Would you buy a home with an award winning layout or sell your home with your train layout?

1 Outside of home

1. This home has a award winning model train layout in the basement.

2 Pete Waltdon in the Train Room

2. Famous Model Railroader, Pete Walton has his home for sale and he is giving tours on YouTube.

3 Cover of 11 remarkable layouts

3. This layout was featured in Model Railroaders: “Great Model Railroads of 2018”.

4 Overview of the layout

4. This could be your home with a ward winning layout, "Turn Key Layout"

Discussion questions.

1. Would you purchase a home with a turn key layout?

2. Would you be interested in purchasing Pete Walton’s home and this layout?

3. Would you sell your home with your layout / train room?

Below is the video tour: enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?...;feature=em-comments

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Sadly the last 3 friends who sold homes with completed layouts had to tear them out to sell the house. Will be interesting to see how this goes. Wish him the best of luck. 

I would sell mine with my layout if there was an intereseted party.    BUT I would put lots of caveats on it.    I built it and I can maintain it and I tried to keep wiring diagrams and notes on everything I did.    However, realistically, it would be a bear for someone to come in and try to take over and maintain my layout.    and they would probably not like my workmanship either - sometimes I don't even like it!

I don't think I would buy a house with a layout.    I have specific ideas of what I want to do and it has to be an operations focused layout, not a display layout.    I have not need for continous running but lots of need for industrial sidings for example.     So I doubt I would ever find one that would interest me.    And then I would have the same problems taking over someone else's as they would have with mine.

Now if your find one and like and the DOCUMENTATION IS GOOD enough for you.  - - go for it.

Gary, where is the house located? Looks attractive and I would buy that house with the layout, depending on location. Looks like there would be room for a decent O gauge layout in addition to the HO layout.

Pete

rattler21 posted:

I didn't have an award winning layout but it did occupy half of the third floor.  The real estate agent said it had to be removed.  Several men in our modular group helped me take apart the top, cross pieces and legs.  The house sold to a couple in their late 20s and his hobby was O gauge.  He told me it sure would have been easier if the legs, cross pieces and top had been left in tact.      John in Lansing, ILL (ex-Cincinnati)

It would seem that is the death blow to most potential scenarios playing out positively.

I'm not a realtor or anything, but I suspect every realtor would say the same. 

If you were comfortable doing a For Sale By Owner (FSBO), and could find a buyer who both: a)wanted a train layout and b) was OK with buying a FSBO, then it might work.  You are obviously reducing the target audience to something nearing zero with those criteria overlapping in a qualified buyer though. 

I recall most of the home buying books I read before I finally took the plunge about 10 years ago warning of dealing with people selling their own house.  Generally speaking people selling their own house think more of it ($$) than might be realistic, and there can be a lot of other complications along the way.  While I cannot recite them chapter and verse I think the general gist of it was that you as the buyer are taking a fair amount of higher risk for the seller's convenience of not having to pay a selling commission to a realtor.

-Dave

Norton posted:

Gary, where is the house located? Looks attractive and I would buy that house with the layout, depending on location. Looks like there would be room for a decent O gauge layout in addition to the HO layout.

Pete

Hi Pete: 

The house is located on the Golf Course in the safe Del Webb Community in Huntley Illinois, and if you’d like to contact Pete you can contact him by e-mail. His e-mail address is in the video description and he gives more contact information in the video.

Good luck & this may be the home for you: Gary 

Thanks Gary. I figured it might be in the mid west. Any move I make would have to be to a warmer clime at this point. 

I hope he finds someone interested.

Pete

Any realtor who is  or is not a train collector would advise to remove the layout stunning or otherwise.

AlanHN

Years ago, we sold the family home with a rather extensive HO layout in the basement. The layout wasn't coming out of that house in one piece or even easily in several smaller pieces. Sold the house to a developer who then bulldozed the house (and, I assume, the layout at the same time). Tossed a few engines in the trash, kept a handful that are under glass in my current train room. 

Considering my current home has a rather extensive koi pond set up, which the prior owner built, I figure that it will have to be filled in when we leave. It was actually a selling point for us as we were going to build one but the previous owner took care of that (had 2, one in the front yard and one in the backyard, I filled in the backyard pond). I love having it and would gladly buy a house with one, pending a full inspection.

