An old colonial house is loaded onto the bed of a truck.

When most people are having their home moved or lifted, their thoughts are about the home itself. That makes sense, of course, because it’s called “house moving” and “house lifting.” More than anything they’re concerned about the physical structure they live in.

But while the house is the primary concern — the one that will be our primary concern — it isn’t the only aspect of house moving. Many more parts of the property have to be considered before, during, and after the move or lift, many of which you’ll need a specialist for. After all, Payne Construction are expert building movers, not landscapers!

While Payne will have a list of what you need done before we can come in and do our thing, we thought you might want a heads-up on what you’ll need to deal with first.

Outdoor Steps

You might not have ever noticed, but very few front doors are at street level. Nearly every house has some sort of step up into the dwelling, ranging from a single concrete step to a dozen or more wooden ones. It’s very unlikely that houses that are moved will have the exact same elevation once they’re on the new foundation, rendering the current steps useless.

Lifted houses will certainly need news steps, as that’s what house raising is all about. A house that might have had three steps might now have 15 in order to reach a house that’s now well above the flood zone. Old steps are usually torn down and destroyed.


It’s not easy to say goodbye to a deck. Whether it houses an entire outdoor kitchen and hot tub or if it just has a few deck chairs, decks usually hold quite a few good memories of dining outside.

In most cases, decks aren’t salvageable. Since they’re secured to the ground by concrete, moving them in order to get the heavy house moving equipment in just isn’t practical. If it’s a very expensive deck, such as one made from composite wood, then you might want to hire a professional to disassemble it and make the most of the existing materials once the house raising or moving is done.

Shrubbery and Landscaping

In most cases, everything that’s up against the house’s foundation will have to be removed. This includes shrubs, bulbs, decorative rocks, and gravel. Whatever isn’t removed is sure to be destroyed, due to the (intentional) damage to a house’s foundation and the large equipment that has to get very close.

Removing or relocating landscaping isn’t something that Payne takes care of, so make sure to have everything away from the building’s foundation before we start moving in the heavy equipment. Know that the heavy equipment we use can tear up grass considerably, so there will probably be the need for some “from scratch” landscaping.


Hardscaping can describe a wide variety of non-living property additions, including fire pits, retaining walls, fountains, and stone paths.

As you can probably tell, some of these are moveable, while some aren’t. How important each of these is — and how far away they are from the house — will play a big part in how salvageable they are. Some can be moved to the new property, or, in the case of house lifting, can be moved to the side while your home is raised.

If we’re performing your house moving, anything that can be salvaged will be your responsibility to move. Anything that stays behind could be destroyed by our equipment, though we’ll certainly work around supportive structures such as retaining walls as much as possible.


To paraphrase Steve Jobs, all the money in the world can’t buy a full-grown tree. While there is tree-moving equipment, there’s an upper limit to the size of trees that can be moved.

Luckily, the destruction of most trees can be avoided during Payne Construction’s work. Most trees are far enough away from the foundation of a building so that we can avoid them during house lifting, though you might have to trim the lower branches so that we can move our equipment around.

House moving is another story. If the trees are in the backyard, it’s likely that they can be left alone. But when it comes to putting the house on a truck and driving it away, trees in the front yard might have to be removed. While Payne doesn’t cut down trees, we can talk to your arborist to determine just how much work will have to be done to trees in your yard before the lift or move.

Sheds / Lean-Tos

You won’t be surprised to know that lean-tos will have to be removed from your house. If the house is being moved to a new location, the lean-to might be able to be retrofitted to the new landscape, but that might depend on the height of the new foundation. House raising renders lean-tos pretty much useless.

If you purchased a pre-built shed, it’s very likely that it can be moved as necessary to the new property or moved out of the way during house lifting. A shed built on-site with a foundation might be a different story, but it will depend on how far away from the house it is.

Everything Inside the House

One of the first questions people ask us when they inquire about house lifting or house moving is “what do we do with everything in the house?” They’re curious if they have to move everything out, have us do our work, and then move everything back in.

For house lifting, very little has to be done for the items inside the house. The added weight of the items inside the house isn’t much when compared to the house itself, so you can leave most items where they are. House raising is a very gentle process, thanks to the hydraulic lifts that raise a house in tiny increments. While we might advise you to remove pictures from the walls and secure tall items (such as bookcases and grandfather clocks), very little else is necessary.

House moving can be a different story. While the process is still gentle, we’re moving a house vertically, then horizontally. It’s also impossible for our moving trucks to be as gentle as hydraulic jacks, especially when you consider variables like poor roads. We’ll be sure to discuss the level of care needed to items inside the house before it’s moved.

Are You Ready To Have Your House Moved Or Lifted?

There’s a lot that goes into moving a house. While we take care of the actual house, we think you can see from the list above that are are many more decisions to make that many people forget about.

When you choose Payne Construction, we’ll talk you through the process and help you determine exactly what needs to be done before we arrive. We look forward to hearing from you!