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Old 03-17-2009, 03:45 PM   #1
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Realistic to own an Airstream on small income?

while i'd amassed a decent nestegg when i was working [all in fdic protected savings, btw], and could possibly buy an AS, i am on SSDI and my monthly income is 830.00. is it at all realistic to dream of owning one and living in some kind of park permanently? or should some one on a fixed income in the amount i collect every month, and who doesn't drive [never learned] just simply jettison said dream? i don't mind that the living space is small. i am quite minimalist, so space concerns wouldn't bother me. one thing: do any of these AS have hookups for a small clothes washer?

i do love these Airstreams and always have, well before i even knew what they were called. i'd see a rare one on the highway and just sigh to myself and wished i had one, too.

i welcome responces with a realistic outlook. if i were made aware of the pitfalls of owning an AS, it'd be most valuable info.

thankyou.
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Old 03-17-2009, 05:34 PM   #2
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Come to Land Yacht Harbor in Melbourne Florida - after some up front expenses - your annual cost would be around $750 annual - you only pay for electric and cable tv. ome on down.
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willyd View Post
Come to Land Yacht Harbor in Melbourne Florida - after some up front expenses - your annual cost would be around $750 annual - you only pay for electric and cable tv. ome on down.
Okay - you got me to bite.... I MUST be missing something - like a monthly fee. Or, does the up front expense include paid property? I can't recall how LYH works - do you own the site like back when Port-o-call was around? at 750 a year, I'll kennel my dogs for such a nice place to live.
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:20 PM   #4
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Yes, it could be realistic. You should be able to find a nice 'stream from the 70's or 80's that would be affordable to purchase. Look at the classifieds here, check ebay, check craigslist in your area and you can start to get an idea of value and condition. Look and see what floor plan and size will meet your needs.

No clue what it is like in Mass. but out here in the West in small towns there are little "trailer parks" that cater to 70's and 80's vintage trailers that folks use as their permanent residence. Some little parks are nicer than others, but most usually have a laundry room with washers/dryers. My Mom lived in a older trailer by herself for many years as a widow and did fine on her SS.

The colder the area, the more you will naturally spend heating and the more weather related issues (condensation, etc.) you will have. Not being able to drive or tow your trailer might be an issue and the cost of having someone move it for you to a permanent place might be something you budget into your initial cost.

There are lots of retired folks who live in their Airstreams full time and travel from one camp place to another depending on the season. This, however, requires a vehicle and all of that... there are folks who often spend seasons or years at various campgrounds being camp hosts and have a few light duties in exchange for their space and power.

Just do your homework ~ it could be a real adventure! Do a search here on the forum for what to look for when you buy, etc. to get a real feel for the problems to watch out for.

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Old 03-17-2009, 06:53 PM   #5
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We lived in Florida in our Sovereign. It originally came from port O Call. Lot rent was under $300 a month, and included wifi and basic cable, with a rec hall and pool. Electric was extra, but we never got a bill over $75.
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Old 03-18-2009, 04:37 AM   #6
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thanx, everyone! well, it does seem like a possibility. you give me hope.
indeed, i would factor in having the AS towed to a park of my choice.
it is good to know that the electricity didn't cost much over 75.00 in florida's very humid and hot climate. i'm personally looking to move in Tucson. and seems that cooling an AS would be cheaper than cooling a mobile home, because the AS is a smaller space.
does these lot rentals include water and trash facilities?

would anyone know if any of these RV parks would be adult communities? i have been researching owning a mobile home in an adult 55 and up mobile home parks. i am 54, but would enjoy living in these types of parks as the quality of life may well be better and quieter.
i'm also still hoping that i could have a washing machine in the AS. but good to know that there are laundry facilities in the parks. as well, it was nice to read about the senior lady who lived full time in her AS.

one more query: would these RV parks be on or near public transportation?
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:05 AM   #7
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Putting a washer in your Airstream is possible I have even read of someone on this forum doing so during a renovation. If you have a smaller Airstream like 27' and down space is at a premium. Although if you are thinking of moving to Tucson, AZ. keeping it outside might be an option as well since you are not going to be moving from place to place. My sister (she lives in a house in FL) has hers on a side porch with the dryer. This works out quite well as the weather is not a factor here in FL or in Tucson.

As for public transportation, that would depend on the parks location itself. Some would and some wouldn't. Most of the "trailer parks" in this area are near the bus lines. But most of the "RV parks" are not. The RV parks are further out of town in a more rural settings. That would be something that you would have make sure of. OR maybe you could get a scooter. I have been thinking of getting one myself. I have seen them for under $1000.

Also if you are going to be a stationary Airstream in Tucson you may want to consider an RV shelter. This would shade you from the intense Sun and lower you ac bill by a larger percent.

Anywho good luck in your quest. I hope that you that find what you are looking for.

