Large converted barn open living room.

Converted Barn Homes: Everything You Need To Know

Katie Ziraldo3-Minute Read
November 25, 2021

There’s something idyllic about a barn set in the beautiful countryside. But better yet, what if that barn was actually a home you could live in?

Converted barn homes have risen in popularity in recent years, appealing to those who are looking for a rustic and unique home. But how do you know if a converted barn home is the right option for you? In this article, we’ll explore what you need to know about the process of converting a barn into a dream home.  

What Are Converted Barn Homes?

Converted barn homes are a trendy rural housing option in which an old barn is repurposed and turned into a house. They are known to be particularly popular in states like Connecticut, Texas and New York.

For people looking to create a unique home space, converted barn homes – also referred to as shomes, barndominiums and pole barn homes – can be an excellent option, making good use of original elements that give the barn home character, like exposed beams and other rustic details.

Average Cost Of Converting A Barn Into A House

But as appealing as converted barn homes can be, it’s important to note that the barn-to-home process is more complicated than simply dropping in some new furniture and moving in.

To prepare for the challenge, you need to familiarize yourself with the work that needs to be done – and the costs that go along with that. In some cases, converting a barn into a home may be even more expensive than building a new home.

Of course, the exact price of your project will depend on the size of the barn and your personal taste, but some work and related costs that you can expect include:

  • New foundation ($4,000 – $12,000)
  • Insulation and other weatherproofing ($900 – $2,000)
  • New roof ($5,000 – $10,000)
  • Fumigation ($10 – $20 per linear foot)
  • New doors and windows ($2,500 – $7,500)
  • New HVAC system ($5,000 – $10,000)
  • Structural engineering, plans and permits

If you prefer to purchase your materials in one place, pole barn kits are available at price points anywhere between $4,000 – $50,000.

How To Convert Barns Into Homes

There are a number of steps involved in converting a barn home.

Determine Your Budget

Before you begin your project, you need to know how much you should save. Start by making a list of all the costs associated with the project, including any costs that may be specific to your structure or location, and determine your budget. On average, converted barn homes cost $10 – $50 per square foot.

Choose Your Barn Style

Once you understand how much you can spend, it’s time to choose your aesthetic. The main appeal of these homes is their unique design, so it’s important to keep your specific vision in mind throughout construction.

When you’re shopping for a barn to convert, consider which barn types you like the most. We often see Dutch barns, English A-frame barns and pole barns converted into homes.

Research Building Regulations

Planning permissions vary between states, so it’s crucial that you research local codes and other building regulations that are required to convert an agricultural building into a residential property before beginning your project.

Your research should include zoning regulations and property lines, and we strongly recommend consulting with your local zoning and planning department before beginning construction just to be safe.

Hire The Professionals

Barn-to-home conversion projects can present some unique challenges, so you’ll want to hire contractors, engineers, electricians and plumbers for their expertise. Having these professionals in your corner will help as you tackle potential structural issues, wood fumigation, insulation, plumbing and other projects to ensure the barn is safe and livable as a residential dwelling.

Design Your Space

You may have already given this some thought as you chose your barn, but as construction is happening, you need to consider which aspects of the barn you’d like keep or restore and which you’d like to renovate. This may include restoring or repurposing barn doors, exposed beams, rustic windows, attached silos and more.

To create a cohesive space, you may also want to decide on the type of style you’re going for. When in doubt, consider popular home decor and interior designs trends.

Add Final Touches

As is true with any house, the personality is often found in the details. Now that the barn is a home, make it feel like one by personalizing the space.

Where Can I Find Barns For Sale?

It goes without saying that in order to convert a barn into a home, you first need to own a barn. But where can you find one? To take the first step, search local listings online or find barns for sale with Rocket Homes.

Need a real estate agent?

Match with a local expert.

Why Choose A Converted Barn Home?

Why would you choose to live in a converted barn home when a traditional home is just down the street? Converted barn homes might not be right for everyone, but for the right buyer looking for a specific and unique home, a barn just might fit the bill.

The following are just a few examples of why you might want to consider a converted barn home.

Open Floor Plan

Open Plan Style Converted Barn

Most converted barn homes make good use of open floor plans, giving the home a sweeping flow. Barns allow for more square footage to work with when compared to traditional homes – but that square footage does mean you might need to get a little creative with how you set up your dining room and family room.

Authentic Rustic Style

Rustic Style Converted Barn Home

Forget faux-farmhouse. If you’re looking for a way to feel like you’re living in the country, a converted barn home gives you a truly authentic rustic style. Essentially, you’ll get an authentic farmhouse look with minimal effort. Country charm? Check.

Potential Guest House Or Airbnb

Converted Barn Airbnb Guest House

Converted barn homes may also be a great option for home buyers who are looking invest in properties or rent as Airbnbs. People love staying in guest homes that are unique, and what’s more unique than a barndominium?

Large Piece Of Land

Large Land Plot Converted Barn Home

Buying a barn often means purchasing a large plot of land, which means the opportunities are endless. If you’re looking for large yards and plenty of space, this converted barn home is an aspirational example.

Creative Home Project

Home Project Converted Barn

You may have a desire to create something – take something old, get creative and make it new again. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your vision come to life, so although a barn-to-home project is a big job, the end result can be extremely rewarding.

Nostalgic Living Experience

Nostalgic Converted Barn Home

Bottom Line

Converted barn homes can offer a number of benefits: a unique home style, a large footprint, and an authentically rustic design. But there’s also a lot of additional costs that go along with converting a barn into a livable space. If you’re considering converting a barn into a home or buying another home, be sure to read our home buying tips before you make any big decisions.

Katie Ziraldo

Katie Ziraldo is a financial writer and data journalist focused on creating accurate, accessible and educational content for future generations of home buyers. Her portfolio of work also includes The Detroit Free Press and The Huffington Post.