The average cost to build a brand new home in America today is $289,415. Homeownership is even more expensive when you factor in the cost of monthly bills and a mortgage. Luckily, barndominiums are a more affordable way to build a brand new home exactly to your liking.
A barndominium may cost $20 to $160 per square foot. A turnkey barndominium fitted with cabinetry, flooring, windows, and insulation will likely cost well over $150 per square foot. Barndominium “shell” kits that are essentially walls and a roof will be closer to that $20 price point.
Though often cheaper than building a new home or buying an existing home, there are costs associated with building a barndominium that you need to consider. Keep reading to learn about how much barndominiums cost per square foot and what you can get for your money!
What Is a Barndominium?
A barndominium is essentially a combination of a barn and a condominium.
Like a condominium, they can range anywhere between <1,000 and 4,000+ square feet. Barndominiums easily resemble the typical American home on the interior when fitted with cabinetry, flooring, windows and doors, and insulation.
But, just like a barn, a barndominium is often made of metal (this is usually steel) and has a large workspace attached to the living quarters. That’s why you’ll see that many barndominium owners run a workshop, office space, or an auto shop out of their custom-built homes.
Fortunately, barndominiums tend to have great curb appeal and are much larger than people anticipate. So, check out this video that’ll walk you through a massive 4,000+ square foot barndominium that’s completely furnished and updated!
DIY Barndominiums (Shell)
One of the best ways to cut costs when building your brand new barndominium is by purchasing what’s called a “shell.” The shell is simply the barebones structure that includes the essentials like the walls, the beams, and the roof. When you purchase this type of kit, you’ll have to pay out of pocket to do a complete “build-out” and turn the steel structure into a home.
In terms of pricing, this can cost you as little as $20 per square foot.
Ready to find out what you’re really getting when you buy a barndominium shell and how much you’re looking to spend? Keep reading to learn about some of the more popular shell models.
A Look at the Numbers
For argument’s sake, let’s say that buying a barndominium shell will cost about $20 to $40 per square foot. Now, let’s take a look at how much that’ll cost you, on average, based on your chosen size structure.
|Barndominium Shell Size (in Sq. Ft.)||Average Total Cost|
|1,000 sq. ft.||$20,000 to $40,000|
|1,500 sq. ft.||$30,000 to $60,000|
|2,000 sq. ft.||$40,000 to $80,000|
|2,500 sq. ft.||$50,000 to $100,000|
|3,000 sq. ft.||$60,000 to $120,000|
|3,500 sq. ft.||$70,000 to $140,000|
|4,000 sq. ft.||$80,000 to $160,000|
As affordable as this might sound at first, you also have to consider how much it costs to finish out a barndominium to make it livable for you and your family. So, let’s talk about how much it may cost you to add and install other important home features and how this will impact how much you end up spending in total.
It’s a good idea to install your barndominium shell on top of a concrete slab. Even if the slab is just 6” thick, it can help prevent flooding, hold off termites, and speed up the build process. The average cost for a concrete slab for a home is about $6 per square foot, which can add an extra $6,000 to $24,000 to the total cost of your barndominium home.
Updated Cost: $26,000 to $184,000
Electrical & Plumbing
To be able to actually move your family into your brand new barndominium, you’re going to need a CO, also known as a certificate of occupancy. That means your new steel home must pass inspection on the electrical and plumbing fronts.
Wiring your home will include installing outlets throughout the property, setting up your major appliances (which we’ll go over later), installing a circuit panel, and actually paying an electrician to complete each of these tasks. At about $4 per square foot, wiring your new barndominium will cost you between $4,000 and $16,000.
Running water is an obvious necessity for any American home in 2020. A brand new construction will require you to install piping and hookup showers, bathtubs, sinks, and toilets. Since the prices of copper have been skyrocketing in recent years, this will add on an additional $4.50 per square foot. That’s between $4,500 to $18,000 on plumbing for a barndominium.
Updated Cost: $34,500 to $218,000
Windows & Doors
Most barndominium shells will come with cutaway areas for windows and doors, but it’s up to you to actually purchase and install these fixtures. The exact cost will depend on how large your windows and doors are, how many you need, and what they’re made of. Including installation, you’re looking at up to $20,000 extra for windows and doors.
Updated Cost: $54,500 to $238,000
Kitchen Countertops, Cabinets & Appliances
The kitchen and bathroom are the most expensive rooms to upgrade in your barndominium, given the excessive costs of materials and labor. A brand new kitchen, including the addition of lighting, brand new wood cabinets, appliances (like a refrigerator, dishwasher, and oven), a deep sink, and granite countertop, will often run up a massive bill. This can cost over $60,000.
