11/12 Free house in NH, must be moved (576 sq ft, 2 bdrm)

free house at 71 Bedford Road in Merrimack, NH

free house at 71 Bedford Road in Merrimack, NH


This small home is free for anyone willing to move it. It’s a 24×24 ranch built in 1960. Although the Craigslist ad says it’s in good shape, the property sold in September for the land value alone, so you’ll want to do a careful inspection. Generally, when you purchase a home that has to be moved, you should consider it a shell, according to the New York Times article, “The House Was a Steal, but Moving It Wasn’t.”

Often called ”house recycling,” house moving can be an environmentally helpful option for developers: two years ago, for example, when the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission built an expressway that cut right through a residential area it owned in Finleyville, it gave its renters the option of buying their homes and moving them down the road and out of the expressway’s path.

Despite the apparent interest, it is hard to know just how many people follow through with moving a house. For one thing, a house move is a major undertaking.

”The worst thing that can happen is you buy a house because it looks great — you say, ‘This is a terrific deal’ — and then realize it is too wide to go down the street, you have to take down 600 power lines, and you can’t get it under the bridges,” said Robert L. Williams, the author of ”Houses to Go: How to Buy a Good Home Cheap” (Breakout Productions, 1997).

The most affordable moves involve short houses (i.e., ranch or colonial-style matchboxes) or short distances. Regulations, including permit requirements for highways and railroad crossings, vary by state, making interstate travel a challenge. Among house movers, Massachusetts is known for being the only state where there is no charge for moving overhead wires…

The International Association of Structural Movers gives out awards annually for tallest, longest and heaviest moves. Members of the association spend much of their time lifting houses or moving them back onto their foundations (after the basements are pumped out), skills that were in demand last year in regions that suffered hurricane and flood damage.

A routine house move involves digging around the foundation, cutting openings in the foundation walls, inserting steel beams and jacking up the building. Dollies are shoved beneath the house, and then a truck yanks it off its foundation and the house is on its way. Once at its destination, the house is lowered onto a new foundation.

Depending on the width of a planned route, the house is either transported in sections or left whole.

“The biggest thing about building movers is that they take great pride in being able to move entire structures — we really enjoy tight moves,” said Kenneth D. Jordan of Ellsworth, Me., who once moved a Victorian house for 90 miles on a barge.

More about moving a house: http://www.nytimes.com/2000/02/24/garden/the-house-was-a-steal-but-moving-it-wasn-t.html?pagewanted=all

Craigslist source listing: http://nh.craigslist.org/reo/5306003867.html

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Elaine Walker