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Old 10-26-2011, 10:01 PM   #1
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Smile 2011 flying cloud 23FB

We are getting ready to pull the trigger on this rig for around 50,000. This includes stabilizer bars, hitch, etc. We also can get 4.99% financing with 90 days deferral and the dealer pays for 3 months also. So no payments for 6 months. This is a major purchase for us and we have been researching various brands, prices, sizes for months. We have rented various lengths and like the 23' because it tows nicely with our trailblazer. We sincerely appreciate all of the help, opinions and advise we have received on this forum. We look forward to continuing to contribute and question as we pursue this new adventure.
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:13 PM   #2
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We like the size of a 23 too. We have a 23 International and pull it with a Jeep. It's hard for me to tell if the price is good since we're in Canada and pay a great deal more for everything. We paid more than that in 2008 in for our trailer, so to me, the price seems great.
Lisa
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:17 PM   #3
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Sounds like a fair deal? 4.99 % is good, for how long? While they may defer for 90 days, will interest start at day 1? In other words, will interest start accumulating right away.
Congratulations on your purchase.
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:52 PM   #4
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Cash really gives you a huge advantage in dealing. Next time you will need to trade and will not be at their mercy to some extent.

We just traded up from a 20' to 2012 FC 25 Rear Bed (new model this year and great floor plan). It was painful but worth every penny.

Save the pain and look at the 25's. The 23FB and the 25's are completely different characters. Way, way more spacious and open feel, much more comfortable seating, and greater tank capacities.

Just completed 1600 mile trip with the new 25' and could not tell the difference from towing our 20', same hitch and same 2006 Tundra. Tows as smooth as silk.

The 2012's have a number of improvements (dimming LED's, china toilet, gas/elect water heater, better leak sealing) over earlier models. You might be able to do 15-18% off on a 2012 and it won't have the wear and tear (like our last one) of a trailer on the lot for several months. Bought our new left-over model 20' for 25% off, no trade, two years ago.

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Old 10-26-2011, 10:52 PM   #5
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Thanks for the reply. I don't know what the exchange rate is, so it's hard to tell. I hope I did well.
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Old 10-27-2011, 06:09 AM   #6
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Hard to say if it is a good deal. I don't know you or your situation or how you value money. I'm assuming by asking your question in a public forum you like to hang on to your money. so here goes....

How often do you plan to use your trailer, and will you keep it for many years? Is there any foreseeable reason that you would have to sell after the first year? When you consider the first year depreciation of 15% and 12 mo's worth of interest your looking at a minimum cost of ownership of $10k for year 1. That cost estimate only considers you purchasing and letting it sit in your driveway. If you only use it for 2 weeks the first year you'd be spending nearly $1000/night by the time you figure in nominal trip expenses. This is a conservative estimate since I did not add any sales tax in the calculations.

You do need to face the reality of depreciation in the range of 20-30% in the first 2 years. You will be told that AS hold their value more than others. While not untrue, it's more of a long term fact. Especially when you consider AS tend to last longer than other brands. If these numbers bother you, think hard about a gently used unit 1-2 years old. Paying a couple of percentage points in added interest is minor compared to avoiding the first years of depreciation. We purchased ours 12 months after the original owner bought her new and paid in cash. I can tell you for certain that the numbers I posted above are a best case scenario for year 1 since I watched the selling party write a healthy check to their bank covering the gap between the sales price and the remaining balanced owed to clear the title.

We love our trailer, but I doubt I'd say the same if I had paid more for it and were continuing to make payments. I estimate that we will use ours 2-4 weeks per year and she works well for that. If you plan to spend longer stints in yours, consider the 25 since it's a major step up in interior size for a minor increase in weight. The 23 gets kind of cramped after 2 weeks with our 2 dogs. If you have a V8 in your jeep you should be able to handle a 25 easily with a good hitch set up.

Good luck!
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Old 10-27-2011, 06:39 AM   #7
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Hope that you will be as satisfied with your FC23FB as we are with ours! We've done 8800 miles and 84 nights (including two fine weeks near you in Olympic National Park) since purchase of ours this year and are very well satisfied. It suits our travel and camping style very well. Unit choice is personal, and we considered all specs and aspects in making our choice. We did not want the size and weight of the next larger unit. I average 17mpg towing with a diesel Grand Cherokee and have been off of the paved road many times with no damage, no leaks, no problems beyond a torn window screen, a couple of loose screws and a faulty black tank sensor. Good luck and safe travels.
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:00 AM   #8
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Welcome to the Forum. Now that you seem to have asked what we think of the deal and the choice of trailer, here goes:

Are you letting your tow vehicle choose the size of trailer you buy? If you are selecting the correct trailer for you, not your Trailblazer, you are more likely to enjoy it for years to come. Most people keep their Airstreams for years longer than their tow vehicles.

