If you’ve ever searched online for renovation materials, you will have undoubtedly been inundated with ads promising discount building supplies. Sometimes these internet retailers can offer amazing deals for the items you need to complete your renovation. However, there are some items that you may not wish to purchase sight unseen. Before you buy, consider the pros and cons of purchasing renovation supplies online.

– Price
With competition driving down online prices on items such as lighting, appliances and other fixtures and fittings, you are almost guaranteed to find a lower price when shopping at an internet retailer. Make sure you are looking at the full price, including shipping and sales tax, when comparing prices.

– Selection
With thousands of retailers online, you are sure to find a greater selection on renovation supplies than is available even in the most metropolitan area. Not to mention you won’t have to spend days driving around scoping out your choices. The ability to browse through a multitude of selections within hours from home is a huge advantage.

When should you buy online?
Any time you know exactly what you want but would like a better price and can wait a few days to have the item in hand, go for online shopping. If the item that you are looking for is not something that you need to see and feel before making a decision (ie it doesn’t need to be an exact colour), look for it online. Internet shopping is ideal for browsing all the possibilities that exist, because it is impossible for your local store to have it all. If you’re looking for a specialized item or a specific style for your renovation, online shopping can be a source of items that you would not find otherwise. Some items I have bought online for renovations include; kitchen sink, pendant lights, appliances, grout resurfacer, towel rails and toilet roll holders, toilets, home decor/accessories, TV and furniture.

– Time
While you can quickly look through a large selection of goods online, you will have to wait for them to arrive. That means that you will need to shop locally for anything that you need today. Though many sellers promise quick shipping, some larger items can take weeks. Build this time into your renovation timeline.

– Returns
If you receive an item that is not the quality, colour or size that you were anticipating when you ordered it, you will have a much more difficult time returning it and getting your money back in your pocket. While local returns require nothing more than a receipt, an internet purchase will require that you gain approval for the return, ship it back, and wait for your refund. Minimize this problem by reading descriptions carefully, asking for dimensions or clarifications before purchasing, and shopping with internet stores that you trust.

When should you opt out of online shopping?
Obviously, if you need something immediately, you are going to have to settle for what is available locally. If you are making a purchase for something that is important for you to see “in person” before purchasing it, you will need to bypass online options. Also, unless you are buying a brand you already know from a reputable seller, it may be best to make these decisions at a physical store. And finally, some large purchases, such as flooring or furniture, can be very expensive to ship and therefore make it unfeasible to buy online.