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Barndominium Raising: How Much Does It Cost To Build This Trendy Home?

The COVID-19 pandemic has many of us longing to escape to wide-open spaces where we could live on a farm and sit on our front porch sipping a steaming cup of java as the sun rises. But, alas, buying a new home in the exurbs these days can be pricey and competitive to boot.

Fortunately, there’s a sweet alternative to a traditional country house: the barndominium.

“We’ve seen a massive rise in demand as people look for … economical ways to combat rising housing prices as more people move out of cities to pursue the peace and quiet of a rural lifestyle,” says Liv Berg, co-founder of Back Forty Building Co. in Kennewick, WA, which designs and builds barndominiums.

Most barndominiums look like a traditional barn on the outside but are made mainly of metal instead of wood, chopping the price of construction way down. They are endlessly customizable and can look like any type of home imaginable, from modern to rustic.

All this might just have you asking how much it costs to build a barndominium in terms of design, materials, and labor. So here’s a breakdown of the expenses to consider if you want to pursue your barndominium dreams.

Land

Mighty metal barndominiums can be built anywhere and converted into your fabulous custom home. But the first step is to find your perfect slice of buildable land.

“In addition to property, other cost considerations include excavation, pouring a concrete foundation, and installing plumbing,” says Stacy Miller, marketing manager for Worldwide Steel Buildings in Peculiar, MO. “The permits you’ll need to build all depend on the city and county you live in.”

Land cost breakdown: An acre of farmland costs $3,100 on average, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Land Values 2020 Summary.

“Most of our clients build on 2-plus acres of land,” says Berg.

Exact property values can vary depending on location, proximity to urban amenities, and how much land is cleared. Remember that the land may also need to be hooked up to local septic systems and utilities. And the price of developing land to a buildable condition can run between $1,281 and $4,705, according to HomeAdvisor.

Floor plans

Many companies offer pre-designed floor plans that you can buy as-is or customize. These are the architectural prints you’ll use to build your home.

A standard barndominium’s floor plan and layout can include multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, hidden rooms, and even safe rooms.

Popular features run the gamut from sliding barn doors and vaulted ceilings to massive great rooms with large fireplaces and windows, according to Stacie Lynn from Our Barndominium Life. It all comes down to your taste, style, budget, and architectural needs.

Floor plan cost breakdown: “Stock plans are usually $1,500 to $2,000,” says Berg, who lives in a barndominium herself. “When clients have plans custom-designed, the average price is around $4,500.”

While it’s easy to get carried away when choosing a plan, Berg advises you to keep in mind that the cost of finishing the interior of a barndominium—think electrical, plumbing, and countertops—will cost the same as a traditional home, so save your pennies where you can.

Barndominium kit

Once you have a floor plan, you need the materials to build your barndominium. Many companies offer kits, which can help save on building erection, foundation design, and labor costs since the structure can be assembled in as few as 10 days. A standard kit includes exterior walls, the roof, framed openings for windows and doors, siding, and steel columns.

“A barndo kit also includes hardware such as bolts and screws all in one delivery,” says Miller. “There is no additional expense for materials since the kits bundle all the needed components like a jigsaw puzzle.”

But what if you go with custom doors and windows? “That’s a separate expense,” adds Miller.

Kit cost breakdown: Barndominium kits typically range from $50 to $100 per square foot and exclude interior materials such as insulation.

“The final cost all depends on factors including square footage, porch additions, cupolas, interior finishes, and the number of garage doors,” says Miller.

But in general, the price of a soup-to-nuts kit can be as low as $150,000 and as high as $350,000, she says.

Labor

Construction of a traditional home usually ranges from $100 and $200 per square foot, with an average cost of $115. After all, hiring builders, carpenters, HVAC technicians, electricians, and plumbers can add up.

But many barndominium owners prefer to use their sweat equity to build their homes, says Berg. While costs can vary depending on the home size and finishes, tackling more than 60% of the job yourself—such as laying floors, tiling, painting, and installing cabinets—will save you big bucks.

Labor cost breakdown: If you do the majority of the work, you’ll still have to pay around $85 to $95 per square foot for work that requires a licensed professional. And if you prefer to use a turn-key builder or general contractor, expect to pay about $150 to $190 per square foot to get your barndominium into move-in shape.

Bottom line

A barndominium will run you between $180,000 and $360,000 when all is said, done, and built. That price may make a barndominium a less expensive option than building a traditional home, which varies in cost from $165,000 to $480,000.

Article originally appeared on Realtor.com.

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