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Old 10-06-2017, 03:47 PM   #1
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Buy your Airstream with the idea of Selling It...

Yep. I said it.

Had I my way, ordering from the factory, sight unseen, my next 'Boondocking Airstream':

- No televisions.
- No microwave.
- 16" wheels and Michelin LTs
- Flying Cloud cloth interior.
- A radio antenna that can gather an AM signal outside of a City.
- A radio without the 'light show' if you turn the batteries to store and then resets to on.
- Solar with Lithium batteries as standard.
- Awnings on BOTH sides of the trailer.
- 23 footer coming STANDARD with 16" wheels and Michelin LT tires.
- No carpet anywhere on the floors, nor 'mouse fur' on the walls.
- A 'queen sized' bed up front.
(Some of these are 'fictional options' as they would be after market installations, anyways.)

For resale, good luck.

- No television(s)... first out
- No microwave... 3 balls, 2 stikes
- Cloth seating versus fake Leatherette... second out.
- Not having the double bed up front and have the small bed in back... third out.

Most Newbies would not even understand or notice many of the upgrades, but would notice the television(s), microwave, interior fabrics and a bed other than the queen versus the early mini bed, stuffed barely into the back of an older 23 foot Safari.

Yes. Getting some of the options you really do not want on a 'loaded' on the lot trailer may get to you when seeing the 'option costs', but when you go to sell, keep in mind most buyers WANT what you may NOT WANT.

Lost all of the OPTIONS you would not want, reduce the list price by 17% - 20%, and those items you do not need and see what the number crunchers come up with on a Dealer's Lot. After a trailer sits on the lot for a period of time, it does soften up the negotiating to a point you feel better after the purchase.

Buy with the idea of SELLING as, in my example, few people would find my Spartan Tastes appealing on a purchase.

Otherwise... BUY USED, watch TelevisonS, use the microwave, put seat covers over the fake leather seating to keep them clean and mouse fur... vacuum when dusty. Let the previous owner take the financial hit... they, no doubt, can afford to lose money on an immediate depreciated asset.
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Old 10-07-2017, 12:38 AM   #2
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I wouldn't mind the cloth interior. As long as it was good upholstery fabric. Sunbrella makes outdoor upholstery fabric.
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Old 10-07-2017, 06:21 AM   #3
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Removing both TVs and a microwave takes very little out of the cost. Adding solar and lithium batteries adds a LOT to the cost! I think your ideal unit would cost more, not less.
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Old 10-07-2017, 06:34 AM   #4
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Takin the TV's outta mine sure did make it seem a lot bigger. I could probly resell it as a 25'+ cause without the TVs there's at least a foot more useable space, ha!

Mine came with no microwave, awnings on both sides, no carpet or rat fur anywhere, and a queen sized bed up front. It's does have fake leather. I like it. Easier to clean than cloth.

But resale value ain't somethin I think about too much. I didn't buy it as a money investment, I bought it as a happiness investment. It's already paid for itself in that regard!
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Old 10-07-2017, 07:17 AM   #5
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Two tv's and a microwave cost less than $450 at any box store.
Solar panels are thousands.
AGM batteries are at least $500, lithiums more than that.
16" tires are the better part of a grand, no matter what trailer they go under.
The current crop of radios, other than the Sport models, do not have a light show when off.
And again, a radio is $100 for a decent one almost anywhere.
Awnings are good, no matter who you are, and what trailer they are on.
So, for $600, how much more are you spending on all the other things? If you want it for you, great. Just don't expect anybody else to want what you ordered. What that means in English is, all that extra stuff you paid extra money for, will probably make the trailer worth less to the next buyer. I bought a pickup truck that normally came stock with a lot of options. Those options were left off at build time, with an upcharge of $2000 to leave them off. When I bought the truck used, I paid much, much less than the truck would have cost me, had it had all the normal stuff in it. So, pay more to buy, get less when you sell.
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Old 11-30-2017, 01:15 AM   #6
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The thread title had me thinking on different lines, more that factory-quality improvements are a help in selling.

