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Old 09-09-2012, 10:10 PM   #15
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I bought a new AS Internaional Sig 23 about two months ago and I'm glad I did. I also bought a cheap other brand earlier in the year thinking I would learn from that. Wish I had just bought the AS first! Waste money not getting the AS from the start...
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:10 PM   #16
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New versus Old

Several KOA campgrounds around the USA have a special 25FB units you can rent overnight. The 25FB is one of the most popular floor plans and the KOA units are very similar to Flying Clouds. There are two KOA's in California with these units and I encourage you to spend a couple of nights in one before buying new or used. My wife and did the KOA overnight in Bar Harbour, Maine and it helped us greatly understand what we might be getting into. The California locations are:

Santa Cruz / Monterey Bay KOA (CA)
Stockton Delta KOA (CA)

There is also a KOA Airstream for rent at Circus Circus in Las Vegas. A link to the KOA trailer web page is: Unique Lodging and Accommodations | KOA Campgrounds

We spent considerable time considering new versus used in making our first Airstream and first RV purchase. We ended up following the approach suggested by Paula and Howie to buy lightly used. Our 2008 Safari 27FB SE unit (purchased by us in August 2011) had experienced less than 10 nights of camping and looked brand new. We've spent some money since buying it making repairs (we unfortunately had leaks and floor rot, plus we installed new 16" wheels and Michelin tires). Financially we are still way ahead of the cost of even a discounted new unit. Most people who see our trailer today are surprised when we tell them our trailer is four years old. Based on prices I'm currently seeing on eBay, and the AirForums classifieds for equivalent Airstreams, we would likely break even if we decided to sell it today. Fortunately the size and floor plan work for us so we don't anticipate any need to change.

I hope you will enjoy your new (or used) Airstream purchase as much as we've enjoyed ours. Not long after we started our search an owner of multiple Airstreams over time told me, "If you take the time to look, your Airstream will find you." We spent a year looking before our Safari found us.

If I can be of any assistance, please don't hesitate to send me a PM.
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:43 PM   #17
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Great advice given on this thread. Now just take your time, follow the advice and you will end up a happy Airstream owner. Buy informed. Buy new or gently used, whatever works for you.

Good luck, Dan
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:08 PM   #18
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WOW - Thank you SO much for your advice!

A BIG thank you to everyone who has been generous and gracious in giving us their advice.

Bruce B - Thank you for the heads up on the possible opening of a "can of worms"

Ridgerunner3 - Thank you for the heads up on allotting for a preventative maintenance budget. Do you think $50 monthly is enough? We understand we'll need to add that CorrosionX stuff every 3 months. Not sure if that will cover it?

Paula - Thank you, thank you, thank you for your gift to us of 20/20 hindsight! You gave us a lot to consider and for this we are grateful

MrUKToad - My husband is still in your camp thinking it has to be new and shares your opinion and will try hard to get the best price possible to make this a reality. After reading the advice here, I'm leaning more toward gently used but we'll see...thank you for your time and advice.

Fly at Night - Your words are music to my husband's ears But honestly, you bring up a good point...if we buy new, plan to use it A LOT during the first 2 years so that warranty will cover us. Thank you for this!

Thomp - Great to hear that your AS has served you well! Very encouraging to those of us considering new. Thank you for sharing!

Florida 55 - Great advice that we rent first We just looked and the closest KOA to us is Las Vegas...yet another reason to go to Vegas baby As for floor plans, the last 3 weekends have been dedicated to nothing but dissecting floor plans and writing out the pros and cons of each one. Honestly, neither of us ever thought we would be spending so much time on something like a floor plan! Who knew? Also, thank you for confirming that "gently used" has worked well for you. Finally, we really appreciate your invitation to PM you for any questions we may have in the future...we may take you up on that

Touring Dan - Thank you for reminding us to take our time...good point. Sometimes in the zealousness of it all, we can make rush decisions. Honestly, it's mainly me...I'm biting at the bit to explore the great outdoors. So thank you for the reminder to pull back the reins a bit.

Again, we appreciate everyone's time and generosity with this and look forward to more advice should anyone be willing to share...
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:20 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sierrafun View Post
My husband and I would like to purchase a new Airstream. We noticed that people have two options when purchasing new:

1) Order a new one from the factory with the options you want

2) Save quite a bit of money by buying one that is new but has been sitting on the dealer lot for months.

