Farmhouse for free, but buyer must move it off owners’ land

Bargain hunters beware! A four-bedroom farmhouse in southern Iowa listed online for free comes with a catch: The new owner must move the building from the current owners’ land.

Posted: Dec. 15, 2017 8:44 PM
Updated: Dec. 15, 2017 8:44 PM

ELLSTON, Iowa (AP) — Bargain hunters beware! A four-bedroom farmhouse in southern Iowa listed online for free comes with a catch: The new owner must move the building from the current owners’ land.

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Roger and Linda Dolecheck wrote in a Craigslist ad that the Ringgold County home will be torn down this winter if no one takes up their offer.

The Dolechecks have been trying for years to sell the house where they raised their four children, the Des Moines Register reported.

“It needs a family to enjoy it the way ours did,” Roger Dolecheck wrote in the ad.

The 2 ½-floor farmhouse is assessed at $52,700, even after the Dolechecks invested $150,000 in repairs.

The Dolechecks purchased the home in 1984, then built a new house on the same property about seven years ago. The couple can still see the top of their former home about 100 yards (90 meters) away.

“We just want it moved,” Roger Dolecheck said.

Dolecheck said the old farmhouse has historic value as the home to landmark agricultural innovation in Depression-era Iowa.

Raymond F. Baker’s family built the farmhouse in the early 1900s. Baker was an agronomy student at Iowa State University in the 1920s. He was given experimental corn samples by Henry A. Wallace, who later served as the vice president under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Baker planted those samples at the farm, and the hybrid corn won awards for its high yields.

“(Raymond) and Henry Wallace . started to develop the first seeds right here,” Dolecheck said, “right north of this old house we’re trying to get moved.”

Dolecheck originally planned to move the farmhouse to a historical farmstead and event center east of Mount Ayr. The cost of the 20-mile (32-kilometer) move that never materialized as at least $22,000. But the tab nearly doubled when it was discovered that a single key power line would have to be moved.

“I would still love to have somebody move it and live in it,” Dolecheck said.

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