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Breaking Down House Relocation Costs: What to Consider and Plan For

by Tan Tason
house relocation costs

Table of Contents

House Relocation: Since When, and Why?

I can still remember how I gazed at the sight of Shay Odette restaurant being moved by a flatbed truck, and I thought to myself, “This might be a once-in-a-life project.” But I was wrong. They’ve been doing it for around three centuries.

Since the early 1700s, when the first houses were relocated by trains, up until now, when giant dollies are employed, the job has never been an easy one. There’s just too much effort into moving even an average-sized structure. Let’s see how it’s done and why.

The place has a historical value

Sometimes the structure is just too important to be forgotten. As a matter of fact, the Shay Odette restaurant was preserved for this reason. The place just held too much meaning for residents of Bucks County to let it go. They asked the government to restore it, and so did the government.

A new house must be built instead of the old one

Some individuals who want to build new homes, instead of destroying their old houses, give them away. This means anyone willing to pay for the relocation can have the house for free. Many young couples will be lucky to find such offers.

The owner seeks mental relief

Also, people may move their houses for mental reasons. Not that the house is in danger, but because they feel more secure if their house is relocated. On Chiloe Island in Chile, for example, it is believed that when a home is haunted, it should be moved elsewhere!

What Is the Process of House Relocation?

What Is the Process of House Relocation?

House relocation involves four steps which are as follows:

  • The site and route preparation
  • Building preparation
  • Lifting and moving the building
  • Reinstalling and reconnecting

Let’s see what happens in each phase.

Site preparation

After getting the required permits, you can ask your contractor to prepare the site. This includes assessing the resistance of the building and clearing out the crawl space for uprooting the foundation.

Similarly, the route is also assessed and prepared for the transfer. Here, the contractor factors in obstacles such as power lines, traffic lights, trees, the width of the road, etc.

Building preparation

To move the building, the plumbing and electrical systems should be disconnected. At the same time, your moving company starts detaching the house from its foundation. They will make holes in your basement or crawl space so that they can attach the steel beams.

Lifting and moving the building

When building preparation is complete, the engineers and workers slide those steel beams under the house and lift it, using a hydraulic jacking system. Then, the house is put on a giant trolly attached to a flatbed truck.

Here, the transportation begins. Depending on the size and weight of the house, as well as the distance, it may take hours or days before the moving phase is over. `

Reinstalling and reconnecting

A new foundation must be prepared for the house before it’s reinstalled. Therefore, the house is driven down on a ramp system and lifted again, leaving its mark on the ground. This allows the engineers to lay the foundation. The house is driven down on its new foundation when it’s prepared. Finally, you can reconnect the electricity and plumbing systems and ensure they work properly. That’s it. Congratulations on your new location!

What Challenges Does House Relocation Present?

Getting a permit is a headache

Every project needs some paperwork, but getting a house relocation permit is a pain in the neck. You’ve got to prove that relocating the house is your only option and that the surrounding buildings will not be damaged.

This also includes historical landmarks or historic districts. Certified inspectors must confirm the accuracy of the information you’ve provided, and only then will you get permission.

You’ll have to live elsewhere for a while

Preparing the house and lifting it may take a few days. Considering the weight, which is usually several hundred tons, the trolly can’t go more than a few miles a day.

Therefore, moving a house from one point to another sometimes takes two or three days. Moreover, when you finally reach the spot and want to put down the house in its new location, you need some days to prepare the foundation. As you can see, you may not be able to live in the house for a week or two.

What Determines House Relocation Costs?

As moving companies rightly argue, without an onsite visit, it’s not possible to calculate house relocation costs. Determining the exact cost of a house relocation depends on several factors. Some of these factors have to do with the building itself, while others are related to the route that connects the house to its new destination. Here are the most defining factors when it comes to house relocation costs.

Foundation type

As you can imagine, the house needs a new foundation when relocated. The building’s design and overall condition determine which foundation type should be employed. There are several ways to install the new foundation, each with a different cost.

Moving space

There is enough space around some houses that allow for installing the equipment, that in turn, speeds up the process.

Yet, some homes don’t have sufficient room around them.

In such cases, smaller tools, which slow down the process, are used. As a result, the overall cost might be higher than expected.

The shape of the building

Lifting a home is a delicate job that requires precise planning and careful preparation. When the house has uneven angles, it takes a lot more preparation on the part of the engineers. Also, Homes with porches, decks, balconies, or garages cost more to relocate as they add labor and time to the moving cost.

Size and weight

The bigger and heavier your house, the more you’ll have to pay to relocate it as more equipment is needed. Plus, it takes longer to prepare, move, and reinstall the site.


The distance between the two places is another factor that affects the overall house relocation cost. The longer the distance, the more costly the transfer will be.


Where the house is located and how easily the relocating can be done is also important. If the house is on the main street and there aren’t many obstacles such as tree branches or power lines in the way, then relocating it will be less costly than a house on a narrow street detached from all main roads.


All utilities must be shut off and disconnected during the house preparation phase. This includes gas, sewer, water, telephone cable, etc. Similarly, all the pipes in the basement should be removed from underneath the floor joints.

The same applies to the exterior steps, fences, shrubbery, and other accessories. So, if a house takes much time and effort to prepare, the owner must pay more.

What Challenges Does House Relocation Present?

Finally: Is House Relocation Worth It?

Considering the risks, we could safely say that relocating a house may not be the best option for many. On the one hand, there is always the possibility that something goes wrong, and either the building is damaged, or those around it get hurt.

On the other hand, only a few buildings are worth the cost and effort. If the building is historically, architecturally, or aesthetically a marvel, it is definitely worth it. But relocating is not a good idea if it’s just another house whose like can be found on any street corner. After all, relocating a house costs more than 50% of the average cost of building a new home.


As long as the house is not severely shattered, we can safely say that all types of houses can be relocated. Perhaps the only exceptions are old mud houses that cannot be lifted from the ground.
Absolutely yes. You’re gonna need their help more than you think. Especially the transportation company. If needed, they can clear the way for you and prevent any possible accidents on or around the road.
No. If something is of particular value to you, you can put it on the floor or take it out to ensure you won’t lose it. But you don’t need to vacate the house as it’s not going to shake or collapse.

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