Location, location, location—turns out, you can change that. Here's how.
Whether you’ve fallen in love with your home but need to move across the country or got a deal on a house that can’t stay on its lot, there are several good reasons to move an entire home. But before you jump right in, it’s important to consult a structural moving company to decide if you can move the house to a different area.
Let’s dive into how moving an entire house works and whether it suits your family’s needs.
Benefits of Moving Your House
While moving a home is no small feat, there can be some major benefits for you and your family.
Preserve a Historic Home
In some cases, a historic home may be in jeopardy of demolition if it’s not moved off of the current lot. One way to save a historical building and its dazzling architecture and details is to make plans to physically move it.
Keep a Sentimental House
If your house has been in your family for several generations, moving it to a new locale allows you to maintain it in a new space. If you've invested money and time customizing your home or making it handicap-accessible, you can save yourself from remodeling another home by taking the current one with you.
Move to a Better Location
Maybe you want less road noise or a different neighborhood or move to a property with more land. Or perhaps you need to move your home away from a flood zone or a receding shoreline. If there’s a reason you want to leave your current area, you can place your home in a better long-term location instead of finding and buying a new home.
Is It Possible to Move My House?
It’s possible to move most homes to a new location, but there are several important factors that impact whether your home’s structural integrity, distance to travel, and final destination will align. It’s essential to consult local structural engineers and structural moving companies about the moving logistics to determine whether it’s a feasible option.
It may be possible to move your house if:
You’re moving it a short distance, such as a different spot on the same lot or very close by.
The transportation route is clear and simple, including few overhead utility lines, limited trees, and minimal traffic.
The total moving costs are within your budget.
Your home is structurally sound enough to lift off of the foundation.
It’s likely not possible to move your house if:
You’re moving across the state or country.
The transportation route is full of trees, traffic, or overhead utility lines that can't be moved.
Your home has serious structural issues.
The Cost of Moving a House
Moving a house costs anywhere between $100,000 to $200,000. The price depends on factors like the size and the age of the house, the distance it travels, and any changes made in the new location. Contact local movers for a custom quote and to see if they handle structural moves like this.
In the end, you’ll also need to consider whether house moving makes financial and logistical sense for you and your family.
6 Steps to Move a House
Moving a house requires lifting it from its foundation and setting it down in another location, sometimes from one state to another. Here are the steps for moving an entire house.
1. Plan the House Move
Upon hiring the moving company, you need to have some information handy like:
The blueprints of the building: Helps movers determine the structural support and material of the house.
The new location: Determines the cost and if it's feasible to move the house.
The moving plan: Includes info like whether you're taking additions like the garage or porch or brick chimney to the new location.
House moving professionals, including contractors, movers, and architects, will usually visit your home to decide if the house move is a sound decision and to calculate all the details and plan the move before starting the actual work.
2. Coordinate Permits and Paperwork
There are a few things you need to work on before the move. Luckily, a professional structural mover can help you handle all these things easily.
Obtain building permits for both old and new locations.
Hire an inspector to examine the structural integrity of the house.
Acquire road permits from the local departments for transporting the house.
Get the bank’s approval of the process.
3. Prepare the House
House moving requires intensive planning and coordination since most of the work happens in this step before the move. In this stage, movers, contractors, electricians, and plumbers work together to disconnect the house from the foundation, utilities, and infrastructure.
4. Lift the House
The structural moving company will dig down around the home’s foundation (or basement) and cut through to insert steel beams to jack up the structure.
“Houses are built on a foundation, so you have to replicate the existing foundation exactly,” says Bob Tschudi, Angi Expert Review Board member and general contractor in Raleigh, NC. “Depending on the new lot, you may need to cut trees or move utility poles, both of which need approval and are expensive.”
A hydraulic jacking system elevates the house up to 12 feet evenly and steadily to support the building. Sliding beams are placed underneath the house to pull it onto dollies, which are then attached to the truck to transport the house to the new location.
5. Transport the House
According to the road plan, the truck will travel with the crew to get the house to the new location while factoring in obstructions, the width of the road, and power lines, etc. The trip can take several hours to several days, depending on the distance and any obstacles.
Most houses are moved with furniture inside, with barely any damage. But the moving company takes on full liability in the event of damage to the house or its contents.
6. Integrate the Home at the New Location
The contractor will have the new foundation dug at the new site. When the home arrives, it will move with a ramp to the lot and will be jacked up until the contractor builds the new foundation. After that, the house is lowered to the new foundation.
The contractor will start reconnecting utilities by connecting to city sewer, water, and electricity lines. Finally, it's time to attach additions like the porch, garage, and mailbox, and finish everything up to make it home again.
What Factors Go Into the Cost of Moving a House?
Before you start digging up your house, here are the factors that will affect the final price of moving an entire house:
Size of the House
Small homes have a straightforward process for moving, unlike larger homes that may need to be cut into pieces, which adds to the price.
Height of the Building
If your home is taller than one story, it may get caught in utility wires on the road. The utility companies will have to raise the power lines, which mostly comes with an extra fee.
Distance and the Nature of the Route
Every town and city your house will travel through must grant a permit, which may require some legwork, and will cost more.
In some cases, if the path has many obstructions such as trees, mailboxes, curvy roads, or railroad crossings, then the cost will be even higher. In this case, the moving company will need to trim the trees, take care of traffic and power lines, and make arrangements along the way. It's typically easier to move houses within the same town, as a long-distance move can cost more and can get complicated. However, for some move-in areas, it's possible to go hundreds of miles without any obstacles other than dealing with different road regulations. Like each home, each move is unique.
If the new location requires your home to be up to a local building code, you might need to spend more on renovation after the move, things like replacing windows, or increasing insulation, etc.
Risks of Moving a House
Keep in mind that moving your entire home from one location to another carries a few risks. Review the risks carefully when deciding whether to move your home.
Despite careful planning and precautions, a project estimate is just an estimate. This type of large project can exceed an initial quote, especially if your team runs into unforeseen problems along the way. That’s why you should build some cushion into your budget to offset the unexpected costs of additional permits or moving expenses.
Possible Damage in Transit
As with any move, there’s a possibility that something could get broken during a house relocation. Moving an entire house heightens the risk for damage during transit, especially if you’re traveling several miles. Accidents can happen even with the most careful team, so be prepared to assess the house afterward for issues.
Inspections and Renovations
If you move your home to a new municipality, you may need to hire a local home inspector to assess the home after the move. In some cases, the house may need renovations to bring it up to code.
Final Thoughts on Moving a House
Moving a house is a big undertaking, but it can pay off in the right circumstances. If you have a home you love or want to relocate a historic home, obtain at least three quotes from local moving companies to compare costs and services.