152 – Elizabeth Gordon: Moving and Renovating Houses in Australia

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elizabeth gordon: house moving and renovating in Australia

Elizabeth Gordon: Relocating and Renovating Houses in Australia

When you are relocating a house in Australia, as difficult as it might be, you need to respect the experience of the professional house movers you have hired to do the job for you. It is equally important to manage what your objectives are and advise the professionals accordingly. That way they can achieve the best outcome for you and your project.

 Watch the Episode on Video:

Elizabeth Gordon: Relocating and Renovating Houses in Australia

EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS: 

  • [:01:33] How Elizabeth Gordon started house relocating
  • [04:30] Joint Venture Experience  
  • [06:18] House moving challenges
  • [07:33] The costs when relocating houses
  • [09:16] Getting Council’s approval 
  • [10:24] Renovation after a house has been moved
  • [13:34] The difference between moving a manufactured and older house
  • [16:17] The numbers on Elizabeth Gordon’s first project
  • [18:36] The importance of the Engineers’ advice when relocating houses 
  • [22:30] Elizabeth’s vision on supporting other people move houses
  • [25:04] Why people should share their house moving experience 
The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

When you’re moving a house, if you’re working with experienced house movers, You have to respect their experience, but you’ve also got to manage what your objectives are and get them the advice that they need to be able to achieve the best outcome for you and your project.
~ Elizabeth Gordon

House Relocating With Elizabeth Gordon

Before joining our Wonder Woman Program, Elizabeth has already completed some amazing home renovation projects in Australia. But, Elizabeth’s true passion lies in house relocation. She is starting her own podcast to complement her existing website. It is wonderful to see her blossoming into her own area of expertise.

Elizabeth’s inspiration came from reading an article in an old magazine called API. The article was about a young couple who were relocating entire houses around in new mining towns to solve the problem of housing shortages.

And it just seemed to me such a fantastic idea that you could pick up a house, put it on a truck and move it to somewhere and solve a problem.
Elizabeth Gordon
Elizabeth has continued to expand her knowledge about the ins and outs of house moving in Australia. She shares her insight with us through the content on her website. She would love to bring it all together in a book.

House Relocating Is Environmentally Friendly

Whenever we work on a home renovation, we try to maintain as much of the original house as possible. But a lot of it ends up in the landfill. Instead of discarding a house because you need to move to another area, you can take it with you. It is the ultimate environmentally friendly solution.

When you have to move after living and loving in a house for years, it can feel like you are leaving some of the love behind. Elizabeth said:

And it’s really nice if I can be part of picking that up and moving it and using it again.

Elizabeth Gordon’s First House Relocation Project in Australia

Elizabeth persistently researched blocks of land and consulted with professional house movers about the potential of relocating houses onto them. She missed out on a lot of potential projects. She eventually teamed up with a joint venture partner and purchased a property in Berowra, Australia.

They subdivided the property into three lots. There was already a house on the property. When the subdivision plans were finalised, the existing house sat across one of the boundaries and was set for demolition.

Elizabeth had the thought in the back of her mind that this house should be moved. But she hesitated because the laundry and the bathroom had concrete floors. She wasn’t confident the house could be moved.

As demolition day drew near she mentioned her idea to her joint venture partner and told him she knows some house movers. He was open to the idea and the house movers went to assess the house. It turned out that the concrete floors were not a problem after all. 

So, the house was moved. For a cost of roughly $45000. To demolish it would have cost $30000. The fee included:

  • Removing the existing skirt around the house
  • Demolishing the old brick skirt
  • Relocating  the house: Putting it on two big steel girders
  • Moving the existing piers
  • Building the piers in the new position
  • Rotating the house 90° and moving it to its new position
  • Making the gutters work
  • Checking the fall of the house

The house is then connected to water, sewer and electricity.

There is some essential preparation that needs to be done before a house can be moved. The house needs to be assessed and you need to get permission from the council.

elizabeth gordon: house moving and renovating in Australia
elizabeth gordon relocating renovating house australia driveway

Making Money By Relocating Houses in Australia

During the moving and subsequent renovation of the existing house, Elizabeth and her partner sold one of the lost. On the third lot they placed a house that had been manufactured in a factory.

The whole project took about two and a half years. Elizabeth and her partner created $320000 equity for each of them. She said:

… that outcome far exceeded our expectations going in and it was so much fun.

Moving A Manufactured House Vs An Existing House

Elizabeth says that the process of moving a manufactured house compared to an existing house is very similar:

  • Footings are poured into the earth to cure about a week before the house is moved to its new position.
  • Next brick piers are built.
  • A crane is used to transfer the house from the truck onto the piers.

Making Use Of The Space Under The House

It may be tempting to build the piers in different positions than they were in the house’s original position. It can create some usable space under the house. But, Elizabeth says when you’re relocating an existing house, the house movers prefer to put the piers back in the same pattern, in the same places as they’ve been before, because the houses become accustomed to that. The engineer’s advice is very important.

The aesthetics of the outside of the house also needs to be taken into consideration. If you raise the house in order to create more space underneath, for example, you will need to build a long set of stairs up to the house. That doesn’t work with the design of a lot of houses. 

Butterfly staircases are sometimes built. They end up being more expensive than you might think they are.

They [butterfly stairs] look kind of like an undone zip and go left and right at the front. And whilst they look fantastic, they’re expensive.
Elizabeth Gordon

Choosing The Best House Mover For Your Project

When working with contractors it is essential that you find someone you can work with and trust. When it comes to house movers, Elizabeth shared these tips with me:

  • Are they professional?
  • Are they responsive to your needs and queries?
  • Are they knowledgeable about the permits required to move a house?
  • Do they know the right people who deal with permits?
  • Are they experienced?
  • Do they consider the aesthetics of the house once it is put back together?

Elizabeth Gordon’s Goals For Her Future In House Relocating

Elizabeth loves being part of a community. She wants to create a community of people who have either moved houses or want to move houses. It will be an environment of sharing and learning. 

Elizabeth wants to help people avoid the pitfalls that she, and others, have fallen into. She wants herself and others to avoid mistakes in the future so that they can be successful and prosper.

She hopes to achieve this with her podcast by talking to the experts; teaching people what it takes. She will have resources on her website including moving companies and ways to get your projects financed. 

In the spirit of sharing experiences and expertise, Elizabeth asked for anyone who has moved a house to share their experience and some before and after photos with her. She also suggested that house movers themselves share some advice and tips. 

Elizabeth’s contact details can be found on her website: www.relocateahouse.com.au 

Elizabeth Gordon: A Woman With Vision And Flair

Elizabeth has her mind set on relocating a lovely old Queensland house to somewhere beautiful to be restored to her original glory and run as an Airbnb or a holiday house.

I love the fact that Elizabeth is willing to go where others have not been. And she does it in a really graceful way. I have no doubt her dream will come true.

Where To Reach Elizabeth Gordon? 

Website: https://relocateahouse.com.au

Did this episode inspire you? If you have any thoughts or comments about the show, head over to She Renovates on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review. Also, don’t forget to subscribe, tune in, and share this podcast.

Resources

Elizabeth Gordon’s Website
https://relocateahouse.com.au/

Elizabeth Gordon’s Podcast
https://relocateahouse.com.au/podcast/

She Renovates Facebook group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/sherenovates

 

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