It was large with a country feel, it was heritage-style, it was well-made. It was everything Kierra Massoud was looking for in a home.
But while anyone else’s quest to find their dream home would be over with the purchasing, the 32-year-old Queensland mum had a bloody tough road ahead of her. Because in order to live in this house, Kierra would need to move it 125km up the M1 freeway first.
“My husband and I had bought a farm [in Kybong] in March last year. A 90-acre property that had no house on it,” she explained to Mamamia.
“He was keen to build a new home and I really wanted to find something that looked like it had been there forever, and that it was a natural fit to the land. The new-home look wasn’t really what I was going for.”
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So the mum-of-two started looking for ‘removable homes‘. The idea was that she’d find a home, buy it, chop it in half and transport it to her farm – which sounds much simpler than it turned out to be.
Keirra began her search at the yards of companies who transport homes as their business and had a stockpile of houses for sale. After months of looking and finding nothing was suitable and turned to online classifieds community Gumtree.
And that’s where a little bit of luck played its part, because the home Kierra found and loved wasn’t actually listed under the real estate section.
“It was a bit of a funny ad. It was kind of hiding under the miscellaneous part of Gumtree. I’m not sure if it was luck or fate, but it meant that it was a little harder to find.”
“As soon as I saw the photo I knew that it was the one.”
So Kierra got in touch with the man named Martin whose home was in the town of Narangba, 30km north of Brisbane, and inquired about coming over to inspect the house in August.
"Since we were the first people to call, he put us to the top of the list and in the first group of people to come over and inspect it.
"We basically purchased it there and then, once we had been through."
Kierra did not disclose the amount she paid Martin, but she said this was the quickest part of the entire process. It would be another six months until their home was finally relocated to their farm in February this year.
"The process was quite a difficult one, because obviously you're buying the house and not the land." For this reason, Kierra said, buying the home was more like buying a car than a regular real estate transaction, with few of the legal requirements and protections that are normally in place.
"You're just buying what you see in front of you and it's really your responsibility to do all the due-diligence stuff and decide whether or not it's going to work."
Kierra's next call was to a removalist company, who made sure that the home was moveable and that her family's farm was a suitable location to move it to.
"We negotiated and contracts were drawn up. Then it was a matter of getting it through council, so you have to get plans drawn up and apply [for a planning permit] like you would building a home," she said.
"Then the process started of having certifiers, engineers and architects to look at what was there and put it into council and wait 12 weeks for it to go through council.
"And then we had to wait for Christmas and finally in February, that's when we got the final okay from police and the roads department to move the house."
Each of these processes added to the price of the move, on top of the cost of the home itself, but the former Queensland Firebirds netballer said these figures still totalled less than the cost of building a home.
"The cost involved in moving it can be as much as $100,000 depending on the size of the home and obviously that includes the cost of cutting it in half and basically just move it to where you want it and return it to the state before it was moved," she said.
"Then you have to do the finishing, connecting the power, the water and the sewerage.
"It does work out cheaper, but there's a lot of hidden costs. There's not really anything you can do about them."
Ashleigh Mackay is sales manager at Mackay and Sons House Removal - the company Kierra hired to move her home.
Ashleigh tells Mamamia Kierra's timeline was typical of a move, with a major hold-up being generally in the council approval stage. She said the relocation itself could be quite quick.
"We could have a two-section Queenslander [newer style of home] prepped in a day for relocation, depending on the house. Two days if it's a little bit more complex."
She says once on the other end, the stumping process will also take one to two days, with this needing to be followed by reconnections.
All things to consider when relocating a home.
For Kierra, the next step is a few renovations, such as extending the deck, painting, and landscaping, before they'll move in.
And while the couple and their two young children have no regrets about their decision, Kierra said there were moments her husband, in particular, wondered 'what have we done?'
"There were times where we both second-guessed if it was the right thing to do, but once the house arrived we saw how great it looked on the block we know we'd made the right decision."
You can follow the rest of Kierra's home relocation journey on her Instagram, The Gumtree Farmhouse.
Would you consider buying a home on Gumtree? Tell us in the comments below.