Behind the Buzz
Spotlight on tear-down sales.
(MONEY Magazine) - THIS MONTH: Tear-down sales
• WHAT THEY ARE Auctions held at houses marked for demolition. Even the stuff nailed down is for sale.
• THE BUZZ From Westchester County, N.Y. to Orange County, Calif., homes deemed out of date are scrapped to make way for new houses. In one Chicago burb, tear-downs have jumped ninefold in four years. Old homes can be troves of original fixtures and moldings, made before the era of mass production, that sell for up to 75% less than new stuff.
• THE TRUTH Bring a crowbar. Buyers have to remove the items they buy themselves, and typically the purchase has to be made before the tools come out. Veteran buyer Tabitha Long of Elk Grove Village, Ill. suggests passing on hardwood floors--many are glued and tough to remove without damage. And if you want a clawfoot tub, bring a crew to lift it. But bargains can be had on antique light fixtures and stained-glass windows. Vintage sinks are also easy to remove and reinstall.