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Building Your Dream Home: A Beginner’s Guide to Custom Pole Barn Homes

You’re ready to take the next big step in your life and move into a better home. But you don’t want a cookie-cutter house that lacks the unique character and charm you desire. Building a custom pole barn home could be the ideal solution!

Pole barn homes are versatile and affordable, and they enable you to add your own personal touch to the design. But taking on a custom home build can be overwhelming, to say the least. That’s why Hansen Pole Buildings has compiled this beginner’s guide to help you navigate the thrilling-but-challenging process!

Why Build a Custom Pole Barn Home?

You might have noticed that pole barn homes are steadily rising in popularity. First, they are more affordable than traditional homes, because they require fewer materials to build, a simpler construction process, and reduced labor costs. Plus, pole barn homes are incredibly versatile, allowing for endless design possibilities to fit individuals’ and families’ unique needs.

Then there’s the fact that pole barn homes are an excellent option for anyone looking for a DIY project. If you enjoy putting in some sweat equity, there’s no better path for you!

How To Set a Budget

Establishing a budget for your custom pole barn build is a critical step in the planning process. Still, it can be difficult to determine the precise costs.

A professional contractor can give you a general estimate, but note that the final price will depend on the size, materials used, and any additional features you want in your home. Your new build could begin at anywhere between $7,000 and $100,000. The best approach is to research the current price per square foot, calculate the total square feet you will need, and multiply that by your estimated cost per square foot.

Getting a Construction Loan 

Once you’ve determined your budget, you’ll need to finance your custom pole barn home. One of the most common loan types for building a new home is a construction-to-permanent loan.

This type of loan takes you through the construction phase and automatically switches to a traditional mortgage upon the home’s completion. Before applying for a loan, be sure to have your financial documents organized, including proof of income, assets, debts, and expenses. Keep in mind that it can be harder to secure a construction loan than some other loan types, so carefully assess your appeal as a borrower as you prepare.

The Most Important Features To Consider

Designing your custom pole barn home is perhaps the most exciting part of the process. But it’s easy to become overwhelmed with so many options. Remember to prioritize the most important features that will make your home functional and comfortable for you and your family. Some of these may include the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, open concept or closed floor plan, and indoor-outdoor living spaces.

You might also consider incorporating a home office into your pole barn home design. Along with increasing your home’s value, having an inspiring office can significantly improve your work experience and overall life. Just be sure to choose a location with plenty of natural light so you can maximize your productivity and boost your health in the process!  

How To Identify the Perfect Property

Choosing the right property for your custom pole barn home is crucial, so take your time and do your due diligence. Consider these factors when scouting:

Also, evaluate the slope and soil type to ensure it’s suitable for a pole barn foundation. Above all, make sure the property is the appropriate size for your desired home, including parking, outdoor space, and any outbuildings you may want to add in the future.

Wrapping Up

Building a custom pole barn home is an exciting journey, and it can be more rewarding than it is challenging if you plan properly. Knowing the benefits of building a pole barn home, setting a reasonable budget, obtaining financing, and prioritizing the right features will help you get off to a strong start. And remember to carefully assess a property before committing to it!

Would you like to read more helpful content or browse our leading selection of barn and

pole building kits? Visit HansenPoleBuildings.com today!

Pole Building Price for Size

Welcome to Ask the Pole Barn Guru – where you can ask questions about building topics, with answers posted on Mondays.  With many questions to answer, please be patient to watch for yours to come up on a future Monday segment.  If you want a quick answer, please be sure to answer with a “reply-able” email address.

Email all questions to: PoleBarnGuru@HansenPoleBuildings.com

 DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can you sell in Custer county Oklahoma?


DEAR OKAY: Yes. Also in every other county, parish, city, town, state and any other designation within the United States.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I am interested in building a pole building home and started to look at a floor layout.  Where can I find information for the most economical length and width dimension for a home of 1600 to 2000 square feet?  This information would be helpful to help me request a quote for a build. ORIGINAL IN OREGON

DEAR ORIGINAL: You will find a pole building price is very reasonable, as pole barns are the most economical form of permanent construction for any type of building. When it comes to your new home, post frame construction (pole buildings) provide some other benefits – ease and speed of construction, ultimate flexibility of design due to virtually unlimited clearspans, plus energy efficiency from the deep wall cavities created with minimal thermal transmissions from framing members which are attached to both exterior and interior wall surfaces.

