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Lego Bulk/Lot Buying (And What to Do)

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So tonight I did something I told myself I would never do...buying a bulk listing off Craigslist. 2-3 times a week I'll scroll through CL, offerup, letgo, etc to see if there is any deals or anything worth while. I've bought a few sets off offerup/Letgo with overall success from my reason used Tumbler for 160 or the UCS AT-ST for 120.

I've always looked over the "bulk/lot/Lego by the pound" post for the thought of going through all the sets gave me shivers down my spine. Despite that feeling I came across a deal I didn't want to pass up. I bought roughly 130 sets for 700 dollars tonight. Sets from all different themes (mainly city and SW) from Detective office to Kwik E Mart a pretty big Variety of sets.

The listing started at 1500 and after back and forth was able to get it for 700 (plus an hour drive north of me) I think I did ok. The reason I'm making a new post is because it's a mix of "what did you buy, Craigslist list, buying/selling, best practices, etc. wanted to mix all that into one, mainly about bulk lots.

Knowing I went against my better judgment I am asking for members who have done this in the past to post what they do when they buy these sets. How do you go about selling them? Try and complete the sets (this lot is listed as all sets complete yet 75% are mixed together) once complete sell them. Do you part everything out? Piece by piece..minifigure by minifigure? Do you try and resell as is for higher than you paid? I'm curious of the best way of going about this. Which is the most sane way and most profitable.

Here is a picture of the stuff I bought (lucky I had my grandfathers van) sets and boxes go all the way to the front of the car. It's a bit overwhelming and curious how you guys would/do it. Thanks!

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This is the list of what I got and what the dad thought he paid lol. Some of them are pretty off but that being said I think I made out well for 700!

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I know I PMed a few of you about the potential buying of the lot but figured I'd share and see what other stories and advice members here could give!

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When I pick up a big lot like this I sell the big sets individually and will get needed parts for them if it is economical to do so.  Smaller sets that I can complete will be sold in groups by theme to save on shipping.  Smaller sets that I cannot economically complete will be parted out to a local bricklink store and figures are sold off separately.  To me, any set under $20 is not worth the time to search out figures/stickers on BL.  A part or two, sure, but much more and it gets dumped. 

I will usually get to the big sets first to try to get the bulk of my money back immediately so that I'm working in the black for the most part.  It also frees up more money for needed parts down the line as I don't inventory every set before buying parts.  It takes too much time that way though it is surely a money savings with shipping of parts. 

Assuming this lot is mostly complete, it is a surefire winner.  Just know that you aren't going to be paying yourself much by the hour in the end.  My last "BIG" lot that I went through from a Brickpicker here was about 150 lbs.  It took me dozens of hours to go through between the cleaning, sorting, inventorying, etc.  I doubled my money and made thousands, but with the hours put in it doesn't look as impressive.  If you love sorting and solving the puzzle that lays in front of you, it is very rewarding.   I love doing it, but my back says otherwise.

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I've stopped fooling around with bulk lots like this, but used to focus on them almost exclusively.  Whenever I bought a bulk lot, I would do the following: (1) separate all of the pieces into individual pieces, (2) wash any pieces that needed cleaning, (3) sort the individual parts out, (4) inventory each set to see what parts I was missing, (5) buy the missing parts, (6) sell the sets individually.

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I think you get great replies . I personally wouldn't do it for investment as it is terribly time consuming , but like Huskers  said if you really enjoy it good for you , just make sure it doesn't turn into a money pit . I know a few folks who didn't know when to stop and kept pouring money into the "project"until it became a complete loss . Good luck :) 

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You'll make stupid [awesome] amounts of profit on a buy like that I think! If it were me though, since some of them are newerish sets still available at retail, I'd potentially hold on to them like any other sealed box set for the potential retirement spike... Slave 1, PC, PR etc. Build them and put them on your personal display for a year or two while they earn even more free money for you! 

