Exploring the Pros and Cons of Barndominium Living - Yoder Real Estate (2024)

Have you ever wondered how you can sleep and cook a meal next to your bales of hay or how about parking your tractor next to your dining room table?

In the past, houses and barns were distinct structures, but the concept of the Barndominium has changed that. A Barndominium combines the functionality of a traditional barn, where you store vehicles, equipment, and feed animals, with the comforts of a living space, including areas for sleeping, cooking, and relaxing.

Before you embark on building a Barndominium, it’s essential to consider the various aspects. In this post, we’ll explore the good, the bad, and the ugly of building and living in a Barndominium.

What is a Barndominium?

Also known as a “barndo,” a Barndominium is an open-concept building typically made from metal or wood. It integrates living quarters with a workspace, creating a unique and versatile living arrangement. While the living area offers all the amenities of a regular house, the working area can range from simple storage to a full-scale workshop.

Pros of Barndominium Living:

1. Endless Design Possibilities: Barndominiums offer open spaces akin to warehouses, providing a canvas for creative interior design.

2. Affordability: Barndominiums are generally more cost-effective than traditional homes, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious individuals.

3. Energy Efficiency: With proper insulation and construction, barndominiums can be highly energy-efficient, leading to reduced utility costs.

4. 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.

Cons of Barndominium Living:

1. Limited Appreciation in Value: Barndominiums may not appreciate in value as rapidly as traditional homes, which could impact their resale value.

2. Appraisal Challenges: Due to the scarcity of comparable properties, appraising a Barndominium can be complex, potentially affecting the financing process for potential buyers.

3. Financing Difficulties: Securing financing for a Barndominium can be more challenging than for a conventional home, as many banks may not offer specialized loans for this type of property.

4. Potential Resale Challenges: The unique and customized nature of Barndominiums may limit their appeal to a broader market, potentially making them more challenging to sell.

5. Zoning Restrictions: Barndominiums may not be permitted in urban or densely populated areas due to zoning regulations. They are typically more common in rural settings with more relaxed building codes.

In summary, Barndominium living offers a unique blend of practicality and creativity, but it’s important to carefully consider both the advantages and potential drawbacks before making a decision.

Exploring the Pros and Cons of Barndominium Living - Yoder Real Estate (2024)


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.

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

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.

What is the life expectancy 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.

Why shouldn't you build a barndominium? ›

List of the Cons of a Barndominium
  • Barndominiums are not immune to corrosion. ...
  • There is still a cost element to consider with barndominiums. ...
  • Some cities may not allow you to build a barndominium. ...
  • Most barndominiums are single-story homes. ...
  • You don't receive the same perks as you would with the typical condo community.
Dec 30, 2023

Is it hard to insure a barndominium? ›

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

What is the most expensive part of building a barndominium? ›

Steel framing, popular in barndominium construction for its durability and resistance to pests, can be more expensive than traditional wood framing. Framing costs can range from $20 to $50 per square foot, making it one of the most significant portions of the construction budget.

Are barndominiums bad investments? ›

As such, it is more difficult to assess the resale value of a Barndominium. Unlike modular homes and trailers, Barndominiums maintain their value and are likely to increase over time. If you are purely looking for a quick resale investment, a Barndominium may not be your best option.

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.

Is rain loud in a barndominium? ›

Obviously loud “pounding” rain events will create more resounding noise on metal roofs than light sprinkles. So barndominium owners can expect especially heavy regional downpours like hurricanes and thunderstorms to generate louder roof noise. General rainfall produces noticeable but not usually disruptive noise.

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.

Do barndominiums smell? ›

While horse enthusiasts typically don't give it a thought, a question that pops up from the non-horse spouses is the smell factor. According to DC's Rick Vranish, “with proper building and sealing, customers don't seem to have issues with barn smells in their residence.”

What are the cons of living in a barndominium? ›

If you're considering building or buying a barndominium, consider this list of downsides before you sign your name on a dotted line:
  • Location Limitations. ...
  • Financing. ...
  • Corrosion. ...
  • Noise. ...
  • UV Exposure. ...
  • Wiring Challenges. ...
  • Reselling.
Oct 19, 2022

What is a shouse? ›

A shouse (shop house) is an innovative architectural concept that blends the utility of a workspace, such as a workshop, garage, or studio, with the comfort and functionality of a traditional home. With their increasing popularity, more and more people are opting for shouses as their preferred living arrangement.

Are barndominiums good in cold weather? ›

Open Layout: Barndominiums are known for their open and spacious layouts. This design can be beneficial in cold weather because it allows for efficient distribution of heat. With proper insulation and heating systems in place, you can maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the entire space.

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.

Why can't you finance a barndominium? ›

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.

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