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Old 05-27-2013, 02:40 PM   #1
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Value of this Airstream?

Hello Everyone!
This is my first post. My fiance and I are college students with some flexibility and extensive experience inhabiting small spaces and we are looking into buying an airstream to remodel and live in. We have also been looking into the Tiny House movement- so yes we are aware it's a small space!
Anyway, we have found an airstream we like that is large enough for us and appears to be in good condition. It's a little far away to just drive on a whim to see so we haven't seen it, though that would be something we would do before we made a final decision. I am hoping you guys can give me a better idea if the price is good for this airstream.
Here is this listing: 1972 airstream international

I got some additional information from the owner: the only body damage on it is the dent you can see in the picture. As noted in the listing the wheels, tires, fridge/freezer, "kitchen" (not sure if he means just the stove and sink or the whole piece including countertop), laminate floors, and awning is new.
It looks clean and in good condition. We have the money to do it and my family thinks it's a good buy as airstreams are popular these days and seem to hold their value better than most RVs.
What do you guys think?
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:16 PM   #2
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Well, it looks pretty good, but then pictures can mislead you. You may can cover up the dent with stainless rock guards if it is not too far over .... about 500~. A new panel is about three times that. All the new stuff is a real plus ..... my worry would be the axles and may be worth having someone check them out.

I would look at it before you get too far or if the owner will let one of the Air Stream folks that does that sort of thing check it out. You can sometimes find them on the Forum.

I does not hurt to throw out a lower offer ......

Good Luck
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:38 PM   #3
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The lower rock guard will not come up that far to cover the dent. I would have someone who knows how pop the dent. There is a little cress that will remain. It is a simple jack up job to test the axles. Then you have to find a cheap place close to your college to park it.
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:41 PM   #4
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generally the longer (31) 70's airstreams are the least desirable (meaning less valuable). the kitchen is original. if he made just COSMETIC upgrades, i wouldnt pay $12k for this. if it had new axles, new plumbing, electric was 100% and all systems 100% then i'd think about paying 12k.

old trailers had copper plumbing and i would ask the owner to hook it up to city water and show you the pump operates as it should. have him test and show you all propane appliances working (fridge cold on propane (he should have it started long before you arrive) and fridge stays cold on electric. oven works, stove works, no leaks anywhere. operate all faucets checking for leaks (both inside and outside the unit).

Repairing the dent at a shop will (i have only heard estimates on the forums) cost $1,000.

these year / model are also known for 'rear end separation', so jump on the bumper and make sure the rear of the unit moves with it... ie, it's all attached and has not separated. check the floor - that there are no soft spots. try to find a local inspector (this site will help you find someone) to go with you.
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Old 05-27-2013, 05:15 PM   #5
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I'm not buying any old trailers with body damage. I'm not a buyer of this one at any price. I figure when I'm buying an old trailer, all I'm really buying is a body. I want that to be nice, dent free, all good windows, all the screens there, good door, no dents, no dings. I don't see any new kitchen. All new appliances and fixtures alone will be around 5 grand. The clear coat is bad. It's a LOT of work and time to strip and polish a big trailer. IF the body was good, I don't want to put a lot of money into a center sleeping room model. A rear bedroom will be easier to sell.
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Old 05-27-2013, 05:43 PM   #6
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d'oh... I wrote a comment about people using dorm fridges before I realized there were multiple photos of the trailer (I had looked at their ad earlier but didn't open it again before commenting.) It's a proper RV fridge in the photos.

I do think that dent is a bit prominent for a $12k 1972 trailer that doesn't have at least new axles, all-new plumbing with a gray tank, etc.
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Old 05-27-2013, 05:46 PM   #7
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If you can get someone to inspect it for You and it is camp worthy then you pay what you can live with. They will sell it no problem because airstreams are hot right now. New stuff with price tags may indicate hidden flaws a 5 dollar rug can cover a 50 dollar ding. Yes I am wary of the crap people do more crooks then honest people these days.
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Old 05-27-2013, 05:56 PM   #8
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Thanks for your thoughts, everyone. I really appreciate the advice.
I am a bit surprised that the longer ones are not worth as much- I wonder if this is because they are difficult to move around like you would want to if you were going to use it as an RV? Either way, for me I think livability is more important in that respect than resale value.
I have been looking at airstreams for a while and it seems like center-bathroom models are much rarer- which is a shame. I must say I would much prefer that layout.
I really appreciate the advice as I am trying to be cautious. I am skittish about spending money, especially since I am borrowing out of my father's life insurance and I want to make sure I use it in a way that will be useful and meaningful for me. The other option was building one of those tiny houses on a trailer and I still haven't entirely ruled that out.
My fiance is an auto mechanic, and he seems to think he could pop out the dent without a problem.
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:06 PM   #9
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Drive out and take a look. Shoot, hook it up and tow it around the block twice. Stay the night in it in the yard and if everything is still intact and you are in love in the morning... buy the beast. If not, you had a nice fun weekend in Wenatchee and learned what to look out for next time. Much of life is learning what we don't want. ... just sayin...
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:13 PM   #10
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You know, on page 5 of the classifieds on this forum, there is a 1987 32' Excella, rear bedroom that looks like a better deal at 13500 (asking price). I really think you should keep looking -- that 72 looks over priced.

Mike
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:21 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by n2916s View Post
You know, on page 5 of the classifieds on this forum, there is a 1987 32' Excella, rear bedroom that looks like a better deal at 13500 (asking price). I really think you should keep looking -- that 72 looks over priced.

Mike
Could you link me to that? I looked on page 5 but I didn't see it.
I sort of agree, I am trying to decide if I am being skittish about it because I'm skittish about money period or because my gut is telling me it's not right.

For the record, "fun weekend in Wenatchee" is a sentence I have never heard before, ever. My only memory of Wenatchee is of their hospital, though, so maybe I'm biased?
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Old 05-27-2013, 07:18 PM   #12
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Just looking....thats about twice as much as its worth......and only if your looking for that specific model. Do you plan on full time in Sandpoint? That is a brutal climate for an Airstream in the Winter.
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Old 05-27-2013, 07:58 PM   #13
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Just looking....thats about twice as much as its worth......and only if your looking for that specific model. Do you plan on full time in Sandpoint? That is a brutal climate for an Airstream in the Winter.
Winters aren't the worst. I grew up here and it only really gets below zero for a week once a year. However, I can imagine that without a lot of insulation it might get chilly in a metal trailer. Score one for the tiny house.
People do overwinter here in RVs though. There's always a few in December in the RV park in town.

I am getting the sense that it is pretty overpriced. It's a shame, too. It's one thing to negotiate it down a couple thousand dollars, but if I'm an owner and I believe my object is worth what I'm asking, no way am I going half even if the potential buyer claims that's only what it's worth.
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Old 05-27-2013, 08:09 PM   #14
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sarahalli, get ready to see some really random pricing.

I don't think most sellers are evil (though I've experienced some who are) but they don't put a lot of what I consider rational thought into their pricing. Statements like "I've seen these go for $30,000" when they are selling a dowdy '71 31' trailer that's seen better days and the trailer they saw listed for $30k (that probably didn't sell for that) was a perfect '50s Flying Cloud or a fully restored Bambi II, etc. George Carlin explained how people think about their stuff, and you add a multiplier to that when people are trying to SELL their stuff.

The upside about being a little skeptical about what people are selling and the price they're asking is that you don't waste as much of your money. The downside is that it takes a while to find a toy you want to buy...
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