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Building a Barndominium in Iowa | Best 2023 Guide

The barndominium craze has been sweeping the country for years now, and it’s the perfect time to jump in and build a barndominium of your own. Barndos are great substitutes for traditional buildings, and you, too, can enjoy all the benefits of living in one. 

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about barndominiums, their benefits, and how to build a barndo in Iowa. Allow us to be your partners as you embark on your journey as a barndominium enthusiast. 

Can You Build a Barndominium in Iowa?

Yes, you can construct your barndominium in Iowa. Iowa’s landscape is dominated by rolling hills and flat plains, ideal for building barndominiums. 

Iowa Barndominiums Overview

Barndominiums are dwellings or buildings that look like traditional barns on the outside. Unlike traditional houses, you can use your barndominium as a house, workshop, garage, home office, or a combination of several functions. While earlier barndominiums used steel or metals as their primary building materials, newer barndominiums now use wood, metal, or a combination of several building materials. 

Check our Barndominium 101 Guide to learn more about barndominiums, their different types, and how they stack up against conventional houses. 

Advantages and Disadvantages

Just like other buildings, there are advantages and disadvantages to barndominiums. Knowing about them can help gauge if a barndo is ideal for your needs. 

Advantages

  • They are cheap – Barndominiums are cheaper than conventional houses because they require fewer building materials. If you want to save more, buy a DIY barndo kit and handle the finishing and interiors yourself to save money on labor costs. 
  • They are easy to build – Barndominiums are easier to build and require shorter construction times. If you use a DIY kit, there’s no need to build concrete walls and posts. Just make sure you devote ample time to complete your barndo on schedule. You can connect with members of our Facebook group to ask for tips on how you can easily build your barndo. 
  • They are multi-functional – Unlike traditional homes that are primarily used as dwellings, you can use barndominiums in multiple ways. You can include a huge garage to house your vehicles. You can also leave a large area and turn it into a workshop. Additionally, you can combine your living spaces and work area under one roof. Our Pinterest account has tons of examples of barndominiums that combine form and functionality. 

Disadvantages 

  • They need a larger lot Banrdominiums typically require large lots because the floor space is laid out, unlike traditional houses and buildings that distribute floor areas throughout multiple stories. 
  • They offer limited exterior design options – Barndominiums have similar exteriors, unlike traditional buildings. They all look like barns, hence the name. They also offer a limited selection of exterior materials, unlike houses with concrete, brick, or tile exteriors. 

Regulations

Different counties sometimes have different regulations, so talk to your local building authority to get a list of all regulations and requirements. If you’re building in Washington County, work must commence within 90 days of the issuance of your permit, or else the permit becomes null and void. Pottawattamie County is a bit more forgiving and allows permit holders to start working up to 180 days after the permit issuance. 

Taxes

No matter how much we want, we cannot escape barndominium taxes. Iowa’s average property tax rate is 1.29% of the property’s assessed fair market value. However, different counties may have different tax rates, so give your local tax office a call to get an accurate property tax rate assessment. 

Insurance

The average homeowners’ insurance rate in Iowa is around $1,502 per year for a house with an assessed value of $250,000. Although states do not require homeowners to get an insurance policy, you must get one if you plan to take a loan. Your barndominium insurance covers the repair and reconstruction of your barndominium if needed. 

Financing

Working with a local bank or lending company can help you build your barndominium. Speak with different banks or lenders to get a favorable barndominium financing deal. Just steer clear of the terms barndo or barndominium since not all banks recognize the said terms.

Home State Bank Iowa

Home State Bank Iowa has a loan office in Ankeny, Iowa, and offers construction loans to customers. 

Iowa Savings Bank

Iowa Savings Bank has been operating since 1902 and offers loans for house constructions or purchasing land or a vehicle. 

Builders

The quality of your barndominium depends on the builder who will construct it for you. An expert builder can complete a barndo with minimal expenses and without sacrificing quality. Try getting a quote from several barndominium builders to land a competitive rate. 

Davis and Reed Homes

A full-service building company for residential and commercial projects. 

Grenier Buildings

Builder of luxury post-frame buildings in Iowa and Illinois.

Eastern Iowa Building

Contractor of pole buildings, post-frame buildings, farm buildings, and metal homes. 

You can also check our list of the top barndominium contractors that build in most states across the US, including Iowa. 

Kit Providers

If you want to go the DIY route, you need to find a trustworthy kit provider that supplies high-quality kits at affordable prices. 

Eastern Iowa Building

Aside from being a building contractor, Eastern Iowa Building also acts as a supplier for Lester Buildings.

QE Building Co.

A Colorado-based manufacturer of metal buildings with a manufacturing plant in Monticello, Iowa. 

Rigid Global Buildings

Iowa supplier of metal buildings for barndominiums, self-storage, and agricultural buildings. 

You can also check our list of companies that supply barndominium kits to most states, including Iowa.

Cost

Barndominiums are often cheaper than traditional homes, especially if you use a pre-fabricated kit. A 40x50x16 metal building kit from QE Buildings costs $30,499. Needless to say, you need to factor in labor costs, the size of the building, the type of materials, and interior finishing to accurately compute barndominium pricing. Home Builder Digest pegs the cost to build a house in Iowa in the $500,000 to $600,000 range. We also have a barndominium cost calculator if you want to check how much your dream barndo might cost. 

Where Can You Build a Barndo in Iowa?

Small towns like Le Claire, Decorah, Pella, and Mount Vernon are excellent for building your barndominium. Small rural towns have welcoming atmospheres, gorgeous landscapes, and a relaxing vibe perfect for the barndo life. 

3 Things to Consider Before Building a Barndominium in Iowa

No matter how eager you are to start building your barndominium, there are some things you need to consider for a successful project. Here are some key factors you need to keep in mind. 

Areas for improvement

Ask yourself what you don’t like in your current house to know what to improve when you build your barndo. If you wish you have more bathrooms, then add more. If you love cooking, but your current kitchen is inadequate, plan a bigger and more modern kitchen for your barndominium. 

How do you see yourself in the future?

Will you retain your current lifestyle, or are you anticipating changes? If you see yourself starting a family soon, plan a kid-friendly house and add provisions for more bedrooms. If you’ve always wanted to start a woodwork business, set aside a workshop area in your barndominium. 

What is the style of your dream barndo?

Although barndominiums look the same on the outside, you can design the interior to your liking. Do you fancy a modern barndo or a rustic interior? Is Japandi more your style, or do you prefer Bohemian? Plan so you can source the right materials for your dream barndominium interior. 

Is it Worth Building a Barndo in Iowa?

Yes, it is worth building a barndo in Iowa. It has a fantastic landscape of expansive plains perfect for barndominiums. It also has scenic views and friendly communities. Check our collection of barndominium floor plans that might come in handy when designing your barndominium in Iowa. We also have an article that explains the entire barndominium construction process in detail to guide you as you build your barndominium. The world of barndo living awaits you!