Building A Barndominium Under $200K: Possible Or Not?

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You’ve probably heard that barndominiums are a cheaper alternative to traditional stick-built housing. In fact, for many people, the barndominium is a top option simply because it’s cheaper, faster, and more durable than traditional housing.

At the same time, barndos can still be costly, time-consuming, and as complicated as a traditional house project. You should expect to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new home – no matter what kind of home it is.

But, can you actually build a barndominium for $200,000 or less? 

The short answer is, yes, it’s highly likely that you can build a barndominium for under $200,000! The longer answer is that it depends on your barndominium, where you’re building, and what kinds of amenities and materials you want. 

Can You Build A Barndominium Under $200K?

The short answer is that yes, you can build a barndominium for under $200,000.

In fact, you can relatively easily build a barndominium of up to about 2,500 square feet for under that price. Once you start going larger, the extra space will have to be all shop or you’ll expect to pay more.

How does that work? On average, you can expect to pay about $100 per square foot for a finished barndominium.

However, depending on your location, you can expect actual rates to run from about $70 to about $200 per square foot. This means that $200,000 can buy you anything from a 1,000-square-foot barndo to about 2,500-2,800 square feet of barndo.

In most cases, something in between of about 2,000 square feet is very achievable. 

At the same time, you’ll still have to watch your budget. $200,000 does not get you a fully decked-out barndominium with every exterior fitting and a luxurious interior.

It will, however, get you a solid home that will last you for decades. Let’s get started. 

How To Build A Barndo Under $200K

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The first thing to consider about building a barndo under $200k is that you will have to make sacrifices. That means looking at every aspect of your costs and working to minimize them, optimize for long-term durability, and avoiding expensive options.

Let’s take a look at some of the factors involved in building a barndo under $200k. 

Flooring 

Flooring can be one of the most expensive parts of building a home. In fact, many homeowners are shocked to learn that the flooring can cost as much as a slab foundation per square foot and sometimes 10 times the cost of the foundation.

A slab foundation costs about $5-$25 per square foot. On the other hand, even click laminate can cost up to $50 per square foot. Budget options run in at around $2-$5 per square foot. 

What’s your best option? More and more barndo owners are opting for a finished concrete floor rather than a separate floor on top.

That will cut costs to about $2-$6 per square foot for a very durable and low-maintenance floor. That’s comparable to low-end carpet and cheaper than wood and laminate – which both require more maintenance.

What’s the difference? If you install a mid-range laminate at $10 per square foot, you’re paying $20,000 for a floor in your barndo. If you opt for finished concrete, you drop costs down to about $12,000 – but with a much longer lifespan. 

Roofing 

In most cases, your barndo kit should come with standard roofing incorporated into the price tag. Here, many metal building suppliers offer 3 different roofing options. You can actually save about 15-20% on the cost of the roof by opting for a flat roof.

However, flat roofs can require more maintenance over time. Therefore, it’s generally a better idea to opt for at least a slightly sloping roof to ensure you get good drainage and minimize long-term maintenance costs. 

Siding 

In most cases, the basic siding option included with your barndo is more than good enough. If you can get away with that, you’ll save money over going to a more expensive upgrade.

You can opt for designer siding – usually for from about $10 per square foot. That may be necessary if you have to build in an area under an HOA.

On the other hand, opting for insulated paneling may save you money over separately insulating a garage or workshop space. So, it is important to do your research and look at the actual cost of your options, in your area. 

Foundation 

Foundations can cost from about $5 to over $40 per square foot. Here, you’ll probably want to opt for something around $8-$15 per square foot.

Talk with your builder to discuss long-term stability, how thick your slab needs to be, and what footings you need. Then, go with that.

A residential slab is 6” thick and has footings or piers to support the main weight of the building. That should run you about $8 per square foot.

If you want a garage in your building, you’ll have to upgrade that to an 8” foundation – which will provide more stability and may be necessary depending on the ground you’re building on. 

On the other hand, if you’re building in a flood zone or on an elevation, you’ll need a basement or a crawlspace foundation, and that can heavily eat into your budget. You’ll want to aim to avoid those and choose the crawlspace foundation if you absolutely must skip the monolithic slab foundation. 

Erection 

The cost of building erection can cost as much as the building kit itself. Here, you’ll generally get the best deal by either contracting with the manufacturer to have them erect the building for you or having an all-in-one deal with a single general contractor.

The more work you have done by one company, the less it will cost you total. In general, you should budget about $5-$12 per square foot for erection costs – which means that you could spend up to $72,000 pouring the slab and putting the building up. 

Insulation 

Insulation costs anywhere from about $0.7 to over $10 per square foot. Here, you’ll want to research your options and choose for the cheapest option in your area that provides a good R-value-to-thickness ratio. It’s better to have too much rather than too little insulation.

Here, steps like spray foam insulation reinforced with foam board can be the cheapest way to go. You’ll generally pay about $3-$4 per square foot of your home and about $6 per square foot of ceiling for insulation.

Plus, putting foam board insulation in yourself can save you about 50% of the costs. 

Interior Walls 

Drywall remains the cheapest and most cost-efficient way to put in interior walls. Sticking to it will mean you pay about $5 per square foot of interior wall surface. That’s less than half what it costs to put in wood paneling.

