If you’re reading this, chances are you’re considering moving. Maybe your career is taking you to a new state, or you’ve found a killer deal on an empty lot. Whatever the reason, there’s moving, and then there’s moving — lifting an entire house off its foundation and transporting it, sometimes hundreds of miles, to a new location.
In some situations, moving an entire house makes logical sense. For example, relocating a property from out of a floodplain onto higher ground, saving a historic home from demolition, or simply lifting a house onto a more structurally sound foundation. While it’s an appealing prospect for some homebuyers, be sure to think carefully about the logistics — and costs — of a structural move before deciding if it’s right for you.
House relocation is no job for an amateur. It requires collaboration among experts — contractors, electricians, structural movers — and meticulous, advanced planning. Here are some factors to consider and questions to ask:
Talk to your bank or mortgage lender —- will they approve the moving process? If it’s necessary to take out a home construction loan, be aware that these tend to carry a greater risk as well as a higher interest rate. Research the municipal codes, state statutes, or zoning requirements in both the house’s initial location and its final destination. What kinds of permits are needed, and what do they cost? Will your house pass inspection, or will it require renovations?
Anyone who’s moved knows the joy of cataloging and packing every single one of their belongings into endless boxes. Moving an entire house adds additional layers to that prep work. Plumbing and electrical utilities will need to be disconnected, and depending on the house’s size and shape, porches, ductwork, and structural beams may need to be removed in order to stabilize the structure during the move.
On The Road
Be prepared to calculate the width, height, and building materials of the house (a brick house weighs more than a wood structure). A wide building may be impossible to transport on narrow or winding roads. In contrast, taller structures risk damage from trees and power lines. Local utility companies can identify any concerns along the route and estimate the cost of lifting power lines or trimming trees.
Finding a straightforward route between locations is one of the biggest challenges when moving a home. Geography plays a big role here — map things out ahead of time! Short-distance moves are more common in heavily wooded areas along the East Coast, while the wide open spaces of the Midwest allow for transports in the range of hundreds of miles. Wherever you are and wherever you’re going, work with local law enforcement and transportation officials to determine the most direct path.
It’s likely that you’ll be required to obtain an overweight/oversize permit as part of the transport process. Other jurisdictions require special permits to use state roads, and these alone make up a large portion of the moving cost. In Vermont, for example, special permits to use state roads range from $2,500 to over $10,000. Other states may have time of day restrictions that require homes be moved at night, or avoid traveling along rural roads or have a law enforcement escort.
By the Numbers
So, what does moving a house really cost? The answer is, it varies. There are many variables to consider, from location to the size of the house, to the location of the move. Moving companies estimate $14-$16 per square of your home for the move itself. Add in loans, permit fees, foundation, and utility costs, and the total cost may range from $15,000 to $200,000. Do your due diligence and start planning well ahead of time to determine if a structural move is a smart investment.
With careful planning and cost estimates, moving your home can be a smart and successful decision. In the case of foundation repair, the cost of transporting your house onto a more solid structure will be largely recovered by its increased value. However, many people will discover that the logistics of structural moves outweigh the benefits.
You may find that it’s easier and more cost effective to sell your current property or purchase a new one. Clever can help connect you with both listing and buyer’s agents to get the job done quickly and cost-effectively. This simple online form will get you in touch with a local Clever Partner Agent today for a no-obligation consultation.