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Old 04-16-2011, 08:45 AM   #1
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2012 27' FB International
Corvallis , Oregon
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New to Airstream, Soon to be full-timing.. HELP

My fiance and I are in our mid and late twenties. We have spent the last nearly 6 years renting together and have paid more than $50,000 in rent during this time. We are Oregonians who are carbon-footprint-conscious looking to change our lifestyle by moving into a brand new 27 ft International.
My sister has some property and offered to let us park it there and dial into her water/sewer. I know this isn't an easy decision to follow through with but we are both committed to it. My sister also offered to let us store more clothes and such in her spare room and to use their 2nd bathroom for showering and... you know

I am a recent college graduate working in banking. My fiance has another year of school before she graduates with her degree in environmental sciences. We don't want to commit to this location by buying a house but we also don't want to keep throwing money away on rent.

We both feel this is the right decision for us but we also feel we are faced with many unknowns which is why I am turning to all of you for help. Here's what's bothering us:

1. I know there is a markup for AS's by dealers but with my excellent negotiation I am sure I can get them to lower the sale price. What is a reasonable price to pay for a new 27ft International? Here in Oregon the local dealer is asking about $75,000.

2. I have basically two choices for financing, I can either finance with my fiance for 6.19 percent for 180 months ultimately paying $40,311 in interest alone. OR I could pitch a finance option to my Uncle and Aunt asking for the money at a lower interest rate and only a 144 months however what would a reasonable interest rate be that would actually be good for them and us? Is 6.19 percent unreasonable?

3. What do we really need to know about Airstream lifestyle in order to successfully transition from apartment living to full-timing?

4. How hard is it to tie into the water & sewer of a house?

5. Any other advice, maybe some unknown thing I haven't thought about that I should be?

Thanks everyone.

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Old 04-16-2011, 09:15 AM   #2
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First let me say "welcome".
I looked at your first post then moved on to the next and next, but I could not stop thinking about you and your fiance just starting out in life as first time homeowners. You are not to much younger than my children. I kept thinking about what if this were my children just starting to make their first step into owning their own house. What would I tell them, while I am thinking what fun it would be to be totally mobile and free?
Then I started thinking about the financial part! When you buy a new Airstream, the moment you drive away from the dealership you have a less valuable home that will slowly and continuiously depreciate. If you buy a house it will most likely increase in value over the years. I just had to share this thought with you.
As far as hooking up to the house, you will need a 120 volt 30 amp outlet near where you would park. You will need to park fairly close to a cleanout in the existing sewer system where you can just drop in your hose. Also close to a hose bib for water. And if you have freezing weather all of this plumbing will need to be protected from freezing.
My advice to you would be to try an Airstream that's a few years older, not new, to see if you like it before making a commitment like this.
Whatever you decide, GOOD LUCK!

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Old 04-16-2011, 09:19 AM   #3
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Howdy and welcome to! This is THE place to find answers to most anything you can ask regarding an Airstream trailer.

But I have a couple of questions for you myself: have you or your sister checked into the legality of what you propose to do?

I ask that because many jurisdictions have strict limitations on what you can do regarding trailers on property, and that goes especially for units that are connected for habitation.

It would be a shame if you spent the money on the trailer and made the investment in fashioning proper connections to her sewage, fresh water, and electricity systems only to find the township, county, town, or whoever is the governing body told you that you cannot do that.

The other consideration that I would investigate if I was in your place is exactly what you have to do to be able to live comfortably through an Oregon winter in what is basically a three-season shelter.

Good luck with your venture!
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Old 04-16-2011, 09:29 AM   #4
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

Welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

What you are proposing is quite doable. With two people, you can be comfortable in a 27FB.

I would take a serious look at the used market. You just might find a like new 27FB, and save $20,000. As far as new goes, I would aim at paying 80% of MSRP.

Also keep in mind that this will be your home, and you should be able to write off the interest paid on you income tax return.

I don't know why you would even consider using your sister's bathroom for showering. We find that we like the shower in Lucy (our 25FB) better than in the house. We camp quite a bit in SuEllyn's Dad's yard in a similar situation as you are describing. We put a 30 amp RV electric outlet in his garage. We get water from an outside hose bib. We tap into his sewer at an outside clean-out. We even hooked into his cable television line. We have stayed there for as long as a month at a time, and do not feel deprived in any way. We actually kind of like it better than home as we don't have a bunch of stuff to deal with.

