Greg Close and his wife Becky Anderson bought their Portland, Oregon, home for a dollar. So what's the catch? "We had to move it," Close says. "And we like a good challenge, so we decided to do it!"
The Angie's List members purchased one of 40 married-student houses slated for demolition at Concordia University in 2007. "It would have cost the university $40,000 to demolish each house," Close says.
Relocating a house isn't a new concept — from our earliest nomadic days, humans have built and dismantled shelters as necessary. However, today's version of moving a house is vastly different. "It was surreal to say the least," Close says.
Keith Settle, owner of highly rated Northwest Structural Moving in Scappoose, Oregon, moved the couple's one-story house 15 blocks. "We have to coordinate all public agencies and utility companies," Settle says. "Some moves have as many as 40 additional people involved."
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Settle says he can move any type of structure and averages 60 jobs a year. "We get asked to look at some pretty off-the-wall ideas, like lowering a house 40 feet over the side of a cliff," he says. "We have to decide if the project is financially feasible for the client."
Cost depends on a number of things: the size and weight of the home, the length of the journey, and a new foundation are some of the biggest factors. Industry experts estimate costs for just the move itself on a 1,800-square-foot home runs roughly $12 to $16 per square foot.
Jody Barrett, owner of McDowell House and Structure Movers in Amarillo, Texas, charges between $6 and $15 a square foot and says his customers see it as a low-cost housing option. "It's less expensive to have an existing house moved than to purchase a new one," he says.
In the end, Close and Anderson spent $150,000 on the house move, which included a new foundation, an upgraded electrical system and the required permits, but say it was well worth it as their home gained an instant $100,000 in equity.