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Barndominiums — also called barndos —  are rising in popularity, but many consumers have never even heard of this type of home structure. Essentially a mix between a barn and a condo, this type of home is either a barn that a contractor adapts into a residential space, or a residence that relies on a typical barn structure. The cost of buying or building a barndominium is cheaper than other traditional homes, since theyre working with a barn, or barn-like structure, as a base.

What does a barndominium look like? 

Barndominiums can either be newly constructed or converted barn-shaped buildings. Typically barndominiums are made of metal and they have upscale modern design elements that combine with a more traditional agrarian style. They offer a fun mix of urban and rural architecture. 

In some cases, you can convert an existing barn that previously housed livestock, equipment, or food supplies, into a residential space. Sometimes though, you build barndominiums from scratch for the sole purpose of being a living space — the metal building just happens to embrace the barn style. It’s becoming more and more common for barndominiums to be newly constructed buildings. 

A barndominium looks like a barn and has a steel frame. This style of home tends to embrace open concept living and often combines open floor plan living quarters with garages or wood shops so people can live, work, and create in the same space. You can expect high, vaulted ceilings, as high as 18-feet tall, and hay lofts that have been converted into overhead storage.  

The flexible layouts of barndominiums make it possible for the owner to really customize the space to meet their needs and style preferences. 

How much does a barndominium cost? 

Alongside offering up a fresh take on country inspired home decor, barndominiums also provide an affordable housing option. Part of the reason they’re becoming so popular is because buying and converting an abandoned barn is typically much cheaper than buying a more traditional home. These days, there are a lot of barns on the market, so there isn’t a ton of competition for them (which works in the buyers' favor). 

It is worth noting though, that you can’t find barndominiums in every town. They’re usually only found in areas that are currently or were previously agricultural hubs. That’s not to say someone couldn’t build a barndominium wherever they please, but if they want to convert an existing barn into a home, they’ll have to target their search to certain regions. 

Related: Should you buy a tiny home?

How much does it cost to build?

You can choose to hire a contractor to convert a barn into a barndominium or can build one from scratch, but to save some money you can buy a kit that comes with all the supplies you need to build one. Usually these kits follow a set style and give you the instructions and materials you need to build a barndominium, but you can also pay for a custom design. 

If you go the kit route, you can expect to pay $5,000 to $70,000 to build the outer shelf of the home and to create some of the interior layout. The costs don’t stop here. You will still need to buy materials to flesh out the outside frame of the barndominium and if you hire a contractor that can increase costs overall. 

So, exactly how much does it cost to build a barndominium? In total, you can generally expect to spend $225,600 to $288,000 to build a 2,400 square feet barndominium. However, if you want a custom design, this could cost more than $500,000. Because of this, building a barndominium isn’t always cheaper than buying a home, especially if you go custom and choose luxe finishes. 

→ Learn whether it’s cheaper to build or buy a home

Pros of buying a barndominium

If you’re on the fence about whether or not a barndominium is the right fit for your housing needs, you can consider these advantages associated with this type of home.

  • Fast construction: Barndominiums are easy to construct thanks to their simple structure, so this can be a great option if you’re on a short timeline.
  • Fairly inexpensive: While prices on barndominiums can soar if you want to build a large, custom space with lots of bells and whistles, typically they do cost less than building a traditional home from the ground up. 
  • Low maintenance costs: Maintenance costs are also fairly low on barndominiums thanks to their steel structures which are easier to maintain than other materials.
  • Cheaper insurance: Another way living in a barndominium saves money is thanks to the fact that homeowners insurance generally costs less for this type of structure. 
  • Eco-friendly: When building a new barndominium or adapting an old barn into a barndominium, you can make them energy-efficient by installing double-pane windows, spraying foam insulation, and sealing the building. 
  • Customizable: Barndominiums are very flexible when it comes to layout and design, so you can really create a unique space to call your own. 

Cons of buying a barndominium

Living in a barndominium comes with some disadvantages, too:

  • Limited locations: If you want to adapt an existing barn into a barndominium, you usually have to move to an area where barns are commonly found, which can be limiting. Not to mention, certain climates aren’t a great fit for barndominiums — especially areas with cold temperatures. 
  • Less job opportunities: Because barndominiums are most often found in more rural areas, there can be limited career opportunities nearby. 
  • Hidden costs: While the upfront costs of building a barndominium may be less than buying a traditional home, there can be a lot of unexpected costs of homeownership thrown your way, like needing your own sewage system. 
  • Not legal in all areas: In some municipalities, building metal pole structures (the basis of barndominiums) is actually illegal, which can limit your location options even more. 
  • Financing and insurance can be difficult to secure: It’s often difficult to find a construction loan for a barndominium since it can be difficult to appraise them and not all homeowners insurance companies cover this type of structure. 

Take your time to consider both the advantages and disadvantages before making the decision to buy a barndominium. Even though barndominiums generally cost less than traditional single-family homes, they’re still a major financial commitment to take on. 

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