As stated in posts above, the biggest hurdle is the sorting. Depending on how much space you have to sprawl the parts out while doing this sorting, there's a couple of approaches. As redcell indicates, the best (ultimately quickest) method for actually inventorying the sets, is to have the parts sorted by type. The sorting of 150 lbs individually by type is going to feel like it's taking eons, but I can state with certainty you'll make that time up when you come to actually hunting for parts X (yellow x4), Y (black x7), and Z (blue x12) to complete your sets. With a smaller lot, you can sometimes get away with sorting simply by colour, then roughly by size or type, rather than completely individual.

I'm not sure how others keep track of the missing parts, but my method of attack is to go over to Bricklink and create a new Wanted List for each set I'm hoping to complete. I use the Part Set feature, set the parts type to used, and I make sure the "include set quantity" box is ticked. If minifigs are dismembered in the bulk tub, I'll sometimes tick the "minifig parts" box as well. Once I've parted out 20-60 sets into BL, I'll make matching ziplocks or other containers for the parts, then I'll go to my main wanted list and simply sort by part type, then dig in. Doing it this way means you can find all of any one part at once, and then put however many quantity of them into each bag, leading you to never have to search for that part again (until you add more fresh wanted lists).

Once you've finished all parts/colours in a batch, whatever is left on your wanted lists.... are your actual wanted lists. Simply order the missing parts, ideally en masse. Huskers points this benefit out.... If you're not going to miss the $700 for several months, it pays off big time to hold off making a parts order as long as you possibly can to save those shipping costs. Allows justification for some [higher shipping cost] overseas parts orders too, if that's where they're being sold.

 

I love bulk lots, especially at a price like this. Nice work talking them down!

Edited by Zelgazra
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I finish a lot like this about every month. I make my 2 kids and husband help.
I start by taking all the large pieces that are partially together and put aside. I then go through and pull out all figures and books. I line up all books and put the figures that go to the books next to each book. When doing that I also put parts I know go to certain sets in plies near the books. Then I start with the easiest. Like the ones mostly built or an orange set while the rest are grey or something like that. I try to get out everything I can easiest first.
I photograph them each when complete bag them and put aside.
I then sort out usually endless grey Star Wars pieces last and build the sets.
Any set that is not worth my time I leave in a separate box. I may just sell figures from them or something.
I take remaining pieces and donate them to a school or if it's a lot I sell them as a mixed piece bucket on Craigslist.

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6 hours ago, Zelgazra said:

You'll make stupid [awesome] amounts of profit on a buy like that I think! If it were me though, since some of them are newerish sets still available at retail, I'd potentially hold on to them like any other sealed box set for the potential retirement spike... Slave 1, PC, PR etc. Build them and put them on your personal display for a year or two while they earn even more free money for you! 

As stated in posts above, the biggest hurdle is the sorting. Depending on how much space you have to sprawl the parts out while doing this sorting, there's a couple of approaches. As redcell indicates, the best (ultimately quickest) method for actually inventorying the sets, is to have the parts sorted by type. The sorting of 150 lbs individually by type is going to feel like it's taking eons, but I can state with certainty you'll make that time up when you come to actually hunting for parts X (yellow x4), Y (black x7), and Z (blue x12) to complete your sets. With a smaller lot, you can sometimes get away with sorting simply by colour, then roughly by size or type, rather than completely individual.

I'm not sure how others keep track of the missing parts, but my method of attack is to go over to Bricklink and create a new Wanted List for each set I'm hoping to complete. I use the Part Set feature, set the parts type to used, and I make sure the "include set quantity" box is ticked. If minifigs are dismembered in the bulk tub, I'll sometimes tick the "minifig parts" box as well. Once I've parted out 20-60 sets into BL, I'll make matching ziplocks or other containers for the parts, then I'll go to my main wanted list and simply sort by part type, then dig in. Doing it this way means you can find all of any one part at once, and then put however many quantity of them into each bag, leading you to never have to search for that part again (until you add more fresh wanted lists).

Once you've finished all parts/colours in a batch, whatever is left on your wanted lists.... are your actual wanted lists. Simply order the missing parts, ideally en masse. Huskers points this benefit out.... If you're not going to miss the $700 for several months, it pays off big time to hold off making a parts order as long as you possibly can to save those shipping costs. Allows justification for some [higher shipping cost] overseas parts orders too, if that's where they're being sold.

