Small Barn House Plans to Consider
Building a small barn house out in the country is a dream for many folks, but construction costs are high right now, and traditional construction techniques for residential construction can sometimes be out of reach for many potential rural homeowners.
Even smaller rural homes built with traditional techniques can be prohibitively expensive and potential rural homeowners can soon be discouraged by the cost and long-building time schedules for new construction.
What many rural home builders need is a simpler, lower-cost means of putting a comfortable, safe, and affordable rural dwelling together. And we have just such a potential technique for consideration.
A very good option for small rural residence construction is post-frame construction. This fast, low-cost construction technique is inspired by barn and workshop projects, which have proven to be very cost-effective. This building system uses much less site preparation work, and the building foundation work is much simpler and much less expensive than traditional techniques.
Post frame building style can give a customer more freedom in planning with an open concept. Materials are readily available, and the construction time can take far less than a typical house build says Trista Cabrera of the Pole Barn Building Department of Dixie Building Supply.
When it comes to planning in the initial stages of a post-frame building project, potential home builders can find some great advice.
“Baker Metal Works and Dixie Supply can be a great source for materials needed for your post-frame project. We do not offer engineered plans as we are a material provider only. We do however work closely with a third-party contractor that is very knowledgeable in what is required in certain areas to be able to build post-frame style with living quarters.” Cabrera said.
When starting the planning process for a rural post-frame home, potential builders will need to keep a few things in mind.
“Check ahead with their local permitting department to make sure that this type of build is permitted in the area. Many areas with HOAS or non-rural areas may not permit a post-frame building with living space. Every county is different and each needs to be contacted before beginning your project,” Cabrera said.
Finding Small Barn House Financing
Financing a post-frame construction rural home is of vital importance, and potential home builders will need to explore many sources of financing. This is true of any rural small house projects, but it is especially true for buildings being planned with post-frame construction in mind.
When it comes to financing the construction of a small post-frame residence, many lenders simply don’t want to get involved with such projects. However, one area lender is eager to help rural landowners who have plans for a rural residence.
“Yes! We finance these structures frequently in our office in Monroeville. They’re often referred to as ‘barndominiums’ or ‘barndos’. We finance smaller homes in rural areas. As long as the property is located outside of any incorporated town/city limits, OR inside a city or town with 2,500 or less in population, we can finance that home,” Morgan Hutcherson, branch manager of the Monroeville Alabama office of Alabama Ag Credit said. “The only other caveat is that it cannot be a home with a value greater than $392,000 (this amount changes each year- stay tuned for 2023 numbers that will be out soon.) This cap only applies to the house itself, not any other outbuildings such as barns, sheds, etc.”
When asked what a potential borrower on a rural post frame home needs to do for a loan on a new building, Hutcherson pointed out that in addition to the normal loan application packet there are other documents that are required.
“We will need the following documents related specifically to the construction. 1. Copy of plans 2. Copy of the draft contract with the builder (has to be licensed), 3. Draw/cost schedule (sometimes a builder includes this in the construction contract, but if not, we will need a copy. 4. ‘set back survey’ this survey is used to show the location of the house relative to the property lines or set back line. If the property is over ten acres, we can generally override this requirement. However, we can start the conversation with you before you have all of this information and walk you through how to obtain these items,” he said.
Hutcherson offered some additional tips.
“The best advice I have is to budget for the project early. Talk to two or three contractors about specifics so that your quoted price is accurate. Ask the contractors what items are included and what’s not ( oftentimes the following are not included- driveways, sidewalks, septic tanks, power/water hookups). Sometimes there are certain allowances for things such as appliances or light fixtures- these allowances don’t always cover the whole cost,” he outlined. “Talk to the local lender about the terms early- loan to value (if your land is free and clear, this can reduce/remove any requirements for you to fund a down payment on the construction, closing costs, how a draw works, etc. By having these conversations early, one can have a much better idea of how much out of pocket expenses may be involved, total cost, and timeline of construction.”
For those interested in more information about a rural barn home loan, “The best way to get this information is to call one of our lenders that serves the area in which the house is located. This information changes almost daily right now in this volatile market, so a local lender can help keep you up to speed on terms,” Hutchinson concluded.