Updated Cost: $114,500 to $298,000
The finishing touches on your new barndominium shell will include flooring. Hardwood flooring is a great choice when it comes to adding resale value to your barndominium and boasting a modern farmhouse style look. At up to $8 per square foot (on average), wood flooring in your barndominium will tack on an extra $8,000 to $32,000.
Updated Cost: $122,500 to $330,000
To finish off the job, you’ll want to make sure that your new barndominium is fully insulated to keep heating costs low and temperatures in your barndominium consistent. This can be done through either spray foam or fiberglass insulation treatments. This may cost anywhere between $500 and $3,500 for your new steel home.
Updated Cost: $123,500 to $333,500
Updated per Square Foot Cost
Now that we’ve gone over how much it’ll likely cost you to finish out your barndominium, let’s see what the total cost will be per square foot.
For a 1,000 square foot barndominium, you’ll likely be spending a minimum of $123,500. This bumps that $20 per square foot for just the shell up to a whopping $123.50 per square foot when fully completed.
For a 4,000 square foot barndominium, the grand total is about $333,500 on the upper end of the price spectrum. That affordable $20 per square foot for the shell is now $83.75 for the finished product. Interestingly enough, you get more value from going larger.
Turnkey barndominiums are considered the best alternative to shells since you don’t have to do any extra legwork like hiring and paying subcontractors. A “turnkey” barndominium is completely renovated and ready to move into as soon as physically possible. Though it’s a bit more pricey, all you have to do on your end is rent the moving truck and move your furniture in.
In terms of pricing, this can cost you up to $160 per square foot.
Looking to see what a turnkey barndominium really entails and how much this might cost you? Continue on to catch a glimpse of some of the more popular turnkey barndominium models.
A Look at the Numbers
To figure out how much you might be spending on a turnkey barndominium, we’re going to base our calculations on numbers established by a barndominium manufacturing company by the name of Texas Barndominiums.
For argument’s sake, we’re going to assume that living space will cost around $150 per square foot and that the workspace area will cost around $50 per square foot. Now, assuming the ratio of living space to workspace is 50/50, let’s take a look at what that might cost you.
|Turnkey Barndominium Size (in Sq. Ft.)||Average Total Cost|
|1,000 sq. ft.||$100,000|
|1,500 sq. ft.||$150,000|
|2,000 sq. ft.||$200,000|
|2,500 sq. ft.||$250,000|
|3,000 sq. ft.||$300,000|
|3,500 sq. ft.||$350,000|
|4,000 sq. ft.||$400,000|
This averages out to about $100 per square foot in total, but not all barndominiums will include an equally-sized workshop area. In reality, a barndominium developed strictly with living space in mind may end up costing you between $150,000 and a massive $600,000.
What’s Included With a Turnkey Barndominium
You can think of a turnkey barndominium as a brand new home that’s ready to move into. That means electricity and plumbing are already hooked up, the kitchen and bathrooms are already furnished, and all you have to do is move in. Here is a look at what may be included in your purchase price:
- Plumbing & Electric
- Stained Concrete Floors
- Double Pane Windows
- Custom Cabinets & Countertops
- Drywall & Insulation
- HVAC Systems
- Water & Heat Pumps
Make sure you check with the manufacturer so that you know exactly what you’re getting when you buy your barndominium. Knowing what’s not included in the build will help you plan out the financial aspects of other features you’ll need to install later on.
Sample Floor Plans
Are you still wondering if a barndominium is the right choice for you? Then, it might just be your lucky day. We’re about to review different floor plans that are out there right now that might just be able to help you picture your family in one of these steel homes.
Keep in mind that any prices that we list will be predictions, as there are additional costs that come with building or buying a barndominium (which we’ll go over in the next section). This section is to solely explain what a barndominium may look like and include in terms of features.
Small Option: Plan 871003NST (1,000 Square Feet)
To all of the minimalists out there, this brand new tiny barndominium may be exactly what you’re looking for in your very first home. At just 1,000 square feet in total, this barndominium will sit comfortably on even the smallest plots of land (even a quarter-acre) and serves well for single people or growing families.
This 1-2 bedroom, 1.5 bath, 2 story home is a sight to be seen.
The exterior vertical siding combined with the rustic barn doors offers somewhat of a farmhouse style feel, even if you choose to build in the suburbs. The downstairs area boasts a combined living and kitchen area as well as a powder room while the top level of the structure includes one massive 11’7” x 15’5” master bedroom, a smaller bedroom, and a nice sized bathroom.
