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Ultimate Guide to Building Barndominium in Ohio

In Ohio, people have been building “shouses” (a portmanteau of “sheds” and “houses”) for decades. In 2016, the HGTV show “Fixer Upper” made the barndominium term popular and brought these modern metal barns to the limelight and with it hundreds of fans wanting to build one for themselves.

So when the barndos started popping up around the state of Ohio, no one really found it odd. The Buckeyes welcomed the barndominium concept with open arms. After all, shouses have been around their communities for a long time now. Shouses just got baptized with a fancier “barndominium” name. 

If you’re interested in a barndominium and want to learn how you could build one in Ohio, this guide is exactly what you need. 

Pros and Cons of Building Barndominiums in Ohio

You can consider barndominiums as prefabricated houses, but this doesn’t mean ALL barndos are built with pre-made components. Other metal barns are designed from the ground up, while others start with traditional barns as their bones then gradually work into a mix of metals, wood and cement and other elements to look like a modern home. 

No matter the type of barndo a homeowner decides to have built, this kind of house does have its pros and cons.

PROS

  • Faster build time: If you have limited time to construct a house and move into it, you’ll be pleased to know that you have control to speed things up. You have the option to buy pre-built components, so builders could quickly incorporate them into your land. 
  • Save money due to quicker completion: Because you’re able to build a lot more quickly than traditional homes, this also converts to less money spent. Everyone knows that each day a construction project lasts, the higher cost it would end up. 
  • Completely customizable: What makes barndominiums very attractive is that the external structure may look the same, but the interior can be highly customizable. I’ve seen barndos with gorgeous sunroofs and floor-to-ceiling glass windows, balconies, detached garages, outdoor spaces, and so much more.
  • More durable than traditional homes: Generally, barndos begin with metal structures as their foundation, then mixed up with wood and other materials. This is why they have a reputation for durability. 
  • Everything you like about traditional homes, but with a LOT more space. Don’t look at barndominiums as wooden barns farm animals live in. Look at them as an open-space house where you can include as many rooms as you want. And you can also build barndos phase by phase – start with the main house, expand later on.

CONS

The only downside that could affect your decision against barndominiums is the lack of financing options. Yes, there are banks and lenders that are open to giving you a mortgage for your barndominium, but only if you already have a history with them, or at higher interest. 

The problem here isn’t about barndos being a bad investment. What makes it hard for lenders to give proper financing quotes is that there are limited barndominiums in the state. Without enough numbers of barndos (hopefully in similar sizes and features), banks and lenders cannot get a clear picture of its value and in turn, how much money they’re willing to lend you. 

Barndominiums Prices In Ohio

Like any kind of home construction these days, building a barndominium in Ohio isn’t an affordable project. Ohio has a slightly higher average build price (between $95 and $125 per square foot.) than the national average of about $80 to $100 per square foot.

You’d have to pay for the land (if you haven’t bought one yet), construction labor, and interior design on top of the actual building. If you’re on a budget, your best option is to pick and choose cheaper materials to use for your barndo plan. 

For example: 

  • Prefab kits cost: If you wish to buy a barndominium kit and hire a local builder (or even do-it-yourself if you have experience in home construction), expect to pay somewhere between $20,000 and $90,000 for a basic barndo home. Add $30,000 to $60,000 as payment for labor (the people who would assemble the kits). 
  • Clearing the land and building its foundation: You’ll soon find out that whenever you negotiate home construction, clearing your land costs extra (about $1000 to $5000 more). When you metal house is built from scratch, its foundation would also have extra fees. Prepare $5,000 to $15,000 for the barndo’s foundation.
  • Essentials (Insulation, electrical, plumbing and sewer, HVAC, etc.):  No house is complete without insulation (average of $2000), electrical ($2000 average), HVAC (about $6,000 to as high as $15,000), plumbing ($1000 average) with sewer (up to $10,000). Of course, the pricing here is just the average in Ohio and could increase or decrease depending on how big or small your barndominium project is. 
  • Roofing and siding. When you buy barndominium kits, you will likely need to finish your metal barn with your own roofing and siding (which costs about $15,000 and $20,000 respectively).

Do note that pricing for these materials could still increase due to various market factors. 

Ohio Barndominium Financing

Like I stated earlier, don’t expect to get financing for your Ohio barndominium from conventional lenders. Finding a loan for a barndo is more challenging than getting approved for conventional mortgage loans for a traditional house, but it’s not impossible. 

