The Ultimate Recycle: Moving Your Home

Last week, when we met with pieceHomes, we were excited to watch a video of a house being dropped into place. But it's not only modular homes which can get this treatment. Older homes can be moved too and the reasons to do it are as varied as the home's style. It may be to save a beloved building, to rescue a house built too close to the shore, to lift it just long enough to build a basement or foundation or reorient it. Moving a home can be feasible, economically and environmentally, if you know what to expect. On average, moving a home costs about 70% the cost of building of building a new home. But before you decide to do it, here are some things to consider.

  • Check the building codes for the new location: Some towns will require that the home meet the same building codes as new construction. Some require tests for older, carcinogenic materials such as asbestos and lead. It's likely than any home will require some reconditioning after it's moved.
  • Check for overhead objects and distance: The feasibility of moving an old home often depends on two factors: how far the new site is from the original and whether the roads between the two sites are free of obstructions such as telephone wires or low tunnels that might hinder a large object clearing them. Although traffic lights and signs can be temporarily moved, this will add considerably to the cost of your move. It's easier to move a home in the West and Midwest, where the roads are wider and clearer, than on the East Coast.
  • You can move a home fully furnished. Sounds crazy but it's true. So at least you'll some time and money; you'll only have to make one move, not two.
  • Can you finance it yourself?: While the cost of moving a home may be considerably less than the cost of building a new home, not all banks are willing to finance a move (Viking Bank is one bank that does) meaning that you may have to pay for the entire move out of pocket.
  • How much will the new site cost?. Often the biggest cost of moving a new home is the cost of the new location. Consider the cost of the new site when factoring in the economic feasibility of moving a house.
  • The good news: When you move a home, you'll not only get the benefits of an older home's solid construction or, perhaps, save a historic home from meeting its fate at the hands of the wrecking ball, but it's estimated that a house move saves from 50,000 to 100,000 pounds of waste from going into a landfill.

Have a home you'd like moved? Check here to find someone who can do it.

(Image: akaKath's Flickr, from the Maisenbacher House move set, some rights reserved. Click here to check out even more pictures of this Springfield, Illinois home's move!)