What is a Barndominium?

Do you watch Fixer Upper? Did you see the episode of the Barndominium? I truly believe the term “barndominium” was influenced by this episode of Fixer Upper. This alternative style of home is becoming more and more popular in the past few years. Basically, a barndominium is a style of home which is typically made of metal construction similar to barns. Sometimes they are attached to barns or workshops similar to the photo above or they could stand alone. These are unique homes and offer a certain lifestyle for those that love living in the country and the country lifestyle. We have seen them as barns that have been converted into living space or built designed as living space. Most of the time they are attached to barns and stall spaces.

Although the exterior of many barndominiums look like barns the interior are typically well designed, insulated and can have average to very high grade custom finishes. Here is the interior of a finished out interior barndominium:

Finished out interior of a barndominium

This style of home has actually been around a while but we have seen a recent increase in the number of barndominiums as well as an increase in prices. I agree with this article in realtor.com that this is a good term used to describe them. We used to call them “metal constructed homes” or “barnstyle homes”. Our local MLS (multi-listing service) added the term “barndominium” as a style of home in 2016 so it is now easier to search for this style of home. Prior to 2016, it was more difficult to track them as they were listed in the MLS as various types of alternative construction. You can see this chart how within the past 2 and 1/2 years in our markets barndominiums are appreciating:

Barndominiums are a Lifestyle Choice

We have seen a rise in the number of barndominiums we have appraised as well as sales in our North Texas markets. We believe that this is a great choice for those that prefer a more country lifestyle. When the living space is attached to your barn stalls, wash rooms, and tack rooms, it is convenient to go and tend to your animals within your space. Once, David, was appraising a barndominium and the new owners had just arrived from out of town. As they were in the kitchen and David was observing the interior, they had forgotten to shut on the doors and this beautiful horse strolled in and joined them all in the kitchen. They calmly led the horse back out the door into his stall but it illustrates the lifestyle of a barndominium. I liken it to those that enjoy the sights, smells, and sounds of the city may prefer living in a high rise, those that prefer the sights, smells and sounds of the country may prefer living in a barndominium.

Sometimes the barndominium is a converted space in the barn and used as a living area until the future main house is built. Sometimes the barndominium is designed as guest quarters or for ranch hands and other times they are the main living area and designed as such from the beginning.

Appraising Barndominiums

Appraising barndominiums can be tricky as they are a more unique style of home. As more barndos (how many shorten the term), become available on the market, they become a bit less complex. Some of the things that appraisers will look for:

Main Space or Extra Space– We have appraised some properties where the barndominium is a guest house or perhaps living quarters for a ranch hand. If the living space is not a part of the main living area, it will not be included in the main living area but as an additional feature. You can read more about living area here: What Counts as Living Area in an Appraisal?

Quality– The quality of construction will be considered in the appraisal as not all barndominiums are of the same quality. Just as some custom homes have higher grade finishes and features, the same can be found in barndominiums. It is important to compare barndominiums with similar quality of construction if possible.

Lot Size– Barndominiums are typically on acreage and the size of the acreage will have an impact on the appraisal. Ideally, if an appraiser is appraising a 2,500 sq ft barndominium on 10 acres, they would love to find comparables of similar sized sq ft on as close 10 acres as possible.

Location– as always in real estate, location is the biggest factor influencing value. A barndominium located next to a river will have a much different value than a barndominium located next to a cement plant. In our markets, there are entire subdivisions of barndominiums on 5-10 acre lots. These subdivisions are designed for an equestrian lifestyle and are located in areas where the soil is of sandy loam and most suitable horses. The locations with sandy soil have many more equine properties as well as equine hospitals, supply stores and services available. Barndominiums in these locations sell for higher prices than those located outside the more suitable soil.

Additional Buildings & Features– Appraisers will also take into consideration additional improvements to a property such as workshops, mulitple barns, arenas, fencing, etc. All of the features are to be taken into consideration for contributory values.

Barndominium converted from original barn

What do you think of Barndominiums? Have I left anything out? Would this be a style of home for you?

If you have any questions about appraising barndominiums or other real estate feel free to reach out to us at www.dwslaterco.com

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16 thoughts on “What is a Barndominium?

    • Yes, they are! I personally like the term and they are becoming more and more popular in our equine markets. There are some really nice barndominiums in North Texas. Glad you liked the post 🙂

  • If you applied any regression model other than linear to those prices, would it still support the appreciating analysis?

    • Yes, I haven’t done the regression on those sales, but I believe it would. We have seen an increase in the number of these types of homes as well as the level of quality of the barndominiums and they are competing with traditionally built homes on acreage within these market areas.

      • Forgive my doubt, and I obviously don’t have the data in front of me, but it appears that there is a pretty clear polynomial / exponential / power regression slope that peeks in roughly December of 2017 and declines since that time (obviously outliers could be an issue in the visualization of the data).

        • I can understand. The data is still very limited as far this style of homes. It has only been added in our MLS in January 0f 2016. The variable in this data would be the number of acres for each sale. Truly, I don’t think there is yet enough data to draw hard set conclusions but I thought it a good visual to see the number of sales and their prices.

  • So very cool. Thank you so much for sharing this. I noticed a big old hip roof barn come on the market today that is converted into a residence. We have not had many of them where I am.

    • We are seeing some really nice ones here. I will say that when my husband and I were first married, he tried to talk me into one and I wasn’t very keen on the idea. Since that time, I have seen some that might change my mind one day. 🙂

  • Great post, Shannon. I have seen one of these in my area but I can see where they would be very popular in a place like Texas where more people would have livestock. It’s very interesting that they have subdivisions of these types of homes. I know that makes it easier to appraise since there are more of them to use as comps. I would definitely live in one!

    • Thanks, Tom! They are definitely more popular in our markets with a high concentration of horse ranches. The ones in the subdivisions are easier to appraise, but many of the ones in our area can be a bit more difficult. We have to extend the search out to find sales of similar construction and on similar acreage. I like them too. Thanks for the feedback!

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