Barndominium, or Barndo, is a modern innovation that takes the sturdy affordability of a barn structure and combines it with the comforts of a traditional home to create a barn that you can live in.

Popular in rural settings, Barndominiums feature customization, a shorter construction timeframe, and affordability as their central appeal to people looking to build a home.

The standard components of a Barndominium typically consist of a metal frame, spray foam insulation, open ceiling beams, and an open floor plan creating a blank canvas for homeowners to work with.

Unlike traditional homes, Bardominiums don’t have an interior structural wall, providing more space to build WITHOUT the extra cost. Barndominiums typically have 1-2 floors, but a third level and sublevel can be incorporated into the design accordingly.

Considering that Barndominiums take less time to build than traditional homes, yet you can have all the comforts of a typical home within a barndominium, these steel-frame houses are becoming popular home options.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Barndominium?

Building a home in any shape or form is not precise math, but if you want to go the faster and more affordable route, a Barndominium is definitely something to consider.

Questions such as ‘is a barndominium cheaper than a house’, ‘are barndominiums cheaper to build, and ‘are barndominums cheaper without sacrificing quality’ should come to mind.

The short answer: Yes, Barndominiums are cheaper to build than traditional homes.

Depending on your supplier, you can expect barndominiums to cost anywhere between $10-$90 per square foot. In comparison, the average cost to build a traditional home can range from $100-$500.

With that said, you need to stay budget conscious to keep costs within your projections. Prices for contractors, suppliers for materials, labor, and of course the type of furnishings placed within your barndominium will give you a wide range of prices.

If you’re wondering how much does it cost to build a barndominium, consider the size, location, how much work and labor needs to go into the actual building site, and the installation of utilities such as heating, plumbing, and electricity. Home Advisor says you need to set aside $30-$40 per square foot to build the Barndominium frame. Of course, interiors such as furniture, appliances, fixtures, etc., would cost the same as you would spend in a traditional home.

Remember that Barndominioms is perhaps the easiest part of building a Barndomimumn by design. Suppliers for Barndominiums make it easy for their customers to build one thanks to pre-built parts and frames and pre-set designs. Costs such as clearing the land, setting up the foundation, building the site, and getting permits to come into play.

Any homeowner would ask why are barndominums cheaper to build? It boils down to the base structure. Firstly, the posts that form the frame of Barndominiums are driven into the ground and built on top of a concrete slab, resulting in a structure built faster at a lower price. Secondly, due to the lack of interior wall lining, you get more space and space usage with less material. Lastly, Barndominiums and their components typically come pre-built and assembled, so it’s a matter of installation. This takes a lot of cost factors, such as labor, out of the equation.

Do Barndominiums Appreciate?

First, like any investment you want to turn into an asset that appreciates over time, you need to set yourself up with a quality Barndominium where the cost to build and maintain it doesn’t surpass selling it.

A sturdy frame is an excellent place to determine if your barndominium will appreciate over time. A steel frame requires less upkeep than a wooden or wooden/steel hybrid frame, is more durable, and is easier to repair, which ups your chances for better insurance rates and lowers the overall lifetime maintenance cost.

Secondly, an asset is only as good as the one investing in it; therefore, if you want your barndominium to appreciate over time, you have to know how to make the investment work for you. If you wish to use it as a home between homes while you save up for your permanent residence, convert it into an Airbnb or sell it entirely.

If you intend to sell your Barndominium and make a worthwhile profit, know that these less mainstream homes appreciate over time but still don’t have the same resale value as a traditional home.

How To Finance A Barndominium

Barndominiums are growing thanks to their cost effectiveness, and even if you can’t find financiers familiar with barndominiums, the value of steel buildings is well known. Steel buildings are sturdy, low maintenance, stand the test of time, and are generally safer amidst natural disasters. These are all points financers would consider should you need to go further into why a Barndomonium is a worthwhile investment.

When looking at how to build a barndominium, suppliers likeWorldwide Steel Buildingspre-build frames that customers can use as a base template to build a barndominium. You can buy pre-built Barndominiums or start from the ground and work your way up with Brandominium kits. A large part of the customizability of a barndominum begins with either an existing barn where you build and upgrade around the current structure, OR you start with a pre-built frame, and then you design a custom floor plan.

If time is a significant factor and you need to consider how long does it take to build a barndominium, think of Barndominiums like lego. You have pre-made pieces to work with and put together. You can expect completion within six months as opposed to years. Many of the components of barndominiums are constructed and assembled offsite, so when it comes to the actual assembly of one, building and installation are much more minimal, hence cheaper than you would with a traditional home.

Are Barndominiums Safe?

Barndominiums are safe; even if they aren’t traditional homes or structures, you still have to follow local building codes and standards. Typically made with a metal frame, when built correctly, barndominiums are incredibly sturdy and require less maintenance. Unlike a wooden frames, steel frames are less likely to rot, get eaten, or catch fire.

Considering all things, like any structure, most won’t withstand a tornado. For tornado-prone areas, you may likely be asking your contractor, can a barndominium have a basem*nt? The short answer is yes; you can build a barndominium with a foundation containing a basem*nt which would give the necessary refuge from tornadoes.

A practical and attractive option for homeowners on a budget, a Barndomnium is an excellent route to take that paves the way for living a rural life equipped with all the creature comforts of traditional homes.

What is a Barndominium? Everything You Need to Know - The Home Atlas (2024)


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