Medium Option: Plan 62868DJ (2,776 Square Feet)
For the new families that desire a little bit of space, this mid-sized barndominium may be a better option. With about 2,776 square feet of space, this barndominium can comfortably house five or more occupants and even has a large 4-car garage to store your farm equipment or cars.
This 4 bedroom, 3 bath, 2 story home has everything a home needs.
The lower level of this barndominium offers a 17 x 36 great room with luxurious cathedral ceilings overhead. There are two bedrooms on each floor, the kitchen has a practically unheard of snack bar and giant walk-in pantry, and the size of the attached 4-car garage exceeds 3,500 square feet on its own.
Large Option: Plan 86345HH (4,919 Square Feet)
When you have a giant property and entertaining guests is on your to-do list, choose this massive barndominium instead. With nearly 5,000 square feet of living space, you can be sure that every member of the family has more than even personal space.
This 4 bedroom, 5.5 to 5 bath, 2 story home is more than you’ve ever dreamed of.
Thanks to the dark paneling, metal roof, and barn doors, this barndominium looks as rustic and modern as they come. This structure is fitted with large picture windows for ample natural light, a beautiful fireplace, and the potential to add a wraparound porch. You even have the choice to convert the area above the 3-car garage into a small apartment or workspace.
Buying a Barndominium Online
Though we can’t deny that it’s 2020, it’s still a little bizarre to imagine yourself buying your next home completely online. With the help of online marketplaces like eBay, you may actually be able to purchase your barndominium build kit online in one swift purchase.
That’s especially the case if you’re buying through manufacturers like AmeriBuilt Steel. This company boasts at least two dozen models of barndominium shell kits for sale on eBay, giving you complete access to extensive photo galleries and descriptions of what each model offers.
Here is a look at some models they offer and the related price points:
- 30 x 30 Steel Gambrel Home Building Shell Kit: <$25,000
- 44 x 40 American Barn Style Home Shell Kit: <$40,000
- 54 x 54 American Barn Style Home Shell Kit: <$57,000
- 50 x 90 American Barn Style Home Shell Kit: <$76,000
It looks like shipping might even be free for the continental United States!
Based on the amount of living space (not porch space or workshop space) that comes with each of these barndominiums, it looks like you’ll only be spending about $12 to $13 per square foot. But, remember to factor in the cost of building it and finishing it out.
Given the price of a barndominium and the fact that these prices typically exceed credit limits, you may have to pay for your purchase via a money order or cashier’s check. And, don’t expect to be able to make returns on your purchase.
Pre-Existing Barndominium Cost per Square Foot
There’s no need to build your own barndominium from scratch if you live in a state like Texas. At any given time, hundreds of pre-existing barndominiums for sale on the market are essentially turnkey and ready to move into.
So, just how much do these already built barndominiums cost?
Since many appear to be completely updated and renovated within the last few months, you’re looking at anywhere between $115 and $160 per square foot. This can be more cost-effective than building new and will help you to save time that goes into actually building.
Better yet, you may be able to purchase outdated barndominiums for a lower price. It might end up costing less to “flip” a pre-existing barndominium than it would to actually build brand new.
Where to Find Already-Built Barndominiums
Actually finding these already-built barndominiums for sale will be the difficult part if you’re looking to buy used. That’s why it’s important to know the keywords to search for in order to get the best results for your future home. Unfortunately, the variety in names definitely makes the search for your new home a bit more complicated than it should be.
Aside from being called a “barndominium,” these structures may also be referred to as:
- Pole Barns
- Barn Homes
- Barn Apartments
Remember to open up each Zillow listing and scour it for the fine details. Make sure it’s not just a regular barn (or, that you can actually live in it legally), check out how much living space there is vs. workspace, and consider the size of the plot of land as well in the list price.
Additional Costs to Build or Buy a Barndominium
There’s one thing you’re going to notice when you’re doing your barndominium research on the internet: Very few manufacturers will include an exact price for models on their website. This is definitely inconvenient if you’re still deciding whether a barndominium is the right choice for you.
In most cases, you’ll have to fill out a quote form where you give your contact information like your phone number and email address. You’ll then have to wait until you’re contacted by a representative from the manufacturer looking to discuss possible price points.
It’s inconvenient, but it’s also unavoidable.
There are quite a few reasons that it’s difficult for manufacturers to give a hard price on the internet for their barndominium models. So, here is a look at a few things that might impact the price of your barndominium.
Travel & Delivery Costs
You have to keep in mind that, even if you’re just buying a barndominium shell, you’re essentially having an entire building or home shipped to your address. For that reason, some companies will only ship within 50-750 miles and will tack on a delivery fee per mile traveled. So, it may cost you an additional $5,000 to $15,000 just to have your barndominium delivered personally to your lot.
