What is a Barndominium?

red 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

April Newsletter

a picture of bluebonnets in North Texas
North Texas Bluebonnets

April showers bring May flowers- or so we’ve heard. This year it appears that our wet winter has brought beautiful April wildflowers to North Texas. The picture above is was taken in Pilot Point. The blooming of the bluebonnets in our area has been spectacular. If you are not from Texas you may not know that bluebonnets are the official state flower or the annual tradition of bluebonnet pictures. It seems that everyone seeks out the best fields of bluebonnets to take pics of the family or kids or pets and this year even the police got in on the tradition.

Speaking of traditions, it is springtime which is traditionally the strong selling season for our real estate markets. This year is no exception as the markets have heated up since last month. That said, when looking at the charts from the same time last year, we have definitely slowed down the pace. With the large population growth we’ve had (we’ve gained over 1 million in less than a decade) the large demand and limited supply caused prices to increase rapidly. That rapid pace has begun to slow as affordability has now become an issue for buyers. Mortgage interest rates which had dropped are now increasing again.

According to the Texas Housing Insights,
Texas housing sales increased 5.2 percent from January amid lower mortgage rates and decreased price pressure. Supply indicators were mixed with single-family construction permits and total housing starts stabilizing after a shaky end to 2018, but single-family private construction values continued to slide. On the demand side, the typical Texas home continued to average just 60 days on the market and sold above 95 percent of the original list price. Lower mortgage rates provided incentives for prospective purchasers, but housing affordability remained a challenge across the state. Overall, the healthy labor market, population growth, and the economic expansion supported strong housing demand.

Here are our numbers for this month. Remember to hover over the chart to see the numbers and trends:

Market Data

MARCH 2019
Denton County
$315,000 | -1.3%
Collin County
$335,875 | +0.1%
Dallas County
$245,000 | 0.0%
Tarrant County
$239,000 | +4.8%
Overall YoY trends are slightly down for Denton County, flat for Collin and Dallas County and slightly up for Tarrant County. 
MARCH 2019
Denton County
$138 | +1.5%
Collin County
$137 | +0.7%
Dallas County
$134 | +1.5%
Tarrant County
$122 | +4.3%
The price per square foot trends are also showing less of an increase YoY than previous years. 
MARCH 2019
Denton County
1,289 | +3.6%
Collin County
1,322 | -11.0%
Dallas County
2,075 | -4.5%
Tarrant County
2,356 | +3.2%
The number of sales is down for Collin and Denton Counties and just slightly up in Denton and Tarrant Counties.   Slower volume is a trend for a slower market. 
MARCH 2019
Denton County
2.8 | +27.3%
Collin County
3.3 | +32.0%
Dallas County
2.9 | +31.8%
Tarrant County
2.0 | +17.6%

The months supply of inventory is up from the same time last year in all four counties. It is noted that this is still an under supply as a more balanced market has 4-6 months of supply. This appears to be a trend to a more balanced market.

MARCH 2019
Denton County
30 | +87.5%
Collin County
37 | +94.7%
Dallas County
22 | +69.2%
Tarrant County
19 | +46.2%
The YoY trends are definitely up for all four counties for the number of days on the market.   It is noted that the median number of Days on the Market (DOM) is around one month and they are down from last month.  This is typically one of the months when properties move the fastest. 

Commercial Corner

Industrial or Retail? As we have seen the effects of online retail impact the brick and mortar stores, the demand for industrial space for online retailers continues to grow. This was an interesting read –Self-Storage: A Little Bit Industrial, A Little Bit Retail.

If you need an appraisal for industrial property, this is a service we provide. Contact us for more information.

In summary, our markets are still appreciating just at a slower pace. With demand still strong as a result of population growth and a strong economy the housing market is still strong. As interest rates begin to rise again and affordability prices some out of the market, the slowing has occurred.

We hope that you are enjoying your spring and we look forward to sharing you more real estate news and trends next month.

A Market Advantage: Tips for Selling a House in Winter

This article is written by Patrick Young who has been a regular contributor to our blog.  Patrick is an advocate for those with disabilities and writes important information pertaining to those with disabilities. This article focuses on selling your home in the winter.



A Market Advantage: Tips for Selling a House in Winter

Real estate tradition holds that spring and summer are the traditional home-buying seasons. After all, the weather’s more accommodating, and it’s easier to make a house look appealing if the trees aren’t bare and snow isn’t blowing. But for prospective buyers who don’t find the right house at the right price during the warmer-weather months, winter may the time they need to get a deal done.

