We’ve all experienced it – we’re driving down the highway and we see the “wide load” vehicles, followed by home (or half a home) on the back of a large tractor-trailer.
While more common for pre-fabricated homes and trailers, you may see a traditional home from time to time.
Moving an entire house used to sound crazy, but there are more people that are opting to take their home with them every single year.
Your traditional moving cost calculator isn’t going to be able to tell you the costs associated with this sort of move, but there are some companies that specialize in this sort of work.
So, what does this involve, how much does it cost, and is it worth your time and effort? Are there ways to make this process less difficult, and how can we be sure that we’ve got everything ready to go? In this article, we’re going to take a look at all of these questions and more so that you can decide whether or not moving your house is a good idea.
Why Would You Move an Entire House in the First Place?
There are a lot of reasons why people would make the choice to move their entire home instead of moving to a new location and buying a new home.
One of the biggest reasons is due to the housing market – if you’re moving to an area that has high home costs, you may actually save money if you opt to bring your home with you.
Another reason is because of attachment or customization. For many people, they don’t want to leave their homes because it’s what they’ve always known.
Or, if you’re looking at a home that has been adapted for the special needs and concerns that your family may have, then it may be easier and cheaper to go ahead and bring it with you instead of completely re-customizing a new home.
Lastly, there are a number of companies that offer custom homes or prefabricated homes that you can personalize. Basically, these companies will have the “shell” of the house, and a basic interior set up, but you can make adjustments and add things to it as you wish.
In order for these homes to be completed, they will need to be moved to wherever you have land.
You’ll want to check with your homeowners’ insurance about insurance options. In some cases, they’ll cover whatever sorts of things may happen. In other instances, you may want to go ahead and buy some extra, temporary coverage that will take care of additional expenses that may arise if there’s a problem. Either way, be sure that your entire house, inside and out, is covered for the entirety of the relocation process.
Can You Even Move an Entire House?
Absolutely! It takes a lot of planning and organization, but houses are moved all of the time. For example, people who specialize in renovating historic homes and other buildings may need to move a historical building for one reason or another.
Or, if a home is too close to the coast and the coast is starting to reduce due to rising ocean levels, a home can get moved.
So, the same technology is utilized when moving any other building or home.
In many cases, these professionals use a variety of lifts, beams, and other heavy-duty items in order to stabilize the home, even after you’ve removed it from its foundation.
And, because of the tools that they are using – specifically, the beams that are holding the house in place during transport – the entire home will maintain its structural integrity throughout the move.
Do You Have to Pack Up the Items in Your Home Before Moving the House?
There are some people who have cited that they have been able to move an entire home without taking any of the items out of it.
Because of how careful that the movers have to be while getting the home prepared for the move, the inside of the home is very rarely affected.
The items in your home may be moved around slightly, but you’re not going to see everything fallen over or sliding to one side of your house.
For most families, they feel a lot better at least preparing their items for a move, even if they know that everything is going to be safe. You may want to put away any fragile items and tie-down things that may move around, just in case an error is made during the loading or unloading process.
But, those boxes can stay in your home with little to no issue if you don’t want to rent a moving van. At the very least, furniture can stay in the home and you won’t need to be concerned about it going anywhere.
Of course, accidents happen, no matter how careful that your moving company may be, and if you have items of value or that you don’t want to get lost or damaged, you may be better off taking them with you in whatever mode of transportation that you’re utilizing to reach your destination.
Some families feel better packing a moving van with their items and then having that van follow the home to its new location.
You will be required to get rid of items in the basement or hidden space, as well as appliances, utilities, and plumbing during your move. You also will want to get rid of the decks and steps from the porches.
How Much Does it Cost to Move an Entire Home?
It depends on multiple factors. How many square feet is your home, total? That’s the primary way that house moving companies are going to be able to determine the cost of your house move.
On average, you are spending between $12 and $16 per square foot for the actual process of moving your home.
But, there are some other factors that could accrue additional costs during the process. For example, if you are moving to a more rural area, or you need to take very curvy roads in order to reach your destination, your moving company is going to need to take some extra precautions when loading your home.
These extra precautions could end up costing you some more money, in the long run.
The distance is also a big part of your cost. There’s a big difference between moving your home across town and moving your home across the entire country.