State of Residence
The availability of barndominium manufacturers in your state or area may determine how much you’re going to be charged for the structure. For example, Texas is known for having plenty of companies to choose from, which drives prices down to as little as $20 per square foot. If your state has just one option, then that company can set whatever price they’d like, even if that’s greater than $150 per square foot.
One of the perks of buying a barndominium is that you practically have free reign to customize it to your liking. That means you can add on a porch, an extra bedroom, a spacious loft, or additional workspace area. Your custom build will require the company to design a custom floor plan as well. This can be an extra few hundred to even a few thousand dollars to fine-tune.
Cost of Steel
Though usually more affordable than the average house in most cases, the fluctuating price of steel will play a huge role in how much you’ll be spending on your brand new barndominium. As the price of steel worldwide rises, barndominium manufacturers will have to bump the price up to maintain their profits. Getting the best price might mean tracking steel prices globally.
Unless you have heavy-duty construction equipment and a crew on hand and ready to go, then there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll have to pay hefty labor costs. To fully erect your barndominium, you’re looking at an extra $10 to $20 per square foot. So, factor in an additional $10,000 to $80,000 to turn the pile of materials on your lot into an actual standing structure you can continue renovating.
You can’t build a barndominium if you don’t even have a piece of land where you can erect it. That means you need to have pre-existing land to your name or that you’ll need to invest in a plot on your own. In America, a single acre of land was valued at about $3,160 in 2019.
However, the exact cost of land will depend on the state you live in and the local real estate industry. For example, an acre of land in Wyoming averages out to about $1,558 while the same sized lot in New Jersey costs $196,410.
For reference, a single acre of land is about 43,560 square feet.
Clearing Your Land
Unless you’re extremely lucky and bought some level and clear acreage, then you’ll probably have to spend some extra money actually clearing your property. The costs you’ll have to factor in include hiring professionals, clearing trees and large rocks from your land, and having your property surveyed. In total, you might end up spending an extra $500 to $8,000.
You want your brand new home to be durable enough to withstand local weather and give your family a roof over your head for decades to come. Steel buildings are known for being relatively strong, but you may have to invest a little extra cash to be sure that you’re using reinforced beams that can handle it all. That includes heavy winds and severe snowstorms.
Doing the Math: What Do These Extra Fees Cost?
Now that we’ve touched on extra costs and fees that may apply to your new barndominium, let’s see what that ended up doing to the eventual price tag of your new structure.
Here is a breakdown of the extra costs that you may have to pay:
- Travel & Delivery: $5,000 to $15,000
- Floor Plan Customizations: Around $1,000
- Labor Costs: $10,000 to $80,000
- Acre of Land: $1,558 to $196,410.
- Land Clearing: $500 to $8,000
Because these values add such a broad range to the additional costs, we’re going to break it down a little better. On the low end, you’re probably going to be spending about $18,058 to get the behind the scenes work done getting the land prepped, the kinks worked out, and the build going. On the upper end, this might cost an extra $300,410.
So, what does this all mean for you?
As frightening as these extra costs might seem right now, there are quite a few pieces of data that are outliers that can clearly be worked around. That’s exactly why we’re going to be going over ways to save some money on your barndominium in the next section.
How to Save Money on Your New Barndominium
There’s absolutely no doubt that a barndominium can be just as expensive as building a brand new home (depending on the size and the features included). With that, you may be looking to cut costs in any way possible in order to get your dream barndominium at a discounted rate.
So, how can you save money on your new barndominium? Keep reading to find out some of the best ways to keep that extra money in your wallet.
Do a Little DIY
As you may have noticed in the previous sections, you may end up spending as much on labor costs as you do on the actual supplies and materials needed to build. Fortunately, doing some hands-on DIY work can help you to save a little cash.
For example, it could cost you up to $6 per square foot to hire a painter to paint the interior of your new barndominium. If you were to take on the task of painting yourself, you’d only have to pay for the paint itself. At up to $40 per gallon and covering up to 400 square feet per gallon, you end up spending just $0.10 per square foot instead of $6 if you were to hire a pro.
Just remember that there are some jobs you will want to leave to the experts, such as plumbing and electric installs.
Get a Mortgage & Shopping Around
Unfortunately, it’s a little tricky to get a mortgage for a barndominium since it’s not considered a conventional home in most places. In the same realm, spending over $100,000 out of pocket is unreasonable for the average person with a growing savings account.
So, you’re likely going to want to pursue a construction loan instead of spreading the cost of your new barndominium across 15 or 30 years.