If you’re a seller, buyers who weren’t able to find a deal in the warmer seasons are well-motivated, which can be a real windfall for a seller who needs to get top price for their property. Bear in mind that you needn’t price your house lower than you otherwise would simply because you’re selling in winter.

Curb appeal

Come wintertime, antsy buyers start feeling the heat, with end-of-year tax benefits at issue and the need to move out of a home they’ve put up for sale or a lease that’s terminating. You can capitalize on a situation that’s to your advantage by maximizing your property’s curb appeal. When the flowers are blooming and the sun’s shining, prettying up a home’s exterior and front landscape is a comparatively easy undertaking. But with bare trees and snow cover, getting that “wow factor” isn’t so easy, and some home owners come up short as a result.

Make sure to rake up all those leaves or hire a lawn service to do the job for you. Keep the lawn well-cropped and edged, and keep all walkways and sidewalks swept and cleared of leaves, snow, twigs, and acorns. The gutters often go overlooked by people selling in colder months, so make sure to do a thorough cleaning of yours to give the impression that yours is a well-kept and cared-for property, worth every cent of what you’re asking for it. There are many gutter-cleaning services that can do the job for you reasonably if physical restrictions or age prevent you from getting up on the roof.

Promote your property

Photos are an important way to promote your property on your realtor’s website and via social media, but unfortunately, winter exterior shots don’t make the kind of impression that photos taken in the summer do. Accentuate any photos taken earlier in the year or, if necessary, arrange for a professionally staged exterior shot once your lawn and the front of your house have been cleaned, raked, and well-groomed for the occasion.

Stage, stage, stage

If you’re selling in winter, your best bet may be to accentuate what your house has to offer on the inside, so stage each room carefully. Sometimes, knowing who you’re dealing with may suggest a staging strategy that makes the difference. Prospective buyers whose kids have moved out, for example, may be looking for an in-home work space, so carefully staging a third bedroom or finished basement may give them an idea that seals the deal. Similarly, a young couple may be looking for a room that would make a good nursery, so remove any extraneous furniture and clutter from an extra bedroom to help them envision themselves caring for a newborn in that space. In general, decluttering as much as possible is best. You can do it yourself or even hire professionals to complete the job. Check reviews and price quotes online before hiring a packing service.

If you’re pressed for time, there are simple and quick ways to help get your home ready for potential buyers. Load the dishwasher, brighten the house by turning on all the lights and opening the curtains, and get rid of bad odors by taking out the trash and spraying Febreze in the affected rooms.

Repairs, renovations

Make a careful survey of your house, and take care of any fixes or upgrades that might help prevent damage resulting from harsh winter weather. Pay special attention to the roof and exterior walls, and have your HVAC unit serviced if necessary.

Selling a house in the winter can give you a valuable market advantage, particularly with fewer houses on the market and plenty of buyers needing to find the right house and finalize a deal. Pay careful attention to your property’s external appearance, and stage each room with great care, making sure to show off the space and flow inherent in your space.


photo courtesy of Pixabay

This is a guest post from Patrick Young. Patrick created AbleUSA to offer resources to people with disabilities and officer advice about navigating various aspects of life. For more information and resources, you can contact Patrick at AbleUSA.


We do not sell real estate but appraise it.  If you would like to provide a guest post please contact us at www.dwslaterco.com.  It is our desire to provide you with relevant information in regards to real estate appraising and those who use appraisal services.   

February Newsletter

“Groundhog found fog. New snows and blue toes. Fine and dandy for Valentine candy. Snow spittin’; if you’re not mitten-smitten, you’ll be frostbitten! By jing-y feels spring-y.” ― The Old Farmer’s Almanac 

Here in North Texas, February is typically a mix of cold weather with a few “spring-like” days.  It is a shorter month and it just seems to go by very quickly.  We all enjoy some love for Valentines Day and some get an extra day off for President’s Day.  We hope that you were able to enjoy both.  As far as real estate markets, the word is slow. Not crashing, not breaking but definitely slowing the pace it has been at. The numbers we are giving you are from January as we wait each month until all of the data comes in.   Sale prices are just slightly up or even flat from the same time last year and down from last month.  Marketing times are lengthening and supplies are beginning to increase- moving to a more balanced market.  It is typically slower in the winter months as prices and volume pick up in the spring.  Spring looks to be slower than what we have had in the last 3-5 years.  The market has just let off of the accelerator in DFW.  Here’s a look at the current numbers as well as recent some snapshots of the market. 

