Barndominium Pros and Cons: What is the downside to a barndominium? (2024)

There’s never been a better time to build a barndominium than today. With skyrocketing lumber prices and the volatile economy, families are looking for ways to save money when building a new home. Barndominiums may be the solution that many people are looking for. But before you jump head-first into looking at barndominium plans there are a few things you should know. This article will explain the barndominium pros and cons. So are you ready to learn about barndominiums? Let’s go.

The Pros of Purchasing a Barndominium To Live In

Barndominiums, a residential trend that began to rise in the early 2000s owing to their cost-effective construction, have evolved into a viable alternative for individuals seeking to navigate today’s challenging real estate market.

The benefits of barndominiums encompass their lower cost, customization flexibility, reduced maintenance, robustness, spaciousness, and eco-friendliness. On the flip side, they come with certain drawbacks like increased initial expenses, potential hurdles in securing loans, and restrictions in certain urban areas.

The Cost-Effectiveness of Building Barndominiums Over Conventional Houses

Choosing to invest in a barndominium can bring substantial savings your way when compared to the acquisition of a conventional home of the same size. But what’s the scale of the financial relief? How much could you possibly save by going with a barndominium? It can’t be that substantial of a savings….can it?

Well, the overall expense that includes acquiring a barndominium are associated land, the necessary interior framing, and modifications and tweaks that you personally require to make it feel cozier and more like home for you and your family. This generally costs between $180,000 and $360,000. This stands in stark contrast to comparable-sized traditional homes that easily demand $400,000 and, in our current market, sometimes even more! Building a barndominium will give you more control over the end product; you’re the one who will have to live in it so it’s important to build and design your barndominium with your lifestyle in mind. You want a barndominium that enriches your life and encourages efficiency around every turn; from the heating and air to the savings on materials, efficiency is the name of the game when it comes to barndominiums.

If you have the skills and time to undertake the majority of the work on your own barndominium build, I would encourage you to do so. You can not only further reduce the overall cost, but you will also know how to replace or repair a majority of your home, which means extra savings on your new property investment.

If you have close family or friends that work in specific positions within the construction industry (drywall, painters, framers, concrete workers) that will be willing and able to assist with building your barndominium, this may be a great reason to reconnect with them. Most people have some type of family or friends in the construction industry and this is going to be the time to ask a favor of them, a time when you could really use their expertise.

In addition to the upfront savings, barndominiums can lead to lower ongoing expenses such as insurance premiums and taxes. This is due to the fact that in most states, these costs are determined by the amount of habitable space in your home. Therefore, if you’re residing in your unfinished barndominium while it’s under construction, you’re likely to enjoy reduced insurance and tax charges, at least during the build process. When it comes down to the long term you’re still going to be in great shape because of the open concept and design.

Barndominiums also offer new and exciting technology in the field of green energy solutions like solar panels, windmill technology, or radiant floor heating that can sit static and generate clean energy, or other forms of efficient energy for your home by opting for a new and exciting green energy option so that you get the most savings possible out of your new home. This may cost a little bit initially to get started, but the long term benefits certainly outweigh any short term disadvantages that you may encounter along the way.

When it comes to financial efficiency, it’s clear that barndominiums have a distinct edge over traditional homes.

Barndominium Kits Offer a Simplified Assembly Process

One of the most unique & fascinating aspects of barndominiums is their availability in easy-to-assemble kits, obtainable from various providers much like log cabin construction kits. Compared to the complexity involved in crafting a conventional home from scratch, barndominium kits offer a more straightforward approach, needing only a basic understanding garnered from tutorials and guides that they provide you with and a crew of just a few strong men and some light equipment. You can actually construct a steel frame barndominium kit without the need of any specialized crew or any complex equipment or hard to get tools. While some sellers will most certainly offer the luxury of having the assembled structure delivered directly to your property, or provide you with a skilled crew of workers that will build your barndominium kit on site and typically within a single day or so, larger kits may take a little longer, but compared to traditional stick frame construction the process will be unbelievably fast. Granted this convenience generally comes with an additional cost as you might have guessed.

