Should I Buy A Barndominium Kit?
What is a barndominium and why are they becoming increasingly popular? A barndominium is essentially a home built using components more commonly found in barn or metal shop construction, such as a steel building kit or post frame building materials. The result is a spacious, durable, and cost-effective home.
Barndominiums have been gaining interest in recent years as an affordable and customizable housing option. They allow homeowners to get the space of a large house without the high price tag. Let’s look at the pros and cons of buying a barndominium kit to help decide if it could be the right choice for you.
Pros of Buying a Barndominium Kit
Since barndominiums utilize steel or post-frame buildings as a starting point, they allow you to achieve significant savings compared to traditional construction. Complete barndominium kits can be purchased for $50-$90 per square foot. This is far less than the $100-$200 or more per square foot it usually costs to custom build a traditional house. This cost advantage allows more square footage and customization for your budget.
One of the key benefits of choosing a kit is that you are able to fully customize the layout and finishes to your own tastes. While the structural shell is pre-fabricated, everything inside can be completely customized with high-end or cost-saving finishes. This flexibility compared to site-built homes means you don’t have to settle for builder grade finishes to stay on budget. You have the choice to splurge on certain aspects while saving on others.
Faster Construction Time
When you purchase a complete barndominium kit, most of the structural work and exterior finishes will arrive pre-assembled to your site. This allows interior work to begin much sooner than waiting for standard construction. If you utilize a general contractor familiar with these builds, your home can often be move-in ready within 5-7 months rather than over a year for site-built homes. This accelerated timeline gets you into your space sooner.
Durable & Energy Efficient
The pre-engineered nature of a barndominium kit means your home will be exceptionally durable, disaster resilient, and energy efficient. The structural steel and metal envelope is able to withstand extreme wind, snow, fire, and seismic activity. Properly equipped models can be built to the latest energy codes or even net-zero standards. Barndos offer the resilience and sustainability of the sturdiest barn paired with custom home-style living space.
Potential Resale Value
While barndominiums are still gaining broader recognition, they have devoted fans who seek them out in the real estate market. Since the homes allow buyers to get so much custom space for the money, they provide an inherent value that appeals to many. As barndominiums continue to grow in popularity, they have so far shown to either maintain value on par with traditional homes or potentially increase in desirability beyond expectations in niche cases.
Cons of Buying a Barndominium Kit
Building Codes & Permits Can Be Tricky
One key downside that gives some people pause is navigating the building codes and permitting process. Since most municipalities do not have specific guidelines around barndominiums, getting proper permits and inspections requires extra communication and documentation. Be prepared to educate inspectors, pull additional engineering approvals, and prove out details like proper fire-rating on drywall.
Interior Finishings Costs Add Up
While the shell kit itself offers cost savings, customizing the interior with wiring, plumbing, appliances, flooring and finishing can still get quite expensive. Be honest with your budget from the start to ensure you plan for all aspects required to complete your barndominium to livable standards right away or in future phases.
HOA Approval Not Guaranteed
For those planning a barndo build within an HOA community, be aware that approval is not assured. Be prepared with detailed construction plans and exterior finishes to show neighbors and HOA boards. Unfortunately some HOAs still have outdated bylaws preventing metal buildings. Consider more progressive neighborhoods or building just outside HOA boundaries.
Resale Market Still Developing
As mentioned, barndominiums are still gaining broader market recognition and desirability compared to traditional homes. While niche buyers seek them out, resale value is still developing and appraisal gaps do exist in the current market. If aiming to build a barndo as an investment property or flipping opportunity, carefully research local comparables first.
Should You Buy a Barndominium Kit?
In the end, determining if you should purchase a barndominium kit depends entirely on your budget, goals, customization desires and timing needs. For those focused on cost-savings, custom spaces, energy efficiency, and faster construction – barndominiums check all the boxes. Just go in eyes wide open to the planning and prep work required to ensure proper permits, construction and completion. But for many, the reward of getting their dream home for less makes the barndominium route the perfect choice!