Barndominium. Barndo. These may sound like fictional words, but they are actually a growing housing trend across the country.
So what in the world is it? A barndominium, or barndo for short, is a structure that combines a barn with living quarters. They can be created out of any barn, existing or newly built. Barndos can be as simple as a living space in the loft area of a functioning barn, or as elaborate as utilizing the entire space for living.
The premise of living inside of a barn has been around for centuries. Ranchers would create a small living quarter near or above their livestock in the barn to take advantage of the added heat in the cooler months. Today, no livestock is required for comfortable barn living.
Storage is never a problem in one of these structures- some choose to store their RVs, 4wheelers or other vehicles in the barn with them.
So where can these barndos be found, and what draws people to them? Barndos can be found all across the country, but are most prominent in the Midwest due to the availability and cost of land. People are drawn to them for many reasons. They are cheaper than building a new home, and are constructed with more durable, fire-resistant materials. A barndominium can be built for as low as about $25/sq. ft., and can exceed $150/sq. ft. depending on what features the home has. Adding expansions down the road is much easier than with a traditional home, and when insulated properly, they are very energy efficient.
There are downsides to these buildings, though. The metal structure can corrode over time, even with their extended life over traditional wooden homes. Customization of the outside of the building is not always available, so choices may be limited. The largest downside, however, is financing. Most larger banks will not loan on barndominiums as they are unconventional builds and the loans cannot be sold on the secondary market. A small, local bank or farm credit lender would be the best bet for financing. Cash, however is always the best way to go if possible.
If you are considering a barndominium, make sure to research thoroughly before making the jump. Check to make sure that there are no restrictions on your land that prohibit barns. Find a reputable contractor that deals in metal construction, or a custom builder that deals in metalwork.
Barndominiums are a fast growing trend in the real estate world. They can be a great alternative to the traditional stick-built house, and make for a truly unique home.