Offered in kit form, a vast array of designs await prospective barndominium owners. Several major manufacturers of these kits provide a wide range of design catalogs that you can find online. Most of these barndominium catalog-style websites know that style is subjective and not everyone likes the classic barndominium style but long for something more unique, so they have adapted to the ever-growing barndominium plans market by being very free and flexible with their styling approach. Most catalog sites you will run into online will most certainly contain a very healthy assortment of styles, sizes, and materials, allowing you to pick the option that best suits your and your family’s lifestyle requirements and specific needs.

Additionally, certain manufacturers may entertain customization, sometimes called house plan modification requests. This is where companies like Buildmax can really stand out in a highly competitive market. If for any reason you would want to make any certain rooms on the floor plan larger or smaller, that would be an example of a common modification request. Most simple modification requests can be addressed and back in the customer’s hand in a relatively short period of time, we would be talking in terms of hours instead of days. Making it’d be worth your while to reach out via email or a phone call if nothing else, just to simply explore the possibilities of tailoring one of their current designs to more closely align with your vision of the ultimate barndominium home.

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Imagination Unleashed in Designing Your Space

A significant lure of barndominiums is the potential to personalize an expansive area without breaking the bank. The vast openness of a barndominium offers an unending realm of possibilities for customization and innovation. Having the ability to customize and use that open space for your different things is a huge bonus for individuals designing their own barndominium. Having control over the design of your rooms can be a selling point for many who want to make sure there’s a space for all of their many needs and activities, such as a craft room to organize all of your crafting tools, tables, and materials. Converting that room or any open area of your home into your very own private gym or workout area can be as easy as having somewhere to store away your workout equipment when you’re not using it and an open area within the home to train. This is a very popular option these days. Dual use spaces are a popular trend; your living room can double as so many other things, and a home office is another popular use of space these days with more and more of our society choosing to work from home at some type of capacity. Just having that open space to work, think, and use is seriously like having a blank canvas ready to be filled with ideas.

When you purchase a barndominium, you’re essentially securing a blank slate. The power to design the entire floor plan lies between your hands and your mind. This includes everything from deciding the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, to what colors or materials to use, as well as the expansiveness or closeness of your living spaces. There’s so many design elements that go into the final product we would be here for days if I tried to list them. Moreover, your aesthetic vision can take flight unrestricted. Don’t be afraid to express yourself when designing aspects of your home because you want to make it your own. Whether you’re passionate about the classic & All-American ascetics of a barn-house look, or maybe you’re a bit more inclined towards an old Victorian style vibe, or a sleek, fresh, & new Industrial styling with exposed piping, metals, and a lot of raw materials. Either way you decide, the stylistic choice is all yours, and the sky literally is the limit in terms of design.

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Here are just a handful of elements you can tailor to your preferences in your future home:

An abundance of natural light. If you love the fresh, bright ambiance natural light offers, you have the power to decide the number and placement of windows in your home. For me personally as an example, I chose to go with a lot of windows in the front of my home since it faces a beautiful overlooking view of a nice flowing creek I have on the property. You could even incorporate skylights for an additional light source; large sliding patio doors that allow light to flow in are also a great option for barndominium builds.

Detailed woodwork. Consider incorporating some ornate woodwork in and around the door frames and archways, as well as along any staircases to add an extra flair or special touch of sophistication to any entrance way.

Stylish exposed wooden ceiling beams. The savings you’ll make on your barndominium build could potentially allow you to follow the trend of using exposed wooden ceiling beams, if you so wish.

Remember, if you’re an adept DIYer, you can manage a significant amount of the design, decoration, and build yourself, resulting in further cost savings. The amount of equity you are pouring into your home by building and doing a large portion of the work yourself can’t be understated, as well as having the pride of doing it yourself.

After all, there’s a distinct joy in crafting something that is truly reflective of your personality and taste, something you can share with your guests, and something that will be a part of your home forever.

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Experience the Unique Advantage of Residing in Your Barndominium During its Interior Construction

One of the distinct perks of investing in a barndominium kit is the unique possibility of inhabiting your new home while its interiors are being constructed.

