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The "Build to Resell Game" - Do's and Don'ts

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I recently turned a major page in my LEGO journey -- I'm finally building sets! However, I'm now buying two of each set to keep one in the box and build the other. Like a wise BP'er once said, "I have a price". I too have a price and a lot of times it gets me into trouble because I'll buy and sell a set multiple times only for it to retire and not have a copy on hand then have to go to market and buy one from you scumbags for God knows how much ; )

Over the years I've seen used sets (with the box & instructions) sell for only 20% less than my sealed sets. It irked me a bit. I realized I would be more than willing to take 20% less in order to get the enjoyment of playing with the set. When hot sets retire, I see used sets make a reasonable profit over retail -- which has allowed me to cross the chasm into this new game of "Building to Resell" eventually when the price is right.

You dudes are the pros. What advice can you give beyond saving the box and instructions (seems like a bad box doesn't really affect the resell value of a used set, you just have to have it)?

  • Does keeping plastic bags increase their value?
  • Keeping the "extra pieces"?
  • I got greasy fingers, so I constantly see smudges on what I'm building now -- will I get negative feedback if someone sees that
  • What are these "used buyers" like in general? I'm scared of them for several reasons. I feel like the cheaper they are, the more they might complain or even lodge a fake complaint that not all the pieces were there
  • My biggest question: does breaking down the set and putting it in the correct numbered bag affect the resell value?

Let's not answer for the Captain, instead, let's answer "for Science"...

Edited by Captain_Obvious
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wash your hands before building...it is after all ...a sacred art. Respect the build dammit!

order an extra set of stickers (or Sails or similar unique non-brick pieces) from BL for the really special sets.  If the white pieces ever yellow then the stickers are toast especially if you want to do the H2O2 trick.

I would keep the box (broken down ofc.) no matter what the condition as when flat it's takes up so little space (and can keep the manual in a ziplock bad inside the folded box together)...and gives your Used set one more thing to support authenticity.

I find that reverse building and putting the pieces back into their original numbered bags (not the original actual bags...that's just being anal) does get more buyer attention albeit a real PITA but maybe some folks like the process as well.

The best tip i ever got on storing/selling used sets was to store the loose set in USPS priority Large box (one with the sealed ends) w/ its manual. I seal it and note the level of completeness. I usually print a picture of the set and tape it to the sides. Highly efficient and ready to sell/ship (altho this approach assume no original box).


I think the buyers for high end used sets are going to be more authentic and realistic.  Less scammers in general (if I am going by my anecdotal past experiences). They tend to ask more questions (good thing). be ready tosend pictures and ofc close ups of the MFs showing proof of authenticity...most know that the MFs drive the drive so missing some small common pieces is almost expected. 

Also if you plan to take apart...wait (if you can) to get a buyer first as they may request it shipped mostly built.

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1 hour ago, Captain_Obvious said:

My biggest question: does breaking down the set and putting it in the correct numbered bag affect the resell value?

 I have sold a lot of used sets, some at over $1K each. I have found that if someone is buying a used set they are already making a compromise so if they want what you have to offer they will just buy it. I have seen people breakdown sets by color, element, and even by bag # but that is a lot of work and I have only ever done partially broken down to help make shipping less. 

I have only ever had 1 return on a used set  9497 that had a dark reddish brown plate break when the buyer disassembled the set. Even though they are always 100% complete I list them as 99% as a piece may go missing, and as AFOL displayed only never played with, smoke free pet free house which all goes to the good condition of the set. 

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I know some people have bought a set (new or used) simply for the build experience then resold the kit down the road as a whole or parted out. I can relate to a degree as a number of my purchases were more for the build itself while other times primarily only for the pieces. Moving along.


* Does keeping the plastic bags increase their value?
I do not believe so. That plastic may be part of the original packaging but once it is sliced open even with a pair of sharpened scissors, it's inconvenient waste. Since most everything is numbered anymore, you could keep the front of each bag as a means to label every storage bag of parts assuming you willingly want to go through the extra effort of sorting out all the pieces as per the instructions. I see this less of affecting resale value and more along the lines of receiving potentially better feedback.

* Keeping the extra pieces?
So long as all the pieces to completely construct the set in its entirety is there, buyers should be fine. While sites such as BrickLink do confirm a general list of expected extras (when the kit comes straight from the source), those numbers are not infallible. Plus, no one can keep track of what extras they actually did get with the set versus what is listed. I would consider the extras as "pocketed parts".

* Negative feedback for smudges from greasy fingers.
You can clean the parts before packing for resale leading to potentially better feedback. Usually, buyers do this themselves when going for used. Fingerprints on pieces is kind of expected. Unless we are talking about the amount of grease I could use for coating a frying pan to cook eggs or the kind thick as peanut butter, you should be alright. People can be pedantically picky but there is only so much one can do.


Mind you, these are based off observations and personal opinion rather than genuine experience. I am just a builder who typically buys new that has been here for a very long time. Haha.

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