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Ultimate Guide to Building Barndominium in Arkansas

Have you always loved the high ceilings, unlimited space, rustic charm and flexibility of a barn, and secretly dreamed of living in one?

Well, with the rise of barndominiums all over the country, more and more people are building their metal barns, mixing their love for traditional barns with architectural and interior design elements fit for modern living.

If you have a lot in Arkansas or have decided to raise your kids in the Natural State and are wondering if it’s possible to build barndos here, this comprehensive guide is for you.

Advantages of Building Barndominiums in Arkansas

Many residential areas in Arkansas have flat terrains, which make building barndominiums in the state an ideal option. Aside from this, other benefits of barndos in Arkansas include:

  • Open floor plans – Metal barns in Arkansas are built with open floor plans, which are known to have improved real estate value that appreciate about 7% a year. Open floor plans also offer better traffic flow, improved light, sociability and communication amongst residents.
  • Unlimited customization – The flexibility of open floor plans also means spaces can be multifunctional and customized heavily (not only structurally but also in terms of interior design). 
  • Quicker build – Many of the foundations of a barndominium are available prefabricated, precast, and prebuilt, which can be cheaper than the traditional methods of building foundations. 
  • Cheaper build – Since parts of the construction are already prebuilt when it arrives on your lot, the entire building process would be quicker and as a result, ends up being much more affordable. 

Barndominiums Prices In Arkansas

The cost of barndominiums is dependent on how big or small your floor plan looks like, how many floors and rooms, square footage, and if you decide to build from an existing barn (use prefab foundations or build from scratch). 

Traditional Arkansas homes cost $100 to $150 per square foot, while barndominiums cost about $90 to $110 per square foot. That $10 to $50 per square foot difference could add up especially if you’re building a large-scale modern barn.

You have control over appliances and customization, which could increase or decrease the total cost of your project as well. 

Barndominiums Building Regulations in Arkansas

Arkansas used to have many building restrictions for customized homes. In March 2019, this all changed when Act 446 of 2019 bill was signed. 

This bill “prohibits county and city regulation of matters of home construction appearance such as size, placement, and architectural styling of windows, doors and garages.” In effect, the bill was able to reduce the authority cities and counties had over a homeowner’s home construction preferences, such as the minimum square footage and decorative building material, among other things.

Barndominiums follow regular building regulations except if the project is large scale and the homeowners might need additional permits such as septic site, environmental impact, engineered civil site, and so on). Note that all homes must also meet: 

  • The Arkansas Energy Code (adopted and required by the Arkansas Energy Office), 
  • The Arkansas Building Code (adopted by the State Fire Marshal’s office). This includes 3 parts: Volume I (Fire Code), Volume II (Building Code), and Volume III (Residential Code).

In the Great State of Arkansas, a private citizen can still do his or her own Plumbing, Electrical and HVAC if they could ensure that the work meets the building code.

Barndominium Financing in Arkansas

The biggest downside to barndominiums is that conventional financing options do not consider barndominiums as real houses. 

Banks and financial institutions use data for multiple houses of similar sizes and features within a particular area to make comparisons and come up with a proper mortgage rate. Because barndominiums are still increasing in number, but still not comparable to the number of traditional homes, it is more challenging to find barndominium financing in Arkansas. 

As barndos gain popularity in Arkansas, more financing options are likely to become available as well. But for now, your best option is to go through farm credit lenders, such as Farm Credit Associations of Arkansas or AgHeritage Farm Credit

As traditional financial institutions, appraisers of farm credit lenders would evaluate your barndo plan and personal details (credit score, current situation, or whether you own the land or not), weigh the factors and determine whether a loan can be made. 

Where to Build a Barndominium in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, barndominiums have been constructed in cities like Little Rock, Fort Smith, Springdale, Jonesboro, Hot Springs, Jacksonville, Blytheville, El Dorado, West Memphis, and many more. 