There are a lot of specific details related to distance and your moving company will need to be able to work that out properly. So, in some cases, you could end.
The size of your home can be used to estimate for a local move.
Number of hours
Moving a one-bedroom home
$200 to $500
Moving a two-bedroom home
$400 to $700
Moving a three-bedroom home
$600 to $1,000
Moving a four-bedroom home
Above 10 hours
$800 to $2,000
However, long-distance moves are determined based on the weight of your shipment, the distance to move the items, and the cost of additional services and extra insurance on your shipments. Although prices will be different from one moving company to another, the table below will assist you with an idea of a standard price range.
3-bedroom house (8,000 pounds)
Including mover's insurance
Including insurance & packing services
Note that the amount listed above is only estimates, and the exact cost will vary. The weight of your home may be more or less based on the number of furniture and other belongings you plan to move. You will have a more accurate price when you obtain multiple on-site moving estimates from long-distance moving companies.
Hire a Company to provide Labor Only
One money-saving mean to move is to hire a labor-only moving service. The company will deliver a trailer to your home, and you can pack your household possessions at your own time.
Then the movers will pick up the trailer and deliver it to your destination home. Your moving expenses will be lower when there is no cost for labor, and you won’t have to be worried about having to drive a large moving truck as the company will be doing that.
Also, you can drive your car to your destination home and leave the trailer for your movers, and this will prevent you from spending on auto transportation. Gas costs are also added to the rates.
Here are some standard moving quotes from U-Pack.
Unloading and storage
If you’re thinking about moving your home, be sure to have a contractor come in and take a look at everything. Depending on the age of your house and how the house was built, you may or may not be able to actually move it to a new location very easily.
A contractor who focuses on moving homes can give you a good idea as to whether or not you can do so; or if it would be cheaper to just build a re-creation of your house in the new space.
Factors That Determine Cost of Moving a House to a New Location
Below are some of the most prevalent factors that affect the task, as well as the pricing of moving a house to another place.
The Size, Shape, and Type
- Size: The size of the house is one of the significant factors. The time frame required to move a 500 sq-ft cottage is different from the time needed to move a 5000 sq-ft house. You need to find out the square footage as well as, or maybe the dimensions of the building, is one of the important factors in price estimation.
- Shape: Pricing can also be affected by different structure shapes. It takes less time to move a 3000 sq-ft rectangular 2-story building than a large 3000 sq-ft single-story building that has wings at unexpected angles and long length. The structural type is also important.
- Type: There are different types of structures, such as frame with masonry veneer, triple brick, frame, concrete, steel, double brick, stone, triple brick, post, terra-cotta tile, and so on. All building types are removable, but they each have their unique parts that affect the moving cost.
Foundation’s Type and Height
There are several types of structural foundations too. The latest standards for the structural foundation include poured concrete and CMU. A rubble or stone foundation is usually used as bedding for older homes.
Shoreline or beach homes are often placed on wood pilings and piers. Homes located in the southeastern region are often built on concrete slab floors or brick piers.
The basement height or crawl space is also a factor since that is where the steel beam platform that holds the house is installed. If the height below the first-floor system is lesser than 3 feet, it can add more time to the entire project to dig out the necessary dirt to install the lifting steel. It is easier to work with tall crawl spaces as well as full basements, but everything is possible.
Steel can be installed through the walls linked to the walls and lift up the building off the slab if it was built on a concrete slab foundation, or we can just lift and move the whole slab floor together with the house.
Decks, fireplaces, garages, porches, chimneys, additions, balconies, and other home accessories can usually be moved together with the house, but requires more time and increase the cost of the project.
Usually, if the house is movable without touching the accessories, doing this is cheaper than removing the house and rebuild. However, if there is the intention to demolish the accessories, then you will save some money by doing so before moving.
- Time is money: Limited working space in the home can greatly increase the time taken on a job as well as the price of the lift and move. If there is no enough space for the team to work with their standard equipment in and around the house, then they may improvise and use smaller equipment that can be easily installed with smaller machines or by hand. This doesn’t stop them from moving house but can affect the entire cost.
- New Foundation: There are various ways to install a new foundation. The most popular way is to pour only footers in advance. This enables the house to gently release down a ramp and on the footers. Then the building will be raised up and supported as the new foundation is constructed under it. If there is no space for a ramp, the other alternative is to install the new foundation before the house reaches the location, and then the building can be perfectly dropped on that foundation. This option is more costly but usually comes in handy when it matters.