There are those who choose to prioritize the completion of certain sections of their barndominium, such as their bedrooms and bathrooms, before moving in. They then gradually progress with the remainder of the construction process while already living on site. This could be a fantastic way to save money during the build for some families. Finding and renting a separate home or apartment near to the job site can be difficult and poses its own set of difficulties. However on the flip side, for other families this could be a nightmare, especially if you don’t plan properly while at the same time understanding what you lack and what needs to be built next. There are some instances where living in the middle of a build can be ideal, but I think for the average family trying to save money, it’s at the very least an option to have tucked away in your back pocket in case you want to go that route; it’s good to explore all of your options.

Alternatively, you can find savings in the least likely of places. Some individuals find those savings by residing in an RV or trailer that is strategically parked near the barndominium build site as they work on finishing the interior phase of the build. I have personal experience with this option and I would highly recommend it as a cost effective way to ensure that you’re always there on the job site to see things get done in a timely manner. The benefits of being on site allows you to personally do much of the work leading to more savings, just like we said before. Granted, living in a small space for a year while your barndominium is being finished out will leave you missing some luxuries of a full size home. It’s absolutely a sacrifice, but sometimes it’s more about the journey and the experience, not so much how much you end up saving. There ended up being a lot of benefits of living right there on site as everything is being built. Meeting with contractors all of the sudden was a breeze. It was extremely convenient living on the job site and I’m now providing a more secure job site where equipment can be left and watched over without risk of theft. As well as the convenience of always being available on site to speak with different contractors and workers, this was such a great thing for me personally because I learned so much in those 8 months about what it takes to build a home from a set of floor plans. These are things that I can take and apply to other projects and builds in the future. It was truly a fantastic learning experience on my end that I just can’t even put a price on, something I would highly recommend for anyone in the process of or even considering a barndominium build in the future.

While this approach might not appeal to everyone, it can honestly lead to substantial savings throughout the entirety of the construction phase, particularly if you are financing the build entirely out of pocket. I would recommend saving money anywhere that it’s possible to save and learn as much as you can from the contractors and sub-contractors throughout the process of the build.

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Barndominiums Offer Enhanced Durability Compared to Traditional Homes

Typically, barndominium shells are constructed from robust steel, attributing to their superior durability and slower rate of wear and tear compared to many conventional homes that are built entirely out of wood. A steel frame barndominium will perform better overall on account of the rigid steel frame construction. A steel barndominium is going to hold up through wind, rain, sleet, and snow. They build many of these in the midwest and along the coast because they perform so well in extreme weather conditions compared to more traditional materials. There is no such thing as a hurricane proof or tornado proof home but the next best thing would most certainly be made from steel. The durability of steel is truly unparalleled.

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Consequently, owning a barndominium translates to lower maintenance needs, reducing concerns about:

Pest infestations, such as termites, roaches, spiders, and any other critters or creepy-crawlies you can keep out of your new barndominium. The onset of mold, mildew, or other rot types- you will have less condensation and less chance for mold to take hold. Having good ventilation and airflow throughout the home will also help cut down on any kinds of mildew or molds getting started.

Fire damage – having everything new will put your mind at ease, as well as the fact that steel isn’t combustible like wood and other materials. The chance of total destruction by fire is less likely in a steel frame barndominium than with a traditionally constructed home.

The standard materials utilized in crafting the barndominium shell are designed to last approximately a century on average. This is based solely on data collected from the construction of steel frame homes, this includes barndominium homes even though the design is fairly new in the grand scheme of things. Given adequate care and suitable environmental conditions, this lifespan can extend significantly longer and ultimately last an entire lifetime. This is especially the case if your barndominium is properly maintained from day one and the initial construction guidelines and architectural recommendations were stringently followed and taken into account all along the way. This will no doubt extend the life of your home as well as keep you from having to do so much upkeep overall. If you treat your home well, it’s going to take good care of you as well for a very long time to come.

To help you embark on your barndominium journey, consider seeking out the book “Build Your Dream Barndominium: From First Concept to Move In Day, Here’s What You Need To Know” by Don Howe (available on Amazon). This book comprehensively covers everything you need to know about how to bring your dream barndominium to life! It really is a very informative piece of literature that I wish I would have read before I started out building my first barndominium.

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Barndominiums Plans Boast a Wealth of Space

As mentioned earlier on in our article, one of the most attractive and overall useful features of barndominiums is the vast open customizable space that they offer, aligning perfectly with the current trend favoring open floor plans. Space is an important feature for any house, not only for the storage aspects but for many other convenient reasons as well.