As a corollary, in a unit with 10-15 years on it, the quality of cosmetic refurbishment ought to be at least as good as factory.

My Silver Streak at 35í feet is not what one would choose for an off-road adventure. The adjusted empty weight is just under 7k with a 9k gross. Queen rear bedroom, center bath & dressing suite (bath wall opens/moves to enclose from forward section), kitchen and forward lounge.

Iíve been looking at the kitchen counter/cabinets in mine. From the center bath suite going forward past a large pantry with a combo Splendide washer/dryer beneath it. Iíve thought I need to upgrade the water pump/accumulator. And eventually move to a tankless water heater. Add better water filtration.

Originally I was going to remove the W/D. But Skatieros thread on their rebuild of a TT to suit their very large family and firm advocacy of the utility of a built-in dishwasher made me re-think this.

The counter-top space isnít well-suited to cooking despite size, so a sink change and upgrades there would be good. And I think Iíd like to have a built-in icemaker along with the dishwasher. This TT is such that there arenít any weight-penalties applying, and 50A Service is already planned for a needed second AC unit.

Upgraded stove/range plus hood, and an m-wave/convection oven already planned. Was looking at a slimline wine cooler earlier today. Rebuilding or constructing a new kitchen cabinet just goes along with how this TT was conceived. All of this is to say that some additions to what was already a luxurious TT only increase its value at sale time. Iíve been thinking of this as ďthe golf condoĒ.

To get back to the thread title, Iíve found it disheartening over the decades to shop used units and find shoddy materials and workmanship by an owner. . Makes one immediately suspicious of whatís just beneath the surface. Itís none of it consistent with a TT boasting an indefinite lifespan, itís single most important feature.

But more in keeping, I think, with the OPs first post, Iíd say that decoration for its own sake isnít consistent with the idea of ďcampingĒ. Plenty of materials donít do well in extended high heat & humidity. Nor do they serve function very well if weight is added and structural rigidity not increased, or air temp remediation not bettered. If ďusefulnessĒ isnít kept foremost.

Iím not quite saying that bare metal walls and cold floors are an ideal, I donít think they are. But itís a better place to start. I would rather that coverings were replaceable in a sensible manner. Built-in, as a function of design. (This is just one example).

Iíd be happier purchasing new a trailer fitted with painted aluminum cabinetry & ceilings like my grandparents Streamline. It should also have aircraft honeycomb flooring. To my way of thinking, durability & light weight should be maximized. The TT ought to be pre-wired for other options, purchased or not. Etc.

Itís emotion that sells these things. Used as an excuse by the manufacturer, all too often with bad ideas then badly executed.

That my 1989-build 35í is the same weight or lighter than a current 25í is proof enough.

That owners cheap out with Goodwill-worthy furnishings and repairs makes a sad reality. Works against maintaining value. The combination of poor factory choices, and this owner type means a TT that has become a real challenge to bring up to par.

The goal of maintenance & upgrades ought to be to sell the TT. Keep it in that condition. But first the factory has to do their part.


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Old 11-30-2017, 07:07 AM   #7
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Ray mentioned "immediate depreciation" in the post that started this thread. "Immediate depreciation," or the notion that any trailer (or motorhome) you buy new is instantly worth 10% less than you paid for it as soon as you take it off the dealer's lot, is confusing to many people.

It's caused by the simple fact that your purchase price includes dealer profit and overhead. But the value of your purchase does not include dealer profit and overhead. So whatever dollar amount the dealer tacked onto the trailer's true value to cover his profit and overhead is exactly how much the trailer you purchased is "instantly depreciated," and depends on the buyer's and dealer's negotiating skills. Someone who foolishly pays MSRP may find that they take a 30% hit on immediate depreciation, rather than the stereotypical 10%.