Last edited by SJC

We're here for the long haul.  I built my house and have done any improvements and changes to it over the past forty-five years.  Now I am building an indoor layout.  I have an outdoor railway in large scale.  So when I have to leave here it will be because they're dragging me out.....LOL

Mine was a shelf-layout that ran between four rooms on the second story. Tunnels through walls and a bowl of spaghetti wire in the attic to boot. What I did was to have it running with three trains when the realtor came to do his initial walk-through. He said, "Keep it." Within about two weeks, we had a full-price buyer (and this was in 2013, when Reno, Nevada, was no where near recovered from the mortgage mess of 2007-2008), and she insisted it stay. I left behind a Z4000, the TIU, AIU, remotes, and a few running stock. The word from old neighbors is that she ripped it out about a year later.

Eyes bigger than stomach?

---------

Dr. Joseph V Russo

josephvrusso@outlook.com 

Honestly if it was a layout that had a good mix of running potential and switching I would take the risk. As I have never had a layout fully built.

Andrew Treece. 

Helps with B&LE 643

and Erie valley fire and Rescue engine 2 and Tanker 3.

trainroomgary posted:

Would you buy a home with an award winning layout or sell your home with your train layout?

No.


Evil is just plain bad! You don't cotton to it! You gotta smack it in the nose with the rolled up newspaper of goodness...Bad dog! Bad dog!

On a similar note.  Buying or selling a house where there is an in ground pool is tough from both ends.  Some people want a pool while I would imagine most would not.  Some sellers think a pool is a selling point, while others would fill it in to sell the house.  

Would I buy his home with the layout. Well no on two reasons one I'm not moving north, two It's HO

Would I sell mine with the house? depends on how much they are offering for the layout. 

Bill

It would be a shame if such a great layout was demolished.  Unfortunately, that's often what happens, especially since each home layout represents one person's unique vision.

Personally, I wouldn't pay a premium for a house with a layout - I would look at buying such a house as a win/win - buyer gets the layout, seller doesn't have the financial and psychological costs of demolishing it and hauling it away.

I think I found the neighborhood on Zillow.  Didn't find a listing for that particular house, but it looks like houses on the golf course are listed for $300-450k.  In that price range, it might be possible to find a well-heeled buyer who will pay a little more.  And if the seller has to demolish it, the financial cost of doing so would be a very small percentage of the sale price.

Since the layout is of such high quality, I hope that the seller will resist the realtor's suggestion to tear it out.

Considering that the layout is located in an area of the country which has a high concentration of model railroaders, publicizing it to the various clubs, hobby shops, and train meets might turn up a buyer.   The monthly meet in Wheaton isn't far from his location - maybe a nice brochure could be prepared and handed out, or perhaps buy a table and display the information.

My wife is a 25 year Realtor. Most buyers would be deducting the cost of removal from the offer price. If you got lucky and sold one inplace good for you, but certainly not the norm.

USMC 1966-69

Years back I was looking at an electrical job for a general contractor  I worked with. The house was on the north shore of Long Island in a very exclusive community. The house was about 4,000 sq ft. Nothing special but it was right on LI Sound and you could see Manhattan on a clear day. Well I'm checking out the house and we are going through the basement. I ask him what's behind a door and he says he's not sure. I think you can guess where this is going, I find a 20' X 30' O gauge layout! Needless to say I took the project. While I was there I managed to get a train or two running that the new owner had brought to the house. He was not a big modeler but was intrigued buy this beautiful layout and wanted to learn how to operate it.

It was very well built, all conventional, block control. I figured that you could run 4-5 trains simultaneously. He was happy to have my help to get started. After I competed the project we spoke occasionally but I never went back to see the layout again.

So to answer the question- YES- I would buy a house with a layout already built. Selling the same would be difficult at best figuring that you need to be patient and find the right buyer.

Bob

Three Rails Are Better Than None 

Mallard4468 posted:

 

I think I found the neighborhood on Zillow.  Didn't find a listing for that particular house, but it looks like houses on the golf course are listed for $300-450k.  In that price range, it might be possible to find a well-heeled buyer who will pay a little more.  And if the seller has to demolish it, the financial cost of doing so would be a very small percentage of the sale price.

 

Hi Mallard 4468

Mr & Mrs Walton are selling this home with the layout by "Owner", at this point. He is very passionate about this layout and he is going to teach the new owner all about the design and operation.

Thanks for taking a look: Gary

Yes I would buy a home with a completed layout assuming that the home had other important features such as right area, price and my wife was happy with the remaining part of the house.

NH Joe

This is a good thread as many of us 3 rail enthusiast that read this OGR Forum daily, are aging, with life changing issues, health, Retirement, lots of different situations....My wife says, sell the trains, and the Layout, and all the extra train cars, engines, whatever!!! So, this way We can sell the house and downsize....She is correct, because the train layout, like a back yard swimming pool are significant draw backs for buyers considerations, Or is it??

