Barndominiums are becoming explosively popular these days. You can find at least one in almost every state in the U.S. What makes them so alluring? And for all their many Pros, are there an equal number of Cons that might give a future owner pause?
Our conclusion is that barndominium pros far outweigh the cons. Maybe we’re biased! From speaking with barndominium owners and touring a few ourselves, we can confidently say that barndominium owners love their barndos! They’re safe for families, cheaper to build and maintain, and provide tons of flexibility!
Barndominium Pros and Cons at a Glance
- Cheaper and quicker to build than conventional houses
- Flexibility in space management
- Lower maintenance requirements
- Lower insurance costs and associated taxes
- Financing a barndominium can be very hard or impossible to find at all.
- Smaller pool of buyers due to high customization if you decide to sell
Barndominiums – The Cost Effective Solution
If you own a conventional home, your first thought might be, why would anyone choose to have their family live in something that often resembles a warehouse?
First, say current barndo owners, it’s a barndominium, not a barn or a warehouse.
And second, barndo owners say that the appeal of barndominiums can be summed up in two meaningful words. Savings. And Improved Lifestyle.
From virtually every single aspect, barndos save you money on both a short and long term basis. And they can provide a whole new way of life for you and your family.
Pro No. 1: Easy up
Starting with construction, traditional homes take almost twice as long to build as the average barndo. A traditional house takes months to build while a true steel barndominium can be set up in a matter of days or weeks.
This translates to less money spent in terms of labor and construction costs.
Pro No. 2: Way more durable
That’s not where the savings end. Barndominiums have proven to be more durable in the long run, especially if they’re made of metal.
So, over time, while conventional home owners may spend an increasing amount of money carrying out renovations and repairs, barndo owners barely have to do anything – which takes us to the next advantage.
Pro No. 3: Low maintenance requirements
On the inside, there’s virtually no difference between modern houses and barndos – well, except for a lot more space and flexibility in a barndo.
However, the outside clearly has a myriad of differences.
While homes can be made out of a wide range of materials, components and intricate roofing, barndos tend to be uniform all around – especially if you’ve got yourself a pre-made steel structure — a kit — that just needs some assembly.
One barndominium owner says that her barndo ha given her virtually no external maintenance headaches whatsoever for going on a decade now.
And while the average house will require a fresh coat of paint every few years, barndos come with a much longer lifespan.
This also applies to the structural integrity of the structure. Wooden barndos may have many of the same durability issue as most houses.
But there’s little chance of any home outlasting a steel barndominium.
So, if you’re still in the ‘burbs as you read this, you and your neighbors will shell out thousands of dollars over the years for renovations, roof repairs and minor fixes.
But if you invest in a barndominium, your renovation and repair expenses over the years will be few and far between.
Pro No. 4: Unique and versatile structures
One of the main reasons why people choose to go for barndominiums (apart from savings) is the variety of ways they can make use of the space.
Generally speaking, the average barndominium is best characterized by a lot of wide open spaces under a clear span roof.
That’s unlike most conventional homes, where in designing your floor plan, you must pay strict attention to load-bearing walls.
This obstacle alone can stop your interior design creativity cold.
Depending on the tastes and vision of the owner, there’s virtually no limit to the level of customization to the interior space.
We’ve seen structures that hold living quarters, workspaces, gyms, swimming pools, and entire equestrian riding arenas. Yet there is still enough space left over to park a class A motorhome.
Pro No. 5: Energy Efficiency
With today’s cost of living literally shooting through the roof, any reasonable homeowner will no doubt welcome an energy efficient abode. Barndominiums are energy efficient!
All over the world, many people who live in barndominiums report much lower utilities, especially when it comes to power and heating.
According to a barndo owner in Plano, Texas, his electricity bill runs anywhere between 25 to 50% less than a traditional home.
The fact that he left two whole feet between the exterior and interior walls for nothing but spray foam insulation may have made a difference.
Try doing that in the design and construction of a conventional home.
Spray foam prevents both air and moisture from getting in while also keeping your family safe from mold, allergens, and air pollutants.
Not only does this maintain the integrity of your structure, it also means less energy wasted.
Conventional homes on the other hand come with fiberglass insulation, which is much less effective when it comes to keeping heat out of the house.
What’s more, inhalation of fiberglass insulation has been proven dangerous, since it may contain carcinogenic materials and contribute to breathing problems later in life.
Pro No. 6: Barndominiums Are Safe
One of the first questions people ask when they find out the barndominium category exists is “Are barndominiums safe?” When deciding on a style of home, safety is almost always the number one priority. After all, we all need homes for shelter!
Although barndominiums sometimes look like they’re in the middle of a rural area and ripe to get ripped away by a tornado, they’re extremely safe. Most barndos are made out of steel, which helps keep all bad things out of harms way. Tornados are not a danger to the rugged barndominium. In many municipalities, steel buildings are used as the area’s tornado and storm shelter. How about living in the storm shelter, rather than going to one?
Con No. 1: Barndominium Exteriors Aren’t for Everyone
Let’s jump to the most obvious demerit of owning a barndominium. It’s no secret; if you’re planning to build a barndo, be prepared to look like you live in…a barn!
Unless you really got a custom design worthy of being in the news, many believe that barndominiums tend to look nicer on the inside than outside. As such, you may have to sacrifice a lot of exterior style and design to get that barndo look.
Con No. 2: Conventional mortgages won’t likely be an option
According to some new barndominium owners around the country, a major drawback is just how limited your financial options may be.
Technically, barndos are not classified as houses. As such, getting conventional mortgage loans can prove difficult, if not impossible. Appraisers say comparable sales in the market required for the appraisal process are lacking.
However, there is some hope that things will change soon.
Appraisers are already seeing how many barndominiums are holding their value and selling at competitive prices. What’s more, most Farm Credit Bureau lenders are more than happy to finance the construction of your barndo. And there’s one of those branches in almost ever state.
Con No 3: A smaller pool of buyers when the time to sell arrives
Typically, barndominiums sell at the value they are currently worth – just like regular houses. However, there are a few differences that make them much harder to sell.
In many cases, a barndo will be highly customized to fit the needs of the current owner. This customization could be reflected iin the overall interior design or even the kind of amenities within.
We’ve seen some wild color schemes and themes. Check out this incredibly creative totally Texan interior design. The owner has been trying to sell for almost six months. But the fact that the asking price is nigh on $1 million in the middle of a remote part of her state may also be a problem. And the $404 sq ft metric probably isn’t helpful.
Still, all it takes is the right person viewing this post at the right time, willing to move to Sealy, Texas. If that’s you, please mention that you saw the listing here, on BarndominiumLife.com.
And here’s another potential problem.
One person could be using their barndo as a fully furnished home while another wants to incorporate commercial functions as well.
As such, getting a buyer with the same tastes and intentions for your barndo might be a bit hard.
The cautionary takeaway here: should you ever want to sell, be prepared to receive a very small pool of buyers — far fewer than you normally would in selling a conventional house.
In winding up this discussion on the merits and demerits of owning a barndominium, it’s clear to see that the pros far outweigh the cons.
In fact, even some of the cons actually have silver linings in them.
But ultimately, the question of your desire to actually begin rusticating away in what many are calling their “forever homes” will probably outweigh most of the negatives.
After all, what’s not to like, after living most of your life in a crowded city, about waking up far out in the countryside somewhere, listening to a rooster crow? It could even be YOUR rooster.
Try doing that in the ‘burbs.
See also our recent article on Steel Vs Wood Building Cost