Many people decide to move into rural areas and live on the land they own and farm. When there’s already an existing house, there’s no problem. But, sometimes, no home is available, or the existing one is derelict.
But how much does building a farmhouse on your land cost?
A typical modern farmhouse costs on average $80-$200/sq. ft., depending on which state you live in and several other factors. Therefore, an area of around 2,000 sq. ft. costs approximately $160,000-$400,000.
If you farm horses, livestock, or crops, they need someone nearby to tend them and prevent theft. Therefore, building a farmhouse for you and your family is ideal.
But, you can construct a farmhouse even if you don’t farm. After all, the farmhouse style developed over the last 200 years to be the ultimate in practicality.
It can be built almost anywhere and now speaks to the pioneer within all of us.
*Disclaimer: The research in this article was correct as of July 2022. Where possible, we’ve linked to sources throughout the guide.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Farmhouse?
How much does it cost to build a farmhouse? To find a solution, you must consider several factors that affect the overall cost.
Your farm’s location is a significant factor. The land cost in each state varies with how urban it is and the state’s land area, among other factors.
Consider Texas, for example. It’s the second largest state in the US, so you’d expect a significant difference in land prices across its area.
The following things to consider are the local building codes. Every state has its version, and there might be local city or county variations.
Next, we look at the local builders. Do you live in a high-wage area? If so, your final bill will be more than someone building in a low-wage region.
Also, unions are popular in some states and will have higher labor costs than in a non-unionized state.
There are several things to consider when deciding the type of architecture for your farmhouse.
- Take into account the climate. Regions with extreme weather conditions such as snow, tornadoes, floods, and drought need to include specific architectural features to reduce the effects on your home. Your architect will be aware of what to do.
- What type of house do you want? Is it a single or double-story? These depend on the aesthetics, your available land, and your budget. Also, you might be limited to specific architecture by the local building codes.
- Will your house be of modular design or stick-built? A modular house consists of panels prepared in a factory and ready for assembly on-site. In contrast, a stick-built house has frames built on site. Generally, modular houses are more affordable if you choose a simple structure and stick to the manufacturer’s ready-made plans. However, if you want it customized, go for a stick-built. Furthermore, modular houses are better if you expect bad weather, as they’re quickly assembled and soon watertight. Typically, a standard modular house costs $80-$160/sq. ft. In contrast, an equivalent sized stick-built house costs $100-$210/sq. ft.
- Do you need a basement? Basements are useful for storage or as extreme weather refuges. But, its feasibility depends on the geology of the area. Cellars built into bedrock or areas with a high water table cost more to complete than those in easily worked ground conditions.
The quality of the interior fixtures, fittings, and finishes makes a house into a home. Once the house shell is watertight, it’s possible to make the inside look good.
The rooms we expect to have in a farmhouse include:
- Mudroom with outdoor wear closets
- Laundry room
- Bedrooms with en-suite washing/shower rooms and built-in closets
- Living room
- Dining room
- Family bathroom
- Basement or cellar
The components that make these rooms habitable include:
- Central heating
- Blinds or drapes
- Bathroom fixtures and fittings
- Kitchen cupboards, countertops, and appliances
- Painted plaster and woodwork
- Internal doors and screens
Some components are optional. But, depending on your spending, you can have a relatively humble dwelling or a magnificent ranch. The choice is yours.
The exterior components are the features that make the outside attractive while protecting the interior from weather damage, keeping the occupants dry, warm, and cozy.
- Siding – usually vertical or horizontal vinyl or wood boards
- Double-glazed windows – PVC or wood
- Exterior doors – hardwood or PVC
- Roof – shingle, slate, corrugated metal
- Chimney – brick or metal
- Porch – front and rear
- Dormer windows
The amount you spend on exterior components depends on your budget, the local weather, and personal preferences.
Cost per Square Feet
The following table shows approximate estimated costs, in Texas, for two types of farmhouses of varying sizes.
|Farmhouse Size||Average Cost|
|1,600 sq. ft.||$130,000-$250,000||$160,000-$320,000|
|1,800 sq. ft.||$145,000-$270,000||$180,000-$360,000|
|2,000 sq. ft.||$160,000-$300,000||$200,000-$400,000|
|2,500 sq. ft.||$200,000-$380,000||$250,000-$500,000|
The most popular farmhouse has an area of around 2,000 sq. ft.