 

In all seriousness, I would love to sell my home, with the layout, which was featured on OGR THE VIDEO #10, Leapin Larry’s Looney Lines RR, a really fun to run layout, all Lionel Legacy Command. (A Full Basement, practically dust free), I live in Clarksville,Tennessee., one of the least expensive places to live in the USA. I retire next month and will begin the selling of many of my trains. I do not want to leave my wife with this burden, she would not know where to begin. 

In all honesty, I think a good Realtor could sell a home, with proper advertising, with Model Railroads, and Swimming pools.  It may take a little longer to close a sale with this extra baggage, but, it can be done. My home is paid for, no debts, and I have friends that are professional appraisers....Wow, anyone wanting to move to Tennessee.  I am 40 minutes from Nashville.... Just an idea....

I've been working only my  humble 8x 16 for  over 15 years...I'm concerned if I ever sell the house I'll never have another layout unless I hire someone to build it...

A train layout is NOT the same as a swimming pool; Sorry there is value to a pool, or a new remodeled kitchen, or a new powder room or a new roof.  Nada for a train layout no matter how well built or detailed or in a magazine or video. It's unappreciated or under-appreciated artwork.

Most buyers look at it as a "choo-choo" and would rather have the space to store old tires!

EXCEPT if one of us buys one of your houses with a layout well that is a different story.

 

AlanHN

I figure when I make my next move the trains and any layout will come with me.  I've pretty much heard the same thing from real estate agents that no one wants your "stuff" in their new home.  As stated above a train layout is not a selling point.  It appeals to a very, very, small demographic.

I would also never buy a home with a layout as I wouldn't want to inherit anyone's track plan or thought process. 

Marty

 

Below the Signature...

" Number One, make it "O"!"

 

Thats why mine is built mostly in 2X8 sections.  I can add, change, reduce. or move it. I already added three times and now i'm reconfiguring a 2X8 industrial park. Or sell sections of it.

Last edited by clem k

My layout is built to be destroyed...nothing is permanent.  Mostly, mine is folding tables with drywall sheets on them.  The tables are always useful and the drywall was already in the basement.  I had a winter Christmas layout for a while.  once i sold everything off the top, i scraped the drywall, swept up the pieces, and then broke the drywall into manageable pieces to haul out of the basement.

If I was looking to buy a home(which I won't be) a railroad layout wouldn't affect my decision either way but would not increase the value at all. When I moved I left my old layout, stripped bare, behind. It was built by modules and my next one will be built the same way. Hopefully soon.

As a realtor AND a model railroader I have mixed emotions with this prospect. This is indeed a world-class layout but as has been mentioned above, the layout greatly reduces the pool of potential buyers out there. Not impossible, but very limiting!

We went through a similar scenario back in 2011-12 when my wife wanted to move from our beautiful mountain home near here which had become impractical for a family our age. We had built our first-ever real layout that was an "L" configuration 16' x 24' in our garage. Although not 'award- winning' it did make the cover of the Oct 2013 issue of a national RR magazine and was our pride n joy and source of much enjoyment. Our realtor urged us to remove it but we resisted, telling her that once we had a solid contract we would. Real estate was very slow here then and we had it listed for a full 15 months before receiving our first offer.

Most seemed 'amused' by the layout with the only negative comments from an older gentleman who was a former RR employee and had a bitter attitude towards his former employer. He was not a happy fella.

It was a real drag to have to tear down the layout but I have preserved several of the bridges and part of the viaduct for future use.

IMG_3821

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Good topic. I sold a home years ago and tore down my basement sized layout. I was however able to leave my Rail Rax on the wall as the buyer said her son would use for his diecast cars.

However, we will be downsizing from our current home in a few years, and, as depressing as it is to me, I'm pretty sure my current basement filling layout will have to go! 

Selling with layout will only appeal to a small sliver of potential buyers. When I want out, I want out and will need the monies for the next home. 

Ride The Reading Lines!  LCCA

 

 The Reading U36B

 

 

In my case the layout won't come down while I'm alive, nor will the house be sold while I'm alive. When I'm gone, I suspect my wife will keep the house for quite a while. In the next year or so I expect to put together an operating group, so even when I'm gone, they can continue to meet and enjoy the layout.

When the house finally does sell, the layout will still be standing. There is no reason to tear it down because the house has so much other space. The house has 8900 square feet. The layout is only 1900. Why not keep it, the house was designed specifically to have it. A person could actually turn it into a small business and maybe earn enough to pay the property taxes.