 

I love bulk lots, especially at a price like this. Nice work talking them down!

As an alternative to using the Want List in BL directly, you could also install BrickStock (no need to buy a license for this purpose) and maintain your inventories there. The advantage is that you can then work locally on your computer, and the interface is a little easier. That said, Zelgazra's method works just fine.

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As an alternative to using the Want List in BL directly, you could also install BrickStock

Brickstock is also super handy for at a glance part value. Good for eyeing those figs and unique parts that might be better off sold separately!

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A few tips that have saved me loads of time...

Highly agree with advice to get yourself in the black as soon as you can.

1) For sets that look pretty much complete.  I will scan the last few pages of the manual and make sure it looks finished/complete to the eye.  I will then take all of my pictures.  Then I will take it apart and inventory the set to sell.  Saves me a ton of time with high piece count sets.  Last year I bought a $1500 lot off of CL that had the first 5 modulars released (among many other sets).  They were all built.  I didn't have the time to rebuild them, so I did this approach.  And for very high demand/high dollar items, you can shave off just $40 and your item will still sell if you disclaim that it may or may not be complete.  Some times that $40 saves you hours of work.

2) If you do not already have some organized inventory of commonly used pieces, I suggest starting one.  If building partially built sets, and I cannot find a piece; odds are it will be in my own inventory.  

Because I have a good system already in place with pieces by type, I usually just sort by color.  Plus, my kids help, and it is easier for them to sort by color than type.

3) I use the 48x48 gray baseplates to organize mini figures.  This especially comes in handy when figures are all over the place and often mismatched.

Good luck!

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Ahh, bulk. So much fun, so much profit. :). Just to echo the previous excellent advice.
1. Process the larger, higher dollar sets first. Recoups your buy in and you can see your progress as the lot gets smaller.
2. Sort out the mini figures first. They will help you figure out what sets you have (if you don't already know) I also use 48x48 baseplates to hold complete figures.
3. I rarely need to order from BL because I've amassed a substantial inventory of loose bricks and have them sorted by type, not color as that works better for me.
4. Have fun with it. And don't figure your hourly wage, just enjoy the process.

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I am mixing all that lol. I started by organizing the manuals that alone took like 20 mins (were in different bags) then I started with the mini figs. Idk what games this kid played but I have a mine craft head on Boba fetts body and even the hands are different color. Of the 200 minifigures not one is remotely complete lol...going to take it little by little but agree focusing on the bigger more complete sets seems to make the most sense. Just from the Kwik E Mart and few other sets should easily make my money back. Cool thing is I can appreciate sets I would never buy. Some of these ninjago sets are pretty damn cool!

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This lot will surely be profitable. You have a complete list of the sets included, so it will be way easier. I enjoy a lot the fun of finding all the right pieces for each set and I like buying profitable used Legos because I can play with them before reselling. I don't count my hours in the profit equation because it is my hobby. I have a full time job and lego never feels like working. When I have a lot like that (although mine were smaller), I don't complete the sets that have missing pieces if I don't have these pieces at home. I just sell them uncomplete for a lower price and I had no problem finding buyers. I only complete the sets I want to keep for myself. I strongly agree to keep big and rare sets that are not yet retired if you can wait.
Have fun!

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This lot will surely be profitable. You have a complete list of the sets included, so it will be way easier. I enjoy a lot the fun of finding all the right pieces for each set and I like buying profitable used Legos because I can play with them before reselling. I don't count my hours in the profit equation because it is my hobby. I have a full time job and lego never feels like working. When I have a lot like that (although mine were smaller), I don't complete the sets that have missing pieces if I don't have these pieces at home. I just sell them uncomplete for a lower price and I had no problem finding buyers. I only complete the sets I want to keep for myself. I strongly agree to keep big and rare sets that are not yet retired if you can wait.
Have fun!


