I like watching Property Brothers and Love it or List it, but how do these contractors stretch their budget so far? I will be moving to Colorado before December but all of the houses in my budget need work. How can I get the most for my money as far as material goes??
Kylie, there are several reasons -- some of which you can use and others that are usually not available to the general public. It's no secret that companies like advertising, and if their products are featured on popular TV shows, they're often willing to give the items away -- or at least provide them at a major price reduction.
You can see the same principle in action every time you walk through a major home builder's model home park. Very rarely does the builder pay full price for the kitchen cabinets, appliances, or floor coverings on display -- sometimes they're absolutely free. The manufacturers feel the practice is worth it if they can achieve a few additional sales and the builder uses their products throughout the project.
Of course, this doesn't help you in your quest for lower material costs. When you're just renovating one home, you're probably not going to get any quantity discounts from material vendors. Three or four renovations a year might be a different story.
That means your best option for getting good material prices is doing some careful shopping. Just because your local home improvement store gives you a price on some framing lumber or interior doors, don't assume that's the best you can do.
I recently spoke with the co-owner of a local remodeling company, and even they are doing more price comparisons than they have in the past. You might be surprised at how much prices can vary -- I know that the co-owner was somewhat amazed. While you might have to do a little extra driving or make a few phone calls, it may be well worth it when all the savings are added up.
Another source you might try is online vendors as they often have much less overhead to cover than a retailer with a physical presence. Quite a bit of the time they also offer a much larger selection of products. However, keep in mind that you may have to pay shipping, and that can get fairly expensive for heavier materials.
Lastly, keep your eyes open for any good deals on materials that have been gently used. Those free cabinets and appliances in model home parks are often changed out as styles change. The builders may sell them for a fraction of their normal cost just to get them out of the way.