A trailer is not an investment, and will not make you a profit (unless you're a flipper, but we won't talk about them). Nearly everyone sells their trailer used for less money than they put into it, between purchase, maintenance, repair, and modification costs, along with insurance, storage, outfitting with peripheral equipment and expendable supplies, and other related costs.

But if you could put a price tag on the enjoyment you get out of using your trailer, then nearly every long-time owner would make a profit even if they gave the trailer away for free when they passed it on to the next Airstream aficionado. Because all of their true profit is in the enjoyment and the improved quality of life that they realize through ownership and use, not in the resale price.

The only owners who really lose money are the ones who sell their Airstream because they didn't enjoy it in the first place. And there are a few of those for whom RVing was the wrong lifestyle choice, or for whom an Airstream was the wrong trailer choice. So when you find one of those poor unfortunate souls selling a nearly-new Airstream, try not to gouge them too hard on your purchase price. They are to be pitied, not taken advantage of.
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Old 11-30-2017, 09:25 AM   #8
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Attributing loss of value of a new Airstream to dealer profit and overhead is somewhat of a red herring, I believe. The cost of every part that went into an Airstream included a component of profit and overhead, as did the sale of the completed unit from Airstream to the dealer. The dealer adds value to the product, at least as much as the marketing firm Airstream hires that creates all the glitzy ads. I, for example, would have not bought an Airstream without the presence of a reasonably close dealer, because I had absolutely no experience with trailers in general or Airstreams in particular, and needed the dealer to help me get started.

I think the real reason for the immediate depreciation is the fantasy we have for something that is brand new. Nothing really wrong with a partially full tube of toothpaste or a Christmas present 8 hours after it was opened on Christmas morning, but somehow they don't seem the same. I remember how offended I was when they kept my brand new F-250 at the dealer to install a few gadgets on it, and it had 50 more unexplained miles on it when I picked it up. Who had driven it where and why? The dealer didn't seem as bothered by it as I was, although they did offer me a free tank of gas. But in retrospect, the real reason I was appalled was that some of the magic of having a brand new truck had been worn off by those 50 unexplained miles.

Well, maybe my reason for the immediate depreciation isn't any better than yours, and now someone can tell us the REAL reason for it.
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Old 11-30-2017, 11:32 AM   #9
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Yes, and...

Good idea yet, the solution is varied. I bought used. One of the differences I see is not the available options at the time but the changes in technology and products over time.

Consider my model, a 2006 Safari. Originally it came without a ceiling vent fan, a single TV, a fabric sofa- as features. In addition, Airstream changed their product design to eliminate the vinyl padded ceiling and the carpet-lined walls along with floorplan and a few other minor changes. (P.S. - I find it interesting in the new models they are adding fabric panels to the walls. I like it as I have grown fond of the lined walls. Someday I may have to deal with falling fabric, etc. but for now, I like the insulation and warmth.)

My thought to your thread is that much of what a future buyer may look for may not be available when a product is new. I just read another thread on Airstream issues where someone posted:

This thread illustrates the reasons to only buy new (if you can afford it.) I can never understand anyone's advice to only buy anything used as you will likely end up buying someone else's problems. (upcoming point on this)

I believe it is more important to update an RV as "components" make substantial progress to increase marketability in the future. This is a tough call though as people shop differently. Let's say that there are two identical model/year Safaris- one with continually updated products but has some camping wear (it was moderately used) with some minor outer dings, etc. and another with all original, never updated equipment but hardly used in almost new condition. The price difference is $5000 more for the hardly used one. I have come to realize that buying used is not only about potentially having bugs ironed out but gaining all the modifications as well- some can be substantially valuable or costly. I do not agree that careful used buyers end up worse off than buying new. Often they can end up ahead.