If you’re building a barndominium in Arkansas from scratch and is still on the hunt for a piece of land for your barndo, here are some guidelines you need to know: 

  • Size. Find land with enough space for your metal barn. 
  • Location accessibility. You might have found land that is massive for your project, but it should also be within a reasonable distance to your workplace, your kid’s school, the grocery/market, and other essentials. 
  • Access roads. It’s okay to build your barndo away from the city but make sure you find a property that still has access roads. This ensures going to the hospital for emergencies, or letting fire trucks reach you, is possible.
  • Property zoning – Check if the land is zoned for residential use, commercial use, or both. And because you’re building a metal barn house, you have to make sure of the zoning regulations when it comes to property setbacks, maximum house size, and requirements for detached structures. 
  • Environmental hazards in the region. Is the city known for hurricanes? earthquakes? Understand that these conditions could increase barndo insurance and might be an unexpected expense for you. 
  • Accessibility to public utilities. Just like access to roads, going it rough in the serenity of nature is all and good until you’ll need service to gas, water, sewer or electricity. Check if the area has public utilities to accommodate your barndominium in Arkansas. 

Understanding these regulations before you buy a patch of land for your barndo in Arkansas may not seem important now, but once you’re building the metal barns, it could affect your entire plan. In worse cases, this could even result in totally crapping the barndominium plans completely. 

Also, note that the land is financed separately from your actual barndominium construction cost.  

Barndominium Builders in Arkansas

Barndos can be a do-it-yourself project if you have extensive construction experience since the science behind building barndominiums is very similar to building traditional houses.

If not, it is best to hire builders servicing Arkansas locations. Here are some companies to check out: 

  1. Pole Barns of Arkansas
  • Contact: 501-500-6474 | Little Rock, AR 72206
  • Founded in 2016 by Tyler Malott, Pole Barns of Arkansas build metal buildings and houses in Central Arkansas. The company is new, but it is licensed, insured, bonded and BBB accredited.
  1. Morton Buildings Inc.
  • Contact: 800-447-7436 | 252 W. Adams St. Morton, IL 61550-1804
  • Family-owned turned employee-owned Morton Buildings has been around since 1903 and has been deep in the construction industry with massive manufacturing facilities in 6 locations. The company produced high-quality barndominium components. 
  1. United Built Homes
  • Contact: 800.585.575 | 2790 South Thompson Street, Suite 102 Springdale, AR 
  • United Built Homes has built over 50,000 homes in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas since 1958. UBH is different than other builders since the company has in-house financing, which makes it easier for homeowners planning to build barndominiums. 
  1. Countrywide Barns and Buildings
  • Contact: +1 800-615-9720 | 1020 Industrial Dr #20, Pleasant View, TN 37146) 
  • Countrywide Barns & Buildings is a company that services many locations around the country (not just Arkansas), but offers customizations, floor plans and financing for homeowners interested in building a barndominium. 
  1. McElroy Metal
  • Contact:  800.950.6531 | CommercialCS@mcelroymetal.com
  • McElroy Metal is a third-generation family owned metal manufacturing business with history going back to 1963. The company offers substrates, roofing and other components used in a typical barndominium. They’ll point you to the right local contractor and provide all materials needed for your metal barn plan.

If you’re going the route of a metal manufacturing company or other equipment providers, you can check providers like DC Builders, SteelCo Buildings, Worldwide Steel Buildings and other similar companies that provide prefabricated barndominium kits all around the country. 

Is a Barndo in Arkansas Right For You?

Building barndominiums in Arkansas is becoming more and more popular, thanks to the flexibility and quicker-than-average build time. While the materials used in a barndo project can also add up like a traditional house construction, many of the components of a metal barn can be prefabricated. If this is something you need, due to time or budget constraints, barndominiums would be a good option for you.

Many residential areas in Arkansas could accommodate a barndo. But if your parcel of land is located in terrains not ideal for barns or housing, there’s a good chance it wouldn’t be ideal for barndos as well. 

Just like in a traditional house construction, asking if barndominiums is right or wrong for you boils down to personal preference, regulations required by the state of Arkansas and city ordinances. 

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