Where do I begin in unpacking this mixed bag of fun and adventure? Well the first thing we had to do before paying the rest of the deposit on the house was to get a building inspection done. This involves an ex builder, now inspector, walking around the house and kicking its tyres - so to speak. For this we paid 260 clams. He said the place looks fine now but who knows what it may be like after being cut in half and moved? Cheers for that. Along with this we also had a pest inspection done by the same company, it cost $240 and revealed no unwanted guests or things that eat houses.
The house has to be moved from its current site by early April 2008. If it isn’t we will be slogged with a further $10 000 to have it first moved to a yard and then on to our place. This cost is probably represented in the ticket price of the houses you see for sale in removal house lots around South East Queensland. It may be cheaper to have it moved just once from its original site. This was never confirmed but does make sense. Drake have a policy guaranteeing the cost of the house be returned in the event that one’s council application does not get approved. Such a policy offers some comfort because they demand the money for the house pretty much upfront. This process doesn’t wash with many lenders who demand a house on land before committing any of their money. As I have said early, we had to change financial institutions for this project and nab’s late settlement date forced us to temporarily borrow the money for the house from generous parents. All up it took nearly two months to acquire the loan. If readers considering buying a house for relocation take one thing from my words, take sorting out the finance way before you get excited about available houses oh and maybe to use the greeting “What-Ho” more in social situations.
After paying for the house we started gathering all the necessary reports required to accompany our Council Development Application. Because we had a deadline of April we felt a slight sense of urgency around this back in November. We assumed, perhaps wrongly, that we would need the help of a planning consultant to put the application together and sort out any issues with it throughout the approval process. We were a little nervous about the whole deal, and felt like we had to get it right from the start to minimise delays. So we hooked up with a consultant and started gathering the reports he advised were required to accompany our application. In hindsight we probably could have put the application together ourselves and saved about $1000 in consultancy fees, but as I say, back then we were a little anxious.
The reports we required were a soil test, a structural engineer’s report of the house, a contour survey of the house site, an on site waste treatment design report and a floor plan and elevation drawing of the house. We set about setting these up. They all got done but they took a bit longer than I would have liked, falling over into the new year. The cost of each is listed in the “Money Spent” section. We saved on the floor plan because my partner drew it up herself and the elevation drawings could be substituted for photos of the house.
The application was lodged in early January. Part of the cost was a $1400 bond for moving the house via the council’s roads. This will be returned if no road signs and things are damaged by the trucks on the way.
Apparently, the house will be sawn in half by the house movers, taken down in the middle of the night and placed on temporary stumps exactly on its proposed site. The stumps will be quite a lot higher than the permanent ones will be. The house movers then depart as the stumpers come in and match up the new steel stumps to the house and put them all in place. Then the house movers return and lower the house down to rest on the new stumps. At some point in all this they also join the house back together again.
The House Movers
Following the purchase of the house, Drake referred us to a separate house moving company. The first step in making things happen was to find out if the house could be moved to our block. This simply involved a quick reconnaissance mission to ensure the route was acceptable for moving half a house - twice. It was. We were relieved, remembering we only got the house in the first place because walk in deposit man owned a hard to get to block of land.
We booked the house move in for the end of March or early April 2008. This was really the only time they could fit us in, and it happened to suit our deadline, but only just. All we had to do before then was to sign the contract they sent us. Easier said then done. It contained the odd strange clause, some of which we were not prepared to swallow. We just took to it with a pen and made a few changes, such as completely deleting the clause stating that we were responsible for removing and reinstating overhead wires along the truck’s journey. We nervously sent the contract, laden with scribbles and ruled lines, back to them and were pleasantly surprised that they accepted all of the changes. It was as if the contract was the same standard document that they have been pulling out and dusting off for years. They seemed to recognise this fact and were quite prepared to update things. This was a wonderful relief because since receiving the first contract we grew a bit dubious about the house movers. After the contract changes were made, and many silly questions patiently answered, our faith was completely returned, with interest.