There’s no denying the property market across most of the country is pumping at the moment, making it difficult for first home buyers mainly to get into the market. As you’re flicking through the real estate advertisements, something catches your eye “house $15,000”.
Now maybe a good time if you’ve never considered buying a relocatable or removable home. Of course, at this price, the house doesn’t come with land, but if you can purchase land, you may be able to then buy a relocatable home, saving yourself money.
The million-dollar question (or the $15,000 question in this case) - how do you get your hands on one of these houses, how do you move them, and why would someone want to get rid of a perfectly liveable house?
It’s an interesting question, isn’t it - who sells a perfectly liveable house? Generally, these houses for sale come from properties that developers have purchased. Instead of paying to have the house knocked down, selling the house to professional home movers is becoming more popular.
While these homes are generally sold to professional home movers, nothing stops someone from purchasing one they have seen advertised. However, you would need to do the work to have the property moved from its original location to your land.
Professional home movers organise everything, from council approvals, plans and site work to relocation and restumping. They organise road permits to move the house, which is usually only done at night. Despite all of this, it is generally much cheaper to buy land and a relocatable home than purchasing land and building a new home; you never know, you may get your hands on a historic home with plenty of character.
If you have purchased directly from the developer and organised a professional house mover to relocate the home, it’s a quick process. When the house arrives at your empty block, it is immediately restumped - one day, you’re looking at an empty block, and the next, your new home is there.
It can take a few days for all services to be connected and stumping, guttering and roofing to be finalised, and depending on your local council; you may be waiting up to three months for building certification.
Plenty of people turn to buy relocatable homes for three main reasons.
The first reason is the budget. These homes are often cheaper, they can be moved a certain distance at no extra cost, and the only requirement is that you have the land to move it to. Even at under $100,000, buying a relocatable home can be cheaper than building a new one.
The second reason for purchasing one of these homes is wanting a historic home. Many of the homes developers and home removal businesses sell are old Queenslander and colonial homes. They have character that is often lacking in today’s builds, and while they often need a bit of TLC, it is cheaper than having a new colonial-era home built.
The final reason is to get out of the property market race. If you already have land, it is quicker to have a home moved onto your site than build a new one, particularly with shortages across the construction industry. Do keep in mind, however, that you may not be able to use land in a new estate - you may need to purchase land in a more established area.
There are a few things to keep in mind when buying a relocatable home.
The first is that your local council may require you to pay a bond, which is then returned in stages as the property is completed. This bond is an incentive to finish the project and not leave it half-finished for months or years.
You may also need to consider where you will gain finance if required. Banks can deem buying a relocatable home as risky, and depending on the house you buy; you may need to do extensive renovations.
Another area to consider is whether you have the time to travel across the state or country to find these cheap relocatable homes. Developers often work with home movers directly, so you could save yourself time by going directly to home movers. While you may pay more, the initial hard work has been done. These houses are sitting in depots waiting to be moved to your land.
If your new home requires renovations, it is essential to find tradespeople who are comfortable working with older homes. You may require tradespeople who can work with old timber flooring, pressed tin cornices and old wiring.
Finally, you need to be aware of all costs involved in buying a relocatable home. While the actual house price might be quite cheap, there are a lot of fees that come with it. We mentioned the council bond previously. However, you may still have fees for council fees, town planning fees, septic plumbing, power, cyclone proofing the roof, stumping, additional stumping depending on the angle of your home, and any renovations you want to make.
If you’re getting sick of dealing with the current property market and losing out on homes, purchasing land and a relocatable home may not be such a bad idea. Take some time to talk to home movers, see what they have available and discuss costs with them to see if buying a relocatable home is within your budget.