When I knew I had to move and sell our mountain home due to our health issues I immediately started dismantling my layout.  Two other homes in the gated community of 150 homes and condos had nice train layouts in basements. As the two couples aged out both homes went on the market with layouts intact during comparatively strong late 1990s markets.  Yet both homes remained unsold well into the slow "second home" market of 2005-06 and well beyond. This scenario influenced me to take down my twin shelf layout no matter how much visitors and friends had bragged on it as a "fun feature''and said leave it up(no doubt somewhat affected by adult beverages). My Realtor agreed with the decision.

My house was in good shape on 1-3/4 landscaped acres and went on the market in late 2008 but remained unsold until 2013 even after I severely discounted the price three times. The buyer, a Florida "halfback" originally from Ohio, was in his late '50s wanted to be unhampered by any chores not associated with golfing, tennis& skiing (wife & kids) or trout fishing, had his own plane, and favored our all weather landing strip. But his wife later told my Realtor negotiations ended with a sale only when I threw in my FWD John Deere tractor and he saw a photo of it plowing in a 10" snow. No photos or structural evidence of the train operation was anywhere to be seen. He had rejected homes with putting greens, waterfalls and pools as too much work and "aggravation". 

Point I learned is that many,or perhaps most, looking for a second home want to pick their own features and reject potential for maintenance expense or labor that interferes with leisure.

                             100_1031

A&Y RY[NC's Southern/N&W connector].

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1. If I were in the market for a house, YES, I would buy one with a layout.

2. I would not buy this house, because there is no way in heck I'm moving to Illinois. Being on a golf course is nice, but not necessary.

3. I would not sell my layout with my house. I've invested too much effort into it, I'm not leaving it behind, even if I have to disassemble and drag it with me. 

You could have a steam train, if you'd just lay down your tracks.

Last edited by Deuce

Hello Group, 

My father passed away late last year and I have found myself in the difficult situation of trying to figure out what to do with my his award winning layout (see attached pictures) that is in his South Florida house which I am about to put on the market for sale.  While I don't really know all that much about trains, I do know that these are LGB's (which is G scale, I believe) and that this layout is in a room that is approximately 18x20.  I am struggling with the idea of tearing it down, as I know that this was his passion and I know that he spent a boat load of money having it built.  However, I am balancing it against the reality of what a lot of you have already covered in this thread and knowing that my chances of finding a buyer who is also a train enthusiast is slim to none.  I am also torn by the idea of even having to see it destroyed.  It really is a special layout which, from what I can tell, is a one of a kind.  Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks for reading.  Sean

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Sean H posted:

Hello Group, 

My father passed away late last year and I have found myself in the difficult situation of trying to figure out what to do with my his award winning layout (see attached pictures) that is in his South Florida house which I am about to put on the market for sale.  While I don't really know all that much about trains, I do know that these are LGB's (which is G scale, I believe) and that this layout is in a room that is approximately 18x20.  I am struggling with the idea of tearing it down, as I know that this was his passion and I know that he spent a boat load of money having it built.  However, I am balancing it against the reality of what a lot of you have already covered in this thread and knowing that my chances of finding a buyer who is also a train enthusiast is slim to none.  I am also torn by the idea of even having to see it destroyed.  It really is a special layout which, from what I can tell, is a one of a kind.  Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks for reading.  Sean

My idea is to first list it with it in it. And include the trains as part of the deal. Say for a couple of months and see what feedback you get. There might be someone with kids that would like it. Or someone that is retired or close to retiring and that would give them Something to retire with. If negative gather all the trains and buildings and stuff you can and put them up on ebay under G scale  including the automobiles. Then have someone else come in and take it down. Maybe there's a hobby shop in the area that would like to buy most of the stuff from you. I wish I was near you as I would help you with all of this, both ways. Have it running when someone comes in might even help. 

Bill

I used do resale prep for a RE agent.    Concerning the occasional layouts I did run across, they were not much to speak of, mostly haphazard  flimsy nothing.  Straight into the dumpster.

One of our 0 scale friends did sell his home with  a nice 2 rail layout to a non train guy who then got into trains.  Came to the shows, picked up more stuff.  Win Win.

I sold a house that had two layouts, a std. Gauge layout and a hirail layout. When it went up for sale  it all came down before showing the house. All the wood got trashed and all of the scenery got trashed. It was allot of work but in the end it was worth it. 

I would never buy or sell a house with the layout still up. 

Dave

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