A free house? In this economy? One Vancouver woman says it’s actually possible — if you’re willing to pay to move it off of her lot.
Katie Dunsworth Reiach is giving away her 1920s-era heritage home in Vancouver free of charge to someone willing to pay the costs of moving it somewhere else.
“I love the house and I just think there’s somebody that would love it and cherish it as much as we would,” she told HuffPost Canada.
Dunsworth Reiach and her husband currently own the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house and its lot in Vancouver’s Cambie neighbourhood. They bought it over a decade ago and have since raised two kids and a dog in the space. The house has also been used in the filming of the CW TV series “The Flash.”
However, as their kids have grown, the family’s started to outgrow the old character home.
“Our needs have changed quite a bit,” she said. “And the renovation costs, just because of the age of the house, were too much — we’d actually need to add another storey and so it kind of became not feasible. The cost was the same as if we just wanted to build on the same lot.”
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She says the idea of moving the house, rather than renovating or demolishing it, hit her about a year and a half ago. Dunsworth Reiach has a friend from high school who works with Nickel Bros, a B.C.-based house moving company. She says she reached out and found that because of the house’s size and location, it would actually be really feasible to move it.
“Where we are, we’re kind of near the Gulf Islands and so it actually seems like a pretty common thing that people will move older houses to islands,” she said. “Like, it’s trickier to build over there.”
Nickel Bros. put together an estimate of how much it would cost to move the house — $149,000. And Dunsworth Reiach says that if someone is willing to pay that, she’ll give them the structure for free. She’s calling it her “most ambitious recycling attempt” ever.
“I love the house and I just think there’s somebody that would love it and cherish it as much as we would.”
Dunsworth Reiach says one interested bidder has made a down payment, with plans to move the house to a nearby island starting in the spring of 2021. She says she’ll know by the end of the week if that deal will go through, or if the free house will remain up for grabs.
After the house is moved, the family plans to build a new, bigger structure on the existing lot.
“We love our neighbourhood, and don’t really want to leave it,” she said. “But also it’s actually more affordable for us to build than it is for us to try and pay you know moving fees and what it would cost to move into the size of house that we would want to be in. So, yeah, I think it works both ways.”
She hopes one day she’ll be able to take her kids to visit their childhood home — even if it ends up on an island.
“Ideally, I’d like to still be able to come and see it,” she said.
“We’re also including all the furniture, so like it could literally still be the same.”