Other Works to Consider
The items below are both the responsibility of the owner and contractor and will also affect your project’s entire cost:
- Initial planning and permits: Most areas require architectural and structural drawings for new foundation installation under a house.
- Getting the house ready: You must turn off and disconnect the utilities from the house, such as water, gas (needs to be turned off and disconnected at the street), electric, sewer, cable, telephone, and so on. Make sure all plumbing, ductwork, and pipes in the basement or crawl space must be removed from under the floor joists. Be sure to demolish and remove skirting, fences, shrubbery, exterior steps, outdoor showers, and other accessories before the project starts.
- Move route: Move route clearing is a very important price determinant. Moves on the site are not a problem at all, even though there may sometimes be a need for excavation; however, immediately you begin the project, there can be several obstacles.
You will have to deal with telephone poles, bridge railings, trees, and even other buildings in some cases if the house is taller on the road. If the width is perfect, then you find out if you will be disturbed by the overhead obstacles.
Usually, obstacles do include overhead structures and utility lines, even when moving a single-story home. The cost of having utility lines lifted so you can easily pass restricts most moves to not more than two miles on the East Coast and the Midwest.
Texas, Oklahoma, and other areas in the United States generally have more dimensions (width and height) clearance before facing obstacles. Other obstacles include sign and light posts, tree trimming, traffic control, and traffic signals and must be checked, especially the cost aspect.
Excavation and New Foundation
There will be a need to excavate the new foundation and install the new foundation at the new location. Many houses will need at least 4’ crawlspace, and few masonry houses could need to a complete basement.
Usually, beam pockets are needed on the top of the new foundation to create a space for lifting steel to lie on as the house is gently released.
Is the task worth it?
First, find out is moving your house on a long-distance tow is a worthy task before you begin to research how to plan for the move.
Will your home match the specifications in your destination city, or will you have to renovate it? Will the move be easier, or will you still need to pack many of your belongings for special transport? What is the situation of the roads between your current and destination homes? In some cases where transport logistics are mostly not possible, make sure you conduct your research before you proceed to the planning stage.
What Other Costs are Associated with Moving an Entire House?
If you’re looking for assistance with packing and unpacking the items that are inside your home, then you want to be sure that you include that in your costs.
Some companies that relocate homes will offer packing services as a part of what they do, or they will give you resources that can help you to determine your best next steps. Or, you can just hire a local mover for packing and unpacking your stuff.
Of course, you will need to buy or rent a plot of land so that your home has somewhere to be located when the moving process is over. And, before you move to that location, you will need to be sure that you have a new foundation poured and ready to go.
This will prevent a lot of damages and allow you to adhere to local zoning rules that you may be concerned with. The foundation is also essential in regards to your home’s stability – otherwise, it may have some big issues when you arrive to your new home.
Depending on the locality and such, you will also need to pay any sorts of permits and inspections related to moving your home to a new municipality. In some cases, you may also need to pay for renovations that bring your home up to code in its new location.
You will need to look into the laws and connect with the local municipality to see what their requirements are before you even consider buying land or pouring foundation.
Lastly, you’ll need to pay for plumbers, electricians, and other professionals to come in and disconnect all of the utilities that your home is currently connected to. Your home is currently connected to multiple grids, and it takes specific experts, who will likely charge you fees to do so.
You will also need those same types of experts to come and reconnect everything to your home once it has been placed upon its new foundation.
Overall, you’re looking at spending anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000 in order to move your actual house, all things considered. In some areas, this is significantly more than it would be to buy a similar home in the area that you’re moving in.
In other areas, you could actually end up saving money on a home of similar size and style. It’s up to you to research what is most essential to you and whether or not you feel it’s worth it.
While it may seem strange to consider, there are a lot of people who make the choice to go ahead and move their entire home to a new location. It’s much simpler than it ever has been in the past, but the cost is still quite high for the process as a whole.
It will take some research and considerations to determine if this process is right for your home, but it’s worth taking a look.
If you plan to relocate a house, ensure you get a comprehensive breakdown of each associated task. Each mover approaches the residential move with different strategies, which causes a significant difference in pricing.
What permits and permissions do you need to move a home?
