Barndominium Pros and Cons | Should you Build A Barndominium? (2024)

Sept. 15, 2022

Barndominium Pros and Cons | Should you Build A Barndominium? (1)

In today's ever-increasing housing market, it can be a little discouraging when trying to purchase a new home, which is why you’re hearing more and more about creative options such as the Barndominium. So what exactly should you know before purchasing your very own Barndo?

Barndominium Pros and Cons | Should you Build A Barndominium? (2)Pros of barndominiums include a cheaper cost, fully customizable space, and lower maintenance. They’re also highly durable with lots of extra room and are a more eco-friendly housing option. Meanwhile, cons include higher upfront costs, difficulties finding financing, and not all cities allow them.

If you’re considering purchasing a barndominium, there are a few things you should know about this new home option before pulling the trigger. Keep reading, as we take a look at some of the pros and cons of owning this type of home.

The Pros of Purchasing a Barndominium To Live In

Barndominiums began to gain popularity in the early 2000s due to their ability to be built so cheaply. They’ve since become a more serious option for those looking to brave the current housing market.

Barndominiums Are Cheaper To Build Than Standard Homes

The cost of purchasing a barndominium is significantly cheaper than opting for a more traditional home. But just how much cheaper?

Barndominium Pros and Cons | Should you Build A Barndominium? (3)Well, the purchase of a barndominium, the land, and all of the interior work needed to make the Barndo “home” typically will run you about $180,000 and $360,000 to complete. So this can be a significant money saver compared to homes of the same size that are going for $400,000 or more!

If you’re resourceful in doing the majority of the work yourself on your barndominium, this number can significantly drop, resulting in even more savings on the purchase or build of your new home.

Another way barndominiums can help you save money is through lower insurance premiums and taxes.

This is because, in most states, the price of your insurance and taxes is calculated based on livable space in your home. So if you’re living in your unfinished barndominium while building, the chances are good you’ll be able to benefit from lower insurance and tax costs while you finish your build.

So as far as saving money goes, barndominiums are the clear winner compared to traditional houses.

Barndominiums Come in a Fairly Easy To Assemble Kit

A fun thing about barndominiums is that they come in kits you purchase from different sellers, similar to cabin assembly kits. These kits are reasonably easy to assemble compared to building the bones of a standard house, and can be on your own after reading up on or watching a few tutorials. You can have the assembled structure delivered to your property in some cases, but this option usually costs more.

Being sold as kits also means there are many designs to choose from. There are several major builders of these kits, and you can look through their design catalogs to find the best fit for you and your family's needs.

Some creators may even offer customizable options, so it's definitely worth sending them an email or giving them a call to see if they are willing or able to make some design changes to fit your barndominium needs better.

The Space Can Be Designed However You Like

Barndominium Pros and Cons | Should you Build A Barndominium? (4)One of the main features that draw people to barndominiums is the ability to customize such a large space at a lower cost. In addition, the open space of a barndominium provides endless possibilities for customization and creativity.

Purchasing a barndominium is the equivalent of buying a blank canvas. You get to decide the entire floor plan. You can choose how many bedrooms and bathrooms you would like as well as how spacious you want your living areas to be.

Furthermore, which aesthetic you want to go for is entirely up to you. So whether you're really into the Barnhouse look or want something styled a bit more Victorian, it’s completely your choice and anything is totally possible.

Here are just a few things you can fully customize in your new home:

  • Large amounts of natural lighting. If you enjoy the natural brightness lighting brings to your home, you’re entirely in control of how many and where you install your windows. You can even have skylights put in for added light.
  • Woodwork detailing. You can always add beautiful woodwork to the door frames and archways for added class.
  • Aesthetic wooden ceiling beams. You can hop on the wood ceiling beam trend using all the money you saved on the rest of your barndominium build.

Plus, If you’re resourceful, you’ll be able to do most of the design and decorating yourself, which will ultimately save you thousands of dollars on your build. Besides, it's just fun to create something uniquely your own.

You Can Live in Your Barndominium As You Finish Building the Interior

One of the best things about purchasing a barndominium kit is the ability to live in your home as you build it.

Some people opt to finish parts of the home, like their bedroom and bathroom, before moving into their barndominium and then slowly work on the rest of the build process while living on the premises.

Others live in a RV or trailer inside the barndominium while they’re finishing in the inside living area.

Understandably, this option may not be for everyone, but it can certainly help you save a lot of money during the building process, especially if you’re paying for all of the builds out of pocket.

Barndominiums Degrade Much More Slowly Than Most Standard Homes

Most barndominiums shells are made from steel, making them a very sturdy option that degrades more slowly over time.

