Renovate and save

What happens when you find a great house for a great price and buy it with great plans?

You buy it. Thinking you’ll do some minor renovations and hey presto ‘dream home’ and happy families.

That is pretty much what we thought.

Only its not working out that way.

Our draughtsman told us our minor renovations will cost up to $200 000.

We could sell. Or we could be smart and try and reduce, re-use and recycle. It sounds simple but actually it isn’t always that easy. The first thing we did was research.

Turns out one of the costs or renovating that often isn’t accounted for is ‘dumping’. There is a lot of stuff that needs to come out but before all that nice shiny stuff can go in.

We took one small load of off cuts and used timber to the tip and it came to $60 (later somebody told us that they would have paid for that timber to build their chicken coop). Not only could we have saved a bunch of useless landfill, we could have saved ourselves $60 and made a profit from it by being smarter.

Sure listing all that stuff on trademe or ebay is painful but the results can add up.

Below is a list of ideas and things we have done to not only save ourselves but to create less landfill. We will be adding to  our wee project as we sell, uplift and offload more.

1. When we had our back yard landscaped (or semi – it’s still a work in progress) we up-rooted a lot of trees. Several Azaleia’s and Rhododendrons were bound for the green waste pile but my clever father-in-law transformed them in to Bonsai’s. Once they get a few more leaves on them they sell for around $100.00. We got 2, so not only do I save $20 at the green-waste station for dumping them but I make $200 (well I should have made $200 but I decided to keep them).


2. Sell of all you can. This is the section I will be adding more to as time goes by.

I have already sold the old dishwasher that came with the house. It went for $15, so I just saved myself $40 to dump it and made $15.

Carpet. The house if full of that old patterned carpet they used to love back in the day. To dump it would cost a fortune (or at least half a skip). Instead I’m going to sell it off bit by bit to people who love to make hall runners or items like that. I would love to do it myself but I am time pressed. So I will just put it on trademe. Look at the before and ‘possibly’ after.


Below is the start of  a table I will be adding to from bits and pieces I salvage from the house. The aim is to save on skip and dump fees and to actually generate some cash whilst saving the earth from precious landfill. Wish us luck!

Item Sale Price                                         Savings:
Dishwasher $13                                                 $40 dump fee
Taps $45 (scrap metal merchant)
Gas Hob $55
Trees $200 (average Bonsai price)               $15 Green fee
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