Here’s the scenario: you’ve recently decided to move out of the town you’ve called your home in search of greener pastures. You hop on to your favourite classified ads site in search of what would potentially be your dream home, and as you scroll through you find a listing for a “house relocation” for the low, low price of “free”.
Now, most people are probably aware of deals that are too good to be true, and would probably ignore listings like these as soon as they saw them. And, for the most part, they are technically right – the house itself may be “free”, but there are many asterisks attached. What are houses for relocation? Are they the scams we might think they are, or could they be the bargain of the century for the budding homeowner? Learn all that and more below.
What are houses for relocation?
Also often found under the name ‘houses for removal’, houses for relocation are houses that are not attached to a plot of land, and therefore must be moved to a new, empty lot. As they are complete houses, they typically come installed with completed electrical and wiring systems that can be connected to the local power grid and water district once the house has been successfully moved.
But if houses for relocation are, in fact, complete houses, why are they being sold outside of their lots? As it turns out, there are many reasons for doing this.
The first is that having a house removed or relocated can be cheaper in many cases than having the house demolished completely. Many homeowners often go by this method to minimise the expenses of clearing the lotto, say, have a new house built on that land. Many of these houses relocations are cheaper as they are usually in a state of disrepair and will require some restoration work done before they can be completely liveable. Some houses may also have historical or cultural significance attached to them, and are therefore relocated rather than destroyed to preserve them. Other houses are moved to a new location out of necessity – for example, the house may be originally built on an area prone to flooding or earthquakes, and the homeowner would want the house preserved before moving.
Other units sold as houses for relocation are actually built and designed to be moved to a new location. These houses, typically built from pre-fabricated materials to help make house relocation more convenient, are often marked “Relocatable” or “Transportable” and are similar to trailers in this respect. However, transportable homes differ from trailers in that they are larger and heavier and therefore require a similar house relocation process as removed homes.
How do you move a house?
Houses are typically moved one of two ways. The first method is to dismantle the house into more manageable sections – roofs, rooms, walls, floors – to be moved to its new location where it will be reassembled and connected to local utilities. This is usually the best option for pre-fabricated or transportable homes as the smaller volume of the house significantly lowers the cost of moving the house to its final location.
The other method does not require dismantling the house but instead hauls the entirety of the house to its destination. This is often done on traditionally built houses that are inconvenient or otherwise very difficult to dismantle and transport as separate parts. In such cases, the houses are first disconnected from local utilities. Support beams are then installed into the foundation to maintain the house’s structural integrity, after which the house is lifted onto a truck with powerful hydraulic jacks.
The house’s journey to its new location is often very slow and requires a lot of preparation aside from loading the house onto the truck itself. House moving contractors will coordinate with local officials to minimise disruptions throughout the journey by closing roads and re-routing traffic as needed. These contractors will also have a lot of people on the ground as the truck slowly moves along to help guide the truck down its route and to maintain a clear path throughout the journey.
Should I buy a house for relocation?
Much like buying a house in general, there are a lot of things you will want to consider before making the big move. As we’ve previously mentioned, there are a lot of asterisks tacked onto the really low sticker prices of some of these houses. The first of these is the condition of the house, which may need you to set aside some money towards repairs and upgrades. Another potential cost is that of actually moving the house – which can add up quite quickly depending on the size of the house and the distance the house has to be transported.