Historic homes designed by famous architects typically fetch a killing on the market, particularly if they’re in affluentneighborhoods. Thisis all the more reason why one such house in Montclair, NJ, designed by Dudley S. Van Antwerp has everyone talking due to its bargain-basementprice: $10.
You read that right: Ten. Whole. Dollars.
So what’s the catch? There has to be one, right?
It turns out you can’t just tossdown atenner and move in. First, you’ll have to lift this 3,912-square-foot mansionoff its foundation and move it to an entirely new location.
Thismight have you wondering: How do you move a whole house?
Why move a house?
Moving ahouse might sound like a Herculean feat, but it’s actually more common than you might guess. Landmark buildings andchurches are sometimesmoved for a number of reasons, typically because the land under themis being developed. Yet the structure’s historic significancemeans it’s worth salvaging rather than razing it to the ground.
In this case, the house-a four-bedroom, two-bathroom built in 1906-is one of about 500 in the area designed by Antwerp, who lives in the area. Currently the propertyis owned byAnn Lewis, who put it on the market in May 2015 for $1,400,000.
Nearlya year later, in April,news surfaced that the home was sold toBNE Real Estate Group, a developerwith plans todemolish thehouseand subdivide the2.7-acre propertyinto eight lots, each containing a single-family home, according tonorthjersey.com. After all, eight homes total far larger profits than one large home.
Butgiven the home’s historic significance, the Montclair City Planning Board approved the developer’s plans on the condition that it first advertise the housein local papers for 60 days in an attemptto find a buyerwilling to move itwithin a quarter-mile of where it stands today. The deadline for offers is Aug. 31; if no one steps forwardby then, the wrecking ball can start swinging.
In an effort to attract a buyer,the developer listed the house for the bargain-basement price of $10.Meanwhile, the seller is willing to kick in $10,000 to help move it.
Still, the question remains: How do you move a house, and how much would it cost?
How tomove a house
The first step to relocatinga house is to dig up the foundation,then wedge steel beams just beneath the home’sframe. Once the beams are in place,hydraulic jacks at each corner lift the structure about 4feet-just high enough for it to be placed on the bed of a trailer so it can be driven to itsnew site and placed on anew foundation.
Sound like a pricey endeavor? It is.
Assuming we have a clear move route, the cost to move this house would be between $75,000 and $100,000, says Ben Brovont, an estimator with Wolfe House & Building Movers. And the expenses don’t end there.
Brovont explainsthat companies like his are responsible solely for picking up and moving the house.
There is also a general contractor involved who would oversee preparing the new foundation, he says. The move mightalso require that you trimtrees and movepower lines to clear the route to the home’sfinal destination.
You’ll alsoneed a plot of land to put it on, of course.
Brovont says moving a house this sizea quarter-mile would take about two or three weeks, with the whole project lasting about two to three months.
All of thisis a long way of sayingthat while this $10 house might seem like a bargain-especially considering the house’s estimated value (minus the value of the land) is a little over $435,000-to get the true cost, you’ll have to factor in themove.
Still, though, it really would be a shame to see such a beautiful house demolished. If you have the land and the budget, why not weigh the pros andcons of saving this housefrom its flattened fate?
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