How Much Do Barn Homes Cost to Build?

Alex Burke

Barn homes are a hot trend in home building. Although there are many ways in which to approach a building project, a pre-fabricated barn home kit can save some time and money over traditional methods of home building.

Barn home kits and their manufacturers are not created equal and require some comparison shopping and careful evaluation of what's in the kit. How complete the kit is can significantly change your costs.

How To Figure Cost

The cost of any type of home construction (from a kit or from scratch) is figured based on square footage. Decide the amount you have to spend and divide it by how many square feet you want to build. This gives you a starting number of cost per square foot. It is important to have a dollar amount to return to when making building decisions. We will be using the following example: If you can afford to build a 2000 square foot home for $200,000 the overall cost is $100 per square foot.

Final Barn Home Costs

Ask barn home manufacturers how much it will cost you to build one of their homes and you will get a wide variety of answers. They may quote you the cost of their kit but not the cost of construction and site preparation. One third to one quarter of the final cost of building should be the cost of the kit. Using our $200,000 budget number, the kit should cost between $50,000 to $66,000 to purchase.

What Does A Kit Include?

Every barn home kit is different and that is what makes them difficult to compare. Distinguishing between blueprints, kits, and packages is important as they each provide a different level of product. Most kits include several sets of blueprints of the exterior shell design drawings only, lumber package for the exterior of the building only or the pre-made modular components ready for assembly and basic engineering package showing wind and snow loads.

What Kits Don't Include

A barn home kit generally does not include the design of the interior walls, door placement, or placement of electricity, plumbing or heating and air conditioning. The cost to hire an architect to design the interior is usually 10 to 15 percent of the overall cost of the project. The kit does not include the cost of a general contractor, another 10-15 percent of the overall cost of building the home. Also missing are the cost of permits and fees, the purchase of the land and utilities, the appliances, the finishes (flooring materials, counter top materials, lighting fixtures, doors and windows) and materials such as concrete, nails, roofing and insulation. This price of the kit probably does not include site preparation.

Where To Cut Costs

Lets add up what we have so far. We've decided we can afford a $200,000 budget to build our barn home. We have spent almost half of that (using the low end of the numbers given) by purchasing the kit and hiring an architect to design the interior and a general contractor to handle the construction—$50,000+$20,000+ $20,000=$90,000. There are ways to cut these costs and give us more to spend on our project. Since our architect is joining us half way through the project, negotiate the fee. The same goes for the general contractor—assembling a prefabricated project is a much simpler task and may not require their full fee.

Barn Home Kit Or Package?

Small amounts may be cut from the cost of the barn home kit by choosing a manufacturer close by and lowering transportation costs. Purchasing a package instead of a kit could mean a larger cost savings. Packages usually include a complete set of drawings for the interior and exterior and a pre-cut interior lumber package too. The cost of the architect could be reduced and the cost of contractor could be lower. The cost of the package will be more than the kit because it includes more lumber. The purchaser will still need to add the cost of finishes, appliances and other fixtures and building materials.