An abundance of space can impart a luxurious and expensive feel to a room without the hefty price tag attached. It also enables the accommodation of a large number of guests, which is ideal for families needing more space or for people who generally like to entertain family and friends. These designs will allow for plenty of room for furniture, seating, decorations, and other amenities that will make your experience that much more enjoyable. Barndominiums are fantastic for large family functions, get-togethers, family style dinners, holidays, parties, and my favorite, the backyard cookout. Having a space that you can comfortably share with the people you love is a huge selling point for most Americans. Having the means and room to entertain others is a huge plus in today’s world where everything feels so small and cramped; a barndominium with its open space is a breath of fresh air.

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Here are a few possibilities you could explore with the additional space:

Construct a spacious kitchen. Realize your dream of a kitchen where everyone can move freely without bumping into each other during meal preparation. I love to cook but I can’t stand having a crowded kitchen. Having an open floor plan provides a more open atmosphere where everyone has their own space, which is ideal for a kitchen.

An open floor plan fosters a family-centric space, typically bringing the kitchen, dining room, and living room all closer together. This creates a more intimate family experience but still allows enough space for guests to not feel enclosed, with all the rooms flowing well due to the open design floor plan as one room will seamlessly merge into the next without you realizing it at first.

Design an expansive and unique bathroom. Your dream bathroom may contain a walk-in shower, dual sinks, and a jacuzzi tub and can actually become a reality with all the money you have saved this far in the process by building a barndominium. Your dream bathroom is actually easily within reach if you follow the smart building practices we’ve covered, stay on budget, and save money anywhere that you’re able to. Then the things that you really want in your home, like nice tiled walk-in showers, can actually happen and for a fraction of the price that you would have paid a contractor for it. You can then take everything you’ve learned and apply that knowledge to achieve better deals on your bathroom appliances, washer & dryer, and the installation of those laundry and bathroom appliances as well.

Include an indoor pool to your barndominium build. Given the surplus space, installing a small indoor swimming pool is an achievable dream. The first step would probably be to simply figure out where would be the best, most suitable location for an indoor pool and then determine the dimensions so that you can speak with an architect or member of the floor plan modification team so that you can better have the modification request submitted. This step is essential so that you can have a set of floor plans that reflects the changes to the build and so the builders have very clear instructions on how to go about building an indoor pool inside your barndominium. The addition of a pool may be problematic with some floor plans; it will come down to the layout and the space you have available to work with. Generally speaking an indoor pool is absolutely possible in a barndominium style home mainly because of the very open floor plan design barndominiums provide.

Ultimately, the creative control over this open space rests entirely with you and your imagination. If an indoor basketball court occupying half of your home appeals more to you, the potential openness of a barndominium absolutely allows for it!

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Barndominiums Embody a Greener Housing Alternative

In addition to their other benefits, barndominiums present a significantly eco-friendlier housing choice compared to traditional residences. Using a steel framed barndominium means no trees were cut down to create the bones of your home. When you use steel siding and metal roofing as well you not only end up with a stronger more durable structure at the end of the day, but you also have a more eco-friendly option. You can sleep well inside knowing that you’ve done your part in terms of environmental impact in the process of the build.

What renders these homes more beneficial for our environment?

Primarily, many barndominium kits are fashioned using materials that are environmentally conscious and derived from sustainable sources. Furthermore, these structures are designed with longevity in mind and the ability to incorporate energy efficient systems. Green energy solutions like solar, wind, and water are on the rise all over the world; the ability to simply integrate these systems into the build is going to be a big selling point for environmentally conscious folks that want to be a part of the solution and not someone who is furthering the problem and the negative impact on our environment.

Moreover, you can enhance the green credentials of this already eco-friendly home by selecting interior design elements that exert a minimal environmental impact. There are many different options on the market today. It’s almost overwhelming at first if you’re not prepared.

