A barndominium financed can be obtained with USDA Loan
A barndominium financed can be obtained with USDA Loan

How to obtain a mortgage for a barndominium

  • By Brando Plan team

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on barndominiums, a unique style of living that combines a workshop or barn with living quarters! Our article will provide a wealth of information on defining a barndominium, its pros and cons, types, and the costs associated with building one. Additionally, we’ll help you navigate the mortgage process for a barndominium, from determining your budget and preparing documents to finding suitable mortgage lenders and working with real estate agents. Lastly, we’ll discuss the appraisal and inspection procedures, loan application process, interest rates, closing costs, and factors to consider when finalizing your barndominium mortgage. Dive into our article to learn all about this attractive, versatile, and cost-effective housing option!

Baloo Barndominium 3BR 2BA and a carport 3D Rendering

Understanding Barndominiums

A barndominium refers to a unique, affordable, and versatile style of living space that combines elements of a barn and residential property. These custom-built structures are gaining popularity for their modern, industrial look and energy-efficient design. In this article, we will discuss the definition of a barndominium, its pros and cons, various types and styles, and the costs associated with building one.

Defining a Barndominium

A barndominium is a hybrid structure that combines the traditional barn aesthetic with modern residential living spaces. They are generally constructed from durable and low-maintenance materials such as metal, steel, or wood. The name “barndominium” is derived from the combination of the words “barn” and “condominium.”

Barndominiums offer an open floor plan with limitless customization options for your individual needs and preferences. They can be used as primary residences, guest houses, vacation homes, or even workshop spaces. These structures can be single or multi-storied and are often designed to include lofts, balconies, and large windows to maximize natural light and ventilation. The interior spaces can also feature high ceilings, exposed beams, and polished concrete floors, creating a unique architectural appeal.

Pros and Cons of Barndominiums

There are numerous advantages to choosing a barndominium as your next living space. Some of the notable benefits include:

  1. Cost-effective: Barndominiums are relatively less expensive than traditional homes due to their simplified construction process, use of affordable materials, and reduced labor costs.
  2. Energy-efficient: Metal and steel materials used in the construction of barndominiums have excellent insulating properties, reducing heating and cooling costs. Additionally, large windows and skylights can maximize natural light, further reducing energy consumption.
  3. Low maintenance: The materials used in barndominiums are durable and resistant to common issues such as rot, rust, and pests, reducing the need for frequent maintenance and repairs.
  4. Customizable: Barndominiums offer an open floor plan, allowing homeowners to design and create their personalized living spaces without limitations.

However, there are also some disadvantages to consider when deciding on a barndominium, such as:

  1. Limited financing options: Barndominiums are typically considered unconventional, and some financial institutions may not offer financing options compared to traditional residential properties.
  2. Zoning and building restrictions: Some jurisdictions may have specific regulations and zoning restrictions that limit the construction of barndominiums in certain areas or impose strict permitting requirements.
  3. Resale value: As barndominiums are relatively new and unique, there may be a smaller market for resale, potentially affecting your return on investment.

Types of Barndominiums

Barndominiums can be classified into various types based on their design, construction materials, and intended use. Some popular types include:

  1. Metal or steel barndominiums:  (our primary focus) These structures are built with metal or steel frames and panels, offering durability and low maintenance. They can be easily customizable and come in various finishes, such as painted steel or polished metals. We offer steel barndominiums as kits.
  2. Wood-framed barndominiums: These barndominiums use wooden frames for a more traditional and rustic aesthetic. They offer similar customization options and can be finished with various siding materials such as wood planks, brick, or stucco.
  3. Hybrid barndominiums: Combining elements of both metal and wood-framed structures, hybrid barndominiums offer a blend of modern and rustic design elements.
  4. Multi-purpose barndominiums: These structures include residential living spaces along with workshop or garage areas, providing homeowners with versatile, functional spaces.

