Can You Build a Barndominium in Michigan? Cost, Financing, Regulations

Can You Build a Barndominium in Michigan
Can You Build a Barndominium in Michigan

You’ve heard of the trending and popular barndominiums, which have their beginning in Texas. But you live in Michigan and wonder if it is possible to build a barndominium where you live, and what the regulations and financing options are to make your dream a reality. 

You can build a barndominium in Michigan, providing you pull the proper building permits according to the zoning regulations. New construction loans are your best options unless you are renovating an existing metal barn into a home. Barndominimums cost about the same as a moderately-priced new home.

Building a barndominium in Michigan requires pretty much the same financing and regulations as in other states. Stay tuned to find out what you need to build your beautiful barndominium home in Michigan.

Check Your Local Zoning Regulations

Metal buildings have different zoning laws than conventional construction, as they are considered commercial buildings due to how many purposes they have. A metal building can be used for residential, commercial, or agricultural purposes. Before getting a building permit, you need to find out what the local zoning regulations are, so you don’t build illegally. 

Get the Proper Building Permits

Before you build, you need to complete your research into which building permits you will need to build a barndominium in Michigan. Michigan building codes apply differently to pole barns and barndominiums. 

For example, all exterior walls need to be supported on continuous solid masonry or concrete footings. Since barndominiums are made of steel frames and siding, they need to be supported on solid ground. It would be best if you had a specific permit for metal buildings. However, the code does not address the footings needed for widely spaced columns, as is needed for barndominiums. 

Since barndominiums have the same basic foundation as many other custom homes, the building permits you need might be the same as building a custom home in Michigan.

Metal Building Laws May Be Different From Conventional Construction

As already mentioned, conventional construction permits for new homes allow for a different building plan, so you need to research your local laws for metal buildings. However, as with all buildings, they must be built to a safety standard common with all building codes. 

Metal buildings could be anything from a noisy factory to a storage building to a home. If you’re looking to build a barndominium in an area that is zoned for residential, you need to provide plans and blueprints to prove that you’re not going to build anything commercial. 

Average Cost of a Barndominium

Barndominiums usually cost less than new home construction, especially if you buy a kit and do the work yourself. Barndominium Kits usually cost around $40-$95 per square foot, before any options, like the interior choices that come with new home construction, are added.

DIY Kits Are Cheaper

Some DIY kits cost around $20 per square foot, but you need to factor in the added cost of materials and other options like the plumbing and electrical needs. You will also need to make a shopping list of all the things you need to finish the home. If this is something you aren’t so skilled at doing, you might consider a contractor and a building team to build your home.

The Cost of a Contractor

When you hire a contractor and building team to put together your barndominium, you will pay more per square foot. When you buy a kit through a company that also provides building services, you can expect to pay upwards towards $125 per square foot. Because the contractor handles more than just project management, you want to find one that you trust to get the job done.

Remember, though, that if you choose a contractor, the final quote they give should include all the materials to finish the project, without any extra hidden costs. If they quote you a final price of $155,000, then that should be your final cost.

Interior Options Add More Money

The options you choose for your interior will either decrease or increase your final cost. Options such as granite countertops or wood countertops covered vinyl will determine your cost. Cheaper options might be a wise choice if you’re on a budget. But if you’re building your dream home, you could go for the more expensive option. 

Some people opt to put in a full wet bar, home theater, gymnasium, and basketball court in their barndominiums. Others choose a simpler route with a modest 2-bedroom apartment over a large stable for horses, or a garage/workshop. The options you choose adds or subtracts from the final cost.

Financing Options

Unless you’re a millionaire who has plenty of money at your disposal, which you probably do not, you will need some financing to build a barndominium in Michigan. Some of the financing options include new construction loans, rural home loans, local bank loans, and national lender loans.

If you’re new to the home buying process or don’t know how financing works, there are several resources out there that you can read or watch to learn more. The following is one such resource describing the financing process:

New Construction Loans

Today, most lenders prefer to start you with a new construction loan when building a new home, then transitioning you to a permanent loan after the construction is complete. A new construction loan lasts for one year, to cover the construction costs. Then you need to move to a more permanent loan. 

A new construction loan will help you get the supplies, kit, or contractor necessary to build your new home. But you will need a separate loan to buy the land to build on.

Rural Home Loans

Rural loans are different from new construction loans because they cover properties that are not eligible for financing, such as properties like a farmette, land rent, primary and secondary residences, and other unique country properties. You will need to get a rural home loan for your barndominium if you plan on building it in the country.

You might even consider combining a new construction loan with a rural loan if the loan you need doesn’t cover new construction. Talk with your loan officer for more complete details. 

Bank Loans

If you have a well-respected relationship with your local bank, and your credit is good, you’ll want to get financing through them first. They may have better rates than you would get with a national lender or loans that you could only get for your area. Even if they cannot help you, they might be able to send you in the direction of a lender who can.

National Lenders

Sometimes, you may need to look further than your local bank for financing. National lenders have more resources at their disposal for people who don’t have enough credit for traditional loans. National lenders can also make riskier loans because they have a larger pool of financiers to mitigate any loss from bad loans.


So can you build a barndominium in Michigan? As long as you get the proper permits, follow all zoning regulations, and get the right type of financing, you should have no problems building your dream home. 

To qualify for financing for a barndominium, you must first provide the approved plans and proof that you’re meeting the zoning regulations. Check with other barndominium owners to see how they managed to finance and get approved for zoning regulations.

If you put a barndominium on your property in the country, you can most likely get a rural loan, which might be more forgiving than a traditional loan.