This also means your home will be lower maintenance and you won’t need to worry about:

  • Bugs such as termites
  • Mold, mildew, and other types of rot
  • Fire damage
  • Extreme weather conditions

The average materials used to create the barndominiums shell are built to last about 100 years. Which honestly isn't a bad amount of time and, if properly taken care of and in the right environment, can last much longer.

A really great book you should consider reading before starting your Barndo build is Build Your Dream Barndominium: From First Concept to Move In Day, Here's What You Need To Know by Don Howe (available on Amazon). In this book, he goes over everything you need to know before you begin assembling your dream barndominium!

Barndominiums Provide a Lot of Extra Space

Barndominium Pros and Cons | Should you Build A Barndominium? (5)As I briefly touched on earlier, barndominiums offer a ton of fully customizable space which is fantastic since more open floor plans are incredibly trendy right now.

Having a lot of space can help give the home the illusion of being extremely nice and expensive for a fraction of the cost. This amount of space can also accommodate a lot of rooms for bigger families who need lots of space.

Some other things you can do with this added space are:

  • Build a spacious kitchen. You can finally have that kitchen you always dreamed about where no one is bumping into one another while cooking.
  • Have an open floor plan. An open floor plan can be great for family time and generally means the kitchen, dining room, and living room are central to one another.
  • Design a large bathroom. You can finally build your dream bathroom with a beautiful walk-in shower, double sinks, and jacuzzi tub.
  • Have an indoor pool. You could certainly install a small indoor pool with all the added space if you desired.

The best part is that what you do with this open space is 100% up to you and your creativity. If you want half of your home to be an indoor basketball court, it definitely can be with this kind of home.

Barndominiums Are a More Eco-Friendly Housing Option

Last but not least, purchasing a barndominium is far more friendly to our ecosystem than traditional homes.

Now, what exactly makes this type of home better for the environment?

Well, a lot of barndominium kits are made with materials that are more eco-friendly and come from sustainable sources. Also, these types of structures are built to last. Therefore, the resources used can eventually biodegrade and return to the earth after many years.

Not to mention, you can always take this already environmentally-friendly home a step further and do your best to design the interior with products that also will make a low impact on the environment.

Barndominium Pros and Cons | Should you Build A Barndominium? (6)

The Cons of Purchasing a Barndominium To Live In

Next, let’s take a look at some of the drawbacks to owning a Barndominum. As with any type of home, there are some drawbacks that you should be aware of before committing to such a unique space.

Financing for a Barndominium Can Be Difficult To Acquire

One of the most significant drawbacks of purchasing a Barndominum instead of a traditional house is how difficult it can be to acquire financing for this type of home.

If you have enough cash to front this kind of project, then that’s great! But if you don't, your options are somewhat limited.

Most traditional banks won’t lend on a barndominium. However, getting financing for this kind of home isn’t impossible. Some traditional banks will lend on these kinds of homes under the right circ*mstances. Specifically, these circ*mstances usually require you to have an excellent credit score and walk in with a solid build plan that includes bids and total cost for the build.

Barndominium Pros and Cons | Should you Build A Barndominium? (7)Getting approval for your barndominium build can be pretty time-consuming, and you’ll need to spend hours on things like flooring plans and calling around to get exact bids for your home build before even approaching your lender.

It’s also likely to take some time to find a bank that will give you a loan, and you’ll need to carefully vet the type of loans available to you. Also, you’ll have to be patient, because chances are likely that you won’t get approved by the first bank you speak to.

The Resale Market for Barndominiums Is Smaller

If you’re planning to try and sell your barndominium down the road, another drawback is that not every buyer is interested in purchasing a barndominium.

Though barndominiums tend to hold their value reasonably well, the resale pool is smaller for barndominium owners. Still, in recent years, these types of homes have been gaining attraction – so who knows what the market will look like 30-40 years from now.

Now, if you aren't planning on selling your barn in the future, this isn't something to worry about. Besides, you can always turn the property into a rental, if desired, depending on where you choose to build it.

Purchasing a Barndominium Has Higher Upfront Costs

Barndominium Pros and Cons | Should you Build A Barndominium? (8)The start-up costs for a Barndominium are significantly higher than an average home. This is because you’ll likely need to come in with more cash down due to the type of loan you get or if you’re paying for the construction outright.

How much money you’ll have to pay upfront will greatly vary based on:

  • The size of the barndominium you want
  • The interior design you have selected
  • If you’re paying for all the costs for your new home out of pocket
  • Which lender you go with
  • What type of loan you get
  • Where you live

As you can see, there are a few factors that can affect your out-of-pocket costs on a barndominium build. This is why it’s crucial to shop around to ensure you’re getting the best deal for your kit and on your barndo loan.

