Don't Just Move Your Stuff, Move Your House
You can leave your land. You can leave your town. But your house is another story. It’s practically another member of the family and you couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. So why not just take it with you? Don’t laugh, it’s completely possible. And sometimes completely practical (there's even a whole show about it on the DIY Network).
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Why you should consider moving your house
Believe it or not, buying a house and moving it to your land can actually be cheaper than having a house built. How? Well, there’s actually such a thing as a used house lot. Homeowners who want to build a new house on their land will sell their homes to these lots. It saves them money on demolition and is also environmentally friendly because that material isn’t going to the landfill. You can get these houses pretty cheaply, sometimes for even as low as a dollar. There may be some repairs and improvements that you need to make, but they’re usually well-built for the most part.
Besides saving money, there are lots of other reasons you might want to physically move your home instead of buying a new one. It might be a cherished family home that’s just not in a good location anymore. Or you could be located in a flood zone or on an eroding waterfront. Moving your house saves it from getting washed away during the next big storm.
So how do you actually make it happen?
Tell your lender
Your lender gave you a mortgage for your home and the land it’s on. Even what neighborhood your house is in affects how much it’s worth. So when you pick up and move your house your mortgage provider is going to want to know. They might even want you to pay off your entire loan before you pick up and move your home. No matter what deal you and your lender reach, make sure you get it in writing.
Buy some land
Once you have the okay from your lender (if you’re moving your existing home). You need a new place for your house to sit. So unless you’re inheriting family land or already own some, you’ll need to buy a plot. You might also need someone to come out to grade the land and do other site preparations for your new home.
Find a house mover
Moving a home is a complicated process. Make sure you find a reputable professional home mover (yes, such a thing exists). They’ll be able to walk you through the whole process, help you insure your home for the move, and make sure your home arrives safely.
Talk to the utility company
If you’re only moving your home a short distance you probably won’t run into any problems with utility wires. But if you’re going the next town over or farther, there’s a good chance there will be power lines on the route. The utility companies are usually willing to raise the lines for you to get your house through, but it’s not going to be cheap. Actually, it’s probably going to be the most expensive part of your move, so check with your movers to see if there’s a route you can take that avoids the lines.
Get the foundation built
Your new home is going to need someplace to rest. Get a licensed contractor to build your new foundation. If you don’t know anyone in your new area, ask your moving company if they can recommend someone.
Unless you’re completely roughing it, you’re going to want to get your plumbing and electricity hooked up. Look for licensed plumbers and electricians. Talk with your moving company to see if they can recommend someone with experience.
If you bought a new used house, you’ll obviously need to move all your things in once the house is settled on your land. But if you’re moving your current home, it should be pretty much move-in ready. One of the coolest parts of the move is that your stuff is relatively undisturbed during the move. You can pretty much just walk in, grab a glass from your cabinet, and have a toast to your new house.