You need permits to carry out different types of work. Each one has different requirements and covers specific building codes. Finally, the project needs inspections to ensure compliance with the codes.
Furthermore, the permit fees vary depending on the state and the building code. For Texas, permit prices range from $0.08-$0.40/sq. ft.
Most areas in Texas also require separate permits for plumbing, sewers, electrical and mechanical, which cost $50-$200 each. Ask your local permit office for their prices.
Plumbing and Electrical
Every house needs water, drainage, and electricity. Even if you generate electricity from solar panels or wind turbines, you still need an electrician to wire the house and connect the generators. Similarly, you need a plumber to design and install the drainage and water pipes.
Many farmhouses are miles from the nearest public utility supplies, so they’re off-grid. They receive water from a well or Artesian pump and send waste to a septic tank. Probably, you’ll find plumbers specializing in these.
Many people forget about supplying utilities to livestock sheds. Animals need fresh water, some way of removing waste, and heating in the winter.
You’ll also need electric lighting when visiting your animals after dark. Ensure the sheds have outdoor-rated circuit breakers and connect to water, electricity, and drainage.
To build a farmhouse in any US state, you need professional input, even if you do most work yourself. The local and state governments insist on qualified and licensed professionals doing specific work.
Even though they’re entirely different, let’s consider plumbers and electricians together. They’re specialist trades that require training before being called competent. Also, they charge similar fees for their work.
In all states, they must be licensed or registered with the local government as a plumber or electrician before trading. Otherwise, poor quality work causes severe property damage and injury or death.
Confirm with your regional government offices the requirements for all trades and professionals on your project.
Labor rates vary by state, and you should familiarize yourself with the accepted charges in your area. In Texas, professionals in the construction industries charge the following amounts for their services.
|Trade/Profession||Hourly Labor Rate|
Insurance during the farmhouse build is essential to cover for potential problems. But don’t leave it to the builder to have insurance and assume you’re covered.
Also, check the small print for a list of exclusions, and in the future, ensure you update your insurance regularly.
House builders usually carry “Builder’s Risk” insurance or an equivalent. This covers the builder if damage occurs during construction. Such as:
- Wind damage
- Fallen trees
But, this only covers the builder; it doesn’t cover you, the owner. Always have cover to protect your land and property, including parts of the build you’ve already paid for.
Course of Construction
There are other policies available. But, the Course of Construction insurance is suitable for the property owner to protect their belongings on-site and covers the owner’s liability if anyone gets hurt.
When the farmhouse is complete, the Course of Construction insurance converts into a standard homeowner’s policy that you should have anyway. Ask your insurance advisor about the best project cover.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Modern Farmhouse?
The cost to build a farmhouse depends on two main components, the cost of design and the cost of construction.
The design cost depends on the construction’s complexity and size.
Initially, you know how your farmhouse should look and the number of rooms. The architect then takes your ideas and designs the building with the help of a structural engineer.
The design considers the practicalities of your ideas, what materials are available, your budget, and what your local council will allow.
Generally, an architect costs $15,000 or more to design your farmhouse. Alternatively, they might charge 8%-15% of the total construction cost.
They provide detailed drawings, construction drawings and documents, and overall project management. Also, architects work with the planning agencies, surveyors, and structural engineers necessary for a smoothly operating project.
You can also choose to hire a custom home designer. They charge up to $50,000 for their services. However, a designer is optional, as a basic farmhouse only needs standard plans or an architect.
How long does it take to build your house? The overall labor costs have a direct link to the project duration.
Data from the US Census Bureau states that in 2021, 30% of contractor-built houses took 7-9 months to complete, and 26% took 4-6 months.
The following table outlines the construction cost breakdown for a 2,000 sq. ft. house.
|Construction Component||Average Cost|
This component includes:
- Connecting to local water and drainage services – $2,000-$4,000
- Water and sewer inspection fees – $5,000
- Architect and engineer’s fees – $3,500
- Building permit fees – $400-$4,000
This component includes:
- The average cost for a concrete foundation. Includes excavation, concrete, retaining walls, and backfill – $27,000
Optional extra costs, depending on building method and ground conditions:
- Concrete slab – $6/sq.ft. or $12,000
- Grading soil – $3,500
- Abnormal geology or soil properties might add an extra $5,000-$20,000
Craftsman’s National Estimator provides helpful estimating guides to construction trades. The framing estimator suggests the cost to frame a house ranges between $13/sq. ft. for a single-story structure to $22/sq. ft. for a two-story building.