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Drawbacks of Opting for a Barndominium as a Residence

Now, let’s examine some potential downsides to owning a barndominium. As with any housing type, it’s important to consider the potential challenges before committing to such a unique project. Because it’s different from a traditional build, finding a contractor that is comfortable with doing something a little bit different than what they are used to can be a challenge at first. It’s important to think of your barndominium as nothing other than a custom home build. When talking to a contractor, if they are getting hung up on the word “barndominium” it’s ok to remind them that the word “barndominium” is used more as a descriptive word for a certain styling more than it is a type of home. Shop house may be a better term if your contractor is taking issue with the word barndominium. It’s fine to remind them that you’re simply building a custom home and maybe it’s being built with a steel frame, maybe you decided to build it post frame, or even just traditional stick frame the entire thing. Whatever you decide to do construction wise, communication is paramount to coming out with a very good quality barndominium home that you’re proud of at the end of your build.

Securing Financing for a Barndominium Can Be Challenging

One of the major impediments of choosing a barndominium over a traditional house is the potential difficulty in securing financing for this unique style of home. If you possess sufficient funds to undertake this project upfront, that’s wonderful and you shouldn’t have any issue getting started. However, if you don’t have all the money up front, your options may be somewhat limited. It’s good to put yourself in the best possible position by having a long term stable bank account and savings account that you can show any prospective bank’s loan officer. Any previous loans that you have paid in full would be something else that could help you secure the funding that you require. Having a big down payment or a decent sum in your accounts shows the banker you’re willing to come out of pocket to make this work if need be. It also shows the bank you are able to save money and hold onto it, so they see this as lessening the risk on their end because with a customer who can prove they saves money, have few bills, and works a good paying job, the bank is more likely to get their loan paid back in a timely manner and in full.

Most conventional banks are hesitant to approve loans for a barndominium. That said, obtaining financing for a barndominium home is not impossible. Under the right conditions, some mainstream banks may agree to finance these homes. Typically, these conditions include possessing an outstanding credit score and presenting a comprehensive construction plan that includes estimated bids and the overall cost of the build breakdown so the bank can have a full understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish.

Acquiring approval for your barndominium project can be a time-intensive process. There’s going to be bureaucratic red-tape with any barndominium build or even any traditional home build, it’s just that some locations have much more red tape and restrictions than other locations. Many properties are subject to certain environmental boundaries or protected areas due to wildlife or other natural processes. There will be fees, taxes, and permits associated and required with almost any build, not to mention the bids you will need to collect to determine your rough estimate for cost to build, necessitating considerable effort spent on detailed floor plans and sourcing precise build estimates before even engaging with your lender in a discussion about funding.

Identifying a bank willing to extend a loan can take time and research, and it’s essential to thoroughly evaluate the variety of loans on offer if you want the best deal for you short and long term. Patience is key, as the likelihood of gaining approval from the first bank you approach may be relatively low and taking the very first offer you receive from any banking establishment is typically ill advised as well, until you can get a few offers to compare against at the very least.

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The Barndominium Resale Market Is Limited

One potential drawback to consider if you’re contemplating the future sale of your barndominium is the relatively narrower buyer interest in such properties.

While barndominiums generally maintain their value quite well, the pool of potential buyers remains smaller compared to traditional homes. However, the popularity of such homes has been on the rise in recent years – making future market conditions unpredictable.

If you don’t anticipate selling your barndominium, this factor becomes less relevant. Personally, I look to hold onto my barndominium for the long haul. Even if I buy another home in the future as a vacation home or a rental property, I plan to always hold onto my barndominium. The price I paid to build it was well worth the space I got out of it. Moreover, you can always convert your property into a rental, depending on its location, if you ever choose to do so.

Initial Costs for a Barndominium Are Higher

Compared to average homes, the initial costs involved in acquiring a barndominium are considerably steeper. This is primarily due to the higher initial cash outlay associated with the type of loan procured or if you’re directly financing the construction.

The upfront amount you’ll be expected to pay will vary significantly based on several factors such as:

  • The size of your desired barndominium
  • Your selected interior design
  • Whether you’re bearing all costs out-of-pocket
  • Your chosen lender
  • The type of loan obtained
  • Your geographic location

Given these variables, it becomes evident that several aspects can influence your out-of-pocket expenses when building a barndominium. This underlines the importance of conducting thorough market research to ensure you’re securing the best deal for your kit and loan.

