If you want a home that’s easy to maintain and quick and affordable to build, a barndominium is an excellent choice. In Arkansas, it’s legal to build a barndo, and in many cases, it’s far more affordable than building a traditional home or even buying a home.
But how do you build a barndominium in Arkansas? What is the process like, and how much does it cost?
How To Build a Barndominium in Arkansas
Prior to 2019, Arkansas had some pretty strict rules for custom homes. But after the signing of Act 446, residents have more freedom when building their homes. Essentially, the new bill reduced city and county authority over construction preferences.
Building a barndo is much easier today in Arkansas than it was just a few years ago. While you may have more freedom, you’ll still need to ensure that you’re meeting the following:
State building codes (including Volume I, II and III)
The Arkansas Energy Code
In Arkansas, you’re free to do your own HVAC, electrical and plumbing work as long as it meets the state’s building codes.
Step 1 – Purchase Land
Before you can build a barndo, you’ll need to buy a piece of land. Unless you’ve inherited land or were gifted a piece of property, you’ll need to find a suitable plot for your goals.
Now is the time to start dreaming and thinking about:
What type of barndo you want
How large the home will be
How you want to use the property
When searching for land, here are a few things to consider:
Is the lot buildable? Consider bringing a contractor with you to determine feasibility.
Are there utilities nearby (water, sewer, electricity, internet)? If not, how much will it cost to bring utilities? Is it even possible?
If you need to install a septic, consider getting a perc test to ensure that the site is suitable for a septic system.
Is there access to the property?
Does the property have things you want, such as a water source (creek, river, etc.), views or privacy?
Make your decision carefully. Purchasing land is a risky venture. If you’re intimidated by the process, consider purchasing a lot that’s ready for building. Check to see if there’s an HOA, and if so, will they allow you to build a barndominium?
Step 2 – Find and Compare Barndominium Builders in Arkansas
Once you have a piece of land that’s suitable for building, you’ll need to start looking at barndo builders in Arkansas.
There are many barndominium builders in the state (we’ll share a few great ones shortly). When looking at builders, consider:
Whether they offer custom homes (if that’s something you want)
Whether they offer turnkey service, or if you’ll have to find a contractor or do the building yourself
Of course, you want to make sure that the builder has the barndo that you’re looking for or the ability to create the home you want.
Step 3 – Obtain Permits
To build a home, you’ll need permits. Every city has its own requirements for permitting and other legal red tape that you’ll need to go through to get your barndo built.
If you’re working with a contractor or using a turnkey service, they will likely handle this part of the process for you. Otherwise, you’ll need to contact your local building department to find out what you’ll need to start building your barndo.
The permitting process can take quite a bit of time, so be patient. Depending on your city and how complicated the process is, it can take several months.
Step 4 – Prepare the Building Site
Once you’ve settled on a builder and have all of the necessary permits to start working, you can begin preparing your building site.
Depending on the extent of the work, this process can also take quite some time. Site work may include:
Digging and excavating
Running utility lines
Installing a septic
Drilling a well
If you have access to city water and sewer, you won’t have to worry about the last two points. However, it can still take some time to connect to the main city water and sewer lines. The process will also require digging.
Step 5 – Build and Move In
Once your site is ready for your barndo, construction can begin, and you’re one step closer to moving in.
What is the Average Cost Paid For A Barndo in Arkansas?
Building a barndo in Arkansas will likely be cheaper than building a stick-built home. However, the costs will depend on a number of factors, including:
Your location in Arkansas. Labor costs may be higher in some areas than in others.
The size of the barndo. Is it multiple stories?
The complexity of the design.
The materials and finishes you choose.
Other factors will also come into play and affect the overall cost of the barndo, such as:
The extent of the site work. The more work your property needs, the higher the overall cost.
The cost of running utilities. Depending on how far away the nearest lines are, it may cost you hundreds or tens of thousands of dollars to get connected to utilities.
But what about the barndo itself? In this case, we have a little more data that we can use to estimate costs.
Generally, barndominiums cost:
This figure is an overall average. In Arkansas, barndos can cost:
$90-$110 per square foot
In 2020, building a stick-built home in Arkansas cost, on average, $100-$155 per square foot.
Barndos are significantly cheaper, but costs can easily exceed a stick-built home if you want a complicated structure, high-end finishes and luxury additions.
That being said, the lower overall cost of a barndo gives you a little more flexibility to add in a few features or higher-end finishes that you wouldn’t have been able to add with a traditional home.
What About Financing?
Until recently, it wasn’t easy to finance a barndominium through a traditional bank mortgage. But, while it’s still challenging, more banks are extending loans due to the growing popularity of these homes, especially in Arkansas.
In some cases, builders can connect buyers with lenders who will finance their barndo. Contact local banks to see if they offer financing for this type of structure and if not, whether they know a lender who can.
You may have to pay a higher interest rate when financing a barndo, but some banks now treat these structures as traditional homes. Compare your options.
Of course, if you have the cash on hand, it’s much less of a hassle and much easier to get the process going.
Arkansas Barndominium Builders
While there are many barndo builders in Arkansas, some of the top companies include:
Myrick Construction, Inc. is fully licensed, bonded and insured. The owner has been in the building industry for more than 45 years. They offer a wide range of buildings, including barndos and other residential structures.