Moving a House: We Created and Remodeled Our Dream Home

House moving doesn't have to be as difficult as it sounds. This first-hand account explains why and how to move a house efficiently.

| May/June 1978

Dreamhouse New Front

After their dream house finally moved to its current location, the Arenses' are extremely thankful for their house moving experience.


"You bought a house for $50!"

That's right. In the spring of 1976, my husband and I purchased the three-bedroom, 1,200-square-foot older home you see here (with the kind of fine hardwood floors and mellow oak woodwork you just can't find anymore) for the grand price of $50. And that house has since been appraised at $23,000!

Of course, there was a catch to the deal: Before we could move into the residence, we had to agree to move it away from the spot where we'd bought it.

Still, that wasn't such a bad bargain. Our total moving costs came to $2,800, and we spent an additional $3,000 on remodeling the home and adding a two-car garage in the basement. In other words, for about the same amount of money we'd have had to come up with for a down payment on an equivalent modern house . . . we've been able to buy our present home outright!

And we don't — by any means — consider ours to be a one-of-a-kind, it'll-never-happen-again situation. In fact, we feel confident — given a little time, patience and operating capital — that you, too, can find a move-it-yourself dwelling to fit your needs. You may even be able to locate, buy, relocate and move into such a structure for less than we did if you can find a place that doesn't require much remodeling.

How to Find a Moveable House 

Finding an inexpensive house to move was the easiest part of the whole job for us, and it should be for you, too. Newspapers often carry stories about businesses or institutions that are planning expansions or new construction. Once you learn about such a project, drive by the proposed building site and note whether any homes are standing there . . . or call the contractors and ask if any dwellings near (or on) the site have been condemned. In almost all cases, it's cheaper for the folks who're planning the construction to let you haul away a condemned building than it is for them to have the structure torn down.

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