SL

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Old 03-18-2009, 08:20 AM   #8
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I agree winter's in an AS in colder climes may have some significant condensation problems. Yes there are some AS only RV parks for the big kids. Try a search for "Traveler's Rest" in FL.
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Old 03-18-2009, 01:31 PM   #9
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Possible yes, advisable maybe.

I'm way into cool and love fulltiming in my Airstream. However I'm financially OK. There are issues to consider very carefully.

First, Travel trailers in general aren't insulated the way "park models" are. If you're paying utilities, especially electric... especially in Tucson... YIKES. And in Arizona "shade" might mean putting a portable awning type carport up over the roof every summer.

Secondly, they don't have home grade appliances like the park models. If you fulltime, figure on replacing a water heater at 5 years, air conditioner not too much longer, furnace depends on climate.

Thirdly and probably most significant over the long run will be "handicap access".... NO WAY unless you gut and rebuild the interior. The door is too narrow for a wheelchair, and even awkward for crutches. (you didn't mention what your disability was, but that should be considered by anyone over 50).

Much as you love the design, consider a park model too.

There are some "Airstream Only" parks around. Generally they are condos and you do have to buy in. However you can often find Airstreams for sale in those condos as older owners can no longer use them.

DO do a lot of research before you choose to move. I visited Arizona as a teenager and always wanted to go back. Now those peaceful grapefruit groves are miles and miles of endless suburbs.... mostly inhabited by snow birds who flee the winters in Canada, Wisconsin, etc. Public transportation and access to groceries, etc will be a biggie for you, so major rural areas are out.
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:56 AM   #10
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Lumatic[clever user name, btw], thankyou for the link. i don't want to live in Florida, as i cannot even bear the humidity in new england, but the link may well be informative, nonetheless.

thankyou, all, for your very knowledgable replies. i do agree that a park model would be best. and an AS is more of a travel vehicle, so not suited to my needs, alas. be nice if there were mobile homes built in the AS style; that'd be lovely.

indeed, my need for public transport is vital. a little scooter would be too hot for me to use in the Tucson summer heat, but a good idea otherwise. though riding in heavy traffic on it would terrify me!

indeed, i am doing a TON of research on Tucson; have been for nearly a year. i do know about the snowbirds. whew, wished i could afford to be a summerbird and leave the city for a good 6 month during the summers' heat!

i am fully ambulatory, btw. i am not wheelchair bound, and hope never to be. i am capable of moderate exercise. i have fibromyalgia and some osteoarthritis.

mabey one day, a friend and i can rent an AS and 'camp' out, as it were.

anyway, it sure is fun to come to this friendly forum and read the threads on Air Streams. i'll keep checking in...
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Old 03-19-2009, 09:00 AM   #11
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Extreme summer heat is a huge factor in Tucson, even in the shade. Can someone chime in on whether the AS's A/C units are at all adequate to cool the unit enough for living. How cool can you get an AS interior when it's 115 degrees out? Is it in the shade? I'm thinking for a permanent RV residence, a larger A/C unit plus a shaded spot would be in order.
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Old 03-19-2009, 01:48 PM   #12
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There is a motel in Bisbee Arizona that consists of vintage travel trailers called
Shady Dell. Maybe this could be a way to decide if you really want to go this route. The web address is www.theshadydell.com
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Old 03-19-2009, 02:37 PM   #13
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Tucson is a few degrees cooler and the humidity is lower than in Phoenix. Some homes get by OK with a swamp (evaporative) cooler for most of the summer, but it is pretty bad for a few weeks during monsoon season, when the humidity is higher.

While we have stayed over the weekend a couple of times in the summer months in our 19-foot Bambi, and the AC cools the trailer down fine; I am unsure whether it would hold up if you were living in it fulltime. Therefore, you may want to consider a swamp cooler for part of the summer, and/or a separate AC unit for the few weeks when the swamp cooler doesn't work very well.

Also, you should note that smaller window AC units (including the one used on Airstreams) are 110 volt, and these are usually much less efficient than larger 220 volt units used on homes. I suspect that running any kind of 110v AC unit will generate significantly higher summer utility bills.
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Old 03-20-2009, 06:45 AM   #14
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shady dell seems like a sweet place indeed. might be a fun place to vacation! i've been to bisbee, a copper town, a number of times in the past years. it's a very arty town.
my sister and i had done some research on electricy used per month for cooling in tucson, and we understand that a mobile home wouldn't cost much more than 100.00 in the worst of the summer. of course, i imagine that they're well insulated. i can see going the route of an adult mobile home park is more realistic than using an AS. however, again, that doesn't mean i couldn't take a little vacation someday in one!

or mabey there may be AR rv parks in massachusetts, my current home state, but perhaps, these, too, are more rurally located.
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