RC FAQs: Tips on how to buy used RCs and sell them

We have all been there and have all done it. For some, getting into the hobby is a financial burden as it can be a lot of money to sink. For other people it is not worth paying r to $700 for a brand new kit when you can get a used one for less. 

The main question is…. Is it worth the cash that you are about to lay on the line and what is and is not too much?

This article is for the person who wants to save some cash but also not get hosed. The advice in this article has served me well for years.

It can be great or it can be a bombshell….BUYER BEWARE!!!

Ah! The lovely smell of commerce and the secondary market is one where the consumer always wants the best for the cheapest price. If you are negotiating do not insult the seller by saying “what is the lowest price shipped you will sell this for?” I can honestly tell you that I am the kind of guy that will work with people and their budgets as I want to see them go to a good home. Most good RC’ers are this way as well. Insult us an that deal immediately goes bad.

Next, when you get the kit do not expect it to be new. It is used. This means that someone else had it and ran it. They:

1) May not be RC experts and have no idea what they were doing.
2) Have broken parts and may not have realized it
3) May consider things to be routine running and you may not.

You are saving cash by not buying new. If you want it to be perfect then buy new. 

Slightly used kits are what I go after personally. If the person has no idea on what they are doing then the damage cannot be as bad and you are still saving money over a new kit. How do you recognize them? Well, they look just like brand new and the person generally states, “This kit is way to fast for me”.  I love this statement as the speed of the kit is on the box, and when you boil the statement down to what it really means, well… they had no idea what they were doing and were over their head. It’s the perfect time to buy! wink.gif

What used kit is right for you?

This is the best question that anyone can ask. If you just want a stock kit then anything is a blessing for you. However, most want to have a used kit as the previous owner has installed a few bells and whistles. What you need to do is to make a list of the bells and whistles that you must have and which you are willing to do without and add yourself. 

Once you know what you want then it is time to go shopping. When you find a few kits that come close then it is time to bid in a auction or email the owner. But how much do you pay?

If you are buying used then you should not be paying retail. If someone has a kit that has a ton of stuff into it then that is his fault. They may get more than retail for the price if quality electronics and accessories are on it. However, they will not go for too much more.  But, over all, the depreciation of a RC kit once a drop of fuel has touched the tank or when the battery is plugged into it (for electrics) then the prices start to fall. 

This is now a judgment call on the behalf of the buyer to determine value. The more it is used then the less it should cost. Always try to drive that cost down.

In the name of economics, one common rule of thumb is that everything has no value to it. The person who assigns value is the person who is willing to pay for it and it is valued at how much they are willing to pay. Is a quarterback worth $10M or $25M a year? If someone is willing to pay the person $25M then they are worth just that. A seller lists what they want but the value is not determined until there is a buyer willing to pay whatever for it.

When buying you want to look at the parts on the kit loosely. You want them as they are on your list. However, rarely do after market parts influence the cost of the kit. They will influence the sell and desirability of that kit but that is all. For example, aluminum A arms that are worth $100 will not increase the end value of the kit. They might make a $10 to $40 price increase but the impact to the final price is minimal.

And lastly, and this one is key, is that if you are new to this hobby then you need to buy new. Get a new kit and learn off of new. You do not want to learn off of someone else’s mistakes and blunders. You will end up messing up more, building bad practices off of bad truths, and you will end up paying more. Most new people who do this either get out of the hobby or end up buying new. Those who buy new stay in the hobby as they actually will start to learn and appreciate the hobby.

What to look for in a used kit

I like to see the under chassis of the kit. Unless it is stated or the chassis has been replaced, this will speak a lot for how the kit was used and how much it was used. You do not want to see a ton of scratches as that means that it has been through the gauntlet. Unless that is what you want.

Next I look at the condition overall. I do not care about tires. I can take a brand new set and tear it up in 1 tank. I want to see how clean the kit is. A clean kit means a well maintained kit. Granted, they could have cleaned the kit prior to selling it as it is a common practice. But, this is where dialogue comes in between the seller and the buyer. Ask them about the condition of the transmission and the gears. Comments such as “they should be good as I only ran the stock engine” is a clue that the person never opened the case up and has no idea. The person who says “I did a rebuild that included checking the gears two tanks ago” knows the condition of his kit and also has maintained it. It is this kind of seller that you want to buy from. Another similar good question to ask is “when was the last time the diff fluid was replaced?” 

The main sections to concern yourself on a used kit is the drive line. It is a clear indication of condition. If the driveline, the support structure of the kit, has been maintained then the rest of the kit will follow.

The other area is the engine. Most people freak out about the engine. I personally do not care. Engine tuning can be a find art and a lot of people cannot do it. I expect to have to replace an engine immediately as most people do not know what compression is, how to tune, or are not completely honest. I do not purchase a kit for the engine. I do expect it to be in a sellable condition as I want to get the most out of it to help with the new engine cost. I trust me, not the other guy, when it comes to my engines. The question that you want to ask people is “how much fuel has been ran through it?” I would not expect an honest answer as people will take what they think has gone through it and either give you a low range (i.e. 2 to 4 gallons which translates to closer to 4) or a definite number that has been rounded down (ie: half a gallon when it was really ¾). Too many variables, but walk away from this knowing that engines are the worst investment possible in a RC car.

