Manufactured Homes Vs Barndominiums: Options For Rural Homeowners

manufactured home vs barndos

There are many types of home options (apartments, condos, motorhomes, etc) for people who are looking to become homeowners. Custom home building has become very popular today. This has increased the preference of traditional homes such as barndominium homes, tiny and pre-fabricated homes for most prospective home owners.

Most people who are building or owning a home for the first time prefer unique-looking homes over the traditional types.

In this article, we will specifically examine manufactured homes vs barndominiums, explore the pros & cons, costs, and more.

What Is A Barndominium?

Barndominium is a type of building which is an option being considered a lot these days as it has started to gain traction. When most people finally make the decision to build a home, there is a concern on whether to build the barndominium of their dream, or to go ahead and build a conventional house.

Building is a very important step in the life of anyone, and it is an investment that should be taken very seriously to avoid making mistakes.

A barndominium is basically a big building made of steel that has room for both the living quarters and a garage or a shop. In some cases, the residents of barndominium, also called barndos can make room for their horses if they so desire.

Over time, barndos have increased in their advantages in that they are both energy efficient as well as very highly affordable. People who choose to live in barns can still have their homes looking beautiful. Barndos can be modified with exemplary décor in a professional grade kitchen with granite countertops.

Where Did They Originate?

Traditionally, barndominium were homes that were built into the interior of barns and they took up part of the building while still leaving ample space for the animals.

The concept of barndomiums originated in Texas after the ranchers opted to build their living quarters inside their barns. This was to avoid going out during bad weather to check on their horses. Whenever there was a storm, the ranchers didn’t need to go outside, which is part of the reason why barns have gained a lot of popularity.

Interior Design

Despite the fact that barndominiums began as very small living areas inside a barn, they have evolved in design and size to allow for a large garage, shop or barn if you so desire. The interior finishes and décor of your barndominium can also be done to resemble that of a very fancy home.

The sky is the limit when it comes to interior design of a barndominium. You can have a fancy home with marble countertops and plush carpeting and you can make your rooms as lavish as you want them to be.

What Are Manufactured homes?

Manufactured homes refer to those homes that are moved from one location to another, commonly mislabeled as mobile homes. These homes are not placed on foundations that are permanent like other traditional homes. They are built in an advanced factory setting rather than on site.

These homes are built on a permanent chassis that allows the initial and continued transportation of the home in future. Manufactured homes can be single units or modules that are transported separately and later joined together on-site.

They are connected to the local power, water and sanitary systems upon arrival on-site. The difference between manufactured and mobile homes is, once the manufactured homes have been erected on-site, they are seldom moved.

Manufactured homes Vs Barndos: Similarities

They are both energy efficient and eco-friendly

Manufactured housing is considered energy efficient and very environmentally conscious. There is a HUD code that ensures that, manufactured homes get a high level of energy efficiency with an upgraded house insulation. This insulation is both in the walls and under each home, a belly wrap and insulated skirting.

Energy Star

Manufactured homes are fitted with on-demand water heaters and energy-efficient windows which make them very eco-friendly. It is possible to have the entire house Energy Star certified by having energy saving appliances in the kitchen and such bathroom appliances as water-saving plumbing fixtures and faucets as well as lighting.

Can Reduce Carbon Footprint

Barndos too are an eco-friendly living choice and they are energy-efficient. Barndos are made with products that are friendly to the environment to minimize the immediate and long-term carbon footprint.

As such, they offer a perfect housing for environmentally aware enthusiasts who want to save on heating and cooling costs which come with modern housing structures. With a barndo, the insulating systems are very exceptional because the metal frame used in building needs some extra help to sustain the indoor environment.

Cost Of Living

The costs of living have heightened a lot today, which makes energy conservation a priority for any homeowner. As such, barndos are a perfect option for any reasonable homeowner who is seeking an energy efficient abode.

Residents of barndominiums all over the world report much lower energy utilities when it comes to heating and power costs.

The electricity bills of barndos have been approximated to be between 25 to 50 percent less than that of a traditional home. In addition to being very low maintenance, barndominiums are more energy efficient when compared to other traditional homes.

Options For Customization

When compared to other traditional and conventional houses, barndos are much quicker and easier to put up. The traditional houses take up twice as much time to construct as barndos do, making these structures very time conserving and cheap to build.

This translates to less financial expenses in terms of labor and construction costs. If you want to construct your barndo in the least time possible, it is advisable to use the metal frame style.

Most people want to move to their new homes as soon as it is possible, which makes barndos a good option for living.

These structures are also easy to put up because you don’t need a contractor’s help, especially if you are on a strict budget.

They are very easy to design, and as they offer a very unique aesthetic. Barndominiums are very appealing to homeowners who want something more than a traditional home.

These structures offer a lot of options for customization because they allow you to increase the available space when you really need it. The design of barndos allows the homeowners to add some walls to the available space or to leave it open if they so desire. These structures come with high ceilings, a feeling of spaciousness and an uninterrupted flow of air and light.


Most homeowners choose to go for barndos because these structures are very versatile and unique, which is probably one of barndos biggest qualities. Generally, an average barndo is characterized best by many open spaces under a clear span roof unlike most conventional houses.

There is no limit to the level of customization to the interior of a barndo; unlike most conventional homes where you have to pay attention to load-bearing walls when designing the floor plan. The design of barndominiums is very open and customizable, which makes them fit for a variety of purposes.

A barndo can play many roles at once as it can accommodate living quarters, gym, swimming pool, workspace and also equestrian riding arenas in the same space.

As most barndos built today are metal structures, the interior is usually very spacious especially because the home uses partitions in place of walls. This makes barndos also very easy to redecorate without interfering with the levels of privacy you have at home.

