Cheap Remodel Home Auction

Back a few months ago, one of Karrie's friend was talking about how she got tons of great things for her home at a nearby auction.  She and her husband actually drove out of state with a truck and bid on several things for their house they are remodeling.  The company that ran that auction is called Peak Auctions.  Karrie said that that same company was having an auction here in Michigan at the Gibraltar trade center.  We had been planning on redoing the upstairs bathroom tile in our house.  Although we hadn't planned yet how we were going to do it, or if we could do it ourselves, but we decided to go and see what kind of deals we could get.
gibralter trade center, auctions

After checking things out on the website we went into the Gibraltar trade center and found the actual merchandise to be pretty good.  Although we weren't exactly experts since neither of us had actually been to an auction, let alone bid on anything before.  So we weren't sure how cheaply we could get it for.  It was interesting to walk around before the auction began, taking notes on a sheet of paper for what we wanted to purchase. The first thing that we focused on was the tile.  Karrie's friend told us about the weird way in which you had to buy things, although there was still some confusion.  As you can see from this picture all of the tile came inside of wood pallets.
peak auctions, gibralter trade center, tile, floor

On the side of each pallet was basic dimensions and total square footage. It turned out that when you bid, you are bidding on the entire palette.  Also you are bidding not on the total price but on the square foot price.   So for example the bidding started at around $.60 per square foot. I would say on average the tile work between $1.00 and all the way up to $10 per square foot for the fancy glass shower tile.  So if you won the bid on a specific palette for $2.00 sq.ft. and there was 500 sq.ft. on the palate, that meant that you owed the company $1000.  It was a little bit daunting seeing the big crowds and the auctioneer.
bidding at auctions, how to bid

It also moved quite fast at first, especially when you didn't know what exactly was going on.  When the bidding began on the palate of tile we were interested in, the bidding ended before Karrie or I placed a bid.  We were a little bummed out, thinking we missed out.  But on the fly we didn't know if buying 450 sq.ft. of tile for $500 was a good deal.

There were a few different pallets of the same tile we were interested in though.  And for one of the pallets Karrie noticed that one of the winning bidders kept checking his sheet of paper.  Karrie said it looked like he might have bought more than he wanted to.  She said I should go talk to him and see if he would sell us some of the tile he bought.   So i did and after talking with him it turned out Karrie was right. 

He bought close to 500 sq.ft. of tile at around $.70 per square foot and it turned out that he only needed half of that.  He agreed to sell us 22 boxes which totaled around 225 sq.ft. of tile. That was enough title to cover the tile and Karrie's bathroom in my shower.  We bought it from him for $200.  Which turned out to be a great deal considering that if we bought 225 sq.ft. of that same tile at Home Depot it would cost over $1000.
travertine tile, auction, cheap

We were quite happy with how that turned out, and the auction continued to roll on.  They got to the area of glass tile and lots of people in the crowd were interested in buying that.  Some of that tile was going for $10 per square foot and lots of people were bidding.  So we figured we didn't have a shot at getting any deals.  After what looked like they had sold the last box of glass tile, the crowd started to disperse.  But at the very end there was one stack of boxes left.  There was a little bit of confusion as the auctioneer started to shout out the prices, most people couldn't see what was being sold.  Karrie happened to be standing right next to the auctioneer and bid $0.70 per linear foot on some glass tile.  The guy yelled "Sold" and somehow she ended up winning the bid and we got the perfect amount of tile for our bathrooms at a fraction of the price.  Again, these tiles sell for $5.50 at Home Depot, we got them for $0.70.
best deal on glass tile

Now we were feeling really good with what we had done.  We got the tile we needed to redo our bathrooms at less than a quarter the price than we normally would've spent.  And we got exactly the amount we wanted. 

The auction turned out to be a really great place if you are interested in remodeling your house.  There were large pallets of hardwood floor which were going for as little as a dollar a square foot, which is a really great price.  But again, the only downside was that you did not get to pick your quantity, it was whatever was on the pallet.  So for example, if it was 800 sq.ft. of hardwood floor, that you got for $1.00 sq.ft., you owed them $800.  But I would have to say that most winning bids were at least half of what you would pay in the store.
auction deal, how to remodel cheap

We watched the bidding continue as it went to cabinets and actual whole kitchens. I think that was probably the best deal in the whole auction.  You could buy complete set of kitchen cabinets which were super nice, for less than $3,000.  Considering that most kitchen remodel cost between $15,000 and $20,000, it was a great deal.

Another thing we were mildly interested in was chandeliers.  Although when the bidding started at a couple hundred dollars we decided to pass, we definitely did not need to spend that much.  
light, chandilier, lamps, fans, bulk

But we did end up buying a ceiling fan for just $30.  That part of the auction also was a little confusing but Karrie ended up bidding on and getting 2 ceiling fans.  She sold one to her friend at work for what she paid for it, so we ended up with one ceiling fan which we put in our bedroom.
warehouse price, cheap ceiling fans

Here's a link to the fan we got and me installing it:  Ceiling Fan

Later in the day they started selling miscellaneous pieces of wood trim.  We just got done remodeling our family room and the crown molding and base board we purchased cost between $1 and $2 per foot.  At this auction winning bids for wood, not quite as good, was between $.20 and $.30, basically 1/4 to 1/3 of what it cost in the store.  I was very tempted to bid, knowing what a great deal it was, but since we didn't need it and more trim meant more work for me at home, I decided to pass.  But for future reference it was nice to know of a place that had such a great deal.  This isn't a picture of that trim, this was just a bunch of random pieces that sold as a group.
bulk wook, cheap wood, auction

Near the very end of the day the auction moved to bathroom fixtures.  They had a line of several different toilets and some of them were the real nice eco-dual flush toilets.  We needed a new toilet for our downstairs bathroom and I was interested in seeing what the final bid price was.  So as Karrie was checking out I walked to the back as the bidding was going on.  Some of the toilets had already been sold for between $100 and $130.   So I decided to get one and I ended up winning a bid on a very nice toilet for $110.  The whole process took about two minutes.  It took me longer to walk from one end of the floor to the other, to tell Karrie.  When i told her that i just bought a toilet she just said "Oh"

All in all it turned out to be a great idea going to the auction.  Everything we ended getting was way cheaper than if we had bought it in the store.  I'm not saying that everything in the auction was a great deal, some people were basically paying full price for the items.  But there was definitely some great deals to be had, especially on wood flooring, tile and entire kitchen cabinets and counter tops.

Here's everything we brought home.
what to buy at auctions, home auction

Since the auction I've watched several videos and we are planning to redo the tile and toilet in the three bathrooms. That's our winter project for this year.

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