My wife helped me to buy an old cabin in the mountains. It was falling apart, and we had no idea how much it would cost to fix it up. We were going to do all the work ourselves. When we got started, we found many barrels, buckets and boxes of scrap copper pieces in an old shed out back. I checked the scrap copper price, and we loaded up our pickup truck with as much as it could carry on the first load. There were several full pickup truck loads of clean copper. It was little pieces of copper pipe and pieces of bare wire. The previous owner said his grandfather kept putting scrap pieces in the shed from his job as an electrician and a plumber. He told us we could have it all with the cabin and property we were buying.
We got several thousand dollars selling the copper. We put it all into renovating the place to be our little mountain getaway. We were even able to hire expert help when we needed it. Now we have a place that is much more than a cabin in the woods. It is a second home to us. We could sell it now for a lot more than what we paid for it. We go up practically every weekend, and we really enjoy it when there is a long holiday weekend away from work. We actually credit having the place as part of the reason we even stick with our jobs. Going up to the cabin really takes the stress away.
In some ways, the cabin looks better and is more comfortable than our house. Except from some framing, it has pretty much been completely renovated and expanded. The plywood walls and floors are now finished in a tile and pine paneling. We have a wood-burning furnace and a large propane tank to fuel the water heater and kitchen stove. All of those small pieces of copper added up to a lot of money to renovate the cabin we bought.