You have rented RV's, and that is good preparation. Did you have any doubts about the length—something that will nag at you for years? Sometimes we get so excited about the idea of owning an Airstream, we keep the small, little doubts hidden from our consciousness most of the time.

As for the financing, it sounds gimmicky to me—anyone who uses prices or interest rates that end in 99 is trying to make you think you are paying less than you really are. Interest payment deferrals and "dealer pays" are no free lunch since in the entire package you are the one paying in the end. But even gimmicky deals may be better than other deals. Have you checked with banks to see what kind of financing is available? I would avoid dealer arranged financing as it is often the worst deal you can get. If you can afford an Airstream, a reputable bank (one may ask the question if there are any reputable banks) should be able to offer you a better deal on an Airstream. The inclusion of the hitch is not unusual, but you may be able to get a better and/or cheaper hitch elsewhere. Does this dealer have a good reputation?

Everything said about depreciation is true. But there are good and bad reasons for buying new. It depends what you want. If you can't spend time looking for a good used one, you may have no other choice. Ask yourself if the improvements in the 2012, #1, matter to you that much, and #2, whether you could do them as upgrades later on for less money? RV's need constant repairs and new ones do too—the factory warranty is something packaged in the deal too.

It is possible that you are asking about this because you do have doubts, or because you are so thorough you want to check on yourself. The lure of a shiny new Airstream is powerful. Some get tired of looking and aren't used to negotiating—that's the time to sit back and think and ask questions. It's good you are taking some time.

Gene
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Old 10-27-2011, 09:45 AM   #9
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I also say look at the 25'. As a new buyer of a '12 who heard the same arguments and went through the decision process front and back here's my thoughts on what everyone is saying.

- On buying a relatively new used one I couldn't make it make sense. I received what I considered to be a significant discount on a new one that was exactly what I wanted with a new warranty. When I compared that to the pricing that I found out there on 1 to 2 year old used models the price difference wasn't nearly enough for me to not have a warranty and not have exactly what I wanted. I tried. I negotiated price on multiple 2010 flying cloud 25' trailers and each time I could only get it down to about $8,000 difference from used to new. Not worth it to me to get what could be someone else's problems without a warranty. Especially since the new one was exactly the color scheme I wanted and none of the used I found were. But if I had found the right one at the right price I would have bought it.

- And I'm sorry but the statement about not going with a dealer that offers you financing that ends with .99 is just ridiculous. Yes it's a gimmick, of course it's a gimmick. Have you ever shopped anywhere? Grocery store, clothing store, car dealer, anything? Everything ends with .99 or .49 and it's just because of market research. People are more willing to pay 4.99 instead of 5 for some stupid reason. Just the way it is. 4.99 is a good rate. I was excited about 5.25 a month ago or so.

- And there are benefits to financing through the dealer. They found me the best rate. I called other banks. I checked with the banks that I do business with and I just laughed when some of them told me their rates. Wells Fargo was ridiculous. Just be smart about it. Read the fine print. Verify there's no prepayment penalties, look at the fees, just be smart.

- Another benefit that I haven't seen anyone talk about on here is the dealer receives a kick back from the financing companies and if needed they will share some of that with you. I wasn't anxious to buy the trailer. I made it clear I was looking for the right deal and was more than willing to walk away from it and that I was shopping financing. I received a good discount on the trailer and an additional rebate for going through them for financing. Plus they got me the best rate I found. Only thing they asked was that I don't pay it off within the first 9 months so that they don't get charged back. I'm going to pay it off early to a point that makes sense but 9 months is not happening.

- And whether you should finance or not is a personal decision for you to make. You base that on your situation and what is the best thing to do with your money. No one else can make that call for you without knowing the details of your situation. To me it was laughable having people on here tell me what is best for me to do without having a clue about my finances. Granted I could not have paid cash without liquidating investments which I'm not gonna do. I could have sacked money away every month for the next year and half or two years and paid for it but that doesn't make sense for me, especially not at my age. Can't tell me that it's ridiculous that I would ever consider financing a toy. It's much more ridiculous to think that a 32 year old would have $50k sitting in savings and not invested somewhere. No one knows your situation, make your own decision, a decision that you're comfortable living with. Do not put yourself in a situation where you're sitting at the campsite looking at your trailer wondering if you made the right financial decision. You should be looking at it glowing with excitement.

- And I have to call B.S. on the theory that if you need to off load it in the near future that you're in a much worse situation if you financed. Don't matter if you paid cash or financed, either way you're losing money. Just a matter of whether you already paid for that loss. You either came out of pocket for it when you bought it or you're coughing it up when you trade it in.

So that's my soapbox. As much as you want to ask for everyone's opinion, it's a personal decision.
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:04 AM   #10
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Good post Ronnie.

