Before we moved the 1920 Craftsman abandoned house that we purchased for $1,500. There was an abandoned house a few miles down that road that I found on of all places, Facebook Marketplace. I fell in love with this abandoned house. I had to have it and I spent months working with the owners of the house to look over every square inch of this gable ended house.

The abandoned house we lost out on.
The abandoned house we lost out on.

The Abandoned House Story

The home was listed for sale by the family of the woman who spent her entire life in this house. She was the grandmother to many grandchildren and the family had built their own compound around Grandma’s house. I genuinely enjoyed walking through the home and talking with the family. You could feel their love for her even though this dwelling sat abandoned among the other homes filled with family.

The abandoned house we tried to move.

The house itself was an early 1900’s gable ended home, with a beautiful simple porch that spanned the width of the front. The front door opened into a quaint living room. This room had the original 4 over 4 wood windows but the walls seemed to be a staggered mess of drywall and paneling. We could tell in one corner of the front closet that there was beadboard behind the wall coverings.

The living room had two doors that lead you further into the home. The first went to the front bedroom that was huge and had a large closet. It was in this room that we discovered the home also had original heart pine flooring. We would later thoroughly inspect the crawlspace and confirm there were hardwood floors throughout the house. From the underside between the joists, you could see that they were in what appeared to be very good condition.

Joists and floorboards in the crawlspace on the old, abandoned house we did not move.
Joists and floorboards in the crawlspace on the old, abandoned house we did not move.

From the living room the other doorway opened into a second living space that also had a bedroom door on the same side as the first. This second bedroom was much smaller and had no closet.

In the very rear of the abandoned house had an addition that was built in the early 1930s. This addition was built with old growth timber and appeared to have been made using old house lumber possibly from a home that had been dismantled! The addition was home to the kitchen and the house’s only bathroom. Both of these rooms would have been a total gut job had we purchased this house.

Kitchen in Grandma's abandoned kitchen.
Kitchen in Grandma’s abandoned kitchen.

The exterior of the house had wood siding that was covered in metal siding. We had planned to remove the metal siding. The house had its original rolled tin roof but it had been patched in numerous places and would have needed a lot of attention.

None of these things deterred us from pursuing Grandma’s old, abandoned house.

Abandoned House criteria

We knew that no matter what old house we chose to move, we were going to have to be ok with a full renovation. Honestly, we had very few keys points that we wanted in a house

  • original details
  • turn of the century framing-lumber
  • heart pine floors
  • original windows
  • original wood siding
  • enough original detail that when we finished the renovation, we would still have an old home
  • structurally sound
  • layout that would work with our floorplan

Plumbing, electrical, HVAC none of that was a large concern simply because we knew we would be installing all new systems for each. We also weren’t concerned with the condition of the original foundation. When a house moves the original foundation stay at the original location.

Almost moving the old, abandoned house

Quickly I learned the cost of moving a house would greatly increase with the distance the house had to move. Meaning it was essential to move a house that was within reasonable distance of our farm. Distance, very important when it comes to moving a house whether it is an abandoned house or not. The shorter the distance the cheaper the move.

I was so excited because Grandma’s abandoned house on Facebook for sale to be moved was just a few miles from our farm! Not enough happy dances in the world! The house was listed for $5,000 dollars and was exactly 11 miles from our farm. This seemed like the perfect option for our family.

Hurdles before the move

We called multiple moving companies local to our area. The trees in front of the house were very close to the power lines. The trees were large, right beside the road, and feet from the county power lines. So, in addition to calling moving companies for quotes I also called tree removal companies. The quote to remove the trees was close to $3,000.

The house moving companies came back with quotes that ranged from $10,000 to $22,000. When we calculated the cost of the house, the tree removal, and the move we averaged between $18,000 to $30,000.

These house moving prices included the house being lifted off the original foundation, the house moving to our farm, the permits to move the structure.

Our problem with the abandoned house

Grandma’s abandoned house was too small for our family of 4. This the whole time we were looking at purchasing this house, we knew did have options. We could buy and move this abandoned house and find another to also move. Or we could build a large addition.

We wanted Grandma’s house, no doubt about it. My husband and I presented the family with an offer on the house. We finalized plans with the house moving company we chose to work with.

Grandma's abandoned house we didn't move.
Grandma’s abandoned house we didn’t move.

And the family declined. We tried to counter and after months of waiting we took the hint that they were not going to respond to us.

Grieving the loss of our Abandoned home

I was devastated.

But little did I know I wouldn’t be devastated long!

The abandoned houses we did move!

Losing out on Grandma’s house opened the door to find the houses that we will soon call home. You can read all about the abandoned houses we did move and our journey connecting them in our post Once in a lifetime Owner Build-Move two houses!

Do you have an abandoned house story?

Have you or anyone you know renovated an abandoned house?

Leave us a comment and let us know!