Manufactured homes have a variety of options for customization and décor as well, based on the preferences of the homeowner. Whether you want the perfect retirement castle or your first home, manufactured homes are a good option because you can modify the exterior and interior at will.

Maintenance Requirements And Purchasing Costs

The interior of a barndo might not be any different compared to a modern housing alternative, but the exterior is definitely different. The outside of a barndo has a myriad of differences compared to other types of housing, which is what makes barndos very low maintenance housing options.

Barndos are uniform all round, which gives the owners little or no external maintenance stress. This is in comparison to other types of houses which are made out of a wide range of materials.

Manufactured homes on the other hand have a very low purchase cost, as these homes cost a lot less compared to stick built homes of the same style and size. This is because these homes are built in a controlled environment which makes work easier and faster.

Manufactured homes are also a good option for people who want more square footage for the same price of a smaller, traditional property. They are also a good option for people with a limited budget.

Structural strength and durability

Mostly, barndos are made of metal, which makes them a very durable option of housing. This quality has made these structures very popular today especially in the rural communities. Other home owners end up spending a lot of money over time for renovations and repairs around the house, which is not an issue if you’re living in a barndo.

These homes can withstand any type of weather. Barndos can still maintain their resiliency to impact damage, while still maintaining very low maintenance costs.

Manufactured homes have since 1976 been subjected to a very strict certification process thanks to the HUD Code. These homes are required to have the red seal which is permanently affixed to the structure to ascertain that the structure meets all construction, transportation, fire safety, structural design and energy efficiency standards.

These homes are also very versatile in that, it is possible to begin with basic manufactured homes and add on modules with time. This home can be used as a rental or a visitor’s unit as the homeowners get a more permanently structured residence improving its utility. Manufactured homes can be relocated or rented out to make some extra cash providing the owner with extra options for any situations that arise.

Home Safety

When deciding on the type of home you want, the safety of the home is a prime concern. Most people wonder about the safety of barndominiums. This is because these home options on the exterior resemble shanties that are in the middle of a rural area waiting to be ripped away by a tornado. A barndo is also considered to be very safe in storms and it is also much quieter when compared to traditional or manufactured homes.

It also has custom cabinets and tile files which makes it very cozy to live in. Mostly, barndominiums are made of steel, which makes the structures very strong and safe from all bad things that may be in harm’s way.

These structures are literally storm shelters, so you don’t have to be worried about tornados and bad weather when living in a barndo. A barndominium is a very sturdy structure and it offers protection against certain elements. It also does not rot and it keeps pests away.

When compared to barndos, manufactured homes are not very strong as they are not built on permanent foundations. In case there is a natural disaster such as an earthquake or a severe storm, or bad weather, these homes may be prone to damage and destruction

Differences Between Barndos And Manufactured Homes

Cons Associated With Manufactured Homes

Costs And Availability Of Land

When purchasing a manufactured home, there may be issues when it comes to availability of land and the costs. It can be challenging to find available land that has the access you need and already existing utility services.

There are a lot of restrictions that the real estate market has put for on-site construction which makes it a bit challenging to own a manufactured home. The HUD code for instance puts a lot of restrictions and requirements for manufactured homes before they are certified.

The Stigma Of Mobile-living

Most people have a very poor imagination of mobile homes as they picture a trailer park in a very hazy area which is not always the case. These manufactured homes can however be turned to great homes with a little innovation and appreciation for affordable housing options.

Manufactured homes are however being actively encouraged in communities today, which is a step to diminishing the stigma that comes with mobile homes.

Financing Limitations

Manufactured homes have some extra financial requirements that are put in place by traditional lenders. These limitations are such as, if the homeowner does not own the land the manufactured home is on, the home is classified as personal property instead of real property.

The financing limitations on manufactured homes have a negative impact when it comes to owning a manufactured home.

Depreciation Value

The downside to buying a manufactured home is that the value of these homes depreciate very fast compared to other types of homes. These homes drop in value very quickly once they have left the factory, compared to stick build homes which appreciate in value over time.

The stick built homes are built on the home owner’s land, which makes them appreciate in value over time. Manufactured homes depreciate in value mostly because they are personal and not real property.

Manufactured homes are also more expensive to finance, compared to barndos or other stick built homes. This is because, the personal loan options that are available for people who want to purchase these homes come with higher rates of interest.

These loans also have shorter terms than mortgage loans which can be a challenge. These homes are not always affordable for the buyer, unless you have enough cash to pay upfront.

Cons Associated With Barndominium Homes

Limited Financial Options

When it comes to purchasing a barndo, there are very limited financial options, which makes it hard to own a home. The conventional mortgages are usually not an option, and it can be a major drawback especially when you have limited finances. As barndos are technically not classified as houses, getting these loans can be quite difficult, if not completely impossible.

Hard To Resell

Barndos homeowners experience a very small pool of buyers might they decide to sell their barndos.

These structures sell at the value they are currently worth, but there are some factors that make them harder to sell compared to regular houses.

Barndos are highly customized to fit the needs of their current homeowners, and the customization can be an issue when it comes to reselling. Also, it is possible for one person to use their barndo as a fully furnished home while the prospect buyer wants to use it for commercial functions.

Barndominium Exteriors Aren’t For Everyone

If you are planning to own a barndo, it is important to be aware of its greatest downside; you will always look like you live in a barn. Barndominiums generally have a better interior than the exterior which requires the owners to sacrifice a lot of exterior design to achieve the barndo look.

Some Cities Don’t Allow Barndos

Barndo are very popular in the rural areas because the building codes are more relaxed in townships and in loosely structured governing areas. Having a barndo in the city is however very challenging. This is because there are some cities that don’t have permits for barndos because of their rural nature. As such, these structures are not the best option for homeowners who want access to the social amenities of a city.