Remember, not all financing options are the same, and it might require assessing multiple lenders before you discover the one that aligns best with your requirements. Remember to stay calm, don’t get in a hurry, and don’t get too frustrated when the first offer or two isn’t exactly what you expected.

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Over Time, Your Barndominium’s Metal May Experience Corrosion when building with steel frames

While barndominiums are generally resilient to various forms of damage such as termites, mold, and intense heat, the metallic core of the structure may be susceptible to corrosion over time. There are ways to help prevent this from damaging your exterior siding. They mostly involve different types of spray on solutions that can seal the metal off and away from exposure to moisture and the elements.

Several factors could expedite the corrosion process in your structure:

  • Neglected maintenance. Unattended and exposed to environmental conditions, the metal in your barndominium may begin to rust due to oxygen exposure.
  • Repeated extreme weather changes. Long-term exposure to harsh weather conditions can accelerate the degradation of your structure’s metal. This is particularly prevalent in humid, tropical climates.
  • Inferior construction. Prior to assembling your kit, it’s crucial to ensure its condition is sound and to execute the construction as sturdily as possible. If not, you might encounter corrosion sooner than expected.

Fortunately, these issues can be mitigated with proper and regular maintenance of your barndominium’s shell. There are also special paints and sealers available for purchase that can be reapplied over the years as needed.

Nonetheless, the prospect of your home’s metal corroding can be a source of stress. If you reside in a humid region, the increased maintenance requirement might render this option less appealing, as your home will demand more upkeep than most.

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Barndominiums Tend to Be Susceptible to Cracking or Shifting With Age

One aspect to bear in mind when deliberating on the acquisition and construction of a barndominium is their aging process. As these structures age, they tend to be more susceptible to shifting and developing cracks in areas such as the stucco and foundation.

However, it’s worth noting that such shifting also occurs in traditional homes, and there are various preventive measures you can take to minimize such damage as your home ages.

A few strategies to curtail the occurrence of cracking or shifting in your aging barndominium include:

  • Testing the soil of your land for elements like blue clay. This type of clay can cause your home to move excessively, resulting in cracks.
  • Ensuring you engage a proficient team to lay a robust foundation. A strong foundation is crucial in maintaining your home’s stability and preventing shifts and cracks.
  • Consulting a specialist if you notice any cracks or shifting. An expert can help identify the cause of your home’s movement and advise on steps to minimize further damage.

These proactive steps can considerably reduce the risk of such damages. However, for some individuals, the risk might outweigh the advantages, leading them to opt for a traditional home. On the other hand, others may be comfortable with this trade-off given the cost savings from the overall building process.

The optimal way to maintain your barndominium in top condition is to keep up with its routine maintenance and monitor for signs of damage such as cracks in your drywall, flooring, foundation, and stucco.

Certain Cities Do Not Permit Barndominiums

In certain instances, the city you wish to live in might not allow the construction of barndominiums. Many large cities have regulations against such structures due to the difficulty in controlling their aesthetics. BuildMax has removed the word barndominium from their plans and replaced the word with “custom house plan”. This cuts down on confusion since many builders, bankers and building departments still fully understand what is a barndominium.

Also, beware of Homeowners Associations, or HOAs. If your prospective property falls under an HOA, there’s a high likelihood they will have rules restricting the type of homes that can be built on your lot.

Therefore, the preferable choice for most barndominium owners is to seek property in rural areas with fewer restrictions on building types.

However, this rural lifestyle has its own challenges:

It can often be a significant distance from conveniences such as gas stations and supermarkets. The commute to work could be lengthy unless you work from home. Your home might be a considerable distance from family and friends. While rural living does have its drawbacks, particularly for those used to city life, many find these are minor inconveniences when compared to the affordability of a new home combined with the tranquility of the countryside.

Before purchasing land for your barndominium, it’s essential to verify the local city regulations regarding the construction of such a structure.

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Barndominiums May Lack Adequate Sound Insulation

A drawback worth mentioning about barndominiums is their potential for loudness. The primary material used in their construction is typically a thinner metal, which doesn’t provide an effective sound barrier against outside noises.

This implies that sounds from busy roads, weather conditions, birds, noisy neighbors, and other external sources may be noticeably louder compared to conventional homes. However, if external noise isn’t a major concern for you, then this downside may not be too bothersome.

