Buying rehab materials besides Home Depot

23 Replies

Where does everyone source their rehab materials? Home Depot? Lowes? I have never rehab a place but feel the big box stores can't give me the best quality and prices. Not sure about liquidator stores either. Strategies? Private vendors on custom items like countertops, cabinets, windows, etc. getting quotes or negotiating prices on bulk buys like wood floors, tiles. A lighting designer or someone that understands flow of a unit. That probably can just be intuition and personal feeling as well.


It's hard to beat price with the big box stores. Especially when you are a new rehabber/investor and buying in small quanities. 

That being said, smaller local suppliers can beat them on service if they are good. As you get to know your area and the suppliers you build relationships. Nothing like calling a "friend" when you are in a jam and need something that's oddball or some other problem you need to solve. You don't get help like that from the staff at HD who might have been selling shoes at Walmart 6 months ago.

This post has been removed.

I only have a lowe's in my area...There are also lots of coupons on places like Ebay that I plan on using.  For example. you can get 10 10% off coupons for 25 bucks on ebay.  That can add up to a significant amount over time.  Hope that helps.

There is something here called the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  Basically, they collect good condition second-hand building materials and resell them.  There may be something similar in your area.

At the Habitat for humanity's around here I usually get most things for half of their asking price. Some of the caulking may be bad so check tubes ,only got bad paint once it was curdled.Have gotten cabinets ,tools ,doors,  tile. You never know what they will get donated to them .

I really like Home Depot. Home Depot, and I am sure the other big box stores, have programs you can join for free and get rebates, points, discounts, etc., based upon the volume of materials you purchase. I've personally used Home Depot for years in my own projects and have been happy for the most part. 

In NY, we have Build It Green - great resource for those in the tri-state area. 

They will also de-construct for you.

Talk to the HD Pro Desk guys. They are able to discount larger purchases. Our local REIA is working with them to get better deals maybe your REIA can do the same. I get 5% off when I use my HD card (Lowes match) and get a 2% rebate on all charges because of my local REIA. Remember HD will match any price. I have saved a ton of money on appliances this way.

Open a commercial account with Sherwin-Williams and you will save bundle on paint.

Open a commercial account with Lowes for a 5% discount and $20 material deliveries. 

You do not need a tax id or resale number for either of these.  Just a business name.

Check Craigs List for a local cabinet supplier and salvage/overstocked window and doors.  I buy doors for 60-70% of HD prices and sometimes even less.

I have a local paint supplier that sells mismatch paint, 5 gallon buckets $20 for interior and $25 for exterior. 

I've heard that IKEA will work deals on kitchens but have never looked into it.

Craigs List is your friend.

All of the above and also walk through the big boxs with an eye for dent and scratch items. Or returned appliances. I also coordinate my purchases so I can use a 10% off coupon. Get an agent to send you a "new home owner" 10% lowes coupon. Then get one in everybody's name you know. Yesterday I bought a pile for my rental. I found two 30" vanities with broken tops for $60 a piece. Then matched a cultured marble 61" double bowl top for $130.  I would also build a relationship with a reseller of appliances, let them know you will be a return customer for every rehab, but you expect good quality used appliances and service. 

@Justin Lau

Be careful of low cost items at the big box stores. I stopped using low cost Home Depot tile because I've had to return it - more than once - for not being reasonably square. The same goes for thier other low-cost products. In addition I never buy doors, trim, casing, or windows from Home Depot or Lowes as my local buidling supply houses are much cheaper and provide better service: they'll come out and measure everything and delivery is free if I spend $500 which is nothing in this business. 

I purchase most of the materials from the big box stores. Of the main three (HD, Lowes, Menards), I purchase most from Menards as I've found they are slightly cheaper with a number of items and have the most selection. Also, they have a lot of substantial rebates on various items, plus occasionally they will have their 11% rebate sale which is great.

For hardwood flooring, I use a website called Build Direct which offer fantastic pricing on flooring. I buy engineered hardwood for $2.60/sq ft and the product looks really nice. Big box stores will have similar products for twice the cost.

Also, for kitchen cabinets, I won't use big box, I have found a local cabinet company I like. You get way better customer service than you would at a place like HD (and when buying cabinets, that is where you need the good service, as opposed to just buying flooring, trim, etc where it's not that important). Typically these types of place will have a very affordable line of non-custom cabinetry that ships very quickly and is great for non-high end flips.

@Account Closed , curious, what are you paying for your trim and doors through the supplier?  I pay $50 for a prehung hollow core door, about $1/ linear ft for baseboard, and $4 per 7' piece of casing. The trim is either primed MDF or pine which will get painted. If I can find a supplier even at this identical price that will deliver for free, I'd be all over that.

Picking up and loading all that material into my vehicle is a huge pain. I'd love to have a set up like you describe. 

@Kyle B.

Your door price sounds great and that's about what I get from my suppier, BMC West, here in Boise. Home Depot doors are 50% more than my supplier. In addition, on older homes with wider Jams and shorter heights, the custom order doors at Home Depot will run me close to $200 each whereas BMC will run about $95 and that's for a much nicer door design than the standard 6 panel.

For casing I buy 2-1/4" MDF Colonial primed at 41 cents ($2.87 for 7 feet) a linear foot in 16' lengths because I will also use that for trim in some cases.

I recently purchased a bunch of 1/2" x 4" MDF primed trim at 43 cents a linear foot whereas Home Depot wanted $1.09

My supplier came out a measured 13 doors and did all that for me. I like that becuase if they measure wrong they eat the cost. The same with my windows. For windows I use ProBuild, which is another supplier out here. On custom size windows they beat Home Depot by 50% and my last job.

@Account Closed , nice, sounds like you getting some good prices and great service. I will definitely have to research some suppliers around my area for my next project.

We just finished rehab on our personal home and purchased most of lights, fixtures, hardware online. Overstock and Amazon prime with free shipping worked great. Also much more selection and easy returns.

Account Closed has the right idea too. Plus we get extra points for buying on Amazon with our Discover card. My wife loves it when she can order months worth of gourmet food for free.

@Justin Lau   Dont forget about the basics... Craigslist for leftovers and not used things

Or my Personal Favorite Building Material Auctions... Check on and search from them... I Typically have to drive 1-2 hours to the closest ones but they are always way way worth it!

This is a very interesting thread. I have learned a lot from it

Having just completed a big rehab I will echo a few things previously said and add my .01c. 

 To start choose one of the big stores and just use them. Sign up for their reward or "pro" program.  If you use Lowes then their delivery fee is only $20.   .   Lowe's and HD also have 20% off coupons out there.  I got one from a USPS pack when I changed my address.   Do one big buy and get everything you think you will need with it and then return anything you don't need later.  Use only one credit card for everything and returns will be easy. 

As others have said. Find a local supplier for doors and trim. You will get better quality, lower prices and maybe free delivery.

Check craigslist and maybe you will get lucky for a big ticket item you wouldn't otherwise get like  Subzero fridge or custom tub. 

If you're a DIY'er.  Check out Harbor Freight tools.  Amazing deals. and Home Perfect were also a good sites for me. 

If you haven't tried lighting and faucet fixtures from aliexpress. You should. Scares a lot of people coming from China but pendent lights and chandeliers are solid as long as you stick to stuff that has been bought multiple times by others in the US. They have some nice stuff at 30% of the price

Grow or source your own?  Dirt, bamboo, palm, logs from trees, etc.......

And neil has a good Odea.  I always can fond perfect cabinets for a discount at the Restor store.

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here