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Old 07-16-2011, 04:34 PM   #1
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Financing Conundrum

In order to have the cash needed to buy an Airstream to retire in I would need to sell the house. Conundrum - if I sell the house first I would need a place to live while I look for a trailer. So I'd have to rent an apartment for a few months, eating up my profit from the house sale. If I buy the trailer first I wouldn't have any way to pay for it, because I'd still be living in the house. The best idea I have come up so far is to buy the trailer first, finance it and make the payments for a few months using a home equity line of credit that I have, while waiting for the house to sell. Of course, this puts me in a position where I would need to sell the house fairly quick. I've thought of renting the house out, but since the house would only rent for around $1,700 I don't think that this would be enough to cover the payments on an Airstream, tow vehicle and space rent at a camp site. Does anyone else have any experience with this problem, or suggestions that I haven't thought of? By the way, I'm leaning towards a late-model used Airstream - preferably a 28' Ocean Breeze.
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Old 07-16-2011, 07:08 PM   #2
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Maybe you could find a park that you want to live in with your Airstream when you get it, sell the house, and rent a "park model" trailer in that park while you arrange your own trailer... It would be more than your straight space rental, but probably less than an apartment, especially if the owners knew your plan was to become a permanent resident once you found your trailer. Just a thought.
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Old 07-16-2011, 08:08 PM   #3
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I have a few thoughts. How is your local market? If it's in a decline definitely wait to buy the AS til the house sells. Then you know exactly what your budget will be. You can estimate what your house is worth but in the end it's worth what someone will pay. You may end up paying more in closing costs, fixing something that came up in the inspection etc. If your budget is tight then sell the house first and rent. Then you will know exactly what you have to deal with.

Secondly how comfortable are you with risk? Think worse case scenario. You have a AS payment and the house won't sell. Will this drain you financially? Or would you be fine, rent the house and go camping.

Best wishes.
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Old 07-16-2011, 08:24 PM   #4
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Is this a travel retirement? If not, why buy an Airstream at all? I have a friend who bought a park model all set up in a decent park with reasonable lot rent for $4,000. I bet when he sells it he'll get his $4,000 back out of it. It's got a lot more room than an Airstream and it doesn't leak. Uses a standard house furnace and water heater. Just saying . . .

On the finance side, anything I can't pay cash for, I can't afford. A house typically is an appreciating asset. A travel trailer is a depreciating asset. I'm not sure I'd sell an appreciating asset and buy a depreciating asset with my only money.

Here house sales are pretty slow. Prices are still declining. There's a 7 month supply, with average days on the market to contract, 90 days. Average sale to listing price is 93%.

Unless you full time in a Wal Mart parking lot, there will be lot rent expense with an RV. The only difference between renting an apartment long term and living in an RV long term is the difference between the apartment monthly rent and the lot rent, less license, less insurance costs, less repair costs, and less maintenance expense. Not to mention tow vehicle if that's needed.
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Old 07-17-2011, 05:38 PM   #5
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Some good points from all. We bought our house decades ago, and like most people our age it represents our only real financial asset (i.e. - not counting the house our net worth is probably in the minuses). And the value of the house seems to be declining. Right now we're kind of leaning towards living in a park model and getting a small (16' - 22' ?) trailer for traveling (the plan would be to be on the road for 2 - 4 months a year). The point of the trailer is that we'd both like to see something of the USA before we get too old to travel. By the way, in this area a double wide mobile home in an established park sells for at least $50,000, with a space rental of around $700/month, not counting utilities. So I'm thinking a brand-new park model, somewhere a little farther away from the S.F. Bay Area.

Separate issue - from what I can see "park models" sell for a fraction of what a travel trailer costs. What's up with that?
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Old 07-17-2011, 06:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Bill View Post

Separate issue - from what I can see "park models" sell for a fraction of what a travel trailer costs. What's up with that?
They are a specialized product in a limited market. A park model can only be placed in a few places, many mobile home parks and rv parks won't take them. They don't have all the extra equipment needed to make them a travel trailer. Those two things are generally why they are less.
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:11 PM   #7
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The thing I notice about park models is they are constructed using stick built house materials and methods. Shingled roofs and house siding. No tanks, conventional furnace, water heater, and appliances. Nothing very special. Travel trailers like the Airstream are all special and made to tow 20,000 +/- miles a year.

Neither does what the other does very well.
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