While there’s always the option to install soundproofing in your home, many owners have found that they still hear more external noises than in traditional brick-and-mortar houses.

Barndominiums Tend to Be Single-Story Structures

If you are attracted to the idea of a multi-story home with ample space, a barndominium may not be the ideal choice.

Barndominium designs are typically conceived for single-story living, although some kits may allow enough ceiling height to accommodate a second story. In certain layouts, you might also be able to incorporate a small loft without overly reducing your ceiling space.

Given the nature of barndominiums, a single-story structure is generally the most feasible and aesthetically pleasing and appears to be the most structurally sound.

Final Considerations

Barndominiums can offer excellent value, providing the benefits of a traditional home at a fraction of the cost. This makes them particularly attractive for those seeking:

  • A larger home at a lower price
  • A fully customizable living space
  • A home that requires less maintenance

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

However, strategies exist to mitigate these downsides, and in many cases, the benefits of owning a barndominium outweigh the negatives. Click here for the Top 20 Barndominium Plans.

Barndominium Pros and Cons: What is the downside to a barndominium? (2024)


Barndominium Pros and Cons: What is the downside to 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.

Are barndominiums bad investments? ›

In summary, barndominiums make wise value investments thanks to lower initial costs per square foot, flexible use cases, and rising property demands over upcoming years as inventories remain limited. Position your unique barndominium advantageously to reap financial returns for the decades ahead!

Are barndominiums hard to sell? ›

**Selling Challenges and How to Overcome Them**

Initially, barndominiums faced skepticism from traditional homebuyers and real estate professionals due to their unconventional nature. Concerns about financing, insurance, and resale value were prevalent, potentially making them harder to sell.

Are barndominiums prone to mold? ›

Barndominiums offer a blend of rustic aesthetics and modern living that appeals to many homeowners. However, like any other type of construction, they are susceptible to mold growth if not properly designed, constructed, and maintained.

Why are barndominiums hard to insure? ›

The intended use significantly impacts the type of insurance policy needed. – **Construction Materials and Quality:** Many barndominiums are constructed with steel frames, which can affect insurance premiums differently than traditional wood-frame homes.

Why shouldn't 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 life expectancy of a barndominium? ›

Proper insulation and high-quality roofing materials can also extend the life of the structure. Depending on the materials used, a well-maintained barndominium can last anywhere from 50 to over 100 years.

Why can't you finance a barndominium? ›

Appraisal and Valuation Issues

One of the most significant hurdles in securing financing for a barndominium is the challenge of obtaining an accurate appraisal. Banks require appraisals to determine the property's value, which in turn, informs their lending decisions.

Are barndominiums worth the money? ›

Barndominiums offer exceptional value on a per square foot basis, and are exceptionally beneficial for large families or when a business requires a large workspace. They also have lower insurance rates and taxes.

How much do most barndominiums cost to build? ›

Average cost to build a barndominium

The cost to build a barndominium is $65 to $160 per square foot or $130,000 to $320,000 on average for a 2,000 SF home. Barndominium prices depend on the size, materials, and interior finishes chosen. Barndominium kit prices are $20 to $35 per square foot for materials only.

How long does it take to finish a barndominium? ›

All the finishing touches – drywall, paint, built-in furniture, moulding, roofing, siding, and fascia – can take 1 or 2 months, depending on the level of extravagance and detail. Minimalists will save time in this stage! All in all, most barndominiums take about 6 months to build.

Do barndominiums get struck by lightning? ›

So while barndominiums do carry a slightly elevated lightning strike risk compared to traditional stick-built homes, the damage is unlikely and very rare, especially with the proper lightning rod and grounding precautions installed that are highly recommended in rural locations.

Are barndominiums loud when it rains? ›

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.

Do barndominium floors crack? ›

However, homeowners and builders alike often face a common concern: Do concrete barndominium floors crack? The short answer is Yes!, they absolutely can. Don't be super shocked if it happens because it is common.

Why are barndominiums hard to finance? ›

Lenders may perceive them as riskier investments due to their unfamiliarity with the structure and potential resale value. – Appraising barndominiums can be tricky because there are fewer comparable properties (comps) available. This can lead to lower appraisal values, making it harder to secure a loan.

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