As far as a fair interest rate goes, the 6.19% would probably be a little high. With what they can safely earn on that much money elsewhere, 5% would be great for them.

The water and sewer thing is a piece of cake, depending on where your sister's sewer clean-out is located. If the sewer clean-out is quite a distance or uphill, you will probably need to use a Sewer Solution with some PVC as opposed to a slinky. You will need to have a dedicated 30 amp RV electric circuit run at your sister's house. Having this done properly will probably cost around $500.

Just think that you will have your primary home and your vacation home all in one. When your ready for a vacation, just hook up your house and go.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2011 Silverado 3500 (Fred) with Outfitter Truck Camper (Ethel)
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Old 04-16-2011, 09:37 AM   #5
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I think the recommendation to look at the lightly-used market is a good one... you let someone else take the big first-year depreciation hit that way.

Regarding the financing, never EVER take a loan that has an early-payment penalty. Once you're operating under that assumption, you don't have to look at the full-term interest of a loan. Take a loan that has payments you can comfortably exceed in normal months and confidently make in lean months, and pay extra in every month you can.

Only you know your family situation, but borrowing/loaning between family members can cause problems and should be approached carefully. The usual pitfall that gets people is that they do the loan on a handshake basis and never write down what they've agreed on, and somewhere down the line there's a misunderstanding over a detail, that sort of thing. Proceed with caution.

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He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. Sir Winston Churchill
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Old 04-16-2011, 09:45 AM   #6
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Look into getting a line of credit, rather than a loan.
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Old 04-16-2011, 09:48 AM   #7
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I had two thoughts. One is a ditto to Aage's suggestion to make double sure that this is allowed in the area where your sister has property. I'm sure local government has something to say on the issue if sewer & water are stubbed in already.

Much as I find the 27' FB Int'l appealing, I'm not sure that a new Airstream is more 'green' than a house. Is "the power to make one Coke can could run a TV for X hours" statement apocryphal? Buying used is way more green.

Yes, interest on a boat or RV loan is defined as mortgage interest if they have a galley and a head. I think you'd want some value to show for all the payments in 15-20 years. Drive-off-the-lot depreciation will instantly put you underwater; so make sure this is really what you want for the long term. Don't buy into the asking price at the most optimistic of our ads -- I've seen more than a few unrealistic prices for used Airstreams.

Your aunt & uncle might appreciate the chance to make a solid 3-4% interest right now. But what if they can get a better return in future years with changing economic conditions? Will you arrange this so they can call in your loan? It can get tough, tough, tough to embroil family in personal finances.

The Airstream lifestyle isn't a lifestyle IMO. It's a great way to travel and I'm ready to settle back at home after I've been on the road for about 3 weeks. Otherwise living in an Airstream is trailer park life and the space is quite confining. I think you'd want that experience before you even set up such a large commitment. Not having a substantial down payment won't make you better at saving. The $$ has to come out of your income. Why not work on saving a 'nut' for a couple years and chew this over. Then go for it.

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Old 04-16-2011, 09:50 AM   #8
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If you get a personal line of dredit not bound by the "home", the interest paid may not be tax deductible.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2011 Silverado 3500 (Fred) with Outfitter Truck Camper (Ethel)
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Old 04-16-2011, 10:19 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
If you get a personal line of dredit not bound by the "home", the interest paid may not be tax deductible.

But good luck on getting that from a bank, unless you have some guaranteed type of income (trust, etc) or other assets you are willing to attach...
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Old 04-16-2011, 10:32 AM   #10
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Carbon Footprint Conscious...or not

Originally Posted by BrandonJenna View Post
We are Oregonians who are carbon-footprint-conscious looking to change our lifestyle by moving into a brand new 27 ft International.

A happy welcome to both of you and good luck on your purchase. However....

Maybe it is just me...but how can someone be carbon-footprint conscious and at the same time buy a "new" trailer when used trailers are available?? I purchased an Airstream that is nearly carbon-footprint free because it was built nearly fourty years ago and I am putting it to use without new materials....labor...or energy to build a new one. It also saves materials by not utilizing new... apologies for this comment, I have just heard this "green" comment one too many times.
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Old 04-16-2011, 11:20 AM   #11
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You didn't mention children... If you have kids, or plan on having some in the future, even an Airstream can be confining with little ones around. There aren't many places to escape to in a travel trailer where you can get some peace and quiet, when there are toddlers (or even teenagers) around.

