How do I Ship My House Across Country

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Any help would be appreciated.  So I put my RGT Victorian Farmhouse (fully built, electrified, decorated, etc.) on ebay to sell.  I stated that I preferred local pick up only.  However, a woman in CA really loves my house and how I designed it.  She would like me to ship it to her.  I live in Alabama.  I know the house would have to be special crated, packed, and such.  How would I do this?  I do NOT trust UPS. 

Does anyone have any experience with this?  I can do the general research, but if you have any experience from when you actually did this, that would help a great deal and I appreciate it.  I know some of you experts in the business must have great advice.  About how much is this going to cost?  I have the chandeliers to protect as well. 

Nothing is on the walls and there is no furniture going. 

I really appreciate this from the community!

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Tracy Topps (Minis on the Edge) sells and ships houses all over, so I hope she sees this and weighs in.  I believe you can protect your chandeliers if you carefully pack your empty rooms around them with crumpled tissue paper.

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Thank you so much for your reply and suggestion so quickly.  I will try to email or message Tracy Topps. 

 

 

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My first inclination would be to offer my condolences to the prospective buyer while telling her it cannot be shipped with guaranteed safety by any means. If she's willing to take the risk, I would go talk to the owner of my local UPS store with photos of the house and ask him or her how they would recommend it be packed. You'll be able to tell from the response whether they know what they are talking about. Is it your local UPS store that you distrust or UPS in general? Each store is independently operated, so I'm sure the level of service varies from place to place.

I took the Mardi Gras float to UPS for crating and shipping via the UPS freight service from central Missouri to Houston. They build a wooden crate and packed it well. I was in Houston to unpack it and was impressed with how well it came through, despite many delicate features. It was about 400 hundred dollars for the combined crating and shipping, if I remember correctly, but that may not be right. The lighting in the float was external; it could be removed and packed separately, so that wasn't an issue.

Nevertheless, if the woman is willing to pay that much for shipping, you should get her to agree in writing that the electricity cannot be guaranteed. No matter how well it is packed, the jostling and vibrations it will encounter en route can cause electrical disconnects, failures.

As for the chandeliers, wrapping them in tissue and taping them securely to the ceiling so they don't dangle and swing is probably the safest way for them to travel. Stuffing the room with tissue, as Holly suggests, is a good idea as well.

 

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Some people have also used Greyhound for shipping dollhouses; I expect the same caveats apply.

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I'm adding this in from the buyer's perspective:

I have had 2 large houses shipped to me from across the country. The biggest one (a farmhouse) arrived in a HUGE almost appliance sized box. But it arrived without a scratch and it was a fragile house. She had a 3rd party packing company pack it and ship it. I think it was like a fedex service, or a PostalAnnex service. She defrayed some of that cost in the asking price, and I paid what seemed a reasonable fee. It was wrapped in copious amounts of bubble wrap, foam, cardboard around the corners....really well insulated. As a buyer, if someone is willing to ship a big house to me, I am pretty accommodating on the shipping price. I know it is a hassle and I appreciate that someone is willing to ship.

The second house was wrapped very well and fit very tightly into two boxes (it was separable into reasonable sized pieces). It was wrapped very well and had a lot of peanuts and packing to make a snug fit. Taped to the nines so that the box would make the journey. Reasonable shipping price.

A note about the chandeliers: I had a tiny house shipped recently and the interior was filled with tissue paper, and everything stayed on the walls (there were plates, framed pictures, shelves - all tacked on with wax!). There was only one framed picture missing - which I found in the shipping box. I'm glad I knew to check (I had looked carefully at the ebay photos).  I appreciate it when a seller puts as many removable things into a separate bag and lets me know they have done that, so I know to look out for a little bag or box when I am unpacking.

And of course I agreed to be there to sign for these boxes...they were HUGE and I wanted as much tracking as possible.  

Good luck! 

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I sent 2 houses to CA.  One UPS and one USPS.  both arrived in good condition.  However, they were NOT big houses.  UPS. Shrink wrapped the house the shipped, I packed the other one.  I took the Linfield to SoCA in my car.   Any excuse for me to go home.  Lol

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I just so happen to live near a shipping place that does phenomenal packing and shipping. Unfortunately, I used to LOVE to use DHL. They were never late and never lost or damaged a package. They no longer do shipping in the USA to another USA address (they are only doing out of the country stuff).

UPS has damaged 2 of my houses (after losing them) Over the past 6 years.  They were headed to California but ended up in Georigia and the other in North Carolina. When they found the house sealed and packed, THEY opened them. They did NOT pack it correctly both times and the houses arrived damaged. They even tried to say that the insurance on them were invalid because THEY opened the package. I was very upset (as was my client who had received 3 houses from me in perfect condition). My pack n shipping company I use gave me insurance through them. They paid me right away but they had to fight ups each time (it was truly sad). Thses houses weren't large or as heavy as the the RGT farmhouse.  