Costs Associated with Building a Barndominium

The costs of building a barndominium can vary widely depending on factors such as size, materials, location, and design choices. Some of the general costs involved include:

  1. Land: The cost of purchasing a suitable piece of land will depend on factors such as location, size, and accessibility.
  2. Construction materials and labor: These costs will be influenced by the design, size, complexity, and materials chosen for your barndominium.
  3. Interior finishes and fixtures: The costs of everything from flooring to cabinetry will vary depending on your personal preferences and taste.

On average, the total cost of constructing a fully finished barndominium can range from $100 to $165 per square foot. This cost includes the land, construction, and interior finishes. Comparatively, the cost of constructing a traditional home typically ranges from $100 to $250 per square foot.

In conclusion, barndominiums offer a unique and cost-effective alternative to traditional residential properties. Their customizable designs, energy efficiency, and low maintenance make them an attractive option for modern homeowners. However, it’s essential to consider the potential disadvantages, such as zoning restrictions and resale value, before committing to this style of living.

Finished Barndominium Photos by
A Barndominium designed by

Preparing for a Barndominium Mortgage

A barndominium is a unique and innovative living concept that combines the functionality of a barn with the comforts of a traditional home. They have been growing in popularity as more people discover the benefits of these spacious, energy-efficient, and customizable structures. To finance a barndominium build or purchase, you may need to acquire a mortgage. However, preparing for a barndominium mortgage is slightly different from preparing for a traditional home mortgage. In this article, we discuss the essential steps to help you prepare for obtaining a barndominium mortgage.

Determining Your Budget

The first and foremost step in preparing for a mortgage is to determine your budget. Before you can start looking at properties or discussing terms with lenders, you need to know how much you can afford to spend on a barndominium. Take a look at your current income, expenses, and financial goals to determine a realistic budget. Consider factors such as down payment, loan origination fees, and potential interest rates when calculating your overall cost. You can use mortgage calculators available online to estimate monthly payments based on various loan options.

Also, keep in mind that, unlike traditional homes, barndominiums may require additional budget considerations, such as construction costs and land purchase if you are building one from scratch. Be sure to include these expenses in your overall budget plan.

Checking Your Credit Score

Your credit score is a significant factor in determining your mortgage eligibility and interest rates. Having a strong credit score will increase your chances of being approved and enjoying better loan terms. If you don’t know your current credit score, there are various online platforms where you can get a free credit report. Ideally, a credit score of 740 or higher typically yields the best mortgage rates.

If you find that your credit score is low, it’s essential to address any issues before applying for a mortgage. You can work on improving your credit score by paying off debts, ensuring on-time bill payments, and reviewing your credit report for any errors.

Choosing the Right Location

The location of your barndominium plays a crucial role in the mortgage approval process. Certain areas may have zoning restrictions or building codes that impact the construction and financing of barndominiums. It’s crucial to research the region beforehand to ensure that your desired property is in compliance with local guidelines. Additionally, some lenders may be hesitant to finance barndominiums in particular areas due to unfamiliarity with the building type. Be prepared to shop around for a lender who is comfortable financing barndominiums in your preferred location.

Working with a Real Estate Agent

Working with an experienced real estate agent or mortgage broker who is familiar with barndominiums can make the entire process smoother. They can provide guidance and resources to help you find the right location, secure financing, navigate the approval process, and ultimately close on your dream barndominium. A knowledgeable agent will also be able to advise you on any specific requirements or restrictions that may pertain to barndominiums in the area.

Assembling Required Documentation

As with any mortgage, you will need to provide documentation to verify your income, employment, assets, and liabilities. Gathering and organizing these documents ahead of time can streamline the mortgage application process.

Some common documents you may need include:
– W-2 statements or tax returns for the past two years
– Recent pay stubs
– Bank statements
– Investment account statements
– Credit card and loan statements
– Tax bills or lease agreements for any other properties you may own

In addition to these standard documents, prepare to submit details related to your barndominium, such as construction plans, builder contracts, and land purchase agreements, if applicable. Lenders may request these documents to evaluate the property’s potential value and ensure that it meets their loan guidelines.