A lot of what goes into planning and building a barndominium comes down to being smart. That’s why you’ll want to shop around to see what the local companies are looking to charge for your ideal barndominium plan. Always get several opinions before deciding who to work with, as this may end up saving you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run!
Choose Plans & Land Strategically
To think that you might end up spending $200,000 on an acre of land alone and tens of thousands of dollars more in other areas in addition to the actual cost of your barndominium? That’s a little crazy, we know! But, you can cut some costs along the way by being smart about your plans and your land.
For example, there’s no need to buy an entire acre of land if you’re planning on building a 30 x 30 (9,000 square foot) barndominium. Unless you’re planning to work your land via farming or outdoor activities, getting too large of a plot will cost you excess money regarding property taxes and lawn care.
Since this is a custom build, you also have full control over the structure that’s built. So, It wouldn’t make too much sense to finance and build a 5-bedroom home if you never host gatherings and it’s just you and your spouse living there.
Here is a look at some guidelines for indoor square footage per person in homes. For reference, the typical recommendation is that each individual should have about 500 square feet of space in a single-family home:
- 1 person: 500 square feet
- 2 people: 1,000 square feet
- 3 people: 1,500 square feet
- 4 people: 2,000 square feet
- 5 people: 2,500 square feet
- 6 people: 3,000 square feet
Remember, you can always bite the bullet later on and add an addition to your barndominium if your family grows or you find you need more space. But, it’s hard to cut costs and save money after you’ve financed and built the home.
Open a Business From Your Barndominium
Most barndominiums will come with some sort of included office space, workspace, or an auto shop area. If you’re looking to cut costs and even generate income from your own home, it would be pretty useful to use this work area to make money.
You may even be able to convert this garage or work area into an actual barn to house livestock and other farm animals. While this may not be your full-time job, it can help offset your monthly construction loan payments.
Barndominiums vs. Homes: A Cost Comparison
Now that you know approximately how much a barndominium will cost in 2020, you may want to figure out what your options are based on finances. To help put the cost of barndominiums in perspective, take a look at the chart below comparing the costs of barndominiums to homes.
|Type of Structure||Average Cost||Cost Per Square Foot|
|Existing Home||$223,000||$148/sq. ft.|
|New Home||$289,415||$103/sq. ft.|
|Barndominium Shell||$50,000||$20/sq. ft.|
|Turnkey Barndominium||$220,000||$140/sq. ft.|
As you can see in the chart above, barndominiums can be a more affordable housing option if buying or building a home is simply out of your budget. You can save some money by purchasing a barndominium shell and finishing it out yourself or by choosing discounted contractors. Or, you can invest in a small-scale turnkey barndominium to cut costs as well.
Most average-sized barndominiums will cost $200,000 or less, which is still more affordable than the average home in America. But, we do want to point out that there’s nothing definitive that says a barndominium is always better than a conventional home, or vice versa.
What Are the Perks of Living in a Barndominium Instead?
If you’re like the rest of us, you’ve probably lived in a conventional home up until this point in your life. That means you may be wondering exactly why somebody might choose a barndominium over a conventional home. Here is a look at some possible reasons:
- Energy Efficiency: In 2018, the average monthly electric bill in America was about $117.65. With the assistance of proper insulation and reflective roofing on your barndominium, you may be able to cut your electric bill greatly.
- Quicker Build Time: The average home in America takes around eight months or more to build and finish. Erecting the steel structure of your barndominium may take as few as 30 days, with the entire project being finished in half a year or sooner.
- Workshop Space: It costs an average of $52,830 to add a 2-car detached garage to your property. Most barndominiums come with spacious garage or workshop areas within the purchase price, giving you this extra space at a discount.
- Greater Durability: A heavy storm and a tree crashing down may be the end of a typical wooden house. But, when it comes to barndominiums, the steel exterior is much more resistant to damage, adding to the lifespan of your new home.
- Extra Room: It’s safe to say that a 2,000 square foot conventional home is vastly different from a 2,000 square foot barndominium. That’s because barndominiums tend to have open floor plans and high ceilings that make them look much larger and welcoming.
Whether or not a barndominium is right for you and your family will come down to your budget and what you truly value in a home. A barndominium might be the right choice for you if you appreciate energy efficiency, a quicker build time, more workshop or garage space, and a long-term housing solution.
Now that we’ve gone over everything there is to know about building or buying a brand new barndominium, it’s time to figure out what the total price tag is. The general rule of thumb is that you should expect to pay between $20 and $160 per square foot.
Tack on the extra fees associated with making your home livable and your land capable of supporting a brand new house, and you’re looking at well over $200,000 to build new. Though a little expensive, it is cheaper than building a new home and you’re given the opportunity to customize it as you please.
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