Where To Find the Best Bargain Renovation Materials



Where To Find the Best Bargain Renovation Materials
January 2013
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1300 550 656
Where to Find the Best
Bargain Renovation Materials
Justin Eslick, Geoff Doidge and Paul Eslick
The information, statements and opinions expressed in this publication are only intended as a guide to some of
the important considerations to be taken into account relating to property investment and property renovation
and development. Although we believe that the statements are correct, they should not be taken to represent
accounting, taxation, legal or investment advice and you must obtain your own independent advice from an
appropriate qualified professional. Neither the publisher nor any people or organizations involved in the
preparation of this material give any guarantees about its contents or accept any liability for any loss, damage or
other consequences which may arise as a result of any person acting on or using the information and opinions
contained in this publication.
Author’s Note
We’ve always said that for every dollar you spend on a renovation you need to be getting $3 to $5 back
in added value. So to do that, the less you spend on the renovation, the better off you are. Make a
budget for your renovation and stick to it. A dollar saved is a dollar earned so don’t waste valuable
money on brand new materials, appliances and fittings when second-hand or not-quite-perfect will do.
So long as the thing you buy serves the purpose – who cares if it has a tiny scratch in a place no one
can see unless they’re one inch away from it! And if a kitchen or vanity has been used before, what
does that matter if it looks as good as new and works perfectly? When you’re renovating it’s about
getting the best ‘bang for your buck’ we always say, so hit those bargain centres and sniff out the best
bargains – and tell them the Reno Kings sent you!
Justin Eslick, Paul Eslick & Geoff Doidge
January 2013
© Real Property Productions Pty Ltd 2013 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in
any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the publisher.
Source 1 : One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure
Source 2 : Cannibalise
Source 3 : Newspaper and Online Classifieds
Source 4 : Search Salvage Yards / Second Hand Stores
Source 5 : Cut Out the Middle Man
Source 6 : Join a Buying Group
Source 7 : Online Trading Websites
Source 8 : Auctions
Source 9 : Import Materials Yourself
Source 10 : Get Smart With Your Labour
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Source 1 : One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure
If you pass a renovation in progress, there is a good chance you will see items being removed
and dumped that have value to someone else. Perhaps that someone else is you!
The most coveted items - such as old doors (including old door hardware), timber windows,
security grills and old hardwood timber - just happen to be some of the most commonly found
things in skip bins. All of these items can have a second life.
If you pass a renovation ask the builder or owner if they would mind if you 'helped with their
rubbish problem' by taking some of these items away.
You may also be lucky enough to find a garage sale advertising building materials.
Check out www.egaragesales.com.au for garage sales in your area.
Source 2 : Cannibalise
Sometimes the cheapest materials can be found on-site. This seems obvious to the
seasoned investor but it occurs all too rarely with the beginner renovator.
Stairs in the wrong spot? Don't demolish and throw away! Instead dismantle and put back
together in the new location.
Is the timber on the existing deck rough, dirty and ugly? Hire a floor sander and give it a
rough hit. You will be shocked at how beautifully the timber comes up. Not only does this
save in materials but also labour.
Doors are another common one. Regularly people remove doors or whole walls, but they
also put up walls and doors (especially anyone who follows the Reno Kings, as we always
encourage you to 'find' an extra bedroom under the existing roof line). Don't throw out
that door only to buy a new one for the new wall. Re-use the same door.
Kitchens are another great place to 'cannibalise'. If the carcass (i.e. the frame) of the
kitchen is in good order, then keep it and only replace the doors and handles.
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Source 3 : Newspaper and Online Classifieds
Second hand doesn't need to mean second best.
People advertise second hand building materials all the time, such as items salvaged from a
renovation or demolition, or surplus stock purchased for another renovation which did not end
up being used.
For example, we know of brand new kitchens that have been sold through the classifieds at a
discounted price. One such story involved the removal of a 'laminate' kitchen from a brand new
apartment because the buyer wanted a 2-pac and stone kitchen. This kitchen, including
appliances, sold second hand for less than half its value.