By following these steps, you will be well-prepared to navigate the process of securing a mortgage for your barndominium. With determination and thorough preparation, you can turn your barndominium dream into reality!

Finding Barndominium Mortgage Lenders

Barndominiums have gained popularity over the years, especially in rural areas. These unique properties combine living spaces with barn-like features, offering homeowners both home comforts and ample storage or workspace. Financing a barndominium, however, can be more challenging than financing a traditional home. Here are some options for finding the right mortgage lender for your barndominium.

Traditional Banks

Traditional banks are often the first place people go when searching for a mortgage lender. However, not all banks provide loans for barndominiums due to their unconventional nature. Even so, several lenders are warming up to the idea of financing these unique properties.

Start by contacting the bank where you have your checking and savings accounts or any existing mortgages. Inquire if they offer financing for barndominiums. Be prepared with details about your plan (e.g., location, build-out details, construction timeline) to present a stronger case for obtaining a loan.

If your current bank does not offer financing for barndominiums, expand your search to other local and national banks. Smaller, local banks may be more familiar with barndominiums and willing to accommodate your needs. Additionally, larger national banks may have loan programs suitable for properties outside traditional home loans.

Nonbank Mortgage Providers

If you’re struggling to find a traditional bank that provides barndominium loans, consider exploring nonbank mortgage providers. These lenders are not federally insured depository institutions, but they can still offer mortgages that meet your specific needs. Some examples of nonbank mortgage providers include mortgage brokers, online lenders, mortgage companies, and private lending institutions.

These lenders may have more flexible underwriting guidelines and can work with borrowers regardless of their credit history or financial circumstances. Many nonbank mortgage providers have an online presence, so start by searching the internet for barndominium mortgage providers in your area. Keep in mind that lenders targeting unconventional property loans might charge higher interest rates.

Dove barndominium front of house
The Dove Barndominium can be built like a traditional home for financing purposes

USDA Loans

If your barndominium is being built in a designated rural area, you might qualify for a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan. USDA loans are created to support rural development and help eligible low-to-moderate-income borrowers purchase or build homes in rural areas. These loans are usually offered with competitive interest rates, low down payment requirements, and even 100% financing in some cases.

To qualify for a USDA loan, borrowers must meet specific income and asset requirements and use the property as their primary residence. You’ll need to find a lender who works with USDA loans and is familiar with barndominiums. The USDA maintains a list of approved lenders on their website, allowing you to easily identify potential mortgage providers.

FHA Loans

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans can potentially be another option for financing your barndominium. FHA loans are popular among first-time homebuyers due to their low down payment requirements (as low as 3.5%) and lenient credit score requirements. However, it’s important to note that not all barndominiums will qualify for FHA financing.

FHA lenders will consider the property’s location, floor plan, livable space, and other factors when determining eligibility. It’s advised to work with a lender who has experience with barndominiums and is familiar with the FHA appraisal process for these unique properties. You can find a list of approved FHA lenders on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website.

In summary, finding a mortgage lender for your barndominium may require extra research and diligence. However, there are options to consider, including traditional banks, nonbank mortgage providers, and government-backed loans such as USDA and FHA. Evaluate each alternative and seek advice from experienced professionals to find the appropriate financing solution that suits your needs.

Barndominium Appraisal and Inspection

Barndominiums, a combination of a barn and a condominium, have gained popularity as an alternative housing style. Typically, these structures offer ample living spaces with the flexibility to accommodate various functions, such as hosting events, running a business, or housing livestock. This unique property type requires a specific appraisal and inspection process; hence, it is essential to understand it and how to meet the requirements.

Understanding the Appraisal Process

An appraisal is a professional estimate of a property’s value by a qualified appraiser, often required by lenders and insurance companies to determine the financing terms and coverage. Barndominium appraisals differ from traditional home appraisals due to their unique build and features. Several factors come into play when appraising a barndominium.

