Pricing your Barndominium can range widely depending the building style and finish out. Many builders market Barndominiums as a more affordable option than traditional homes. While this certainly can be the case, I have found that Barndos are often on par with traditional builds. Sometimes, they can even be a bit more expensive simply because you are building a custom home that allows you to include any features you want… for a price.
But building a Barndo is something special. It is as much about the experience of the build and the lifestyle you are creating as it is the customization. With all this said, it is so important to really understand the cost implications of your decisions for your Barndo.
As with any home build, pricing your Barndo will vary based on where you build, what features you want your Barndo to include, who you select as your builder, and when you build.
Where you build is up to you, and we always recommend prioritizing the location of your home. This is, after all, something you cannot change when everything is said and done. Your location may affect the price of labor or materials, especially if they have to be sourced from far away. At a more detailed level, the very terrain on which you are building can affect your costs. Are you going to have to clear trees, remove rocks, or level a steep hill? All of this will factor into your overall price.
In pricing your Barndominium, what you build is, of course, your biggest determinant of price. Barndos are custom homes. You don’t see pre-planned Barndo subdivisions…at least not yet!
Each home is unique. The size of and features included in your home will play a major factor. Will it be one or two stories? What kind of insulation will you use? Are you planning to build in phases and finish out over time? Is there some standout feature that you must have? The possibilities and choices you get to make are seemingly endless.
While deciding on the “what” can be a bit overwhelming, we believe this is where some of the greatest cost savings can come. For example, my husband loves to cook and wanted to finally have the beautiful stove of his dreams. We couldn’t skimp there, but we put a lot of our own labor and materials into our build. We saved some of the trees we cut down on our property to clear room for our Barndo. We used those trees to build accent walls and wood ceilings.
You can have a beautifully designed home if you carefully decide where to splurge and where to be frugal to buy yourself wiggle room in your budget. We are happy to consult on your project to help you make your budget work best for your build.
As to the who, be sure you shop around for builders. Expect to pay at least $125 per square foot if you hire a general contractor. More specifically , in pricing your Barndominium for an average Barndo build, think at least $125-$140 per square foot for heated and cooled space, $30-$50 per square foot for porch space or roof-covered outdoor areas, and $35-$60 per square foot for workshops. These are all rough estimates. There are places on the internet that will say you can build a Barndo for as little as $100 per square foot, but we believe the numbers provided here are more realistic for working with a general contractor. In more expensive areas of the country, you should expect to pay a bit more and in other areas, a bit less.
For the sake of comparison, the median price per square foot for a home in Texas is about $130, but of course this can vary widely based on where you live. And this is the price of a tract home. Building a house from scratch is generally more expensive than buying an existing one. Building a house in the country – where you may have to provide your own septic, drill a water well, and/or clear roads and your home site could add costs as well. And no matter what remember… Barndos are a custom build.
As an alternative to hiring a general contractor (GC), you can also be your own GC. We did this. If you are your own GC, you trade convenience and expertise for cost savings and the ability to invest more money directly into your home. If you go this route, definitely understand what you are taking on. You must have a certain level of skill and confidence to act as your own GC to ensure a proper build. Any errors or omissions (that’s legal talk for mistakes) are on you and no one else as the GC is responsible for the project.
You will also need to hire tradesmen like electricians, plumbers and HVAC (unless you have that skill set). But you can save money by assuming planning responsibility for your whole project. In a coming blog post, we will go into greater detail about being your own GC.
Unfortunately, when you build is usually more about luck than anything else. in pricing your Barndominium, you won’t have control of larger market trends going on around you. However, it’s important to be aware of what is going on in your area.
For instance, we live just outside of Houston. A hurricane hit early on in our build, and the cost of materials and labor went up dramatically because so many people were trying to rebuild right after the storm. If you’re about to start a project and can afford to delay if something suddenly drives prices up, you may be able to save money.
We have discussed the where, what, who, and why of your build, but there’s one final factor to consider when estimating pricing your Barndo. We’ve touched on it but haven’t directly discussed it. By their nature, Barndominiums often appeal to the do it yourself (DIY) crowd. If you fall in this category, consider this: how involved do you want to be?
in pricing your Barndominium, the more of your own time and labor you put into a build, the more you can save and even reinvest that saved money into the materials that go into your home. For my own home, we did a ton of smaller projects ourselves including some of the accent walls, floors, ceiling, and material finishing. We even built some of our own furniture. You would be amazed what you can learn on YouTube!
So, while being super involved, is not practical for everyone, it is certainly something to consider. And from our own experience, it makes for a great story. In our opinion, one of the coolest things about living in a Barndo is saying you live in a Barndominium and telling people about your journey to get there!