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Why some homeowners are moving home, literally

By Mike Wheatley | August 2, 2019

More homeowners are choosing to take their homes with them when they decide it’s time to for a move.

According to Tammie DeVooght Blaney, executive director of the International Association of Structural Movers, more than 8,000 homes are moved each year, and not only just because the homeowners fancy a change of scenery. In many cases it can help preserve homes under threat from environmental hazards, she told the Wall Street Journal.

It may come as a surprise to learn that most homes can actually be moved, but how far they can go depends on how accommodating the street width and nearby electrical power lines are. Luckily for homeowners in Seattle, the area is blessed with wide avenues that permit such an exercise.

For example, a company called Nickel Bros moves large homes by barge. The company has found a niche in the market, identifying homes slated for demolition. It contacts the homeowners and presents an alternative, which usually means a buyer who is willing to foot the cost of moving the home, the Journal reported.

The homeowner does not pay for any of the home removal costs. However, there are additional expenses involved on site. Nickel Bros says that owners usually save about 80% of the cost of demolition. The company is involved in the sale and relocation of about 300 structures annually in the Pacific Northwest and Canada.

Recently, the company moved a 7,000-square-foot mansion because the homeowners’ had a sentimental attachment to the house and didn’t want to demolish it. “The more logistical issues involved in the move, the greater the costs, the more you need to prove the value of the house,” John Clegg, president of the Texas Association of Structural Movers, told the Journal. “Ninety-five percent of people who reach out to us don’t [end up moving their houses]. It’s just too expensive.”

But sometimes it’s possible to actually increase a home’s value by moving it elsewhere. For example, Dao Engle moved his 10,000 square-foot home on Pocomo Head along Nantucket Harbor from a fast-eroding bluff that was damaging its foundation. The home was shifted 140 feet away from the bluff to protect it. At the same time, the owners added 6,500 square feet of space to the property, including two new bedrooms, a home theater and a gym.

“By fixing the problem and redoing the space, we have effectively doubled the value of the home versus what we bought it for,” Engle told the Journal. “Ultimately, this move has been a no-brainer for us. We’d like to be here for the next 100 years.”

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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