  1. Comparable sales: The appraiser will look for recent sales of similar properties in the area to compare with the barndominium. Since these structures are less common than traditional homes, finding comparables might be a challenge. Therefore, appraisers may use land-home packages (land with a barndominium built on it), standard homes with comparable living spaces, or other detached garages with living quarters.
  2. Construction quality: The appraiser will evaluate the quality of materials and craftsmanship to determine the overall value of the property. High-quality finishes and features add to the value, while low-quality materials and workmanship detract from it.
  3. Land value: The appraiser will also consider the land value. The location, accessibility, and overall size of the plot will impact the total value of the property.
  4. Property functionality: The multifunctional nature of barndominiums is essential in appraisals. An appraiser will assess the usefulness of the space for various purposes, such as residential, commercial, or agricultural use.
  5. Local market demand: The demand for barndominiums in the area plays a role in the appraisal value. High demand will lead to higher valuation, whereas low demand might result in a lower appraisal.

Preparing for a Home Inspection

A home inspection is a visual examination of the property’s overall condition by a certified inspector. It evaluates structural integrity, safety, and potential problems within the building. To ensure a smooth inspection process, consider the following steps:

  1. Schedule the inspection: Coordinate with your inspector and set up an inspection date at least a week in advance.
  2. Gather documentation: Compile any building permits, receipts for repairs or improvements, and warranty information for appliances and systems within the home.
  3. Clean and declutter: Ensure the property is clean and organized. This not only makes the inspection process easier but also gives a positive impression to the inspectors.
  4. Provide access: Make sure the inspector can access all areas of the property. Remove any obstacles, unlock gates, and ensure that all doors are open.
  5. Address known issues: If you are aware of any problems, fix them before the inspection. This will minimize the list of potential problems and help expedite the inspection process.

Meeting Appraisal and Inspection Requirements

Meeting the necessary appraisal and inspection requirements is crucial in securing a loan or insurance policy for your barndominium. Consider the following tips to meet these requirements:

  1. Work with qualified professionals: Hire experienced and certified appraisers and inspectors who are familiar with barndominiums. Their expertise will ensure the process runs smoothly and accurately.
  2. Follow local building codes: Adhere to local building codes and regulations during the construction of the barndominium. Compliance with these requirements will prevent any issues during the appraisal and inspection processes.
  3. Ensure proper permits: Obtain all necessary permits and documentation during the construction process. A lack of appropriate permits can cause delays or result in non-compliance with local regulations.
  4. Maintain the property: Regular maintenance and prompt repairs will ensure that the structure is in good condition throughout the appraisal and inspection processes, reducing the likelihood of structural or safety issues.
  5. Be transparent: Be truthful about the property’s condition and completeness during the appraisal and inspection. Transparency will streamline the process and aid in building a trustworthy relationship with your appraiser and inspector.

Applying for a Barndominium Mortgage

Barndominiums, a combination of the words “barn” and “condominium,” refer to a particular type of residential construction that has gained popularity in recent years. These structures typically consist of a barn-like structure with living spaces incorporated in it. Since financing a barndominium can be different from financing a traditional home, it is essential to understand the process of applying for a mortgage to buy or build one.

Submitting Your Application

The first step in applying for a barndominium mortgage is to find a lender that offers financing for this type of property. Not every lender provides loans for the construction of barndominiums, so you may need to conduct some research to find one that does.

Once you identify a lender, you will submit a mortgage loan application, which usually includes providing personal and financial information. This can consist of your full legal name, social security number, date of birth, current and previous addresses, employment history, and income information.

As part of your loan application, you will need to provide documentation that substantiates your income and assets. This documentation may include pay stubs, W-2 forms, tax returns, and bank statements. The information you provide will help the lender determine your ability to repay the loan and make a decision about whether or not to approve the mortgage.

Interest Rates and Loan Terms

Interest rates and loan terms for barndominium mortgages can vary depending on the lender and your financial history. Typically, you will have a choice between a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM), with loan terms ranging anywhere from 10 to 30 years.

