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Free house comes with a catch – no cash, but carry

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Looking for a good price on a two-story Victorian home built in 1900? The Fargo Forum has a story on one that fits the bill, and the price is better than reasonable.

The house is free.

The newspaper reports that the catch is that whoever gets it has to move it. An ad for the house was posted on Craigslist by owners Matt Myers and Jacqueline Bussie who live next door. They purchased the vintage structure to prevent it from turning into a tear-down.

The Craigslist ad seeks someone willing to take the house for free and move it to preserve it. Myers said the couple would turn the empty lot into green space for the neighborhood.

“We’ve had a few folks look at the home and they were not interested in rehabbing it because it would be a fairly costly endeavor,” Myers said. He suspects it might be more affordable for a resourceful new owner to take the home for free and pay to move it.

Moving structures has become a fairly common occurrence in Fargo. When the city recently auctioned homes as part of a flood buyout project, a professional house mover said moving a house can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $70,000, depending on how far it has to go and the obstacles along the way.

Last year there were no takers for a house in Duluth that was offered free to anyone who would move it at their own expense. The Duluth News Tribune reported that while 50 people expressed interest in the newly remodeled residence, moving the solid brick 2½-story house proved too tricky. Moving costs exceeded the value of the home, which was assessed at $139,50. The house had been the leasing office for a new housing complex.

In November, a Minneapolis house moved two blocks from the campus of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design to a new spot where it will be rehabbed to provide more affordable housing. KARE covered the transport of the house as it rumbled through the Whittier neighborhood.

A free house is always sweet, but may be of particular value in the current economic climate. A business prediction story carried by the McClatchy newspapers said sales of of existing homes are a wild card for 2014, due to rising home prices and climbing mortgage rates that may make affordability an issue. Home construction of new residences is on the upswing; homebuilders report that home starts were expected to finish 2013 at about 900,000, a number still below pre-crisis levels of about 1.6 million.

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