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Price hike by suppliers this spring?


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By Jade in Fairfax, VA on 2/25/2011


We were shopping with HD for Andersen windows and heard that they recently had a price increase of 5%. Major appliances are to have a price hike by 8% this April, as we were told by a dealer. I start to sense a price hike of, if not all, many building materials that is looming due to the price increase in raw materials. I'm in the D.C. metro area. I wonder whether anyone else has gotten any notion of the price hike.

My current thinking/reaction to dodge part of the hit, is to buy some items well in advance and put them in the storage somewhere. I don't have a firm plan to implement this yet, as I just got the news. I am trying to come up with a list of items to buy ahead of time and put in the storage that would make sense (storage costs, too). I wonder if anyone else is in the same boat and have any suggestions to make.

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By Jo-Lynn in Issaquah, WA on 2/25/2011


Hi Jade,

I, too, have heard about pending increases from both HD and Lowe's, but from other independent suppliers the reality seems to be stable prices and a willingness to negotiate even lower prices in competitive situations. It may be that our area (outside Seattle) is just now hitting what is likely going to be the bottom of the terrible housing market that has already been visited on much of the rest of the country.

For example, one of my own experiences is that I got what I thought was an excellent lumber/joist/truss bid from a local lumber company and then, using that as ammunition, our GC went to his supplier and got an even better price. Plus, they identified that we should have a better grade of subfloor material, and included it at the lower price as well. And all that happened while the news was reporting that prices would be going up and up on everything. I'm not sure if this would happen for you in the DC area; I heard just yesterday that DC is the strongest real estate area in the entire country right now. There might not be as hungry a group of suppliers or laborers for you to choose from. But Lowe's and HD ought be willing to do package pricing for you if you go to the contractor desk and ask for it -- might save you a few pennies if you're set on buying locally.

Regarding buying things ahead and storing them, I would agree that you need to make sure you're considering those storage costs as you calculate what you're actually saving by buying early to beat any projected increases. I have the contents from my Florida home in storage here in Washington and pay almost $500/month for secure, climate controlled space. If I look at appliances, I can beat the local big boxes' prices by shopping on-line. By doing that, I also save taxes there as well as having them delivered for free in most cases. Then I don't have to store anything and I'm getting a better price anyway. The other way to think about it is that if you buy something now, when you finally do get to the point of installing them, they'll probably not be the most current model. And that probably means that, if those really are the products you want, you'd likely get them at a discounted price because they're not the latest and greatest. That actually just happened on the washer/dryer set that I had decided on! So now I'll save almost $500 on the pair!

Have you spoken to any lumber companies about Andersen or comparable windows? I found that we were able to beat the big box pricing on Milgard windows by almost $7K by using a comparable locally manufactured brand of windows through the lumber company that we got other bids from. 

I wish you good shopping luck!


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By Jade in Fairfax, VA on 2/26/2011


Hi Jo-Lynn,

Thanks for your reply loaded with helpful hints! I really appreciate it. I just want to clarify about the major appliance price hike. I did a quick search and found from the link below that confirms that the price increase is coming from the manufacturer and not the vendors. That means this particular increase is going to be nationwide, not regional. Well, depending on the amount of markup by the vendors, there will still be price differences by region.

Price increases for Andersen windows that took place just a couple of weeks ago were of the same nature and had little to do with HD the store. Raw material cost is going up. Hubby thinks the widespread price hike is imminent and is only a matter of time. Asian countries have seen significant inflation over the last few years, which drives prices of raw materials up. We are not going to be immune to the effect of inflation here either. Take that theory with a grain of salt if you will. (Hubby has many theories of similar type.) Anyhow, I'm feeling the urgent need to hone my shopping skills.

reuters.com/article-whirlpool

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By Jo-Lynn in Issaquah, WA on 3/3/2011


Hi Jade,

Don't you just dread repricing the stuff you've picked only to find that an upward price adjustment snuck in somehow? My spreadsheet gets a workout every other week when I re-check products and pricing! I know that realistically there's absolutely no way to get the lowest price on 100% of what we need, but my personal method for combating the hikes is simply to love features rather than brands! Then, I'm not married to any particular manufacturer and may be better able to avoid getting smacked with additional expense that I don't want to deal with.

Also (and this could really be a problem for some!) I have absolutely no issue mixing brands -- I always look at product performance of appliances via review sites, Consumer Reports, etc. I put together a totally mixed bag of manufacturers that give the best performance at the current best price. It's all stainless, but there's LG, Whirlpool, Caldera, Euro-Cavaliere... all high performers at really good prices, no tax, no shipping.

I'm sure your hubby is right -- the material prices ARE going up, so there's no doubt that finished goods price increases are going to happen, probably sooner than later. Lucky for those of us building now, we're near or at the bottom of the bubble, so we're buying when prices are pretty depressed and sellers are maybe more willing to negotiate. It may not be the perfect formula, but I'm thinking that being out in front of the really substantial increases is going to be a pretty good uptick for our build's value!

Good luck and Godspeed towards pointy-sharp shopping!! :-)


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