We don't know your finances, dan'. I don't want to either, because it is none of my business. You should know your situation better than anyone.

And it is good to point out it is a toy. Maybe it you wanted to sell a house and live fulltime in a trailer, it would be something you need, but otherwise, it is something you want. It will not save you money on vacationing because it will take forever to equal out vacation costs—even if you go to very expensive hotels, round the world trips and other premium vacations. The advantage of an RV is you can eat your own food prepared the way you want it, sleep in your own bed and not have to cart stuff around airports or in and out of motels or hotels. You can live in relative luxury while in remote places and go boondocking. You have to like driving and be willing to learn how to fix things that go wrong on the road, or at least how to find someone who can. You will spend more on gas going anywhere. It is a different way of vacationing, and if you are retired, you can use it a lot—that does reduce annual cost, but not enough to make it an investment.

We all like toys. I'd like a Porsche 911, but they are toys too. I'm not going to buy one because it isn't that important and health insurance (even with Medicare) costs a lot and keeps going up.

Lots of people do fine with 23's and smaller. It is a personal thing about how much space you need. Do you get along real well and can deal with the fact you will be in each other's way sometimes? Do you bring lots of stuff with you on trips? How many clothes do you bring? How much food do you want and what kind? We look for healthy foods and in many places it is hard to find. Food weighs a lot. Do you bring books, electronic stuff, magazines, and stuff that can become clutter quickly? Do you have kids or grandkids and do you plan to bring them along? Do you have pets?—a sleeping dog can fill the floor fast. If you go boondocking, smaller water tanks limit your stay.

We knew anything less than 25' was too small for us. Our house is 2,600'—our trailer is less than 200'. That is a big change, but we have taken an 8 week trip and we were ok. A 27' was considered, but price difference and maneuverability in campgrounds decided it for us.

It is harder to make a deal on an Airstream because there are few dealers. It is difficult to find out wholesale prices. People go hundreds or thousands of miles to find a dealer willing to make a good deal—the internet helps a lot with that. We've gone 1,400 miles to the factory for warranty work because the dealer we bought it at was terrible at doing repairs. Buying an Airstream is very different than buying a car or truck.

One way to finance that works for some is to put a mortgage or second mortgage on your house—the rates can be lower but you risk losing your house, not a toy. Either way, you can deduct interest on the trailer because it is considered a second home. This is bad tax policy, but take advantage of it when you can, but don't count on this break lasting forever.

Gene
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bike_addict View Post
It's much more ridiculous to think that a 32 year old would have $50k sitting in savings and not invested somewhere.
What may be rediculous is thinking that you'll do better than 5.0% rate of return on any of those investments any time soon.

BTW, I felt the same way as Bike Addict when I bought my boat at age 32. Loved it for a couple of years and paid someone to make it go away. Felt good about that too. Now that I'm a bit older & wiser I try to make sure I get what I want for the price I want to pay.

Just be sure YOU feel good about your choice. It's likely that time is on your side and there will be other trailers that come along if you are unsure.

Good Luck
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hansom-Man View Post
BTW, I felt the same way as Bike Addict when I bought my boat at age 32. Loved it for a couple of years and paid someone to make it go away. Felt good about that too.
When it comes to boats I've always shared the theory that the only thing better than owning a boat is having a buddy who owns a boat. In my case, brother.

And at my age it's all about time to compound. I've been beating the 5 but I can't say by nearly as much as I'd like. And it takes a lot of babysitting.
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
Good post Ronnie.

...And it is good to point out it is a toy....

We all like toys. I'd like a Porsche 911, but they are toys too. I'm not going to buy one because it isn't that important and health insurance

Lots of people do fine with 23's and smaller. It is a personal thing about how much space you need.

We knew anything less than 25' was too small for us. Our house is 2,600'—our trailer is less than 200'. That is a big change, but we have taken an 8 week trip and we were ok. A 27' was considered, but price difference and maneuverability in campgrounds decided it for us.

It is harder to make a deal on an Airstream because there are few dealers. It is difficult to find out wholesale prices. People go hundreds or thousands of miles to find a dealer willing to make a good deal—the internet helps a lot with that. We've gone 1,400 miles to the factory for warranty work because the dealer we bought it at was terrible at doing repairs. Buying an Airstream is very different than buying a car or truck.

Gene
We felt that the AS was better for us than the car we had been saving for, but you will like the plate on Bambi ... just changed my avatar ...
Bike addict said it best for us as did Gene. We finally bought what we wanted and could afford ... would we like longer/larger/more space; heck yes ... but we bought what we felt was best for our economic constraints / situation and love it! We searched for a deal - and, there are many are out there - but in the final analysis and for the money "invested" decided that the extra $$ / premium spent locally would be wise.
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