However, DO NOT be a sucker for a pretty shell. I can take a horrible truck and put a ghost flames pattern on the shell and get more money than I should have had for it if I went with a stock shell or a beat up. The better the visual appeal the more people will want that kit. Do not buy into this. Do not spend several hundred dollars on a $5 piece of lexan that looks pretty. Take the emotional value off of it and go off of condition and what it has that you want over a piece of lexan. 

Smart buyers:

– Buy kits that are loaded with accessories and then sell the accessories to fray cost.
– Buy the kits that have the items on your list on it already to save cash.
– Ask questions.
– Do not get emotional or attached to the kit until they have it. 
– Are prepared to walk and take their business elsewhere. 

What if you are the seller?

To turn the tides! 

If you are a seller then you will want that beautiful shell. I would not buy a $50 shell just to sell your kit. But, if you have a spare shell and have some skills with an airbrush…take advantage. If you do not have the skills then a spare clear shell is another good selling point.

Look at what the fair market value, realistic, is going for. You might have put $1500 into an RC but do not expect for it to sell over retail. You might get close but you will not go over unless someone really wants it that bad.

So, what do you do if you have $1500 tied into an RC? Part out. It will take time to take everything apart but it will be worth it in the end. Get an excel workbook up on your computer screen and itemize the list. Find the fair market value of the parts, and the close they are to new, charge as much as you can for them while staying cheaper than new. If a new transmission is $50 then sell it for $40 and cut a little back off of shipping as well. If it is used a little more than offer it for 25 to $30. Be fair, and most importantly, be honest and realistic. When you are done with your list you will find that you are closer to that $1500 than if you sold it as a whole.

The wild card to this is accessories. If you are selling the kit with a great radio, charger, kit bag, tool boxes, etc then you will want to consider the part out price to the selling whole price. It is a lot harder to sell things as a rtr even with great parts. But, you will be attracting people who will be to resell your stuff for profit. You will get more for the used kit as a RTR with quality electronics and accessories. However, you will get more if the parts were parted out.

Bottom line– People buy used for the kit and rarely for what is on it. They want to put their own stuff on it.  The more you part out and allow people to use their options then the more cash you will get. Parting out is the best way to get your cash back.

Vid:

Tips on how to buy used RCs and sell them

We have all been there and have all done it. For some, getting into the hobby is a financial burden as it can be a lot of money to sink. For other people it is not worth paying r to $700 for a brand new kit when you can get a used one for less. 

The main question is…. Is it worth the cash that you are about to lay on the line and what is and is not too much?

This article is for the person who wants to save some cash but also not get hosed. The advice in this article has served me well for years.

It can be great or it can be a bombshell….BUYER BEWARE!!!

Ah! The lovely smell of commerce and the secondary market is one where the consumer always wants the best for the cheapest price. If you are negotiating do not insult the seller by saying “what is the lowest price shipped you will sell this for?” I can honestly tell you that I am the kind of guy that will work with people and their budgets as I want to see them go to a good home. Most good RC’ers are this way as well. Insult us an that deal immediately goes bad.

Next, when you get the kit do not expect it to be new. It is used. This means that someone else had it and ran it. They:

1) May not be RC experts and have no idea what they were doing.
2) Have broken parts and may not have realized it
3) May consider things to be routine running and you may not.

You are saving cash by not buying new. If you want it to be perfect then buy new. 

Slightly used kits are what I go after personally. If the person has no idea on what they are doing then the damage cannot be as bad and you are still saving money over a new kit. How do you recognize them? Well, they look just like brand new and the person generally states, “This kit is way to fast for me”.  I love this statement as the speed of the kit is on the box, and when you boil the statement down to what it really means, well… they had no idea what they were doing and were over their head. It’s the perfect time to buy! wink.gif

What used kit is right for you?

This is the best question that anyone can ask. If you just want a stock kit then anything is a blessing for you. However, most want to have a used kit as the previous owner has installed a few bells and whistles. What you need to do is to make a list of the bells and whistles that you must have and which you are willing to do without and add yourself. 

Once you know what you want then it is time to go shopping. When you find a few kits that come close then it is time to bid in a auction or email the owner. But how much do you pay?

If you are buying used then you should not be paying retail. If someone has a kit that has a ton of stuff into it then that is his fault. They may get more than retail for the price if quality electronics and accessories are on it. However, they will not go for too much more.  But, over all, the depreciation of a RC kit once a drop of fuel has touched the tank or when the battery is plugged into it (for electrics) then the prices start to fall. 

This is now a judgment call on the behalf of the buyer to determine value. The more it is used then the less it should cost. Always try to drive that cost down.