The money savings of buying one that has been sitting on the dealer lot for months appeals to us but we wondered:

What are some of the things people should be aware of when considering buying a unit has that been sitting for a while on the dealer lot?

Thank you for your time and help with this
Hi, I will try to keep this simple. We bought a brand new trailer and got a great deal too. Our trailer was in line to be made, so the dealer took our order of what we wanted. So we got a good deal and exactly what we wanted. Our best deal was in Oregon, not California. Good luck.
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:36 PM   #20
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Hi Bob,

Thank you for this tip! We were under the impression that if we ordered brand new with exactly the options we wanted, we would have to pay full MSRP! Glad to hear that is not the case :-) If we were to go this route, what would you say we should expect to pay i.e. 10% off normal MSRP or even more like 20% off?

Thank you again Bob!
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:56 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sierrafun View Post
My husband and I would like to purchase a new Airstream. We noticed that people have two options when purchasing new:

1) Order a new one from the factory with the options you want

2) Save quite a bit of money by buying one that is new but has been sitting on the dealer lot for months.

The money savings of buying one that has been sitting on the dealer lot for months appeals to us but we wondered:

What are some of the things people should be aware of when considering buying a unit has that been sitting for a while on the dealer lot?

Thank you for your time and help with this
I think there are two basic approaches to this. One for people who will not miss the money spent on a new trailer, and one for whom each dollar is somewhat dear. These really are two different kinds of buyers.

Considerations:
  1. If you buy the wrong trailer you will suffer a financial penalty. By wrong, I mean one that YOU don't find comfortable, efficient, or suitable to your specific needs. You might be quite surprised at how different a front bedroom is from a back, or a long bath is from a short, or a curved settee is from a right angle and so on. You won't discover it by hopping around on the lot, you will discover it after camping a few times.
  2. Trailer models that don't move as fast get sold at steeper discounts
  3. The various appliances and sub-subsystems in RVs are not "high end" - they are generally very mediocre compared to cool things you can buy for your home. By mediocre, I mean not very sturdy or robust. So, when they blow, get out the dough. Older units may have maintenance issues. New units at least have some warranty.
  4. You really can spend a LOT less money for 3 and 4 and 5 year old trailers. But you can almost bet some compromise will be involved.
  5. It's really a GRAND feeling to buy a new trailer with exactly what YOU want. Especially if you plan to keep it a long time.
So, you can see the conflict clearly. If money is dear, some compromises will have to be made. If money is available it can be exchanged for the really great feeling of having it exactly your way. If you aren't sure what your way is, it might end up costing you if you have to sell a new trailer after only a year. You could lose $15,000 very quickly. For some people they can chalk that up to a mistake, for others it will break their bank if not their heart.



I think it is all about what kinds of risks you are willing to take. These darned things involve a lot of money.
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:12 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sierrafun View Post
Hi Bob,

Thank you for this tip! We were under the impression that if we ordered brand new with exactly the options we wanted, we would have to pay full MSRP! Glad to hear that is not the case :-) If we were to go this route, what would you say we should expect to pay i.e. 10% off normal MSRP or even more like 20% off?

Thank you again Bob!
Hi, I sent you a PM.
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:17 AM   #23
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WOW Mstephens...you've really looked at all angles! Thank you for being so forthcoming with your knowledge and wisdom! Just from your post alone, we will definitely be planning to RENT several different floor plans before buying - thank you! Hopefully the floor plan we end up liking is one that we can get at a "steeper discount." :-)

We also didn't consider that most appliances and sub-subsystems in RVs are not "high end." We figured we were paying the high dollars for quality...thank you for the reality check! Now it makes even more sense when you stated that compromise will be needed not only in floor plan and size of trailer but also in our expectations of the service components of the trailer. Hmmm...now I'm beginning to see why some have advised for us to buy gently used...because more than likely we'll be upgrading the systems in the trailer within a very short period of time (2-3 years) - during the steep depreciation period.

This realization gives new light to your phrase "These darned things involve a lot of money."

