Normally the basic set are often the beginning of a hobby that can last many years and passed from one generation to another.
Something you should keep in mind is that there is material that is not supported as there are brands that work with alternating current and three-rail system as Märklin and Trix and other brands that work with current and two rail systems.
Once the election we will stay within the target system, if we can use AC DC hauled locomotives but not so in regard to DC same thing happens, the AC tractive material may not be used but towed equipment if, if they change the wheels or plastic wheels isolated and can be used without problem.
Often composed of an oval track that may have an average size of 1.00m X 1.50m, a transformer and speed regulator a locomotive and between 2 and 6 cars or cars plus some accessories such as houses, cranes or station, accessible and cost tend to vary depending on the brand you want to buy.
Once we already possess what we can do to expand is to buy loose material to be extending this simple oval tracks as being more straight and curved track changes (for parking lots or merge two ovals), houses, signs, cars and trucks, etc. thus we go on expanding indefinitely or until the space does not reach.
The secret is to go by little progress in trying to buy it all together and suddenly can be very expensive and may not use the material until after a few months as they build a model medium can sue us all the time unless we can dedicate ourselves to build it ful, can also arise in the design changes that occur at the time of construction and we are left with material that we will not use really should buy a different one, if this happens you should not panic because the stock may be sold or exchanged for what we need.
In my case the first basic set was in '72, a train in H0 scale (1:87) of the former Spanish brand "Jyesa" which my father bought in Spain, owned and still has 6 units circulating in my current tendency, the engine is a German machine type locotanque who are those carrying in itself the burden of water and coal rolled 0-2-0 and has metal chassis, the cars are two rail freight one high and one side down, both POE and two axes, two passenger and one two-axis type mail van.
The roads which would remain in service and are made of brass with cross plastic more like a lane change, an oval set of 1.20 x 0.90 mts. control is a simple battery box that has two directions and neutral.
That train was the first, and still circulating in my lying, and from that moment is trapped by the magic of the railroad, after 8 years with no more than that set core, began to gather material and not the brand as it no longer is getting, started with a mark quite abundant at that time "LIMA" all this by the year '78, '79 after my father convinced me to buy another basic set, which me buy a house that was on the street Corrientes 1300, when I had no saw when you get home to put it together and when I did I departed from him, so to speak until I had to take to bed to sleep.
From that moment I began to be model railroads and equipment available for different types locomotives, track, rolling stock.
This is how I started and surely many who are on the subject began the same way and for those who have not come into this world they still say no I fear for difficult or perhaps it can be expensive or not according as addressed and the claims that have both space and time, just tell them what try starting with a basic set and if they really like are going to see how caught by the magic and romance of the railroad.