estimating costs to knock down a home

hey guys, i’ve been hunting preforeclosures and came across a few vacants that are knock downs.

how do i go about estimating the cost of knocking the home down and removing the debris?


Someone here once suggested letting the fire department burn it down for practice. That definitely would reduce the amount of debris that goes into the dumpster.

Yes, burn that SOB down! If you can’t convince the Fire Dept. that they need practice, you can still hire them to do controlled burn for a price. I’m not sure what that price is as I’ve never gone that route. If you’re in close proximity with other buildings, this is probably not an option.

The total price will be greatly affected by the weight of the house. Dump fees for an entire house of medium to small size might be $1000 - $3000 or so. Dumpsters will vary in price a lot but you’ll need 4-7 of them for an average size house. Renting a bulldozer or bobcat is usually a few hundred bucks. 20 general laborers for two 10 hour days at $8/ hr is $3200. Shutting off the utilities before the meters might cost a couple hundred bucks to. For the conventional knock it down and load it up in dumpsters technique, it’ll cost around $10-20k. You could save some money but letting some of the general laborers keep all the copper in the house in exchange for free or discounted labor. If one of these vacant houses is full of junk, it could be worth it to sort through to see if there is anything of value of sell.

A concrete basement adds to the complexity and expense. I would be cautious about tearing down a house with a concrete basement (unless they let me use explosives). Asbestos, lead, and mold also add to the expense and would cause most of these deals to be unprofitable. Falling down and decomposing into the earth is sometimes the only answer for a lot of vacant properties without a nonprofit or the municipality taking over.

thanks for the replies guys…

burning the sucker to the ground sounds like it could be pretty entertaining to watch.

first things first…landing the deal ;]

thanks again guys,

I’m a Full time Firefighter and up here in New England the EPA has made it VERY hard for these types of burns to occur. Check with your local Dept. If it’s a good size Fire dept. call their Division of Training these are the guy’s who set this stuff up. If that doesn’t go anywhere check your yellow pages, we have at least 10 contractors listed under building demolition. I’ve used them in the past. they’ll come right out and give you a written estimate for free. It’s all based on size and contents. The best thing about these guys is the speed with which they work. A typical 1500 sq. ft.Cape style house will be completely cleaned off your property including foundation in 2 days TOPS.

Thanks for the reply…for about how much would that run you? … just curious.


I had a 900 square foot house torn down and taken away for $2300. I felt it was a pretty fair cost and it was fun to watch. If you do it though make sure that you throw rocks through all the windows and take a sledgehammer to some stuff, just for fun!!! Although having somebody burn it down does sound a lot more exciting. :beer

If somebody charges you more than $5000, let me know, and i’ll do it for that. :beer