Fixed-rate mortgages offer the security of a consistent monthly payment, but they may come with higher initial interest rates than ARM loans. On the other hand, ARM loans provide a lower initial interest rate that may change over time, meaning your monthly payments could increase or decrease.

It is essential to compare the interest rates and loan terms different lenders offer to make sure you choose the mortgage product that best fits your needs and financial situation. Consider discussing your options with a mortgage professional to help you make an informed decision.

Understanding Points and Closing Costs

When applying for a barndominium mortgage, you may encounter the term “points” or “discount points.” Points are fees that can be paid upfront to the lender in exchange for a lower interest rate throughout the loan term. One point usually equals 1% of the loan amount. Buying points can make sense if you plan on staying in the home for a longer period, as the lower interest rate could result in significant savings over time.

Closing costs are fees associated with finalizing a mortgage transaction and can include origination fees, title insurance, appraisal costs, and other expenses. These costs are typically 2-5% of the loan amount and may be negotiable with the lender or paid by the seller of the property in some cases. Be sure to discuss these costs with your lender to get a clear understanding of the expenses you will need to cover at closing.

Loan Approval Process and Timeline

Once you have submitted your loan application and provided all necessary documentation, your lender will begin the underwriting process. The underwriter will review your financial information, verify the accuracy of the documentation provided, and obtain a property appraisal to confirm the value of the barndominium.

The approval process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the complexity of the loan and the efficiency of the lender. If the underwriter finds any issues during the review process, they may request additional documentation or clarification to ensure they have all the necessary information to approve the loan.

After the underwriter has completed their review and approved the loan, the lender will issue a loan commitment letter outlining the terms and conditions of the mortgage. At this point, you will be ready to close on your barndominium or begin construction, depending on the type of loan you have obtained.

In summary, when applying for a barndominium mortgage, it is crucial to understand the application process, evaluate different interest rates and loan terms, comprehend points and closing costs, and be aware of the loan approval process and timeline. By doing so, you can better position yourself for a successful mortgage experience and enjoy your new barndominium home.

Finalizing Your Barndominium Mortgage

Barndominiums are a trending residential building style that combines the rustic appeal of barns with modern living areas. If you have decided to purchase or build a barndominium, you will need to ensure your property is fully financed while juggling various concerns like construction financing, completion timelines, and finding the right mortgage product. Finalizing your mortgage can be a daunting task, but this article will walk you through the process step-by-step.

Navigating the Closing Process

The closing process is the final step in obtaining a mortgage for your barndominium. It is a crucial period where all parties—buyers, sellers, lenders, and agents—complete their contractual obligations and finalize financial arrangements. Here are essential pointers to make things go smoothly:

  1. Review Documents: Thoroughly review your loan estimate, appraisal report, and title commitment. It’s essential to understand the terms and conditions of your mortgage before signing any documents. Ensure that the interest rate, loan term, points, and fees are accurate and consistent with your expectations.
  2. Gather Necessary Documentation: Prepare relevant documents such as your latest pay stubs, W-2 forms, tax returns, and bank statements to prove your income and assets. Lenders may require updated information, so it’s crucial to keep everything organized.
  3. Obtain Title Insurance: Lenders usually require a title insurance policy to protect their interest and safeguard against any future claims on the property. You may also want to purchase an owner’s policy to protect your investment.
  4. Schedule Closing Date: Coordinate with all parties to set a closing date that works for everyone. You will need to arrange the payment of closing costs and be prepared to sign a stack of documents. Bring a government-issued ID to confirm your identity.
  5. Review Closing Disclosure: Before the closing date, you will receive a closing disclosure outlining the final terms of your mortgage, including loan amount, interest rate, closing costs, and other fees. Review this document in detail and compare it to your original loan estimate. If there are any discrepancies, contact your lender for clarification.
  6. Sign Documents: At the closing, sign all required documents, including the promissory note, mortgage or deed of trust, and closing disclosure. Keep a copy of these documents for your records.

