Homeowner Scott Benezra wielded wickedgood Craigslist skills to obtain building materials and fixtures to keep his family’s new house on budget. Here are his best tips:
GO FAR AFIELD. Scott included all bordering states in the search parameters, and he would have traveled farther to stick to the disciplined price range he set for each item.
GO PREPARED. Scott brings a partner if an item is large, and he tows a trailer whether he thinks he’ll need it or not. Often, he discovers more for sale once he arrives.
GET HELP. Scott uses third-party apps (Csmart is his favorite) to monitor Craigslist and alert him when items matching his search parameters are listed.
BE TARGETED. Before building commenced, Karen and Scott came up with a detailed list of materials, fixtures, and tools they would need, and then he plugged in specific search terms, such as “Subzero refrigerator,” adding model numbers when appropriate. He searched “25-inch industrial surface planer” and used the one he purchased to smooth reclaimed planks for floors and ceilings.
BE SELECTIVE. Over time, Scott learned the best finds—items in good working order for the best prices—were coming from tradespeople who recognized quality items through the course of their work. “People doing massive renovations are happy to have their old stuff taken away,” he says. “We got our Wolf range from a finish carpenter, and a matching hood from a contractor.” above left: A corner of windows high in the trees is one of Scott and Karen’s favorite spots in the house. “In the late afternoon, it’s really spectacular. You feel like you’re in a tree house,” Scott says. “It’s a quiet space to retreat.” left: During a weekend vacation, Karen fell in love with a 6-foot Kohler bathtub in the family’s rental house. “I said, ‘When we build the house, I’ll get you one of those,’” Scott says. “Then I saw how expensive they were.” He found one secondhand and drove to Connecticut to retrieve the focal-point fixture.