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I don't see the harm in starting small. That's what I had to do when I didn't have much to invest and you eventually work your way up if you do a little research here and there and work your way into the bigger sets. It takes time but that's why it's a fun hobby. It's hard to buy a lot of the larger sets and even now there are things that my household needs more than wonderful wonderful Lego. If you are looking into investing my one bit of advice is buy the sets you know you want to keep ultimately if you don't have a large amount of discretionary income. If all else fails you still have things you'd want to keep for yourself. I always say it when it comes to investing and I'm sure I sound like a broken record but for a small time investor I stick to it.
Personally I would like to discourage to resell Legos if you are on low budget. It's very hard to make 100% profit (double the money) within a short period of time except some items such as Minecraft, Lloyd ZX, etc. If you really want to do Legos then garage sale is your best bet. I've missed couple of great Lego deals from garage sale. Craigslist is also good but they seem overpriced than garage sale in general. So search legos for garage sale next year. You should be able to find some good deals.
I would consider resell any other used goods from goodwill or thrift shops. Not all thrift stores are equal. Find stores that offer you great price and has fast turnover on stocks. You should be able to find Legos at goodwill also not often. I visit goodwill near my work during lunch hour. I find at least one or two legos per month and sometimes they are bargain. I posted on 'brag' thread but I scored 99% complete tantinve iv at $2. But it's hard to come by and resellers like myself are eyeing on them. It's really about timing.
If you think outside of Lego you should be able to find some good deals on any used goods. That's what I started to do middle of this year. I've sold about 30 items this year that I acquired from goodwill and average return is 1000% netting about $600 this year alone. This sale doesn't include any legos. I kept them for myself or sell later. I've sold antiques, dishes, toys, golf case, shoes, etc. Ebay smartphone app definitely helps. Before you buy anything, search completed item on ebay to see how much they are sold on ebay. Key is to find a *good* store. You will find good stuffs from there.
Off topic but important. Also note to myself. I invested far more than I ever thought for this year. I'm out of space in my basement right now. It's hard to find time to research/package/clean/organize/assemble/etc with a two year old kid. My wife's patience went over the limit. I resell for extra money but it's kind of fun doing it. But you also have to make balance among important things. I think relationship is far more important than extra money or fun for making money. I will try to reduce my investment on legos for next year. However, if you really need extra income and you have time and storage, go for it. If your spouse supports it then it's win win :)
Both should climb fairly well after the stock runs out.
Also if you can happen to catch large sets like the tower bridge and Imperial Shuttle on sale those would be good ones to look out for.
BUT Ill add that anything is speculation at this point, but I think larger is probably the better way to go (as long as you have the room anyway)
I still think Maersk Train will climb fairly (fairly being about 50% ROI) quickly once supplies are gone, heck I think I saw them for 140-150 even though Amazon.com still has them.
BUT I guess you also have to keep in mind that eBay take about 20% from you in fees between it and Paypal
I will echo some of the earlier comments about looking to buy lots of used Lego off of Ebay or Craigslist. It takes a lot of effort to break unsorted lots of Lego down into individual sets for resale, but it is an easier way to make money than betting on future appreciation of sets that can be purchased new.
Sure, in hindsight we wish we had bought nothing but the home run set and bought none of those that didn't do as well, but none of us know exactly what the home run sets are. So, I have modulars, Technics, IS's, MMV's, VW vans, shuttles, trains, etc. On yeah, and some Lloyds and Minecrafts. :-) A hodge podge if you will. :-)
Oh yeah, and the fees. eBay and PayPal fees only go one way, up. Back in the day they were 7-8%. And, to get lower fees you must have a return policy and 1 day shipping. As someone mentioned, one day I could see eBay requiring free shipping too in order to get fee discounts.
Now free shipping can hurt you when the item is an auction though.
Actually DSRs is ridiculous because it boils down to someones opinion and not facts in many cases.
The really big issue I do have though is the return having to be mandatory for all (or is it most) listings to get the 20%. I loathe that, especially with the fraud that can occur with sealed toy boxes now a days.
I will never offer a return as something standard, If something occurs and someone contacts me I will try to sort out the issue. If eBay forces the issue and makes in mandatory for all sales, I'll simply move to Bricklink as a main place to sell, which can again slow things down, but it is not worth it if eBay starts mandating it for anything listed.
Right now I just hope I have enough cash on hand for the LEGO Christmas sale, if there is one this year...
As to the fees, it's worth noting that once you get over $50 on your sale, the fees are significantly lower. For that reason alone, especially for a smaller reseller, the larger sets are going to usually wind up being a much better investment.
eBay has 480 million users globally.
That about covers it.
If you do end up going the small set resale route, be careful on how much gas you're burning when going to acquire sets. That is a hidden cost that many small resellers forget about. It might be easier to get a 2nd (part time) job if you're just looking to acquire a few larger sets for your personal collection.
But if you are going to get knit-picky about gas then you also have to factor in gas to the Post office, gas for shipping supplies, etc etc.
Not really a big deal, unless you live in the sticks IMO.
amazon take a huge 20%... and they dictate the postage charge.
you buy FB RRP £99, ----- you sell for £199 + £4.62 p/p on Amazon . (your costs are £40 fees + £13 boxed post)
you end up with approx £150..
but, if you sell at £150 you end up with £111.!
and you'll be competing with the big boys, and have to adhere to amazons return policies!
But from a casual "mom and pop" seller perspective - eBay is fast and easy place to sell. Amazon is generally more for professionals. LFT has commented a lot on this.
I'm taking a guess that most of us here sell on eBay and not on Amazon.
The best bit! Once a customer authorsies a return they have around 30 days to return the item back to you.
Remember, the 20% discount is off the final value fees minus shipping, which is not that significant in most cases. For example, an auction style listing with free shipping sold for $100 will incur $9 fee (9%). Once the 20% Top Rated Seller discounts is applied, you are saving a whopping $1.80 ($9 * 20%). You need to decide whether the saving is worth it for the minimum 14 days return policy. Also, this discount is only available to the Top Rate Sellers, which is a different discussion topic altogether.
ETA: The above information is mostly for the benefit of the newer sellers as they are of course obvious to the veteran sellers
To each there own, but I would say watch Amazon.com more often that naught if you want a good deal on LEGO sets (as long as it is Amazon selling them, and not a third party on Amazon... usually)
And Occasionally Walmart and Target when they have deals up, but usually nothing beat Amazon and they will sometimes price match as well. Plus the free shipping as long as it is free shipping I should say online deals are good.
B) I can only see these moves by eBay as being a road that leads directly to the implosion of their business. Although I really have no idea if it may actually be in their best interest to run off all the small sellers and deal only with the large businesses. Maybe that route is a lot more profitable than I think it is.
What about the IRS mandate for PayPal to send the IRS information on your transactions if they are over $20K or over 200 transactions? I've just sold on eBay as a hobby, but I think this decision may force me to file taxes on my PayPal money. I am going to fall into the over 200 category.
Any thoughts? Also, you may just send me an email instead of tying up this thread. This has definitely got my attention. Maybe it's gotten yours as well.
EDIT Ah, beat me to it.
Did you say 'Don't stop.' or, 'Don't. Stop.'? :-)
Even though I was pulling in a significant amount every 2 weeks (amazon holds funds and disperses them like a paycheck), it was not worth the frustration.
Personally I don't buy current, retail goods from eBay. I get closeouts, used, discontinued items, and collectibles on eBay. I still think of eBay as being an internet yard sale, and not much more. I think it would be a mistake for eBay to venture away from their core business model a lot. I mean, they have an on-line auction monopoly. They should be very pleased with that. But, not sure that they are.