Dimensionally, you are best to work from combining room locations to best fit with your ease of use – then surround those spaces with exterior walls. Width and length dimensions which are in multiples of three feet and evenly divided by either 10 or 12 will give the most bang for your buck in a pole building price.  However the savings results in differences of a few pennies per square foot, not dollars.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Hello, Regarding a 62 x 40 building, similar to your project #04-0509. Have you ever sold any similar buildings in the Los Angeles area? Will the building meet residential building codes? This would be for a RV/Garage/Apartment replacing an existing Barn/Garage on my property.


DEAR LARGE: Thank you very much for your interest in a new Hansen Pole Building. We’ve provided similar buildings in every state in the United States, although not necessarily directly in the Los Angeles area. We have never had any client be unable to obtain a structural permit in Los Angeles county (or any other jurisdiction in the United States). Any post frame (pole building) can be designed to be able to meet residential building codes – however the scope of our design will be limited to the actual structural components themselves. Any energy calculations required, would need to be provided by your HVAC provider. You will need to consider the fire separation aspects between the mixed uses (garage/living space) which would be applicable to any form of construction.

One nice thing about post frame construction – due to the light weight of the structure, it is highly resistant to the effects of seismic events – making them ideal for highly earthquake prone events.

Your first step should be to contact your Planning Department, to see if you have the ability to construct a building of these (or similar) dimensions, where you want to place it.

Mike the Pole Barn Guru

Saving Money on Building a New Pole Building

The ‘net is a scary place

More “True Confessions” from the Pole Barn Guru….I am a ‘net surfer. Yep, I scour the internet for almost anything I can find on construction related topics (especially pole building related). I have Google Alerts set up so I get notified of almost anything new posted regarding pole buildings, pole barns or post frame buildings.

When I stumbled across an article about “cost-cutting methods” for saving money on building a new pole building, I was totally compelled to read it.

shocked faceAnd then I had to sit down, before I passed out…..

I could hardly believe anyone would seriously advocate the majority of these methods. I am hoping, dear reader, most will be avoided by you, or anyone you care about.

Cut your costs even more with these ideas:”

Idea #1 “Use old telephone poles instead of buying new poles”.

Not to belabor a point, but properly pressure preservative treated columns are a cost effective solution and will last a lifetime. For more reading on why using old telephone poles is a bad idea: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/11/utility-poles/

 Idea #2 “Use inexpensive galvanized  steel for the roofing and siding

Heck, why not just use recycled steel siding? Just because it has holes in it already?

At my house, if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. And if I was to put up a new building with bare galvanized steel roofing OR siding on it, Mama would not be happy….for a very long time. Don’t be a fool….pre-painted steel panels are generally just a few cents per square foot more than ones which are not painted.

 Idea #3 “Standard building lumber typically is least expensive in 8-foot sheets, so design your barn or building in 8-foot sections.”

 I hate to pick on an author too much, but …… lumber does not come in sheets!

For buildings which will be sided with T1-11 or similar wood or cement based panels, the most cost effective size is four feet wide by eight feet tall. However, steel siding panels are going to be not only more economical, but more durable.

Want to be most cost effective for dimensions? Width and length dimensions which are multiples of two AND evenly divided by three, will give the most bang for the buck. In the great majority of instances, placing wall columns ever 12 feet with the roof trusses or rafters bearing directly upon the columns will be the most cost efficient.

 Idea #4 “Consider using trusses from old buildings. Make sure, however, that they are the correct size, and are uniform in size.”

 No, nada, nyet, nein….no way, no how. Coming from 17 years of pre-fabricated roof truss manufacturing plant ownership – DO NOT DO THIS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

(Also – do not buy roof trusses of indeterminate age which have been laying covered or uncovered in someone’s back yard or side lot)

And one may ask, why not? Besides the obvious – they are full of nail and other fastener holes from previous installation….

A plethora of money has been spent on research as to how wind and snow loads effect roof trusses. And with this, each new edition of the International Building Code (every three years), seemingly brings along with it new methods for the applications of loads to trusses.

Even a totally pristine truss, which was built under a previous code, may very well not meet the newer Code requirements for withstanding loads.

And (unless reliably inspected by a registered design professional), how would an individual know for certain the spacing the trusses were designed for, or the bracing requirements?

Idea #5 “Instead of paying for the barn all at once, build it in stages, adding stalls, lofts, or additional space on later, as time and money allow.”

 In a certain sense, there is some truth to this, with caveats:

Planning on adding a loft? The footings will probably need to be of larger diameter, in order to distribute the weight of the not only the loft floor, but what will be placed on top of it. Often, larger dimension columns are required to support the extra weight.