Your point of buying to sell is well taken. My solution was to update my used Airstream. Some things I have done were new to an '06 but standard on a 2012 of the time. Other items were a step beyond what Airstream offered or even a higher grade item. I've done most of the work and it is still not cheap as I wanted to keep the quality level higher. My update cost is around half of what I paid for the Airstream. If I ever sell it, my concern is more about comparison of it to another 2006. It is a 2006 Safari but many systems, modifications are no longer circa 2006. The issue is that in cars, etc., it is always model year, regardless yet an RV is a bit different as main components can be updated, upgraded or changed out if the owner keeps up- solar, wifi, streaming, 1080P or 4K, new appliances, etc. etc. They become less their original age in a way. If you buy new, you hopefully get all the latest stuff, but at a premium cost never mind the unknown bugs. Used CAN save money if a shopper is careful. As a first-time buyer, I now realize that updates can be as much as buying a camper 2X! That may be worth more than pristine condition if nothing was ever updated on a hardly used model, especially if higher priced. Then there is the buying new angle, if I upgrade all this stuff, is it better to just buy new? All things must be considered. (Several updates I have done, I would have wanted to do to a 2012 at the time and, dents/scratches are going to happen to any trailer being used to camp.)
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Old 12-11-2017, 09:19 PM   #10
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The reduction in price 'after your purchase' is really, simple.

If you are asking too much, the person is better off purchasing a new trailer if the prices are close.

I have a neighbor who believes everything he owns, because it is well taken care of, is worth more. A lot more. Usually there is no warranty, and no one knows if whatever he is selling was actually babied. Puffery is an art form discovered by car sales and home sales professionals.

Most Airstreams are used seasonally. They do not have much road time, but more likely exposed to the weather, which is worse. Our 2006 23 foot was kept in a RV Garage and so is our 25 foot. That is pampering. With the LED lights versus older bulbs in 2006, there are improvements over time. It is cheaper to upgrade what you already own.

An Airstream parked outside in southern Nevada from mid June to mid August will be cooked and will delaminate inside. This applies also to all the other trailers and RV's. So where a trailer is from, does make a difference.

If you love your trailer, upgrade and keep it. Our 25 foot is perfect for our Boondocking camping style. We can spend weeks in it. Had I been more aggressive in putting 15" wheels and tires on the 23 foot Safari... we would still have it.
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Old 12-11-2017, 09:24 PM   #11
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well there is the “ oliver trailer “. Has all you need ....
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Old 12-12-2017, 08:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Puffery is an art form discovered by car sales and home sales professionals.
Quote:
well there is the “ oliver trailer “. Has all you need ....
LOL, well, yes and no. We are currently home selling/shopping as we plan to relocate soon. We have 20x20 porcelain tile of the same design/color wall to wall and closets too in our home and love it. It wasn't cheap but as we go hunting for a home, it is amazing how almost every home has 5 to even 8 different floorings with trim rails, strips, etc. all over the place- ugly. The home listings show just about every type of flooring in each house- tile, laminate, wood, carpet, etc. Our listing agent, of his own doing, went on and on about our great floor but we cannot find the same in an existing or model home. We also looked at a home with large generator and large LP tank system. Neat upgrade. These kinds of things have value/cost and likely are not even included in new choices. RVs can be the same situation though some buyers may only be able to see model year/age and miss any benefit or understand price point of a used model- that is what I was referring to in comparing a never upgraded, say, '06 to my '06 and comparing the price/value.

I am sure that I would find something to "add" to an Oliver.

What I find perplexing about Airstreams, Mercedes, etc, is the overall concept of longevity and ownership buying pattern. Ralph Nader used to push Mercedes W123 diesel models as buy one for life as that justifies the price. I've heard Airstreams categorized that way too yet the buying pattern is more every few years per se. That puts them on par with SOBs but a lot more $$$.
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Old 12-12-2017, 04:08 PM   #13
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One way I can understand a depreciating value and an appreciating value:

Received our home's real estate tax statement. Tax is up. Appreciating.
Paid the Airstream's License Plates. Tax is down. Depreciating.

Now... who is going to argue with the Revenue Agents? Not me.
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