Other second hand items you'll regularly come across include flooring, roofing, staircases,
windows, doors, bathrooms, fireplaces, electrical & lighting, sheds, car ports, and landscape
Try sites such as www.salvagebazaar.com.au or www.recycledyard.com.au. You may also like
to check out our own website - http://www.renos.com.au/bargains/ - which lists many local
places to grab a second hand bargain.
Source 4 : Search Salvage Yards / Second Hand Stores
Demolition crews, house removalists and general renovators often don’t throw away their old
doors and windows, but rather give them away to salvage yards or second hand stores.
Salvage yards are a great place to get second hand goods or items that are not longer
manufactured. Be careful though, as these savage yards are a mecca for the seasoned
renovator. You can waste hours browsing through these places!
There are also many second hand stores specializing in home improvement items such as
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Hughes Renovator’s Paradise www.hughesonline.com.au or Habitat for Humanity ReStore
www.habitatforhumanityrestore.org.au/locations.html in Victoria. ReStore is a outlet that
accepts donated home improvement goods for resale. The goods are usually donated by local
retailers, contractors and individuals in the community, and are then sold to the general public
at a large discount from the retail price. This not only prevents good, reusable materials from
ending up as land fill, but also provides funding for all of Habitat's community improvement
Source 5 : Cut Out the Middle Man
Retail stores rarely manufacture their own products. They get their goods from elsewhere. For
example, a lot of kitchen 'retailers' source their kitchens from the same suppliers. This means
there is an opportunity for you to do the same and avoid the retailer's mark up. Go to
manufacturers and wholesalers directly and cut out the retailer or middle-man. Have a drive
around an industrial or warehouse area. You may be surprised at what you discover.
Another option that kind of fits in this category is not a used goods seller, but a new appliances
seller. If you’re in the market for whitegoods and small appliances,
www.appliancesonline.com.au comes highly recommended. Their prices are very competitive
and if you don’t need to touch and feel and see the stove in the flesh (as you possibly wouldn’t
for an investment property) and just know that the dimensions are correct and it’s the cheapest
for your rental property, then you can save yourself the trip to look, choose, purchase, deliver
etc and just arrange that all online. There are also many reviews listed on the Appliances
Online website that may help with your purchase if it’s a more personal choice.
Source 6 : Join a Buying Group
A buying group is a group of consumers who collectively buy items in bulk at a discounted price.
Each member then benefits from the discounted price, even if they are buying just one item.
There are two ways buying groups work.
In groups such as www.renosave.com.au, members pay a fee to be part of the group. This gives
members access to the discounts RenoSave has effectively negotiated from various suppliers
and trades in return for promoting their businesses to the members of the group.
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The other option is to buy at the same time as other people, thereby collectively buying in bulk.
The obvious example of this in action is www.cudo.com.au and www.spreets.com.au , who on
a daily basis offer a heavily discounted price for a wide variety of items, providing a minimum
number of those items are sold. These groups can be a bit more hit and miss for the renovator
though, as they sell meals, holidays, beauty products... in fact anything and everything, not just
products suited to the home renovator.
Source 7 : Online Trading Websites
The web is a fantastic tool for sellers to advertise their products to buyers without a middleman
getting involved. This means you can often find products for sale on the web at discounted
Of course you can start with www.ebay.com.au or www.gumtree.com.au, however to help
narrow the search there are some useful online trading websites that you might consider.
www.recyclebuild.com.au is a website that aims to reduce the ecological impact of our built
environment through the recycling of building materials.
www.xsstock.com.au also a good option. Xsstock is a specialised online trading facility where
you can either shop online using the “Buy It Now” facility or alternatively contact the seller
directly and buy your product from them.
Here’s another site that we’ve recently come across for trading used kitchens:
Gray’s Online http://www.graysonline.com/ is another, huge, online trading site, covering
everything from computers & electronics to mining, construction & agriculture. (Don’t buy
anything you don’t need or you’re not saving money!) They have household renovation and
building auctions.