I personally would decline to sell until I know all costs involved in packing and shipping. Shipping may end up costing more than the price she paid for the house. You don't want to be out of the pocket either because of that. Talk to the manager at your local shipping place and see if they have experience in packing dollhouses. My shipping place uses cups and painters tape to hold it in place over light fixtures. You're in Alabama too which is even further away from California. I'm sure shipping will be very high not including packing. I've used Greyhound bus service to ship a dollhouse a couple of times many years ago. I've even had one sent via the train to Nevada. Those houses made it safely too. They were too big to go via USPS or UPS without a Crate which makes the price skyrocket.  People don't realize that professional packing AND shipping is costly. Especially to California and Washington.  I would cancel the bid and tell her it can not be done if you can't find a place you trust to pack it and ship it. And Please get insurance! It's too much of a risk and is only pennies compared to trying to replace or have to refund her yourself. Ebay rules for the customer most times now. 

Please keep us posted about what happens! I hope you find a place you can trust! Mine even use smaller shipping companies to ship and deliver items and they have always arrived perfectly most times :) 

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Thank you so much, Minis on the Edge.  First of all, I am so sorry I sent you a message in the wrong way.  I am not a tech super star.  I thought I messaged you on your page privately.  I think a lady replied to me to use and envelope sign somewhere. 

anyway, I have been seriously thinking of declining myself due to my lack of experience, the weight of the house and the  bulk, plus the distance.  I told her I would do my investigation of the total price of shipping and let her know.  I am selling it for 1500 plus the shipping.  I am guessing the shipping will be at least 600.  I don't think she is willing to pay that.  I will ask a couple of shipping stores as well as Fed Ex to at least give her the estimate.  But I would still like to decline. 

Thank you for your reply and help.

 

Thanks everyone else for all your advice.  IF you were to look up the RGT Victorian Farmhouse, it is a monster.  And it is MDF, not plywood. 

 

Take care all

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Good luck! After having completed this very same house last week, and then having to transport it just a few miles, the thought of taking this to pack and then shipping makes me cringe!

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I used a local mailing service store I can't remember but I think it was ups..they did a phenomenal job packing the house my mom (receiver) was very impressed. I think it cost $40. If this lady has that kind of $ for a house she probably wouldn't bat an eye at spending a few hundred to ship (I doubt it would cost that much). I would do some research, and congrats for selling your house at a great price. 

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Forgot to say I packed contents separately and shipped separately.

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16 hours ago, Lady Grey said:

Thank you so much, Minis on the Edge.  First of all, I am so sorry I sent you a message in the wrong way.  I am not a tech super star.  I thought I messaged you on your page privately.  I think a lady replied to me to use and envelope sign somewhere. 

anyway, I have been seriously thinking of declining myself due to my lack of experience, the weight of the house and the  bulk, plus the distance.  I told her I would do my investigation of the total price of shipping and let her know.  I am selling it for 1500 plus the shipping.  I am guessing the shipping will be at least 600.  I don't think she is willing to pay that.  I will ask a couple of shipping stores as well as Fed Ex to at least give her the estimate.  But I would still like to decline. 

Thank you for your reply and help.

 

Thanks everyone else for all your advice.  IF you were to look up the RGT Victorian Farmhouse, it is a monster.  And it is MDF, not plywood. 

 

Take care all

Happy to be able to help and no need for apologies! The past 4 days has been weird here for me at home. Husband sick, ended up in an ER from a horror movie and me and my kids had to go to Chicago (he admitted himself near the closest one by his job) break him out lol. Answering dollhouse queries by far more fun :) 

I hope you have much success in selling your house! And just so you know, my small storybook "Marie's Cottage" went to a lady in California (pictured below) . Professional packing & shipping  (from Southern Wisconsin to California) cost me $532 and that was for ground delivery (5-7 days) via UPS. It may cost more and honestly, it comes with the guarantee that she's more insured that the house will reach her in good condition. :) I always tell my clients, I'm a precessional builder, not packer and these people really do such a wonderful job. I'm blessed to have found my packing place! I'm thinking, you may want to call them because I know they have affiliates in the USA. This is the link to their website. http://www.ezpacknship.com/ If you talk to Jerry or Thom, let them know I sent you and you have a dollhouse and where you live. I just remembered they helped someone else I know find a good packing place. 

 

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1 hour ago, WyckedWood said:

I used a local mailing service store I can't remember but I think it was ups..they did a phenomenal job packing the house my mom (receiver) was very impressed. I think it cost $40. If this lady has that kind of $ for a house she probably wouldn't bat an eye at spending a few hundred to ship (I doubt it would cost that much). I would do some research, and congrats for selling your house at a great price. 

I agree with that Karin! I think sometimes we over think the price because it's so expensive to us! I always say, if I had to buy one of my own houses, I don't think I could afford some of them. But I have customers waiting for me to get back to selling. Packing and shipping (well and pricing my work) has always been the hard part :) 

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