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How I re-roofed my house for $750 and got $400 off my insurance premium.

How I reroofed my house for $750 and got $400 off my insurance premium.

It was about 4 years ago. I had just bought a fixer upper that needed a considerable about of work. Among the worst of which was a badly worn out roof that leaked in multiple, multiple locations (Yeah, I said multiple twice.). I was pretty strapped for cash but knew this had to be a priority if I was ever going to bring the rest of the house up to a livable standard. I began to research articles online to arm myself with some badly needed roofing knowledge. I also started doing some serious window shopping at my local home depot, as well as several used building supply stores(They often have new stuff as well). In addition to this I made a new friend called craigslist(It’s been a financial love affair ever since) and started stopping by yard sales that had shingles and roofing supplies for sale.

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It was at about this stage that I realized my house was the next one over which explains why the neighbors were so pissed.

With some research, I learned that I could locate the existing leaks in the roof and coat them with a healthy amount of tar to stop the leaks. This would buy me the time I needed to take this roofing situation out of the emergency category and into the ‘you’ve got some time’ category. I then spent the next 6 months stalking down deals here and there, mostly on craigslist.

Sure enough, opportunities began to show themselves. I found several roles of heavy duty roofing tar paper, along with a case of roofing nails in one craigslist add. I found flashing, drip edging, and roof tar coating in another. I was able to track down an almost new roofing nail gun on ebay for 1/3 price. After several more successful replies to for sale adds I had accumulated almost everything I needed except for many of the shingle packages were different styles. All in all I had about 8 roles off roofing tar paper, a case of nails, drip edge, tar,… Then one day winter day I found an add for architectural dimensional shingles (the nice ones that they put on newer houses). I went over that same weekend and bought around $400 worth which was all I would need. All told, I had spend about $750 on everything at this point. I felt like I had gotten a great deal and was ready to get down to the hard labor.

I set a date on the calendar for an upcoming weekend and let several of my most trustee friends know that their help would be greatly appreciated if they could make it. At this point maybe some of you are probably thinking “But what about your time? You must have spent hours picking all of these things up?”. But as I have detailed here, that was time, I wouldn’t have been paid for anyway or otherwise earning money. What I could do with this time thought was invest it in saving the cost of my future spending dollars that I would have otherwise needed to earn to buy supplies at full price.

I started to realize that roofing supplies are bought and sold in cycles. People may buy them in the spring or summer to do a repair and by fall, they just want them out of their garage. This worked out to my advantage. I had extra shingles left over after the job. Maybe 10 or 20 packages. I had paid no more than $5-$10 a packet for them but I found that when I went to sell them, it was now the busy season for roofing and the price had gone up. I think I sold all of them for about $275.

1) Buy time if possible
2) Gather supplies from the lowest cost source over time if necessary
3) Can you do this job your self? With a couple of friends?
4) Can you learn this skill from a win/win scenario like volunteering?
5) Can you recoop any of your costs after the project? Selling nail gun, roofing shovels, tar, nails, extra shingles, insurance discount.
6) Can you trade labor with someone else who needs help on a project?
7) You will have grown from the experience by expanding your abilities. This makes learning the next skill go even faster. You start to build a format for future projects and life.

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