If you’re not used to trading online, see if you can get some tips and pointers from someone
who does it and has done so for a while. It’s generally pretty safe these days, but there’re
always exceptions. Ask heaps of questions about any product you’re looking to buy online,
including dimensions, condition, materials, and ask for extra photos of anything you want to be
particularly sure of.
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Source 8 : Auctions
In addition to the online auction places there are also warehouses full of excess, damaged,
liquidated or discontinued stock, who auction off their goods on a weekly basis. Unlike salvage
yards, these can be a great source for new products at a discounted price. Some of the more
common items are bathrooms fixtures such as vanities, shower screens and toilets, kitchens,
lighting, tiles and appliances. Just make sure you do your research before attending. Amongst
the information you’ll need is the price you can buy them for new from other sellers.
Here’s a ‘physical’ auction house in Sydney www.renovatorauctions.com.au who also have an
online and absentee bidder facility.
Fowles Auctions & Sales www.fowles.com.au in Melbourne have auctions on Wednesdays.
Auction World Sydney www.auctionworldsydney.com.au every Saturday in Bankstown and
Cam Brown Auctions are in Brisbane www.cambrownauctions.com.au and have times for
viewing, auction and pickup listed on their website.
Lloyd’s Auctions are at the Gold Coast www.lloydsauctions.com.au and have fortnightly Sunday
auctions generally focusing on builder and renovator goods and other items
With all these auctions going on, there really is no excuse to pay full price for items for a renovation –
particularly an investment property renovation.
Source 9 : Import Materials Yourself
A lot of people don't realise it, but you can import goods yourself from overseas, the obvious
place being China.
The savings can be huge, especially on high end items, but you do need to know what you are
doing. You don't want to be importing just one or two items. You really need to be filling a
shipping container. Which means you need a long shopping list and some knowledge on what
you are doing.
If you are doing a large renovation or series of renovations in may even pay to travel overseas
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to select your products. This isn't just restricted to renovators either. Developers can get in on
the act too.
Before embarking on this venture make sure you research it thoroughly, including import laws
and duties that may be payable. Depending on the type and value of the goods or products you
import, there may be restrictions and costs involved. These can include quarantine regulations,
the need for import permits, or the payment of clearance fees, customs duty, Goods and
Service Tax (GST) and other taxes.
When importing, it is important to find out from the Customs Information Centre (CIC) if the
goods you plan to import are prohibited or restricted. If the goods are restricted, find out about
the restrictions and what you need to do in order to import them. You may need to register and
pay a fee. If the goods are subject to quarantine regulations, you need to apply for an importing
permit and allow time for quarantine.
You can start your research here:
Source 10 : Get Smart With Your Labour
Finally, get smart with your labour. This isn't about sourcing bargain materials so much, but
more about being clever with both your time and also those working on your job.
Don't send the carpenter to pick up materials as they will charge for their time doing this. Their
time is best spend on the job, so either you pick up the materials or you get them delivered.
Any 'brainless' jobs should be done by you or someone not being paid as much as a carpenter,
electrician or plumber.
For example ripping up old carpet, removing security grills, or clearing gardens, should all be
done by yourself or by a cheap labourer, never by one of the skilled trades.
Lastly, have your products picked out from the start and have them readily available at all
times. You never want a job to stall because something isn't on-site. This costs you time and
time is money.
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One common mistake renovators make is to wait before selecting their taps and other
bathrooms fixtures. Wrong! Taps, usually have a 'rough in' component (the part of the tap that
goes inside the wall) and a 'fit out' component (the nice shiny handle you see use to turn the
water on). The fit out part is required only at the end, but the rough in component is required
right back at the start of the job and you can't buy one part without the other, which means
having your taps and other fixtures picked out before you get too far into your job, and waiting
on-site to be installed when required.
So there you are! A whole host of ideas and tips and tricks for saving an absolute
fortune on getting a renovation – with no compromise on quality or function. The
more you save the bigger your profit margin.
Go Bargain Hunting!
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