Just moving yourself from one house to another is challenging, but moving a whole house? That’s a whole other level of complicated. Why would anyone move an entire house? It turns out there are a few reasons. It isn’t easy, and it can be expensive, but sometimes it is worthwhile.
Your motivation for moving your house might be a necessity or preference. For example, if the local government condemns your property so they can build a roadway, or due to some other requirement, it could make sense to move the house to another location. If a government agency is forcing the move, it may also be financing it, and hopefully assisting with the logistics. Possibly they will even provide an alternate location for you to occupy.
Another scenario supporting the relocation of a house is one in which you have acquired a structure that cannot remain in its present location. This building could be a historical building that you are preserving or a home being sold at a meager price with the understanding that you must move it as part of the deal. Or possibly you have acquired a plot of land in a location that you love or that is affordable, and rather than furnishing it quickly with a mobile home, you may decide to acquire a recycled home and move it. Recycling houses is becoming more popular as part of the growing trend to “reduce, reuse, and recycle,” and people want to avoid disposing of anything that can be salvaged.
The International Association of Structural Movers (IASM) supports state laws and incentives that encourage recycling homes as a positive outcome for affordable housing, conservation of natural resources, and reduced landfills. Both the seller and buyer of a recycled home may benefit financially from the transaction, even with the costs of moving the house taken into consideration. For the seller, even selling the structure for a nominal fee might make sense to avoid the expense of demolishing the building instead, which can easily cost $15,000. For the buyer, a home that costs $10 to buy and $50,000 to move is still reasonably priced.
With these examples, the move may be of some distance and require complex planning to undertake successfully. Moving a house takes a whole team of experts, a general contractor, a concrete contractor, a structural engineer, electricians, and a very detailed plan. To guide you through the process, you will need the advice of a company that knows the rules involving power line permits, roadway clearances—and whether a police escort is required. Just clearing the utility lines is a huge endeavor, so most moves of this nature are very short in distance.
Another, more common, situation involves moving a house a small way, often from one spot on a lot to another. The reason could be to improve the view, increase the distance from the street, or from a shoreline—avoiding flooding is one of the most frequent explanations for house moves if house raising is included. Thousands of homes along the New Jersey shoreline have been raised by 10 to 15 feet since the recovery from 2012’s Superstorm Sandy.
Moving a house requires several steps:
Professional house movers will review the zoning regulations in your area to plan for your house relocation and obtain all the proper permits. The cost of permits can be anywhere from 10% to 30% of the project expenses, which may total from $15,000 to over $200,000 for a large home going a distance.
The project manager crew will remove anything in the basement or below the house crawl space, including any plumbing or ductwork. Decks and porches will also be removed before the engineers will jack the house up and support it. The house will be placed on dollies and transported to the new location. At that site, a foundation is ready to go, the house is moved into place on the steel structure, and the foundation is filled in.
You must find a house mover that knows what it is doing. The International Association of Structural Movers recommends that you consider the following vital qualifications when you are narrowing your choices:
The IASM website has listings of member companies in your area so that you can look for a reliable vendor.