Also, it appears that you are in an area that gets relatively cold in the winter and gets lots of rain. What might seem cozy for the first few months could get cramped as the years pass. Do you enjoy extended camping in a tent or yurt? While Airstreams have a lot more luxuries than these, a strong commitment to this alternate lifestyle would probably be needed to make this a workable long-term housing solution.

As an aside, maintaining an RV is very different from routine repairs on a house. To list a few, apartments and houses DON'T have:

* 12-volt converters that may need replacement.
* RV refrigerators (considerably more expensive than those at Home Depot & Sears, and perhaps less reliable).
* RV air conditioners or heat pumps (also more expensive, but perhaps not frequently used in your area).
* Tires, shocks and axles that need periodic maintenance and replacement.
* Possible theft (thieves usually don't steal your entire house).

And, there are lots of other differences to consider...

I envy your youth and optimism, but this would be a much less controversial decision if you had about 20 more years of life experience under your belts. With new careers and possible additions to your young family in the near future, I'd test this new lifestyle by enjoying camping (or Airstreaming, if you can afford it) to the max for the next few years and wait to see what comes. You'll know if and when the time is right to make the jump.
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Old 04-16-2011, 01:52 PM   #12
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We have lived in our 2005 International 25' over three years, sleeping in it over 300 days a year. We're in our fourth year full-timing in this great rolling home and are temporarily living in the in-law's house while I do a bunch of fun work on the trailer.

Buy used, there are a lot of gently used and well-cared for Airstreams out there.

Don't finance, save your money until you can buy it. Buying on time is digging a hole for yourself and is expensive.

Some manufacturers make units more suitable for cold and hot weather than Airstreams. Arctic Fox is the first one that comes to mind, there are others with better insulation and protected systems.

Note: Airstreamers will share with you how cold they've had their Airstream in (18F for us) or how hot (106F). The air conditioner is good for around 20 degrees or so in our trailer so we had a balmy 85 degrees in Bakersfield CA one week. The cold wasn't a problem, nothing froze and we kept the interior mid- to high-60s during the day and 45 at night.

We use a 20amp connection at our in-laws and run anything we want. Voltage sags from 120 to 115 with microwave or roof unit, not a problem. We don't have sewer and have to roll up the driveway every week or so to dump tanks.

We didn't ask city permission to park here, and suspect the local rules regulate living in an RV on a residential house lot. We still aren't going to ask, we're visiting. If we plumbed it in (sewer connection) I think we'd be inviting a visit from the inspections folks.

Livability? We love living in our airstream and wouldn't trade it for anything. We pretend we're chasing 75 degrees but as the two examples in second paragraph mention, we park in whatever temperatures according to the activities we want to attend.

Airstream lifestyle? I'm pretty sure we're living it -- it's fun to tow, we caravan every year or so, we attend rallies, we like meeting RVers, we love our airstream.

Seems to me, Parked on a lot all year wouldn't need to be an airstream, and if I was going to buy a unit to park on a lot somewhere I'd buy a cold weather package 5th wheel. A whole lot less expensive, more livable.
Jim N5RTG & Deb N4RTG
WBCCI #4822 - SKP #094415
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Old 04-16-2011, 02:22 PM   #13
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Welcome! And you're not alone. You'll meet more and more people doing the same thing. After you've become an Airstreamer, here are some tips:

Connect with the nice people at this blog when it's time to venture off the property and see the country in your new home; there are many resources here to answer your questions about fulltiming on the road: Technomadia

Consider hooking up with the Oregon unit of the WBCCI at a rally sometime this summer. Lots of fun people who know how to have a good time! And a wealth of knowledge right here in Oregon: Airstream Living - Oregon Unit #090 WBCCI | Facebook

Oh, and you'll need this book: Airstream Life magazine store - Newbies Guide to Airstreaming

Good luck, and have fun!
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Old 04-16-2011, 02:32 PM   #14
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When I was 21 I bought a 8 X 40' park model trailer used. Two years later I traded it for a used 10 X 50' and moved it to my parent's acreage. I lived in that for 5 years, rented it out for another 5 years and then gave it away to get rid of the tax bill. All of my trailers and RV's have been liabilities, not assets. They have all gone down in value and I lost money on them all.

Any time I've borrowed money to buy a depreciating asset, I've lost money. But borrowing to buy depreciating assets is a planned loss. That's the idea. Borrowing just lets me lose more money faster.

Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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