Not all financing is created equal, and you may have to look at several lenders before finding one that is right for your needs.

The Metal of Your Barndominium Can Corrode Over Time

Barndominiums are relatively resistant to most wear and tear like termites, mold, and excessive heat. You will, however, have to worry about corrosion over time since the main structure is metal.

Here are some common factors that could cause your structure to corrode more quickly:

  • Lack of maintenance. If a barndominium is left to the elements without any repairs, exposed metal may begin to rust due to oxygen.
  • Extreme and frequent weather changes. Over time extreme climates can have an effect on how quickly the metal of your structure degrades. This is especially prevalent in damper, more tropical climates.
  • Poor construction. Before putting your kit together, it is vital to make sure that it's in good repair and do your best to make your build as solid as possible. Otherwise, you may experience corrosion earlier than anticipated.

Ultimately, all of these elements can be kept at bay with the proper maintenance on your barndominium’s shell. In addition, some special paints and sealers can be purchased and reapplied as needed over the years.

However, having to worry about the metal of your home corroding can be stressful and may not be a great option if you live somewhere humid since your home will require more maintenance than most.

Barndominiums Are More Prone to Cracking or Shifting As They Age

Barndominium Pros and Cons | Should you Build A Barndominium? (9)Another drawback you should definitely be aware of when considering purchasing and building a barndominium is how they age. Over time these kinds of structures are more prone to shifting and having cracks appear in things like your stucco and foundation.

That being said, those same kinds of shifts do happen in standard homes, and there are several things you can do to help prevent those kinds of damages as your home ages.

A few things you can do to limit the cracking or shifting of your barndominium as it ages are:

  • Have your land's soil tested for things like blue clay. Blue clay can cause your home to move around more than it should be, resulting in cracks.
  • Make sure to hire the best crew to pour a solid foundation. A good foundation is key to keeping your home stable and free of shifting and cracks.
  • If you notice cracking or your home shifting, bring in a specialist. Bringing someone in to help identify the cause of your homes shifting can help you combat the problem and take steps to minimize further damage.

You can certainly take steps to help reduce the likelihood of these kinds of damages occurring, but for some, the risk is too high, and they would instead take their chances on an old fashion home. In contrast, others might find themselves okay with this drawback because of the money saved in the overall build process.

The best way to keep your Barndo healthy and happy is to stay on top of its regular maintenance and pay attention to the little things like cracks in your drywall, flooring, foundation, and stucco.

Some Cities Will Not Allow Barndominiums

Barndominium Pros and Cons | Should you Build A Barndominium? (10)In some cases, the city you want to live in might not be an option. A lot of bigger cities have ordinances against these kinds of structures since it’s hard to control how they look.

Another thing you’ll need to watch out for is HomeOwners Associations or HOAs. If the place you’re considering buying property has an HOA, there’s a strong chance they’ll have rules restricting what kinds of homes you can build on your lot.

So, the best option for most Barndomum owners is to buy someplace in the countryside with few rules as to what can be built on your lot.

Some of the drawbacks to this kind of rural living are:

  • You’re sometimes far away from conveniences like gas stations and grocery stores
  • It can be a long drive to work if you don't work from home
  • It can be a long drive to work if you don't work from home
  • Living far away from most family and friends

There are definitely some drawbacks to living a more rural lifestyle, especially if you’re accustomed to more city life. Nonetheless, for some, these are minor deterrents, and the low cost of a new home paired with the peace and quiet of the countryside just can't be beaten.

So before you purchase the land for your barndominium, be sure to check with the city to see what their rules and regulations are for building this kind of structure.

Barndominiums Are Not Very Sound Proof

One con that should undoubtedly be noted is how loud barndominiums can be. Since their primary building material is a thinner metal, this results in a poor sound barrier from the outside sounds.

Barndominium Pros and Cons | Should you Build A Barndominium? (11)

This means that noises from loud highway traffic, weather, birds, noisy neighbors, and others sounds will be significantly amplified compared to traditional homes. Although, if this doesn't really bother you, then you probably won't have much to worry about.

You could always choose to have soundproofing done on your home, yet many do and still find that they can hear the outside world a little more than they could in a traditionally built house.

Barndominiums Are Generally Only One Story

If you like the idea of a home with multiple spacious stories, then a barndominium might not be for you.

Typically, barndominium designs only come with space for one story, though some kits have high enough ceiling space for adding a second story. Also, in some designs, you might be able to get away with adding a small loft without compromising too much of your ceiling space.