This amount includes timber and labor for all wall frames, floor joists, roof trusses, sheathing, and any required steel. Timber prices vary significantly, so keep an eye on this cost. For a single-story 2,000 sq. ft. farmhouse framing would cost about $26,000.
This component includes those items that complete the appearance of the house. For example:
- Vinyl siding – $4,500-$11,000
- Doors – $1,200-$3,200
- Windows – $5,000-$10,000
- Roof – $3,200-$9,000
This component includes roughing-in HVAC, electrical and plumbing costs:
- HVAC – $5,000-$11,000
- Septic tank – $3,000-$5,000
- Water heater – $500-$1,500
- Photovoltaic solar panels – $17,000-$20,000
This component makes the farmhouse’s interior into a home worth having:
- Fireplace – $1,500-$2,500
- Flooring – $1,500-$14,000
- Tiling – $800-$5,000
- Insulation – $1,000-$2,200
- Plumbing fixtures – $150-$400 each
- Kitchen cabinets & countertops – $3,500-$8,500
- Appliances – $3,500-$15,000
These final details include items that aren’t necessary but might be on a wish list.
While you have construction upheaval, why not include these to give the finishing touches?
- Driveway – $2,200-$6,000
- Deck – $4,400-$10,000
- Patio – $1,200-$4,500
- Porch – $500-$3,500
- Patio enclosure – $8,000-$19,000
- Garden landscaping – $3,000-$17,000
Cost to Build Farmhouse By State
As mentioned in this guide, costs for building a farmhouse vary significantly depending on the state, land prices, and labor costs.
The average cost to build a three-bedroom, 2,000 sq. ft. stick-built farmhouse in Texas ranges from $250,000-$350,000, while a modular farmhouse costs $200,000-$250,000.
The average cost to build a three-bedroom, 2,000 sq. ft. stick-built farmhouse in Georgia ranges from $300,000-$625,000, while a modular farmhouse costs $200,000-$350,000.
The average cost to build a three-bedroom, 2,000 sq. ft. stick-built farmhouse in Michigan ranges from $210,000-$300,000, while a modular farmhouse costs $160,000-$220,000.
Let’s look at a few questions we find many people want to hear about.
What is the average size of a farmhouse?
There are two types of a farmhouse: the ranch house, which you find mainly in livestock rearing country, and a farmhouse, which is primarily in crop farming areas.
However, the two types aren’t limited to those regions. And, of course, the size varies by state.
According to Hearst Newspapers, the average size of a ranch-style house ranges from 1,108 sq. ft. to more than 1,500 sq. ft.
According to the farmhouse plans available on Houseplans, a small one-bedroom, one-story farmhouse is about 560 sq. ft.
In comparison, a large, four-bedroom, four-bathroom, one-story farmhouse is about 4,100 sq. ft. Therefore the average would be around 2,330 sq. ft.
Is the modern farmhouse exterior going out of style?
According to Realtor Kristina Morales, the modern farmhouse exterior is based on the traditional American homestead farmhouse.
Its owners prized their buildings’ simplicity and practicality and valued the functional spaces and furnishings. The relaxed style allows the occupier to unwind in a cozy and simple setting.
Yes, the modifications and construction techniques we use in the 21st-century guarantee that our home is warm in winter, cool in summer, and dry all year round. These are luxuries that 19th and early 20th century farmers would have traded for almost anything.
So, expect the American farmhouse exterior to stay in style for the foreseeable future but be modified to include newly developed technologies.
How much money does a farmhouse make?
The answer to this depends on the crop or livestock they’re farming and whereabouts in the country they have their farm.
According to Greenery Financial, you can expect a modern American rural farm to earn $20,000-$36,000/year. It’s less income than someone in the city. But, rural farmers’ living expenses are less than city dwellers.
Usually, all a farmer and their family need are a vehicle, food, utilities, farm supplies, and a few luxuries.
A farmhouse is a practical and well-thought-out living accommodation designed by generations of American farmers. Therefore, even if you don’t live on a farm, having a farmhouse-style dwelling encourages a more straightforward way of life.
If you own a farm, or even if you don’t, many architects and framing companies specialize in stick-built and modular farmhouses to help you achieve your dream. You can find one locally to ensure you receive the best possible farmhouse you can afford.