advice on selling a train layout

Discussion in 'Layout Design Discussion' started by nssd70m2, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. nssd70m2

    nssd70m2 TrainBoard Member

    the typical story, i lost space for my train layout, and now i need to sell it. (some people think a garage is for a car):tb-confused: the size of layout is 5.5' x 10.5', it has double track mainline with two full length reversing loops, 80-100 car yard, 26 switch w/atlas undertrack control motor. trackwork is raise above the base. any suggestions will be appreicated.

    Attached Files:

  2. N-builder

    N-builder TrainBoard Member

    If you can then try to keep it and store it who knows some day you might get around and finish it. I started in the garage nothing wrong with that. But if you must sell it then first try to sell it here in the trainstore and put it up for sale with make me an offer, if you can't sell it here then find a local RR club and try to sell it there, if you don't have any local RR then put it up on the bay. Since the layout looks unfinished I would start the bid with about one thousand dollars on ebay as a last resort and post for pick up only and go from there. Hope this helps a little.
  3. FloridaBoy

    FloridaBoy TrainBoard Member

    Let me give you the benefit of my experience, listing both the positives and negatives.
    But first, keep in mind the buyer, if you find one in this economy, has to have the means to transport the layout safely and still live within a reasonable distance from you.

    First the positives......
    My mentor, the late great Al Bacci, had a fabulous N scale layout, self standing, virtually complete and incredibly scenicked N scale layout in South Florida. It was 80% complete, multi grade, multi level with the workmanship of a George Selios. He was showing it to one of our co-workers who fell in love with it at first sight, offered him $7 thousand, took 3 thou as a deposit, which funded some of the finishing, while the buyer built an addition to his house to accommodate it. I helped Al service the layout monthly for a year. But the new owners cats took over, and that was that.

    Small layouts at the LHS's made by Woodland Scenics sell quickly.

    The Negatives.....
    Layout sales to me are popular based on geography, some popular, some not. I live in SoFla which there is absolutely NO market for a used layout. My former layout was considered an area "classic" at 14x6 and was totally transportable. After months of trying to sell it, I finally gave it away to a guy who restored it to a Santa Fe layout.

    The local area club with a permanent clubhouse routinely takes in donated layouts from guys for various reasons. A typical price for a "SMARTT" made HO 5x9 layout with 2 mainlines and full wiring and power paks sold recently at $60, an N scale homemade journeyman worked layout at $20. At an auction a large N multi-level went for $75 completely scenicked, 4 Tech II power paks, C55 track and all of the trimmings. The market here is considered weak for sure.

    I have come to the conclusion that what sells is the Wow factor, lots of trackage, include trains, and most of all portability, and the simpler the better. If it doesn't fit in the back of a van or pickup, at least down here forget it.

    As for me, I sincerely hope you can sell your layout, as it looks like a good one, and a benefit for the new owner and the hobby in general.

    Ken "FloridaBoy" Willaman
  4. brakie

    brakie TrainBoard Member

    I have sold past ISLs but,usually to follow club members that wanted a small switching layout that they could setup and take down..I didn't get rich selling a used 1x8' layout..The most I ever got was $300.00 and that just about covered my costs for the track ,ballast,trees and 5 buildings.

    My advice would be to salvage as much track as possible,buildings and build a switching layout and the surplus you can sell.
  5. Dave

    Dave Permanently dispatched

    Here is my take on selling a lyout. If the layout is greater than 4 X 8, they are almost impossible to sell. The reason that I say that is because a 4 X 8 will fit in a pickup or minivan and people are willing to drive a reasonable distance to pick it up. Anything bigger than that (either direction) and you have to rent a U-Haul truck or trailer and that gets very pricey. I have a 5 X 7 layout that I have sold recently. I live in Nebraska and the buyer in Baltimore. He was going to come get but the logistics were a nightmare (a Budget truck was $1000 plus gas) and so I am crating it to ship via truck. believe it or not, it can be shipped for about $500 including the cost of building the crate. I will never buy or build a layout bigger than 4 X 8 again if I have any inkling of trying to re-sell some day.

    Regarding building a layout vs. buying one; it is much, much cheaper to buy a finished one than to build it from scratch. I have bought three finished layouts (kept two of them) because they are much higher quality than I can ever do and the price is less thank half of building them myself. I would like to build a 2 X 4 layout winter, but I won't have enough into it to worry if I sell it or not.

    Your layout could be sold, but the trackwork will need to be impeccable and you will need a local buyer. generally speaking from what I have seen on eBay, only the very highest quality layouts bring even a decent amount of money; everything else is practically given away.

    Just my opinion.
  6. Mos6502

    Mos6502 TrainBoard Member

    Try listing it on craigslist. People on ebay don't bid on large objects because the shipping costs are too much. For instance if I list a bicycle on ebay, I might get one or two bids, and get $20 for it. On craigslist I could list the same bike and easily get $75-$100 because the people who are buying it are close enough to come and get it.

    When I sold my layout I put it on craigslist and it was gone within a week.
  7. Seated Viper

    Seated Viper TrainBoard Member

    It depends on how tall the car is, but you MIGHT be able to have the railway high enough to get the car underneath and still tun it. I had this with mine, when using Peco track. It was 10ft x 3ft and reasonably easy to raise and lower if needed. I used rope and pulley. I went over to Unitrack and it's now 12ft x 4ft to keep the same number of roads in the return loops, and too heavy to lift. The car lives outside!


  8. SleeperN06

    SleeperN06 TrainBoard Member

    This is an interesting subject and one that’s been on my mind a lot lately.
    I haven’t added it up yet, but I’ve got an easy $2k in my little 3x8 Code 55 staging/yard layout with 46 DCC controlled turnouts. I worry if my wife will be able to sell it if anything happens to me. I tried to keep the resale value in mind as I designed and built it even though it’s more of a specialized addition to a larger layout scheme which limits the market.
  9. Rossford Yard

    Rossford Yard TrainBoard Member

    I agree on seeing if there is a creative way to keep the layout in the garage. I did keep mine by raising it so the mirror on the car just fit under the benchwork because it took a bit more than half the garage. I also once considered building a layout well above the cars, like 3 foot below the ceiling and having some sort of drop down step for the aisle way. Model railroaders can be creative in finding and keeping layout space!

    I have also bought a few layouts in my day. I think we all sort of mentally keep track of what the track and lumber cost and would pay at most for just the materials in it, and most probably figure on paying about half the material cost. Your labor is figured as hobby time for you......Who doesn't like a bargain?

    As a result, looking at your picture, I see no more than hundreds of dollars for the layout at best. I agree a local buyer makes most sense so you have a really limited market of modelers, and modelers with space , and modelers with the exact right space. I would think you could get more than the $75 Ken talks about, but that is market dependent. He lives with retirees in Floriday. If you are in a metro area and can find a Dad wanting to be a quick hero to his son, maybe your negotiating power goes up a bit!

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