However, drywall also means paint or wallpaper and wood paneling doesn’t require that. So, consider what end result you want and work towards finding materials that work for your final look and feel.

Here, you’re almost always going to be better off deciding what you want for the long-term and working it into your budget rather than opting for a mid-term solution – as even cheaper options can be quite a bit expensive. 

Doors and Windows 

Doors and windows can take up a surprisingly large amount of your budget. Often, you can save a significant amount of money by shopping around and looking for deals, finding discount options, or even opting for secondhand doors and windows.

Why? A new door with a frame will likely cost $900+. Windows can run in the hundreds of dollars each. Shopping around during your build and finding something that’s even 10% discounted can save you $1,000 on your full set of doors and windows. 

HVAC 

Your heating and cooling can be a very expensive part of your home. However, the earlier you install, the less it’s likely to cost. For example, some metal building kit manufacturers sell HVAC ventilation kits with their buildings.

You’ll also want to talk to your HVAC installer about the right sizing and choosing something that works with your budget. 

Plumbing 

The shorter your budget is, the more important it is that you buy property where you can connect to the sewage mains. A sewage system with a septic tank will almost always cost you $15,000 or more.

Ensuring that you can connect to the sewer mains means you won’t have to spend that. However, if you do want a home with a septic tank, do your research, install the septic system before the home, and make sure the system is right-sized for your home to avoid unexpected costs. 

Building Kit 

Your building kit will cost $5-$40+ per square foot.

In most cases, you should aim for about $11-$15 per square foot to ensure you have something that is good quality and ready to use. If you pay more, you’re likely paying for extras, wood, or other higher-end materials.

In most cases, you can get the best deals from larger metal building manufacturers. Here, the cheapest options are also almost always the prefabricated kits sold as a standard.

If you want to reduce initial costs as much as possible, you can also look for options that have delivery and the cost of erection worked into the price, because it’s generally cheaper to pay for everything all at once. 

Barndominium Kits Under $200K Estimates

It’s easy to buy a barndominium kit for under $200,000. However, the full cost of building erection, foundation, interior finishing, plumbing, etc., will generally cost more than 10 times the cost of the building itself.

You’ll generally want to expect to pay about $100 per square foot for your barndominium. If you’re in a very urban area, that will likely be around $200 per square foot.

However, in rural areas with cheap labor, those costs can drop to about $70 per square foot – especially if you’re planning to do some of the interior finishing yourself. 

  • Excavation – $2-$15 per cubic yard
  • Foundation – $6-$40 per square foot 
  • Building Kit – $5-$25 per square foot 
  • Erection Crew – $5 per square foot 
  • Insulation – $5 per square foot 
  • Electrical – $4-$9 per square foot
  • Plumbing – $5+ per square foot 

Anything you have left in your budget for that can go to the interior finishing. For most people, that means spending $50 or more per square foot of home you have.

However, rates will vary depending on what kinds of materials you choose. Basic interior finishing runs from $50-$90 per square foot and includes about $10 per square foot for the floor and about $4 per square foot for the drywall. 

So, if you bring all of that together, you can see that, provided you’re very careful with budget, even a very large barndominium is feasible for $200,000. 

Size 24 x 2430 x 40 40 x 60 60 x 70
Kit Cost $5,550-$8,250$8,400-$14,400$16,800-$28,800$29,400-$50,400
Foundation $2,200-$4,950$4,800-$12,000$9,600-$12,800$16,800-$50,400
Interior $8,250-$19,250$18,000-$42,000$36,000-$84,000$63,000-$147,000
Insulation $1,650-$2,200$3,600-$4,800$7,200-$9,600$12,600-$16,800
Systems $9,950-$19,775$15,800-$29,400$26,600-$46,800$41,300-$71,400
Labor $2,750-$8,250$6,000-$18,000$12,500-$36,000$12,600-$63,175
Total $30,300-$62,675$55,600-$120,600$108,700-$218,000$175,700-$407,700

However, it is important to keep in mind that these are estimates. They also assume that you do work yourself, that you shop around and find good deals on materials, and that you’re not paying the maximum rate for labor.

Therefore, achieving the lower value may not be possible in an urban area with an inflated cost of labor. However, it should give you a rough idea of what you can spend on each part of your home to come in on or under budget. 

To Finish

You can easily build a barndominium for under $200,000. However, doing so will require paying attention to budget, not splurging on any part of your build, or going small.

A careful buyer can build an extremely large barndo for that budget – providing you’re willing to shop around and DIY.

If you have a large shop, that will be even easier. And, the smaller your barndominium, the more likely you’ll be able to do whatever you want for that budget. 

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Adam Marcos

Adam Marcos, a veteran with 25+ years in custom home building, now serves as Managing Editor of BarndominiumZone. He passionately helps people on their journey of creating their dream barndo homes, offering valuable insights and practical advice. With a warm and approachable demeanor, Adam inspires readers to embrace unique living spaces that reflect their aspirations. Join him on a transformative adventure, turning ordinary spaces into extraordinary havens of creativity and fulfillment. Experience the magic of bringing visions to life, one barndo at a time.

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