How about adding “side sheds”? Footing sizes come into play here as well. It also negates the advantages of having a single continuous run of roof steel. Splices never lay smoothly and afford a potential for leaks, as well as lack of proper load transfer, if not screwed adequately.

If you are going to build it in stages – fine, as long as you are designing the original structure to support those future changes.

Idea #6 “Have an old-fashioned barn-raising and invite friends to help.”

 Now this is the one good piece of advice in the article. Hiring a professional to construct a building will typically add 50% or more to the cost of materials. With specific plans and great instructions, the average building owner and his or her buddies can successfully construct a far nicer finished product than can ever be bought from a builder .

Why? Because it is yours, you care.

Idea #7 “Attend auctions to watch for windows, doors, and other items that you can use, rather than buying new.”

 This is generally a case of penny wise and pound foolish.

Windows – there are some places which have never before used vinyl windows of odd sizes which have integrated J channels. As long as one can stand some unique dimensions, this is a great opportunity. Avoid flanged only, or no flanged windows, as they will require J Channel and extra work in hopes they will not leak after installation. Better quality new windows, also come with manufacturer’s warrantees.

 Used doors?

Again, no warrantees and chances are – someone else’s problems are being purchased. Used doors do not come with CARFAX®, there is generally a reason these used doors have been replaced. And no guarantees of having all of the pieces necessary to make an overhead or sliding door work properly.

My caution – please do not believe everything you read on the ‘net. Even from me, who has been touted as the  pole barn “expert”, I am not infallible. Do due diligence, question everything, and use the one most crucial element…..

Common sense.

Pole Buildings & Internet Sales Tax

Pole Buildings & Internet Sales Tax

Pole Building Sales TaxHansen Pole Buildings sells pole building kit packages and materials directly from our website. We collect sales taxes from clients who are building in South Dakota and Washington states, but not from people who live in other states. Under the law, states can only require businesses to collect sales taxes if they have a physical presence (also known as nexus) in the state.

As a result, many online sales are essentially tax-free.

But the purchases aren’t really tax free under the law.

Buy anything on the Internet lately without paying sales tax? In all but a few states, you’re probably a tax cheat.

That’s right, even if Internet retailers don’t collect internet sales tax at the time of the purchase; you’re required by law to pay it in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

In states with sales taxes, if you buy something from an out-of-state retailer and don’t pay taxes, you are supposed to pay those taxes when you file your state tax return, said Neal Osten, director the Washington office of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Only Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon have no sales tax. Alaska has no state sales tax but does have local ones.

Here’s the problem for states: hardly anyone pays the tax, and there’s not much states can do about it.

Unpaid sales taxes are usually referred to as “use taxes” on state income tax returns. Use taxes apply to purchases made over Internet, from catalogs, television and radio ads and purchases made directly from out-of-state companies. State officials, however, complain few people pay these taxes, Olsten said.

“I do know about three people that comply with that,” says Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming.

As I am writing this, the Senate has just passed a bill Monday (sponsored by Enzi) making it easier for states to collect sales taxes for online purchases. While some of the nation’s largest retailers are rejoicing, businesses such as ours worry we will be swamped by new requirements from faraway states.  Many small businesses will be forced into a position of having to add another employee or employees, in order to keep up with the added burdens of collecting and remitting taxes, along with all of the extra paperwork, to jurisdictions all over the country.

Enzi’s bill would empower states to require businesses to collect taxes for products they sell on the Internet, in catalogs and through radio and TV ads. Under the bill, the internet sales tax would be sent to the states where a shopper lives.

Businesses with less than $1 million a year in out-of-state sales would be exempt.

Opponents say the bill doesn’t do enough to protect small businesses. EBay wants to exempt businesses from collecting internet sales tax with less than $10 million in sales or fewer than 50 employees.

“Complying and living under the tax laws of 50 states is a major undertaking because the process of complying with tax law goes far beyond just filling out the right forms,” said Brian Bieron, eBay’s senior director of global public policy. “You have to deal with the fact that all of these government agencies can audit you and can question you and can actually take you into court and sue you if they think you are doing something wrong.”

Our position – we always encourage our clients to contact their local taxing authority and to pay any use taxes due on their purchase, internet sales tax or otherwise. We do not believe in tax avoidance; however we also do not believe it is fair to place the burden of multi-state tax collection upon businesses such as ours. The added cost of staffing, means increased costs to our clients, all to pay for the collection of taxes!