September 5th, 2022 at 11:00 am

What is a Barndominium?

The housing market value has increased, but you can still build a large home for less than it would cost to build a conventional home. Whether you are looking for a primary residence or buying a vacation home, a barndominium is a great choice. It  has plenty of living space with a large garage and/or workshop attached to it. Often, the workshop is nearly as large as the living quarters.

The workshop or garage can also be a traditional barn, a combination of a workshop and garage, a gym, or whatever you want to make of it.

An agent familiar with barndominiums can help you find a barndominium already completed or find the perfect piece of property to build a barndominium that you design yourself. Find an agent with skills to fit your needs from Berkshire Hathaway Home Services California Properties.

What is a barndominium?

A barndominium is often a traditional barn converted to a house. However, newly built barndominiums are usually metal buildings that include a garage or large shop area. You get the farmhouse look inside and out. The inside usually features an open floor plan with a great room, kitchen, and dining area. The great room is expansive and has vaulted high ceilings.

The foundation is almost always a rectangle, which gives you plenty of design room so you can customize the barndominium interior to fit your needs. A barndominium has several advantages over a traditional home. It is less expensive to build and allows you more flexibility to arrange the space to your specifications. Because the exterior is metal, the maintenance is much lower than in a traditional home, as is the insurance and taxes.

When you have a barn turned into a house, and the barn is large enough, you can have a huge workshop, garage, or craft room as part of the house. Some people really keep horses in the workshop/barn part of the barndominium. Converted barns do have more maintenance because these structures are generally made from wood.

You have a lot of choices to make when you convert a regular barn. You can convert the entire metal structure into a home, place the barn home on the second floor and the garage/workshop / barn on the first floor, or convert half of the first floor and the entire second floor into living quarters.

With both types of barndominiums, you can add a large porch on the front and a large deck or patio on the rear to create an outdoor living space.

Why choose a barndominium?

Now that we’ve answered the question “What is a barndominium?”, do you think you would like to live in one? They certainly have a ton of advantages, including a faster build and better efficiency than a traditional home.

If you like the different lifestyle – an open floor plan combined with a shop, barn, or garage, you will love the barndominium life. Barndominiums are particularly attractive to people who have a trade and need a covered work area. It also makes your commute much shorter, which is a great thing when gas prices are higher.

A barndominium design  is also great for larger families, especially since they are less expensive to build per square foot. The open floor plan concept allows for entertaining without keeping the person working in the kitchen separate from the guests. And, because the barndominium floor plan is open, you can fit more people in the house and feel less crowded.

If you make the steel barndominium large enough – with enough bedrooms and bathrooms- you can host a large family overnight.

Do I have to have a workshop barndominium?

No. You can make whatever you want. Some people actually keep horses in the barn side of the barndominium. Other things you might consider doing are:

These are just a few ideas for all that “barn” space in a barndominium. When you need a large open space for work, hobbies, or storage, this is the least expensive way to get it.

Why do I need an agent if I am building my own barndominium?

Whether you build your own dream barndominium or are looking for the perfect already-built barndominium, you should use the services of a real estate agent. Unless you already have a plot of land for the barndominium, you’ll need to find the perfect piece. A real estate agent can help you find the perfect piece of land, help you through the closing process, and through the process of building a house.

Purchasing land is often more difficult than purchasing an already-built home. You’ll need to walk the land to make sure it is flat enough as opposed to a small home site with the rest of the acreage dropping off into oblivion. Additionally, you need to look for other issues, including:

The real estate agent also hires title companies, title insurance companies, and/or lawyers to help facilitate the sale and to ensure that the seller has a good title and isn’t pulling the wool over your eyes regarding the specifics of the property.

Building a barndominium

Planning a barndominium build sounds like it might be easy. However, as with any build, it can be stressful, just like building a traditional house. You have to plan for utilities, land clearing, ensure the barn home meets the municipality’s zoning codes, and much more. But if you’re ready to take that on:

Design or purchase a blueprint

You can design your own barndominium or purchase a set of blueprints from many barndominium builders online. If you design your own, you have more control over how you want to use the space. You can sketch what you would like and hire an architect to draft the plans.

Know your budget

Before you purchase blueprints, you should know what your budget is. You’ll need the money to purchase the land, perk test the property if your municipality requires it, clear the property, purchase zoning permits, install water and electricity, and a host of other things. Once you convert the raw land into a beautiful building site, you need the funds to draft the blueprints and build the barndominium design.

Know the building codes for the city and county

Always thoroughly research the building codes for your municipality. If your build breaks the code, you may have to stop building. If the code breach is major, such as putting the building too close to the property line (setback), you’ll end up spending thousands – either in moving the building or talking your neighbor into selling his or her property to you.

If you cannot get the proper permits because of the type of build, you could end up with a barndominium with no electricity, sewer, or water. You must look into all of these items and more. Your real estate agent can tell you what you need to research and where to find a lot of this information if you do not already know.

List the features of your barndominium

Once you get past the hard part – making sure you can build a barndominium on the piece of property you fell in love with – you can start working on floor plans, including listing the features of your barndominium. Some of the features you might build into your barndominium or look for when purchasing an already built barndominium might include:

Depending on your wants and needs, the list could go on and on.

How much does a barndominium cost?

Now that you know what a barndominium is and you are on board with building or buying one, the next question is, “How much does a barndominium cost?” In most cases, a barndominium is less expensive to build than a traditional house. Instead of ranging from $150 and up for a traditional house, a barndominium could cost as little as $95 to $125 per square foot for a new building. However, the price per square foot depends on many different factors, including:

The difference between building a barndominium and a house is the cost of the exterior wall framing, the covering, and the metal roof. The exterior metal  structure costs much less than the wood and other materials needed for a traditional home.

How you can find barndominiums in California

You can find barndominiums in California with the help of a real estate agent with barndominium experience in southern California. Additionally:

With the help of an experienced barndominium real estate agent, you will have a less stressful time locating the perfect barndominium or piece of land to build your dream barndominium.

Sources: Family Handyman, Barndominium Life

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