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Top 5 Negatives to Building a Barndominium From Scratch


Rethinking That Barndo – Considerations in Today’s Tough Construction Climate

While barndominiums retain immense popularity for their charming rustic aesthetics and value pricing, the very factors luring prospective builders may also complicate ambitions amid 2023’s inflated construction climate. From lumber shortages to soaring mortgage rates, the numbers suggest hitting pause on your barndo dreams may be prudent.

white barndominium farmhouse

The foremost financial foil lies in skyrocketing material prices and ever-changing labor expenses. As of December 2022, lumber prices alone have climbed nearly 60% since 2020 pushing wood-framed barndominium budgets through the roof and way beyond customers’ initial assumptions. Steel frame buildings have fared little better amid surging metal costs. And with US inflation topping 6% in 2022, contractor fees similarly swell costing you more in the end.

white barndominium with 3 car garage

In fact, a 2022 national survey of barndominium builders found 89% reported final actual costs exceeded their upfront estimates by 10-25% – some even spent twice their budgets. For a median 1500 square foot barndominium, that could mean a swing from $100 per square foot to $150 or more today. Translation: many owners must choose smaller sizes, fewer finishes or amenities than originally envisioned just to control ballooning prices.

Rising interest rates add insult to budget injury. As Federal Reserve hikes push mortgage rates toward 7%, financing costs thousands more over a typical 30-year home loan. This either necessitates substantial bigger down payments or accepting reduced buying power stretching household budgets thin. Tighter lending qualification criteria further dampen borrower flexibility too.

black barndominium shophouse

Weather uncertainties also loom heading into 2023 construction season. Regional lumber shortages may resurface as sawmills close, while freak snow or heavy rains can delay site prep and foundation pours. Schedule overruns risk project cost creep or lost seasonal use. Also consider added fees for HVAC climate control and concrete curing/protection tents if building through harsh months.

Below are 5 potential negative aspects to building a barndominium from scratch

grey barndominium farmhouse

1. Higher Material Costs – Barndominiums require large amounts of steel, wood or other building materials which are more expensive due to current shortages and inflation. Residential house framing materials are more readily available. You can curb this negative by finding a Barndominium Kit and buying a kit Package that las much less waste associated with it and uses the exact amount of materials and typically gets bolted together. Buildmax has a number of kits available for purchase with different styling and sizes to choose from. 

wood barndominium

2. Limited Customization – The typical open floorplans can often times limit layout flexibility in attaching additions or renovating spaces down the road. Moving interior walls proves challenging in post-beam barndo cores. Stick-built homes are easier to adapt to future custom expansions. I would advise choosing a floor plan that allows for add-on from the start so that option is always there if you so choose to add on to your barndominium in the future. you can even have custom floor plans developed to achieve this goal. 

black barndominium

3. Unpredictable Budget Overruns – Exposed structure bars mid-project changes, so initial estimates must precisely project final needs unlike traditional homes with cushion from enclosed walls. Many report 10-25% barndo overages.

black barndominium

4. Constrained Resale AppealRustic industrial barndominium aesthetics turn off some buyers who prefer standard home layouts and finishes. Resale ability depends heavily on compatibility with rural locale tastes. Multi-level houses have broader buyer appeal. being kind of an unusual home choice in many parts of the US still resell potential may be a slight issue in certain locations. This one is absolutely location dependant, as there are states like Texas and North Carolina that are selling barndominiums like hot cakes. 

barndominium with blue siding

5. Challenging Lender Financing – Custom unconventional spaces and agricultural appearance prompt higher-interest rates or rejections from risk-averse lenders. Buyers may need more self financing or difficult mortgage search. Stick homes readily qualify for prime traditional loans.

white barndominium with large barn doors

So while barndominiums charm with handsome craftwork blending home with history, core structural distinctions driving cost and financing tradeoffs can become problematic if not taken seriously from the start. Weigh carefully if a barndominium makes the most sense for your family. Buildmax can provide some amazing Barndominium kit offerings for Quickly and accurately building your barndominium from the ground up with bolt together steel framing that will last a lifetime through any weather conditions. Theres a silver lining to every negative if it’s approached in the right way. 

Aaron Scott
Aaron Scott
Aaron Scott is a freelance writer and researcher that has written hundreds of articles for online companies in the area of construction, design, finance and automotive. He's a Southern boy that enjoys creek fishing, hunting and camping. He's rarely seen without his trusted beagle hound "Scooter"
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