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Old 09-26-2017, 03:17 PM   #1
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1953 21' Flying Cloud
Charleston , South Carolina
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Pricing an Airstream to buy

Hi Rivet Friends!

Forgive me if this question has been asked a million times before, but is there a legitimate source to reference as to fair or market value pricing when considering a brand new or relatively new airstream (within 15 years)?

I have been on airstream classifieds for years, but now I'm getting serious about buying another airstream to use for living/traveling and it appears as though pricing on the classifieds has been all over the board and I just can't get a grasp on what a fair?

I would love to have a little guidance so I know whether or not to jump on something worthwhile I'm specifically looking at 23' CCD RB models and 25' & 27' CCD FB models from 2005-present... Any help would be much appreciated!
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Old 09-26-2017, 04:12 PM   #2
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2017 30' Classic
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Hi

Simple answer: No

More complicated answer: It's not a simple "number of years on this model" sort of thing. Condition matters a lot. Damage (or lack of) matters a lot. Time of year matters some. Popularity of this or that model matters some. At 7 years old, most banks will not loan money on a car, truck, or RV. That narrows the market and the price may drop.

Would I pay more than 80% of what the trailer listed for when new? Nope. Can I look that number up? Yup. (I likely would be well below that number on a 5 year old trailer). Might I find people with "minor issues" that I would call "major damage"? Yup. Is figuring out that a trailer is in really good shape easy? Nope. Would I expect a premium price at a dealer? Yup.

Price is whatever the buyer and seller agree on. It only applies to that particular trailer on that day. Plan to spend time looking. Also have your money ready. If the trailer is priced right, it may sell quickly. Trailers with issues or nutty high prices hang around forever and ever.

There aren't a lot of AS trailers made. The market for used ones (given model / given year) is pretty slim in any time period. The prices they sell for are not collected in an organized manner. All of this works against a rational price database. That's all *before* you address the "condition" issue.

Bob
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:55 PM   #3
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1953 21' Flying Cloud
Charleston , South Carolina
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Thanks Bob! Very helpful.

I didn't realize that bank financing might be an issue for trailers over 7 years old, but that makes sense. Have you (or anyone else) ever used NADA guides to compare pricing for AS sales? I've checked this out recently for a 2007 27' CCD that is for sale on AS classifieds. The seller has it listed at 4K less than the suggested list price on NADA (the seller lists condition as excellent), but the "average retail price" NADA has listed is well below the asking price (by 40k) Somewhat confusing...

Also, do you have an opinion on the most important things to check for "in person" when purchasing/negotiating a sale price on a used airstream? I would think condition of the shell (no dents) and electrical in good working order would be high on the list, but curious if you have an opinion on a checklist of important things to look for... If AS didn't loose 10% value right off the sales floor, I would think a new one would be the way to go for someone like me, but just seems silly when there are so many great used airstreams out there! Thanks again!
Ellen
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Old 09-27-2017, 09:17 AM   #4
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2017 30' Classic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emagellan View Post
Thanks Bob! Very helpful.

I didn't realize that bank financing might be an issue for trailers over 7 years old, but that makes sense. Have you (or anyone else) ever used NADA guides to compare pricing for AS sales? I've checked this out recently for a 2007 27' CCD that is for sale on AS classifieds. The seller has it listed at 4K less than the suggested list price on NADA (the seller lists condition as excellent), but the "average retail price" NADA has listed is well below the asking price (by 40k) Somewhat confusing...

Also, do you have an opinion on the most important things to check for "in person" when purchasing/negotiating a sale price on a used airstream? I would think condition of the shell (no dents) and electrical in good working order would be high on the list, but curious if you have an opinion on a checklist of important things to look for... If AS didn't loose 10% value right off the sales floor, I would think a new one would be the way to go for someone like me, but just seems silly when there are so many great used airstreams out there! Thanks again!
Ellen
Hi

There are big long threads here on the NADA database. You can dig into them if you need all the details. It turns out that it's a formula based guess based on trailers in general. Since AS trailers (on average) last longer by far than most others, their formulas are not very good on an AS. If you find one that *is* at the NADA price, either it is a real steal or it has issues.

In terms of what to look for, dig into your specific model and year here on the forum. There are lots of details. More generally, floor and frame rot are the things that are pretty high up on most people's lists. Things like tires and batteries are sort of a given, based on age.

Bob
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Old 09-27-2017, 11:03 AM   #5
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Woodinville , Washington
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Several AS dealers have told me that NADA's prices for used AS trailers are unrealistically low. For example, when I tried to trade-in my 2016 FC 27 FB, one dealer told me they couldn't offer me more than NADA's trade-in value, which was $46K, but that the trailer was really worth somewhere in the range of $60-65K. They strongly recommended that if I wanted a larger trailer, I should attempt to sell the 27 myself, rather than trading it in.
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Old 09-27-2017, 11:53 AM   #6
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2017 30' Classic
Carlisle , Pennsylvania
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Hi

Even on something like a used car, there is always a range based on condition. I have *never* seen buyer and seller agree on condition of a car. You can find all sorts of guidelines that suggest this or that. There is no absolute definition of condition.

Next up is trade in value, price from a dealer, and private sale values. Walk into the dealer and gee.... his prices are above the "dealer price" number and he's selling cars left and right. Try to do a trade and ... surprise ... the offer is well below the supposed trade in value. He's in the "buy low / sell high" business. Who would have guessed that

Even when there *are* numbers, those numbers don't mean as much as they might. It's still whatever the very local market thinks things are worth.

Bob
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