MOVING A HOUSE

March 17, 2015

As the harsh winter months blazed on, our search for a new home continued with little activity. We saw two more houses last night. One was our favorite yet, but still probably not good enough. (No upstairs bathroom and at the very furthest reach of the distance out of town we would be willing to go). The second was kind of a pity visit because I did not like anything about the house, but it was in a fun spot near some friends so I had to at least give it a look. We liked it as little as we expected and as a bonus the previous residents were smokers!

The long, patient wait for the inventory to pick up drags on and meanwhile I busy myself by entertaining farfetched ideas for making something out of this current nothing market. The title of this post is not about moving to a new house, it is about moving a house.

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I know it is crazy, but let us review the facts. Fact 1: The Schultzes want land. Fact 2: The Schultzes want a 2,000+ square feet house with character. Both of those together is a tall order. The large home in a great location that also has a lot of land would often be out of our budget. This is how we arrive at the wild scheme of moving a house.

In the cute downtown area of small towns (too far outside the city for us) there are charming homes with basically no yards. They go for cheap because they are so far out. Combine that house with a big plot somewhere else that is empty (or with a small house to tear down) and you have everything we want!

Now for the details of the moving a house part. Before you totally blow the idea off, this came to the forefront of our minds because a friend of ours did this when they were building and needed to clear a house off the land. And when I was in elementary school, the owners of the home across from the school bought a house downtown for $1 and proceeded to move the house through the whole city and attach it to their original home. For the afternoon all the teachers brought us out on the front lawn and we watched the house come down the street. With these two stories, we can now affirm that it has been done and I have even seen it with my own nine year old eyes.

Next I must convince you (and David) why it would be worth doing. I did some research and found a company who does this in Michigan. I called “my house moving guy,” Don, and got a quote for moving a two-story 2,000 square foot home from distance A (small town outside of city) to distance B (a hypothetical spot of land we could buy) – a total of nine miles. Don says building a foundation is about $10,000. He would charge $20,000 for the actual moving. And then comes the probably largest and also most variable cost – “lines.” This is the cost of having roads shut down and cable, electric, phone, etc. lines turned off and raised. He said depending on the route and distance, that could be $10-50k.

If we estimate the whole house move to be $80,000, then that would still leave a considerable part of our budget to buy a small town house for a steal and a plot of land. And it would have made the sweet downtown house on good acreage possible when it otherwise did not exist.

Our conclusion is that if the right piece of land and the right “movable” home started popping up, we would consider this plan. But all the pieces would have to really be falling together nicely. If you are like others who I have told about this theory and have asked why we would not just build, the answer is that I could not have less interest in building. Too many tiny questions to answer and it is tough to get everything just right. I would rather make something already existing into what I love. And with building I would not have the opportunity to do my very favorite thing – restore a fixer upper.

House Hunting Wish list

Our time hunting has now lasted from wearing boots to sandals. I am ready to find something, but also sort of believe we never will. Like when you anticipate something for so long you do not believe the day will actually come. Of course it will, though. Our realtor said April and June are the most booming months.

As I started with, this is probably just idle time wasting and soon a normal house buying situation will come into view. Or maybe not.

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Comments

  • Hello! Like you, I have big dreams of buying my dream house ( an old, 1860’s gothic)| and moving it. My boyfriend thinks i’m crazy. but, this house is MY DREAM HOUSE! I just don’t think moving it the distance I’d need is even possible. Thanks for the little bit of encouragement! I’m glad there are others with grand schemes!

    • Rachel Schultz

      Way to go, Courtney!

  • It is a great moment in your life! You will create the perfect house! I am sure! Good luck! Greets, London Man and Van Ltd.

  • It is a great moment in your life! You will crate the perfect house! I am sure! Good luck! Greets, London Man and Van Ltd.

  • Michaela Harris

    I just want to tell you that with a little patience, the perfect house IS possible! We, like you, wanted specifics that seemed impossible (or at lease nieve the more we looked). We had to move in with my parents from our rental due to environmental/health issues, so the extended search was that much more frustrating. We looked from about Nov-Feb. and honestly considered renting again (ugh!) until we could save more money and up our budget, even though we ultimately didn’t want to spend more on a house. We wanted a fixer and kept seeing homes in the WORST shape (mold, foundation issues, water damage, you name it) OR we would see homes that needed no work but were in the wrong spot. Like you, we wanted some land. Anyways, long story short we FINALLY found a foreclosure that is actually a style house we never considered (a bi-level) and fell in love with it almost immediately! It’s priced lower than we expected, needs a perfect amount of work, and has the nicest yard. It WAS possible- it’s just that those homes are few and far between so you have to really be willing to search and wait out the process. It required more red tape and wait time because it is a foreclosure, but will be SO SO worth it. Consider whether you feel like your relator is working for you/understands what you want also.

    Biggest takeaway: You can compromise on some things, but ultimately when you walk in your house you will know that it is the one. Because of that feeling, you will be willing to do whatever for it/ in it to make it yours. Don’t force yourself to love a home if that connection is just not there – I’m now so glad we sad no to some homes we considered.

    Good luck.

  • Emily

    My parents bought a house in East Lansing (used to be in the East Lansing police parking lot) and moved it out to Bath. They also wanted a house with character and land. Its definitely doable. Best of luck

  • Things start falling in place when you totally lose hope and give up on the idea – that’s what people tell me… (???say what???)
    You see, our house has been on the market for quite some time now and no one is really interested in buying it. We plan to move 1200km away (to the coast) and we’re getting quite eager as you might imagine.I feel ya.
    All I can say is good luck and I think you should consider all the options – make the new house happen! :)

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