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Thrifty ways to save money and recycle your old stuff during a Knockdown Rebuild


If you're thinking about a Knockdown Rebuild, you're already wise enough to have found a cost-effective way to build your dream home in an area you already know and love. You may also be looking for a thrifty way to repurpose the existing finishings of your current home.

KDRB is the process of demolishing your home to build a new one, and it's becoming more popular. With a rebuild, you don't face any unwanted surprises from the complications that can arise from renovating. You also don't have to leave the area you live in and avoid costs like stamp duty that come from selling and buying something new.

The only hesitation of a KDRB for some is the thought of seeing their old home, filled with memories, get torn down. The good news is with a little effort you could re-home the features you cherished most, giving you some pocket money to support your next chapter and the comfort of knowing your memories will live on. All the while, you could be significantly reducing your landfill.

Your old home could be a gold mine

It's not just copper fibres that are valuable on a construction site. Depending on the quality and year of your build, your home could be a gold mine of valuable items like bricks, aluminium windows, french doors, floorboards, slate, pavers and tiles. Due to the resurgence of rustic styling, things like rusted roof sheeting and damaged timbers can fetch prices three times higher than they do brand new.

Gumtree and eBay have a long-held stake in the second-hand building material game, though Facebook groups and marketplace are great, as well as some niche websites that are just a Google away. For special items, it could be worthwhile giving your local salvage operator a ring, who can evaluate what you've got.

Of course, it's not just the hard building materials that could be worth selling on. Any modern bathroom fixtures and fittings, kitchens appliances, split-system air conditioners, hot-water units, pool fencing, ceiling fans and light fittings could get you a pretty penny, so long as they're in good condition.

If the environment is your priority

If you're not interested in the labour of selling on your building materials, you can still make arrangements to limit how much of it ends up in landfill when you demolish it. One solution could be finding a demolition company that offers demolition with 'salvage rights'.

This grants the company permission to keep materials from your property they deem valuable and sell them on at a later date. In turn, you may also get a deduction from the cost of your demolition.

You can also reach out to your local council to learn more about materials that can be recycled, and arrange for them to be picked up before demolition day.

Money that grows on trees

Don't forget to look into your backyard either, as mature trees can be worth a considerable amount of money.

Now, before you start planning your retirement, know that you probably won't attract the same prices you see farm-raised mature trees going for at garden centres. This is because buyers need a guarantee you can't provide; that the tree's root ball won't be too damaged or difficult to remove, and that it will survive the transplant and pest control.

That said, a friend could be willing to try their luck with your beautiful tree, and if it's something extraordinary, it can't hurt to call some nurseries and landscapers in your area. Another person worth getting in touch with is your next-door neighbour. Tree roots often extend beneath property boundaries, and there's a high chance that removing a tree will disturb their garden beds, paving or property.

The furniture you no longer need

If you're about to build your brand new dream home, there's a high possibility not all of your existing furniture will be coming along for the ride. There will be pieces that you're tired of, some you never liked, and others that simply won't suit your new home design, and you should consider putting them for sale on a second-hand marketplace or local Buy Swap and Sell site.

Don't stop at furniture, reflect on the future of your appliances, clothing and other household items. Decluttering before a move is good for the mind and the wallet, and systematically swapping out the old for the new is a proactive way to prepare for your new home while you wait for it to be built.

Of course, if we're getting ahead of ourselves, and your dream home is still just a dream, we can help you achieve your goal of homeownership. Read about the first steps you should take, as well as tips for saving for a deposit.

For more information on Knockdown Rebuilds, head to our information page. You could also attend one of our First Time Builder information sessions hosted in Melbourne, VIC.