The median sales price for single family homes for all four counties is down from last month but slightly up when compared to the same time last year.  Here are the YoY stats:

Denton County
$299,990 | +2.0%
Collin County
$314,990 | +1.6%
Dallas County
$215,000 | 0.0%
Tarrant County
$220,000 | +3.3%

The median price per square foot for single family homes in all four counties is up from the same time last year.  Collin, Dallas & Tarrant counties are down from last month and Denton is flat month to month.   Here are the YoY stats: 

Denton County
$136 | +2.3%
Collin County
$135 | +1.5%
Dallas County
$126 | +4.1%
Tarrant County
$119 | +7.2%

The supply of inventory for all four counties is increasing.  All but Collin county increased month to month.  There has been an increase in construction which has helped with the inventory.  The official numbers for building permits is not yet available due to the delays in the government shutdown.  We will share those next month if they are available.  Here are the YoY stats for supply in all four counties: 

Denton County
2.8 | +47.4%
Collin County
3.0 | +36.4%
Dallas County
2.7 | +35.0%
Tarrant County
2.0 | +25.0%

The volume is slowing down.  In all four counties, the number of closed sales was down from the month before and all four counties are posting double-digit declines from the same time last year.  Here are the YoY stats: 

Denton County
686 | -14.7%
Collin County
773 | -12.1%
Dallas County
1,270 | -14.0%
Tarrant County
1,393 | -12.8%

Current Market Activity –  We thought we would share a little insight into what is currently occurring in the markets.  This is a 24-hour snapshot of each county.  You can see that all of them have just as many price decreases as listings with Collin and Denton counties showing more decreases than the number of new listings.  This may be even more telling of a slower spring selling season ahead.  

We hope that you found this helpful. A reminder that these are general market trends and metrics.  These may not apply to your specific property as there are so many different factors that impact the value of individual properties.  

Lake Kiowa Market Update

Lake Kiowa is a private gated community located on the southeastern section of Cooke County. It has a private lake, 18 hole golf course, a community center, parks, tennis courts, and trails. The area is served by the Callisburg Independent School District. It is located 11 miles southeast of Gainesville, the county seat of Cooke County. It is 70 miles northwest of Dallas and 72 miles northeast of Fort Worth where international and national amenities can be found. The community was constructed in 1968. There are a large variety of homes of various sizes, ages and designs. We appraise in this community often. As a part of the appraisal process, we analyze the market. Here is a recent analysis of the Lake Kiowa community.– Make sure to scroll across the graphs as they are interactive!

Lake Kiowa and Cooke County Data

The current median sales price for Lake Kiowa is$343,750 which is up +20.6% YoY. The current median sales price for Cooke County is $215,000 which is up +10.5% YoY. You can see that Lake Kiowa median sales price is appreciating , particulary within the past 2 years.

The current median price per sq. ft. is $145 which is up +18.9% YoY. The current median price per sq. ft. is $117 which is up +13.6% YoY. The price per sq. ft. also shows the appreciation seen in Lake Kiowa within the past 2 years.

Lake Kiowa currently shows a 5.3 month supply which is an increase +35.9% YoY. Cooke County currently has a 4.6 month supply which is -8.0% YoY. You can see that as the supply decreased, the median sale prices increased. There are many recent newly constructed homes in Lake Kiowa, as a result, the supply is now increasing. As the supply increases, the rate of price appreciation will most likely decrease since these are typically inversely related to each other.

The number of days on the market for both Lake Kiowa and Cooke County have both decreased with Lake Kiowa at 28 days (  -22.2% YoY) and Cooke County at 30 days ( -18.9% YoY)

Overall Lake Kiowa community is showing strong growth with new construction increasing and very limited foreclosure rates. We hope that you found this market analysis helpful. Please remember that these are general trends and should not be applied to your specific property. If you need assistance for a specific property in Lake Kiowa please feel to contact us at www.dwslaterco.com

Same Blog, New Site

Welcome to our new blog site! Thanks to all of you who have subscribed to our blog at DW Slater Appraisal Company Blog. We have switched to a WordPress platform so this will be the new site for our blog. This platform gives us the capabilities of doing more with our blog and we are looking forward to sharing our content on this new site! The old site will remain so that all of our old content will still be available. All new posts will be sent from this site: www.dwslaterco.blog.

Please let us know what topics you would like us to cover and share with us either below in the comment section or send us a message at www.dwslaterco.com.