Yeah that's how I look at it. If I have a day off and nothing better to do why not sort and ultimately make money from it! No rush to sell..however this is A LOT of Lego (still 3-4 big bags I didn't picture that were near my feet) takes up a good amount of space so I may complete the ones I want then start selling the other stuff. It's all within 4 years so it's fairly new some recent retired sets like the star destroyer, ghost, cantina, etc all that I want but not sure if I should just sell or keep. I didn't pull the trigger when they were in circulation so not sure if I should just complete and sell or keep and display.

As I said earlier normally wouldn't want to buy a lot but compared to other lots that are half this and double the price I figured it was a good idea to buy it. Did a good job of knocking the price down! Also being polite goes a long way when emailing back and forth. He got much higher offers but people were short and rude with him so he chose me because of how I spoke to him. He had money (big house and a Maserati outside) so it wasn't about the money for him...
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Cool thing is I can appreciate sets I would never buy.


That is one of my favorite aspects of bulk lots. Nearly my entire collection came from bulk, Emerald Night, Batmobile UCS, Haunted House, Black Pearl, Queen Anne's Revenge, Hogwarts and many others and that's just what I chose to keep. I also enjoy that that you can see a progression of build techniques as you build large numbers of sets from different time periods. The money is just icing, really, really good icing.
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there is also the quick method

list them all in individual lots for auctions that start at $1

put appropriate shipping

making listing state lot 1 of 100 or whatever

you will have people that looking for any of 100 sets listed see your other stuff

the amount of time you save may make up for amount you lose for the lots that go cheap

remember to start auctions at beginning on the month and end on a Sunday afternoon

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On 12/28/2016 at 10:17 PM, Lego Templar said:

.

Here is a picture of the stuff I bought (lucky I had my grandfathers van) sets and boxes go all the way to the front of the car. It's a bit overwhelming and curious how you guys would/do it. Thanks!

 

When you start piecing sets together take some pics and post here. 

I was you at one time and the "fun" eventually wore off after I got in over my head buying too much with not having enough space for it. Plus the GF can be an enabler and a pain.  Now I've moved most of it into storage until I can get a workshop. Looking into a retail/storage condo which would be perfect. 

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I think I actually just got my last bulk lot. I may change my mind, but this was beyond bad.
My husband picked up a bunch of lego, he almost turned around when he realized it was the ghetto, almost called the police when the guy mentioned they were not stolen (who mentions that?)
And almost left when he saw a bug. I so wish he had.
I think they are covered in cockroach poop and I found my first roach in years. I thought the day could not get worse. I spent all day soaking them in vinegar and buying roach traps and then I found this
:( I am fairly certain it is a bed bug 536e8e71a6d651e9a15b90bd93673d53.jpg

I really want to say the f word now

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Was going to suggest it is a common stinkbug, until I realized the scale of the LEGO studs doesn't correspond with stink bugs (which would have been at least 2-3 studs long. Sorry to hear about this Salimr.

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Guest brickcrazyhouse

Throw it all out!

The peace of mind of not having bugs is worth so much more then can be made off LEGO

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11 minutes ago, brickcrazyhouse said:

Throw it all out!

The peace of mind of not having bugs is worth so much more then can be made off LEGO

It might be too late for that. Bedbugs are fast and if that one is/was alive when it came into the house, you betcha there will be others that already scampered off into crevices. Better find a good repellent/exterminating spray and spray all areas this stuff has been close to.

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Drop them all in bleach and come back next year. Lol

That goes to my point of why I have passed on about 200 LOT deals I've come across.

My pictured lot came from a mansion and the house was clean and smelled nice lol..easily millionaires that just wanted the space (another reason I think I did well)

My advice (for what it is worth) if you already have tons of negative feelings before pulling the trigger I would just avoid it all together. If you feel that way before even picking it up what happens when things are glued, missing, bugs that enjoy beds, etc..

It's better to use the money for clearance items and other deals. I'm personally looking forward to going through all the stuff I got today. Just be super duper strict with what you buy and maybe only do it once or twice a year. Unless something like this pops up again I doubt I'll ever buy a LOT again.

I bought you a suit to go through your new findings...

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