The cost of mothballing a house is vastly cheaper than demolishing one.
Depending on the amount of volunteer labor and materials, it can cost as little as a couple of hundred dollars.
But, as a general rule, we anticipate the cost of mothballing to be at $3,000 to $4,000 if one had to pay full price.
Let's assume you have 12 first floor windows to paint, cut and board. Nicole and I assume $35.00 in materials for each window. If you added $20.00 in labor for each window, that puts your price at $660. for the first floor windows. Let's assume you'd need to mothball one or two upper windows which need glass replacement, but could simply close the remaining windows (as allowed by the mothball ordinance). That would put the window price at well under $1000
Let's assume you have accumulated debris inside and under the house and need a dumpster. You'd pay about $250 for your dumpster and maybe $100 for cleanup labor. Total for this $350.
You'd need to secure the front and back door. Let's assume a cost of $75. including hinges and plywood. That's $150.00 for materials and $100 for labor. We are at $250.00 for securing the entry ways. Toss in another $30. for upstairs if needed and the total opening price is $280.
Each house will need security lights installed front and back. We bought solar lights for $85 each. They could be installed for $40.00. Lighting then is at $125.00
Underpinning the house with lattice is going to be required. We recommend using plastic lattice. It is more durable than the wood and much easier to work with. Plus it is already "painted" white which saves on labor. That will cost $20 a sheet and one should be able to split the sheets in half to have two 4 X 8 sections. Average house would probably use 9 sheets or so. Plus two by fours for framing say $150, nails and etc. Labor would be no more than $350. So you are looking at less than $700.
We are now at $2455.
Perhaps the front of the house needs to be primed or painted. $100 for a five gallon container. $300 in labor (doesn't need to be perfectly scraped and detailed - just cleaned up). $500.
should put some lipstick on the old girl.
Landscaping: plant a few perennials, toss some grass seed, whack some weeds...$125
The cost to mothball a house (and not lift an unpaid finger) could be on an average of $3000
Need some temporary bracing, a hole patched in the roof? Certainly by adding another $1000 these items could be easily accomplished.
It seems very possible to mothball a house for $3,000 to $4,000. It costs between $7,000 to $10,000 to demolish a house (not including the "cost" to the earth in the terms of using up landfill and etc).
For every house which is demolished, two houses could be mothballed, made secure and attractive, AND monitored.
Makes economic sense. Doesn't it?