Gives us something to consider for sure! Thank you again :-)
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:24 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mstephens;It's really a GRAND feeling to [B
buy a new trailer with[/B] exactly what YOU want. Especially if you plan to keep it a long time.
Hi, we studied well and picked our trailer for life. After about five years, I remodeled our living room. You can read all about it in my blog. "2005 Safari remodel."
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:44 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sierrafun View Post
WOW Mstephens...you've really looked at all angles! Thank you for being so forthcoming with your knowledge and wisdom! Just from your post alone, we will definitely be planning to RENT several different floor plans before buying - thank you! Hopefully the floor plan we end up liking is one that we can get at a "steeper discount." :-)

We also didn't consider that most appliances and sub-subsystems in RVs are not "high end." We figured we were paying the high dollars for quality...thank you for the reality check! Now it makes even more sense when you stated that compromise will be needed not only in floor plan and size of trailer but also in our expectations of the service components of the trailer. Hmmm...now I'm beginning to see why some have advised for us to buy gently used...because more than likely we'll be upgrading the systems in the trailer within a very short period of time (2-3 years) - during the steep depreciation period.

This realization gives new light to your phrase "These darned things involve a lot of money."

Gives us something to consider for sure! Thank you again :-)
Renting some different ones is an excellent idea. Smartest thing I've heard in a long time. Small things in layouts make big differences to people in ways you can't easily see until you are camping.

RVs really do burn up money in lots of ways just like owning a boat or a race car. They take quite a beating being towed around, and maintenance cost is a reality that must be faced. I generally refer to RVs as "luxury" items for that reason.

Many people will refer to the "mistake trailer" they purchased. The first one they bought that wasn't "quite right." We had one, and it ended up costing us $4,000 to get out of it 4 months later when we realized it wasn't the right one.

When it comes time to buy one, if you buy a new one, you ought to be able to get about 15% off the MSRP if you are an average negotiator, and tough negotiators can do even better I am told. Used is trickier to estimate. You have to compare to what is being sold at that moment around the country.

I wouldn't want anything I said about the cost of ownership to sound discouraging. I absolutely LOVE our AS, and if I could, we'd be on the road every day. Being a part of the AS community (WBCCI, etc) is a huge positive and worth every nickel we spend.

Best of luck to you and keep everyone informed of your progress!
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:00 AM   #26
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We bought kinda new. Dealer had one with all the bells and whistles, including the Canadian suspension which somebody ordered, purchased, then changed their mind without taking it off the lot.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:09 AM   #27
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Thanks SO much for the feedback so far!

Bob - Thank you for sharing your living room remodel with us I guess it goes to show that even when you spend a lot of time studying floor plans, nothing compares to the actual experience of living in them to see if it really fits your lifestyle.

Mstephens - Thank you again for the advice. I didn't realize we could get at least 15% off MSRP when buying and ordering brand new! Although, I must say, after the reality check from you on maintenance and the lack of quality in the subsystems, I'm still leaning toward gently used because it sounds as though we will be spending a significant amount in upgrading those subsystems. Hmmm this gives me an idea...perhaps a spreadsheet would be helpful outlining the common upgrades and their costs? This way if we know ahead of time what upgrading these subsystems will cost ($4000 for example), then if we choose to buy new, we must make sure we get more than the standard 15% off in order to accommodate for these upgrades. Just an idea. Would you mind if I PM'd you to ask what some common upgrades were that you did and what they generally cost?

Ahab - Thank you for sharing your success at the dealer - How lucky for you! I've never heard of the "Canadian Suspension"...it sounds intriguing...

Thank you again everyone for sharing your advice with us! We look forward to any other advice others might have
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:15 AM   #28
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I think the best way to save money on purchase is to buy the right trailer the first time. We didn't, too small and two year old dealer stock that showed signs of wear, no maintenance.

If you would keep it through retirement years, it ought to be at least 25' which is smallest of the large Airstreams but very adequate for extended travel. The larger trailers can easily be modified to fit changing lifestyles. For example we have a front dinette 25' with queen bed. We planned to install reclining chairs in the front when we needed more comfort (that will happen soon actually) and someday install twin beds in the back if we need them as we get older. Quite adaptable and always repairable.

So as you consider the perfect layout, also think if its adaptable to changing lifestyle and needs through the years. Careful of "bigger is better" for loss of maneuverability, and need for an oversized tow truck to also drive daily when on extended travel.

doug k
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