All Topics / Value Adding / Are relocatable houses options a realistic proposition?

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  • Profile photo of lilyhutchlilyhutch
    Join Date: 2007
    Post Count: 49

    Hi all,
    is it actually cheaper to relocate a house (e.g. a 'Queenslander') as opposed to building a budget house purely for investment? I am considering short term options for creating income from a subdivision. This is purely medium term with a view of building new further down the track. If anyone can recommend a good source for relocatable homes it would be appreciated (Brisbane area).

    Profile photo of Simon CSimon C
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 52

    Hi lilyhutch

    I personaly believe it can prove to be a good investment, as well as resulting in a shorter development time once you have you council approval in place.

    With the relocation of the home, there are less steps in seeing the house actually on the land compared to building  from the ground up. However, its a case by case scenario if it is cheaper. You'll know that when you put your costs together the whole project with some contingency in there to ensure that strategy is going to prove a good investment. 

    There are a number of good sources for relocatable homes. I have done a fair bit of reseach on this over the last 9 months as I am in the process of subdividing a block and doing exactly this in North Ipswich, but its only at early stages. I have a DA and I am now looking at the actually subdivision process vs. dual occupany. (the DA was already on the block when I bought the existing home)

    Below are some sites I have found useful on the subject. I am actually seeking a house that needs as little work as possibe, as once I am ready to to relocate, there is minimal renos and it just a matter of connecting the service, plus other DA requirements and then having council approve for residency.
    If you want to chat further on this topic I'd be happy do so. If you like send me a private email with some contact details and I'll give you a bell. Always good to network with someone looking to do the same. I find you can never know too much on these things!


    Profile photo of WylieWylie
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 346

    We sounded out an architect (several years ago) about either building new or transporting in a removal house and his comment was that these days the costs of making it comply with the current legislation would make it (in his opinion) not much cheaper than building new. We never did take this any further at the time, so don't know any more, but it did make it less attractive to us that we had to have a builder make an old house comply to the current regulations.


    Profile photo of AmandaBSAmandaBS
    Join Date: 2005
    Post Count: 549

    You can't just make such a decision based on costs alone, as you really do need to consider what will suit the location of the block and the area.  Personally I'll take a "Queenslander" on stumps any day over a cheap "box" thats slab on ground.  Just my opinion!  Anyway here's an extract of a document off our website about Removal Houses:

    ·        Visit your local Council
    We suggest that you make your first step a visit to your local Council to find out about local requirements and restrictions.  Each Council around Australia has different procedures and varying fees, so it is imperative that you have the right information from Day 1.  For example, it is vital that you know whether you are required to supply a “bond” to the Council, and if so, how much – it can be a substantial amount which you will need to add into your budget. Later, when you have found your removal house, you will need to check with the Council that your proposals fit in with the overall town planning scheme.  (See also Town Planners).
     ·        Find your house and contractor
    Next, you will need to find your removal house and a suitable block of land.  Removal houses can be found in your local paper, the “Trading Post”, “Yellow Pages” as well as online.  Prices vary widely so consider your budget before you embark on your search.  Some vendors are businesses that also provide the removal service, whereas others will be private individuals who will require you to arrange for a removal contractor to take the house away and so you will also need to find someone qualified to do this.  Removal contractors will ask you to sign a contract.  This should set out the terms and responsibilities of the removalist and state all inclusions, such as bonds, fees, delivery details and services provided.  For example, some firms will deliver the house on blocks, whereas others will carry out stumping and some even renovate the house for you.  We ALWAYS recommend that you seek legal advice in relation to any legal contract – especially as there is no “standard” contract for the industry – Buyer Beware!! 
    ·        Choose your land
    You’ll also need a sufficiently sized block of vacant land for your house, with no easements or covenants that restrict a removal house from being placed on the block
     ·        Get your finance in place
    Talk with your financier, as many lenders will not take security over a removal house until it is in position and has been stumped.  
    Inspections and plans
    When the Council considers your application for a removal house they will visit both the site and the proposed house to ascertain if it will suit the situation.  Consideration will be given to existing neighbouring homes and to the style, materials used, roof pitch and height of your proposed house.  Neighbours may be granted permission to view your proposal and lodge objections if they wish, so this is why it is imperative that you research your area first. As with all building works you’ll need to obtain a soil test so that an Architect/Engineer can consider structural details and design plans for submission to the Council.  The plans will contain details including:·        Existing floor plan and details of any alterations·        Sub floor, beams, bracing and tie down details·        Architectural elevations, location and orientation·        Any other relevant information Lodgement of preliminary plans with the Council will attract fees that vary between States.  An Officer from the Council will then prepare a report of recommendations of building work required, such as:·        Level of renovation work required – usually no “patching” is permitted and rotten materials must be replaced·        Maximum building height·        If roof replacement is necessary, including insulation·        Generally rewiring all electrical work·        Replace/upgrading of plumbing·        Installation of smoke alarms·        Tie down, bracing and depth of footings·        Determine the bond (Amount held by Council until all works are complete) You may lodge a Building Application simultaneously with the Preliminary Application and again, fees vary depending on the size of the dwelling and number of plumbing fittings.                                                          
     Payment of Council Bond and other fees
    Most Councils charge a bond.  This is a sum of cash to be held by the Council until all works are completed to its satisfaction – usually within 12 months.  The bond provides the Council with a “safety net” in the event that it needs to step in and take over an abandoned or unfinished job, or one which is not completed to its satisfaction.  The bond is often a significant amount and this can put a huge drain on your cash flow.  However, it is usually possible to ask for a partial refund as work progresses. Before the house can be moved, all bonds and fees must have been paid to Council and the appropriate authorities notified.  The contractor will need to provide the Council with proof of current insurance and a building services insurance policy may also be required.  Bonds also apply for escort fees and security bonds for roads.  
    Once the house is in place
    Make sure your contract specifies who will be responsible in the event that damage occurs when the house is moved. After the house is moved, as with all renovations, you’ll need to have a team of tradespeople ready to start work.  The sooner the house is finished, the sooner you can receive your bond back. 
    A final word…
    A removal house requires lots of careful research and planning, but the rewards are enormous.  The satisfaction that you will gain from turning a dump into a shining diamond will give you immense pride, and co-ordinated correctly, a very healthy profit too.
      SUMMARY OF THE PROCESS1.      Visit council or town planner
    2.      Purchase vacant land
    3.      Find suitable house for removal
    4.      Engineer report and architect plans
    5.      Lodge Preliminary plans with council
    6.      Council assessor visits house and site
    7.      Pay bonds and fees to move house
    8.      Renovate and certified
    9.      Certificate of Occupancy
    10.  Bond refunded  

    To read my story and see some photo's :

    Steven Riley
    Join Date: 2023
    Post Count: 0

    The rules and regulations are changing rapidly, NSW has a state legislation now
    Victoria has the DPU, dependable Person Unit
    and now Western Australia is getting involved
    I have written a series of articles that may shed some light as well
    Do the research, state legislation over rules councils so don’t get bullied by town planners..
    Best of luck

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