Understanding Your Mortgage Payments

Mortgage payments typically include principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. Understanding these components will help you plan your finances effectively:

  1. Principal: This is the portion of your mortgage payment that reduces the outstanding balance of your loan. Generally, the principal repayment starts small and gradually increases over time.
  2. Interest: This is the cost of borrowing money, calculated as a percentage of your outstanding loan balance. The interest rate may be fixed or adjustable, affecting how much interest you pay over time.
  3. Taxes: Property taxes are usually collected by your local government and are incorporated into your mortgage payment. The tax amount depends on the assessed value of your barndominium and your local tax rates.
  4. Insurance: Homeowners insurance and hazard insurance protect your property against damage or loss caused by fire, theft, or other unforeseen events. You might also be required to purchase flood insurance if your barndominium is in a high-risk zone. Lender-placed insurance, also known as force-placed insurance, may be assigned by your lender if your current coverage is insufficient.

Additional Expenses to Consider

Aside from your mortgage payment, you should also budget for other expenses related to owning a barndominium:

  1. Utilities: Water, electricity, gas, and internet services are essential costs that vary depending on usage and location.
  2. Maintenance and Repairs: Regular maintenance and occasional repairs are necessary expenses for preserving your barndominium’s value and ensuring a comfortable living environment.
  3. Homeowners Association (HOA) Fees: If your barndominium is part of an HOA, you will be responsible for monthly or annual dues covering community services and amenities.
  4. Renovations and Upgrades: Over time, you may want to make improvements or additions to your barndominium to increase its value or accommodate lifestyle changes.

Maintaining Your Property for Future Refinancing

To ensure your barndominium remains a sound financial investment, you should maintain it well and evaluate refinancing options periodically:

  1. Regular Maintenance: Keep your property in good condition through routine maintenance, such as cleaning gutters, servicing HVAC systems, and addressing any structural issues.
  2. Home Improvements: Enhance your barndominium’s value and appeal with strategic upgrades. Consult with a real estate agent to understand which improvements yield the best return on investment.
  3. Monitor Mortgage Market: Keep an eye on interest rates and market trends to identify refinancing opportunities. Refinancing can help you secure a lower interest rate or change your loan term to suit your financial goals better.
  4. Evaluate Financial Goals: Periodically assess your financial objectives and consider refinancing when it aligns with your goals, such as shortening your loan term, reducing monthly payments, or consolidating debt.

1. What is the process for obtaining a mortgage for a barndominium?

To secure a mortgage for a barndominium, start by researching lenders that offer financing for these unique structures. Next, gather necessary documentation, such as credit reports, income statements, and building plans. Finally, submit a mortgage application and await approval from the lender.

2. Can conventional mortgages be used for barndominiums?

Yes, conventional mortgages can be used for barndominiums. However, not all lenders may provide financing for these structures. Therefore, identify lenders with experience in financing barndominiums and be prepared to meet their specific loan requirements.

3. Are there any special requirements for barndominium mortgages?

Special requirements for barndominium mortgages may include higher down payments, additional builder or architectural documentation, and specific insurance coverage. Lenders may also require your barndominium to meet appraisal or energy efficiency standards.

4. Is it possible to use government-backed loans for financing barndominiums?

Government-backed loans, such as FHA, USDA, or VA loans, may potentially be used for financing barndominiums. However, strict eligibility criteria and property requirements must be met. Consult with your chosen lender to determine if these loans are suitable for your barndominium.

5. Can I obtain a construction loan for building a barndominium?

Yes, construction loans for building barndominiums are available. These loans provide short-term financing during the construction process, typically lasting 12-18 months. Upon completion, the construction loan often converts into a conventional mortgage.

6. What factors will lenders consider when evaluating a mortgage application for a barndominium?

Lenders will consider factors such as credit scores, debt-to-income ratios, down payment amounts, employment history, and the appraised value of the barndominium. Additionally, they may evaluate the construction plans, builder’s experience, and other factors specific to the barndominium project.

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