Young couple reveals the financial benefits of buying a barndominium

A young couple was able to cut their housing costs in half by building a slightly more nontraditional house.

The Georgia-based couple, Tiana and Mickey Thomas, decided to build something called a barndominium instead of a regular house. In essence, a barndominium is a metal- or steel-framed building that has been transformed into a living space. Some barndominiums also have shops or barns attached to them.

For Tiana and Mickey, building a barndominium was a no-brainer. Since Mickey is a race car driver, he needed a large shop where he could work on his cars, and a barndominium could serve as both a shop and the couple’s living quarters. Combine that with all the money they could save by building a barndominium, and they were sold.

“[Mickey] is in the shop a lot so by making it our home as well I get to see him a lot more!” Tiana told In The Know. “It was also economical for us to combine our home into that space. The open floor plan you get with a metal building gave us the ability to customize our home exactly how we wanted it.”

So how much did Tiana and Mickey spend on their 8,000-square-foot barndominium? In a TikTok, Tiana broke it down: the concrete slab cost $60,000; the metal building materials were $100,000; hiring people to erect the building cost $26,000; building the framework for the building cost $56,000; the sheetrock cost $10,500; the electrician cost $15,000; the shop flooring epoxy cost $19,000; the flooring in the living quarters cost $13,200; the windows in the living quarters cost $18,000; the kitchen cabinets and backsplash cost $19,200; and other miscellaneous items totaled $25,000, bringing the grand total of the barndominium to $361,900.

Of course, $362,000 isn’t pocket change, but it’s a reasonable price tag considering how big Tiana and Mickey’s structure is. In fact, according to Tiana, it’s a serious bargain compared to the cost of a traditional home.

“A big pro for barndominiums is that they are on average half the price per square foot compared to a traditional home,” she said. “So you get a lot more space to the dollar.”

Her estimate isn’t far off. According to HomeGuide, the average new home construction costs anywhere from $100 to $155 per square foot. Barndonminium structures, meanwhile, cost just $20 per square foot, as Allied Steel Buildings notes. Even with all the finishing touches, Tiana and Mickey’s barndominium ended up costing just $45 per square foot.

If you’re thinking about building your own barndominium, Tiana suggests first consulting with a contractor who can help you envision your ideal floor plan. At this point, “you’ll have a realistic expectation of what the building will cost you” and can budget accordingly.

Tiana noted that it’s also important to pick out a lot “that has a relatively flat area where the building can be erected.” If you don’t, you might end up racking up bills with grading (aka land-leveling).

Check out Tiana’s TikTok to get some more barndominium advice and inspiration!

If you enjoyed this story, find out why Millennials and Gen Zers are embracing another unconventional housing option: RVs.

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