If you’ve been a banker with a local bank for years, that should be your first choice when it comes to any loan (even with barndominium financing). However, if you tried and failed, you can visit these three options:

  • Southern Hills Community Bank – This Ohio bank has been the go-to bank for local farmers seeking to fund their barns and farms. If you’re looking for barndo financing, this bank could be a good choice for your construction project.  
  • Citizens National Bank – Citizens National Bank is the largest lender in Ohio and the official provider of the Farm Services Agency. Many local agricultural projects in the state in recent years have sought financing from this bank. 
  • Acorn Finance – Use this if you have bad credit or if you weren’t able to seek financing from the banks above. This institution allows pole barn financing and other metal structures. 

If you’re hiring a contractor to build your barndominium for you, check if they have in-house financing. 

Where to Build a Barndominium in Ohio?

If you don’t have a parcel of land yet and is still deciding which area in Ohio to build your barndominium, make sure to consider these several things: 

  • Residential zoning. You cannot just build a barndo anywhere you want in Ohio. The city or state allows/disallows certain types of construction in a given area. The land you buy for a barndo must have residential zoning for you to begin your project. 
  • Accessibility. Will there be access roads, water source, commercial electricity available in your chosen area?
  • Ohio’s topography and Terrains ideal for barndominiums. If you buy in the southern part of the state near the Appalachian Mountains, you might find land that is elevated, which would need additional resources to flatten for your metal barn project.  

Ohio also has varying weather conditions. For example, in the northern part of Ohio, you should expect heavy snowfall in the winter. 

Barndominium Builders in Ohio

With barndos, you have the option to purchase a basic barndominium kit, which only includes the essential components of the walls and roof or a complete turnkey barndo (which includes every detail you would need such as cabinetry, windows and flooring). 

Due to the variable topography and weather conditions in Ohio, it is always best to hire local builders who are experienced in handling constructions in the area.

  1. Dutch Builders
  • Contact: +1 937-446-4400 | 8305 Ashridge Arnheim Rd, Sardinia, OH 
  • Opened in 2008, Dutch Builders has been specializing in the construction of pole barn buildings and metal structures of all styles. 
  1. Parry Homes Columbus
  • Contact: 614-321-8199| 6351 Sawmill Rd, Dublin, OH 43017
  • The company has been providing custom-designed and build homes across Columbus, Ohio since 2012. 
  1. FBG Builders
  • Contact: +13306011324 | 6655 Lincoln Way E, Wooster, OH 44691
  • Formerly Frantz Brothers Construction (launched in 1965), this local full-service construction company has been building homes and barndominiums even before barndos became a thing. In 2020, Fredericksburg Builders purchased Franz Brothers Construction and continued its operations in Ohio. 
  1. Extreme Post Frame
  • Contact: (800) 986-4198 | 505 East Statesville Avenue, Mooresville, NC 
  • This local company has been designing and building gorgeous looking equestrian stables, metal barns, commercial metal buildings and other post-frame buildings for over 35 years. They’re a good option if you want a fully customized barndominium (and not just a premade barndo plan or prefab kits). 

If you decided to go with barndo kits, check with national providers like DCbuilding, Countrywide Barns, or Morton Buildings. Ohio also has local distributors of barndos kit, such as the northwest Ohio-based Wagner Metal Supply.

Is a Barndo in Ohio Right for you?

Barndominiums can be just like any traditional housing – you can customize it to your heart’s content as long as you’re ready for the cost involved. For many people, building a barndominium is Ohio is a good option due to 3 reasons:

  • Build now, expand later. Many homeowners who pick a barndominium has a massive lot (50 to 100 acres), but are not yet 100% sold on their layout. Building a barndo allows them to have a roof now, then expand later on once they have more funds or are more prepared to commit to a permanent layout. 
  • Secondary or retirement house. A huge percent of barndominium owners build their metal houses this way as their future retirement house. As such, they use the barndo as their secondary home for weekend or summer getaways. 
  • Highly customizable house plan at a lower cost. Even if you customize barndominiums to your liking, you can still use prefab barndo kits and mix-and-match them to build your metal barn. This reduces construction time and cost significantly. 

Barndos are not for everyone, but its continuous popularity is proving that it could be a good option if you’re open to the possibility barndominiums could offer.

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