In the name of economics, one common rule of thumb is that everything has no value to it. The person who assigns value is the person who is willing to pay for it and it is valued at how much they are willing to pay. Is a quarterback worth $10M or $25M a year? If someone is willing to pay the person $25M then they are worth just that. A seller lists what they want but the value is not determined until there is a buyer willing to pay whatever for it.

When buying you want to look at the parts on the kit loosely. You want them as they are on your list. However, rarely do after market parts influence the cost of the kit. They will influence the sell and desirability of that kit but that is all. For example, aluminum A arms that are worth $100 will not increase the end value of the kit. They might make a $10 to $40 price increase but the impact to the final price is minimal.

And lastly, and this one is key, is that if you are new to this hobby then you need to buy new. Get a new kit and learn off of new. You do not want to learn off of someone else’s mistakes and blunders. You will end up messing up more, building bad practices off of bad truths, and you will end up paying more. Most new people who do this either get out of the hobby or end up buying new. Those who buy new stay in the hobby as they actually will start to learn and appreciate the hobby.

What to look for in a used kit

I like to see the under chassis of the kit. Unless it is stated or the chassis has been replaced, this will speak a lot for how the kit was used and how much it was used. You do not want to see a ton of scratches as that means that it has been through the gauntlet. Unless that is what you want.

Next I look at the condition overall. I do not care about tires. I can take a brand new set and tear it up in 1 tank. I want to see how clean the kit is. A clean kit means a well maintained kit. Granted, they could have cleaned the kit prior to selling it as it is a common practice. But, this is where dialogue comes in between the seller and the buyer. Ask them about the condition of the transmission and the gears. Comments such as “they should be good as I only ran the stock engine” is a clue that the person never opened the case up and has no idea. The person who says “I did a rebuild that included checking the gears two tanks ago” knows the condition of his kit and also has maintained it. It is this kind of seller that you want to buy from. Another similar good question to ask is “when was the last time the diff fluid was replaced?” 

The main sections to concern yourself on a used kit is the drive line. It is a clear indication of condition. If the driveline, the support structure of the kit, has been maintained then the rest of the kit will follow.

The other area is the engine. Most people freak out about the engine. I personally do not care. Engine tuning can be a find art and a lot of people cannot do it. I expect to have to replace an engine immediately as most people do not know what compression is, how to tune, or are not completely honest. I do not purchase a kit for the engine. I do expect it to be in a sellable condition as I want to get the most out of it to help with the new engine cost. I trust me, not the other guy, when it comes to my engines. The question that you want to ask people is “how much fuel has been ran through it?” I would not expect an honest answer as people will take what they think has gone through it and either give you a low range (i.e. 2 to 4 gallons which translates to closer to 4) or a definite number that has been rounded down (ie: half a gallon when it was really ¾). Too many variables, but walk away from this knowing that engines are the worst investment possible in a RC car.

However, DO NOT be a sucker for a pretty shell. I can take a horrible truck and put a ghost flames pattern on the shell and get more money than I should have had for it if I went with a stock shell or a beat up. The better the visual appeal the more people will want that kit. Do not buy into this. Do not spend several hundred dollars on a $5 piece of lexan that looks pretty. Take the emotional value off of it and go off of condition and what it has that you want over a piece of lexan. 

Smart buyers:

– Buy kits that are loaded with accessories and then sell the accessories to fray cost.
– Buy the kits that have the items on your list on it already to save cash.
– Ask questions.
– Do not get emotional or attached to the kit until they have it. 
– Are prepared to walk and take their business elsewhere. 

What if you are the seller?

To turn the tides! 

If you are a seller then you will want that beautiful shell. I would not buy a $50 shell just to sell your kit. But, if you have a spare shell and have some skills with an airbrush…take advantage. If you do not have the skills then a spare clear shell is another good selling point.

Look at what the fair market value, realistic, is going for. You might have put $1500 into an RC but do not expect for it to sell over retail. You might get close but you will not go over unless someone really wants it that bad.

So, what do you do if you have $1500 tied into an RC? Part out. It will take time to take everything apart but it will be worth it in the end. Get an excel workbook up on your computer screen and itemize the list. Find the fair market value of the parts, and the close they are to new, charge as much as you can for them while staying cheaper than new. If a new transmission is $50 then sell it for $40 and cut a little back off of shipping as well. If it is used a little more than offer it for 25 to $30. Be fair, and most importantly, be honest and realistic. When you are done with your list you will find that you are closer to that $1500 than if you sold it as a whole.

The wild card to this is accessories. If you are selling the kit with a great radio, charger, kit bag, tool boxes, etc then you will want to consider the part out price to the selling whole price. It is a lot harder to sell things as a rtr even with great parts. But, you will be attracting people who will be to resell your stuff for profit. You will get more for the used kit as a RTR with quality electronics and accessories. However, you will get more if the parts were parted out.

Bottom line– People buy used for the kit and rarely for what is on it. They want to put their own stuff on it.  The more you part out and allow people to use their options then the more cash you will get. Parting out is the best way to get your cash back.

Vid:
http://www.youtube.com/v/VEWoS41Wnps

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