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15 Ways to Save Money When Building a Barndominium

Barndominiums tend to cost less compared to traditional single-family homes. Unfortunately, building a new barndominium from scratch may still exceed your budget.

If you want to build your dream home, you may need to find ways to cut costs without giving up on the features that you want. Here are 15 ways to save money when building a barndominium.

1. Purchase a Barndominium Kit

A barndominium kit cuts costs compared to hiring a contractor or selecting all the materials yourself. A kit includes everything you need, including:

  • Framing
  • Exterior sheeting
  • Trim
  • Fasteners
  • Closures
  • Interior layouts

Many construction companies that specialize in barndominium construction offer barndominium kits. The kits cost less compared to sourcing each item separately. You also save time and energy by receiving everything all at once instead of dealing with multiple shipments.

You can shop around for kits that include the features and layouts you want. You may even alter the design to suit your needs.

men constructing to save money when building a barndominium

2. Build the Barndominium Yourself

Whether you buy a kit or purchase materials separately, you have three main options for carrying out the construction:

  • Build it yourself
  • Act as the general contractor
  • Hire a contractor/construction company

Building the barndominium yourself offers the greatest potential cost savings. You avoid the need to hire a contractor or construction company, including all the laborers and subcontractors used for the project. However, building it yourself also comes with greater risks.

If you do not have experience with home construction, you may make costly mistakes. Not setting the posts correctly or using the wrong fasteners may limit the structural stability of your new barndominium. Fixing these issues later tends to cost much more compared to doing the job right the first time.

3. Act as Your Own General Contractor

If you do not know how to handle all areas of the construction yourself, you could act as your own general contractor. This is also called acting as an owner-builder.

Choosing to act as a general contractor can save money when building a barndominium but comes with more responsibilities. You need to deal with hiring and managing subcontractors. You may need to spend most of the workweek supervising workers, including electricians, plumbers, roofers, and other professionals.

Acting as owner-builder

4. Take on More of the Less-Skilled Jobs

If you act as a general contractor, you do not need to hire subcontractors for every job. Completing some of the less-skilled jobs can save money by limiting the subcontractors working on the project.

For example, if you have experience installing flooring, you can handle the flooring yourself. You could also hire subcontractors to erect the structure and install the electrical and plumbing systems while you handle more of the interior work.

Painting, staining, and landscaping are tasks that you could likely handle yourself instead of hiring someone else.

5. Choose Premade Barndominium Blueprints

Building a barndominium requires you to decide on the size and layout. Instead of buying a kit, you can purchase blueprints or hire an architect.

Stock blueprints are designed by architects and engineers and sold to the public. You do not get a custom layout, but you save money compared to hiring an architect.

6. Buy Ready-to-Assemble Cabinets From Wholesalers

Ready to assemble cabinets

Homeowners spend an average of $2,500 to $24,000 on new kitchen cabinets. Cabinets are often one of the most expensive interior features of the home.

Save money when building a barndominium especially on your cabinets by buying ready-to-assemble (RTA) products directly from wholesalers. You pay a premium price when you buy premade cabinets from a nearby home improvement store. Ordering custom cabinets cost even more.

RTA cabinets include precut parts that are ready for you to assemble. You simply need to assemble the cabinets, hang them, and paint or stain them.

7. Purchase Building Materials and Supplies

If you act as an owner-builder, consider buying the materials and supplies. Traditionally, the subcontractor buys the required materials, which limits your control over the costs.

Choosing to buy materials yourself allows you to shop around for the best value. Subcontractors may also offer a discount when submitting their bids, as they have one less detail to deal with.

8. Use Standard Sizes for Windows and Doors

Barndominiums are often built with steel columns spaced 6 to 12 feet apart. Traditional single-family homes are built with stud wood frames, which include studs every 16 to 24 inches.

The wider spacing allows you to install bigger windows and doors. However, choosing nonstandard sizes may also increase the cost of construction. While you can still opt for a large entry door, choose standard sizes for all other windows and doors.

9. Choose Laminate Flooring Instead of Real Wood

Wood flooring is the most popular type of flooring for the main living areas of a home. It also matches the country and rustic styles that are often found in barndominiums.

If you want wood flooring, choose laminate flooring instead of real wood. Quality laminate flooring closely resembles the real thing but costs much less. It also requires less maintenance and can still last for a decade or longer.

10. Choose the Right Location for Your New Barndominium

Choosing the right location

The location of your barndominium influences the cost of construction in several ways. First, the location determines the availability and proximity of suppliers.

If you choose a plot of land in a remote area, it may cost more to deliver materials and supplies. You may also have a limited selection of subcontractors, keeping you from comparing bids to get the best value.

The cost of materials is also less expensive in some regions. You may spend less by building your home in a state with a lower cost of living.

The location also determines the cost of the land. Unless you already have land for your new barndominium, shop around to find an affordable location.

11. Shop Around for Fixtures and Appliances

Your new barndominium needs lights, switches, sinks, appliances, and other essential items. These items can drive up the cost of barndominium construction.

Always shop around for the best deal on fixtures, appliances, and other interior items. You could even purchase used items to save more money.

Light fixtures, window treatments, and appliances are items that you can always upgrade later. Instead of buying the best of everything, you can choose basic options to save money during construction.

12. Choose to Build a Smaller Barndominium

Reducing the size of your new barndominium is one of the easiest ways to reduce the cost of construction. The base cost of the project is often determined using the square footage of the property.

Barndominiums cost about $30 to $40 per square foot for a new property with basic features. A single-family stud frame home costs an average of $100 to $200 per square foot.

At $30 to $40 per square foot, a 2,000-square foot barndominium may cost $60,000 to $80,000. Reducing the size to 1,800 square feet could shave $6,000 to $8,000 off the price.

13. Look for Builders Who Offer Incentives

Some builders and construction companies offer incentives for projects. Incentives provide savings when you agree to certain conditions.

For example, you may save money on the closing costs by obtaining financing through the builder’s preferred lender. Some builders may also offer incentives for choosing specific materials or design features.

14. Work with an Experienced Contractor

If you decide not to build the barndominium yourself or act as an owner-builder, ensure that you choose the right contractor or construction company. Experienced contractors have a network of dependable subcontractors. They are also insured and licensed, which limits your liability.

The connections and experience allow contractors to get the best rates on materials, supplies, and subcontractors.

Experienced builders pouring concrete

15. Monitor Your Spending and Budget

Always pay close attention to spending to avoid going over budget. People often go over budget when they stop keeping track of every purchase.

When spending tens of thousands of dollars, it becomes easy to overlook spending a few extra dollars here and there. However, small purchases can quickly add up.

Monitoring your spending also allows you to see where each dollar goes. You may realize that some of your early choices are no longer necessary. For example, when you see the breakdown of costs, you may decide to go with a less expensive flooring option or eliminate an expensive feature.

Conclusion

Saving money on new barndominium construction involves paying attention to every area of construction, starting with who you hire to build the structure. Building it yourself increases the risk of mistakes that may require costly repairs. Acting as the owner-builder comes with extra responsibilities that you may not have time for.

In the end, hiring a reputable contractor with experience building barndominiums is often the best way to ensure that you avoid paying too much. A trustworthy contractor will hire reliable subcontractors and keep your project on budget.

Along with these tips, you should also shop around for the right lender. Comparing lenders could result in a construction loan with a slightly lower interest rate, which impacts the total cost of construction and your future mortgage.

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