The way barndominiums are set up, one story makes the most sense for these structures and honestly looks the best and appears to be the most structurally sound.

Final Thoughts

Barndominiums can make fantastic homes for a fraction of the cost of traditional homes. This makes them an especially great option for those looking to purchase:

  • A large home for less
  • A fully customizable space
  • A home that’s lower maintenance

However, there are a few cons to Barndo’s, such as:

  • Difficulty acquiring financing
  • Shifting, cracking, and corrosion as they age
  • Not all cities allow them

There are ways to combat these drawbacks, and in most cases, the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to purchasing your very own barndominium.

Barndominium Pros and Cons | Should you Build A Barndominium? (2024)


Barndominium Pros and Cons | Should you Build A Barndominium? ›

Pros of barndominiums include a cheaper cost, fully customizable space, and lower maintenance. They're also highly durable with lots of extra room and are a more eco-friendly housing option. Meanwhile, cons include higher upfront costs, difficulties finding financing, and not all cities allow them.

What is the downside to a barndominium? ›

However, there are a few downsides to barndominiums, including: Challenges in securing financing. Potential for shifting, cracking, and corrosion over time. Restrictions by some cities.

What do I wish I knew before building a barndominium? ›

Here are the most important things to know about building a barndominium.
  • Obtain a permit for your project. Photo by Bridger Steel, Inc. ...
  • Test the paint. Photo by Justin Doyle Homes. ...
  • Prepare for surprise costs. ...
  • Plan for electrical work. ...
  • Choose your windows and doors wisely. ...
  • Add insulation—it's important.
Mar 14, 2022

Is it cheaper to build a barndominium or a house? ›

The most common estimate asserts that a new barndominium with basic amenities will cost about $30 to $40 per square foot to build, compared to the cost of building a traditional home is around $100 to $200 per square foot.

What is the lifespan of a barndominium? ›

Longevity: Although they may not last as long as traditional homes, a well-maintained barndominium can provide comfortable living for around 50 years. 5. Durability: Barndominiums are built to withstand the elements, ensuring they remain sturdy and reliable over the years.

Is it hard to insure a barndominium? ›

Insurance can be complicated for barndominium homes. According to, not all insurers cover barndos, especially if they're mixed-use instead of residential only, and those that do might have barndo-specific policies.

Why are barndominiums hard to finance? ›

Many USDA lenders are unfamiliar with these structures and may be reluctant to finance their purchase. Borrowers may also experience added difficulty when seeking a USDA construction loan to build a new barndominium, as some USDA lenders, including Neighbors Bank, do not offer this loan type.

What is the most expensive part of a barndominium? ›

What is the most expensive part of building a barndominium? The most expensive part of building a barndominium is often the interior finishes. Customization, high-end materials, and intricate designs can significantly impact the overall cost.

How much does a 30x40 barndominium cost? ›

Barndominium kit prices
DimensionsSquare footageUnfinished kit costs*
30x401,200$36,000 – $60,000
40x401,600$48,000 – $80,000
40x602,400$72,000 – $120,000
40x702,800$84,000 – $140,000
6 more rows
Oct 13, 2023

Do barndominiums hold their value? ›

Barndominiums normally retain their resale value and may even increase in value gradually, although more slowly than a standard home. However, these homes are still rare in some parts of the country, and it may be challenging to get an accurate appraisal in an area where there are few.

Are barndominiums safe in a tornado? ›

Constructed with metal, a barndo offers superior protection from severe weather. The steel structure of a steel barndominium has a higher wind resistance than a conventional wood frame home. While the metal integrity of your home can endure a tornado, the windows and doors may not.

Is it loud living in a barndominium? ›

Barndominiums can be louder than traditional homes during rainfall, primarily due to their metal roofs. However, the degree of noise can be significantly mitigated through strategic construction choices, such as quality insulation, soundproofing techniques, and thoughtful interior design.

How long does it take to build a barndominium from scratch? ›

Most barndominiums take approximately 3-6 months to construct. However, just like with a conventional home, a barndominium's construction time depends on various factors including the level of customization.

Are barndominiums prone to mold? ›

By being made out of metal, barndominiums have similar durability to steel structures with resistance to: Mold. Mildew. Rot.

What is the truth about barndominiums? ›

Barndominiums skew more casual and farmhouse in style. Steel frame barndominium kits offer advantages like speed of construction, low maintenance, and precision engineering. However, stick built barns allow for more customization during framing.

Do barndominiums keep their value? ›

Absolutely! A well-maintained barndominium can hold its value exceptionally well over time. Thanks to their robust construction, timeless appeal, and energy efficiency upgrades, these properties can be a wise long-term investment.

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