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    5-17. Read the classifieds. - Electronic Edition

    5-17. Read the classifieds. - Electronic Edition
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     We’ve seen very interesting classified ads in our daily paper ranging from maple flooring at $1.75 a foot to free kitchen cabinets from a remodel job. Sometimes a distributor of a given construction material may sell off accumulated samples through a classified ad. One reader found solid maple stair rail balusters valued at $12 each for $2 apiece this way. Check “Appliances”, “Building Materials”, “Construction”, “Equipment, “Services”, “Subcontractors”, “Tools”, and any others that interest you.

     Save the classified ads that cover your areas of interest for a year before you build to give you a database of values available. You only need to save one day a week; Sunday is the biggest. After a while of looking you will have a sense for the going price for things. We did this before we bought a piece of land for our house: we went to the local newspaper office where we wanted to build and checked land prices for the past six months in the archives. Then we bought with confidence as to local prices.

     The local library has newspapers for cities all around your own, and you can make buys in the region through researching them. The Internet has websites for every newspaper on the planet, it seems, and they all feature searchable classified sections. They tend not to give you more of a database than a few days or a week past, however.

     Another useful format for classified ad buying is a classified ad paper. We have a Thrifty Nickel paper here that is all ads. They have franchises in dozens of states, and competitors everywhere. These are weekly free papers available at convenience stores, bus stops, restaurants, and other public places. These inexpensive advertising mediums tend to have more construction-oriented offerings than the dailies. These are a good vehicle for placing your own ads for materials or services that you are seeking, or surplus you’d like to sell to others.

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