The local building department at your new residence is going to need to be involved in some way. Some places will consider the home as a new build; others will consider it to just be a remodel. In both cases, you’re going to have to pass inspection after the house has been laid on its new foundation. On top of that, you also need to have the permits and signage in order to move wide loads on the highway.
What risks are associated with moving a home?
The cost of the move is always a risk – it may cost more than you realize. Damages are always a concern; since the house will be on the road with other people, there are always risks of accidents and other issues. Bad weather may also cause problems. These risks are why insurance is essential.
What happens if your home is damaged during a move?
You will need to file an insurance claim in order to get things repaired as needed. In many cases, there may be some minor damages (cracks, etc.), but your contractor can fix those when securing the home onto its new foundation. Larger damages may require an outside person to make the repairs.
What goes into a house move?
Each job has different procedures, but the following is a basic of a usual job.
- Site preparation: Preparation will be required for the current site of the home as well as the destination home before moving can be done. This includes the topography of the land, property boundaries, delays that may or may not be removable for access to and from the origin and destination locations, and getting into the house. The project will require tree trimming, plant moving, normal excavation, and other site personalized conditions. It would help if you disconnected power, telephone, and other relevant utilities.
- Building preparation: Beam pockets must be created during foundation as well as any other locations of the building as required to get supporting beams under the building. Jacks will be placed strategically into positions under the building immediately after beam placement is done and will be powered by a unified hydraulic system to raise the structure. There may be a need to use dollies or track beams to move the building based on the property’s distance and terrain. The building is relocated to the new site and can be placed onto a new foundation or just construct a new foundation under the building.
- Moving the building: The moving requirements will determine if transportation dollies or a track beam will be used to transport the building to the new or temporary site. The building is then placed over the newly built foundation or moved over an excavated foundation home and supported while a new foundation is being constructed under it.
- Settling down: The building will then be lowered by the Hydraulic jacks to sit on the foundation, and the beams and equipment are then easily removed. You can then proceed with the reconnection of all the necessary utilities and other home improvements.
What is the duration of moving a house?
The majority of smaller buildings can be moved in a few days. There are factors you must consider when moving a building, and it includes the distance of the move, the terrain from the origin to the destination, obstruction from the current point to the destination as well as the size of the house.
It will take approximately a week to prepare an average house, additional two days to relocate the building, and additional three days to one week to lower the building on the foundation and remove the equipment holding the building.
Can you move a two-story house?
Utility lines are to be given proper consideration when moving a 2-story house. The homeowner must notify all the local utility companies before moving the building, and in the event of raising any lines, the fees incurred will be paid by the homeowner. In some situations, having a contractor remove the top of the building and replace it as soon as you get to the new location is the best.
Is there any type of house that movers cannot move?
No, movers can move anything. The viability of any job is the financial or value constraint. Generally, moving a wood frame house on a basement or crawlspace that was designed to the building policy of its time, and is in perfect condition is reasonable. They can also move wood-framed houses built on brick buildings, slabs, steel buildings, and so on, but they will have to consider the possibilities of each building.
Cities and metros usually ask that specific heritage buildings be removed and restored as part of growth policy. These projects usually go beyond new construction, but the cities and municipalities do give developers some concessions like reduced obstructions, fewer restrictions on parking, and higher density to mention but a few, to reduce the additional costs associated with this service.
What are the things to do to obtain an estimate on the cost?
First, take measurements of the house in feet and inches. Moving company also needs to know the approximate distance the house is moving. This information will enable them to give you an estimate. They will arrange a meeting with you on the site and ride with you to the destination property if you decide to go ahead with the move.
They charge $100 for an on-site moving estimate. However, you will deduct the $100 from the overall price once you actually move your house.
What are the preparatory works I need to do before raising my house?
You need to remove all the content of the basement. Normally, you don’t need to disconnect your overhead services. You need to disconnect sewer, water, furnace, gas, and hot water tank. You also need to remove any brickwork that will not be raised, as well as any lean-tos or porches before raising your house.
Moving the entire house is a big undertaking. But, with preparation and logistical planning, you can do a lot of work ahead of time to ensure that you’re minimizing your risk. Look into the options that you have and research the background of the company that will be moving the house. The time and effort you put into planning everything can help you to save a lot of headache, and your home can get relocated smoothly.