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Old 02-21-2014, 12:08 PM   #1
3 Rivet Member
1989 29' Excella
Cumming , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 173
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Purchase Sight Unseen

I have a theorhetical question for the forum, ....

Though not advisable do you think that people actually purchase Airstreams from sights like, '', sight unseen?

Even more advisable buying an Airstream sight unseen from across the country?

I can't imagine having so much money or such a desire to do that.

I've seen coaches that look very, 'purchasable', in ads.

By the same token, i've seen many whose configuruation i'm familier with in person and would not buy when viewed in person....

I inquired the other day about two coaches and both sellers told me that they've obtained asking prices sight unseen. ....

Freaks me out that people do that.


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Old 02-21-2014, 12:26 PM   #2
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1994 30' Excella
Currently Looking...
Milwaukee , Wisconsin
Join Date: May 2004
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I have purchased three Airstreams and sold two all sight unseen. Most of the time you simply have no choice if you are looking for a specific floor plan, model or year. There are people on the forum willing to go and look at the AS for you, just cover their costs. I have done this for several people, this gives you a pair of eyes from an owner.

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1994 30' Excella 1000, Chummy III- Ford Excursion- 7.3 Turbo-diesel
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Old 02-21-2014, 12:42 PM   #3
3 Rivet Member
1989 29' Excella
Cumming , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 173
Images: 5
I don't know about that. ...

I've posted threads out there for a local inspector for someone in Ga.

Several times, ... lots of views but no responses.

Very disapointing.

I've view two in the past two weeks. One close to me, ... when i saw it in person, ... alarm bells going off but, i'm too new to know if the alarm shouldn't be an alarm.

So I had to pass.

It's so risky, ...
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Old 02-21-2014, 12:47 PM   #4
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1951 21' Flying Cloud
1960 24' Tradewind
Folsom , California
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I have (a few times). I've stopped (I hope).

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Old 02-21-2014, 12:48 PM   #5
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1968 17' Caravel
Battle Ground , Washington
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If you have enough money to buy an AS, you should have enough to fly/drive out and take a look at it, even if you need to put a deposit down on it to hold until you can get there. If you can find a local inspector, that's a good option.

I bought an AS from a loving owner who toured the trailer with me and showed how to work everything in it, and it still surprised me with major work down the line. The second AS I bought was such a good deal I agreed to buy it over the phone sight-unseen and drove 6 hours to pick it up, and it was in excellent condition, as described. So it depends on how you feel about the trailer, the owner, and your willingness to handle what comes up down the road!

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Old 02-21-2014, 12:55 PM   #6
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2007 25' International CCD FB
Northridge , California
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I flew Uwe from Area 63 productions to another state to inspect & purchase on my behalf. Never saw it in person till it was delivered.
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:34 PM   #7
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
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If it is a very rare trailer, older than dirt etc and you want it badly for a full restoration, then an unseen purchase will probably be ok. You already know it is old and going to need major work.

If it is a trailer you expect to use immediately or without much work, anyone would be taking a gamble. Some owners know that the trailer they are selling is not in very good condition but they paint it as good to excellent and hope to find an unsuspecting buyer to palm it off on. Other owners are simply totally clueless as to the real condition of their trailer, don't understand how things age (axels, tires, seals, lights) and have no idea of the expenses involved to replace worn out or old and obsolete items. Some have put "lipstick on a pig" and really do believe that they have made major renovations or improvements. New "wood" flooring over rot is one which comes to mind.

As for volunteer inspectors, there is no guarantee that the inspector who is willing to look for you is really up to the job and knows enough about what they are looking at to be able to properly evaluate the rig they are inspecting. This is not a slam against volunteers, just that they can come in all degrees of ability. I consider myself to be pretty knowledgable on Airstreams, but would never volunteer to inspect for someone else unless they were a true friend who had real trust in me. I have gaps in my knowledge too, and would hate to miss an important problem when inspecting. Also, what I might see as a fault could be of minor importance to the prospective buyer, or what I see as a minor issue could be a big deal to the purchaser. As an example, how much filoform (sp) corrosion are you willing to see as a problem? Is a new 3 stage converter/charger something which the inspector and purchaser both understand and think is important, or not? There are too many variables to make me comfortable with the process. Even a paid inspection by a dealer can have gaps or errors, as several posts here have shown.

There is absolutely nothing which beats a personal look prior to purchase. Then the mistakes you make are your own. If you are not very Airstream knowledgable, taking along a volunteer inspector with you may be very helpful. They can point out issues and you can decide if you thing they are important to you and the way you want to use the rig.
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:37 PM   #8
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
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I committed to buy my '73 Airstream based only on a sketchy picture on C-list and a phone conversation with the seller. Drove 600 miles to pick it up, and in theory could have backed out on the deal, but the floor plan and size of trailer were what I wanted, and the price was right. I don't advise doing anything like this, as I have been working non-stop on it for over two years now. Didn't want that big of a project, but when you drive 600 miles to "look at" a trailer, you probably aren't going to go home empty handed!Yes, if you are looking for a rare, and in-demand trailer, you have to have cash in hand and be ready to drop everything to go look at it.

I similarly bought a used Mercedes based on the pics posted on Autotrader, and then flew up to drive it back. Again, I could have walked away from the deal if it turned out to be a complete wreck, and only lost my deposit, but it was being sold by a dealer, so I had confidence that I wasn't being screwed any more than usual.
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Old 02-21-2014, 02:13 PM   #9
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2006 19' International CCD
Olathe , Kansas
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We bought our 06 Bambi with only pictures and an inspection from a very nice AF member. The first time I saw her was the day I went to pick her up. It's been 4 years of bliss! I'd do it again but only with an inspection by another member, I also had trouble getting a response so I looked at the member list by state and sent private messages to the closest ones for help and it worked out great.
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Old 02-21-2014, 02:28 PM   #10
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1972 31' Sovereign
Lexington , Minnesota
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We bought ours sight unseen. It was in Mississippi and not in good condition. The sellers were very open about condition as they knew it, and sent us tons of pictures. We knew what we were getting into, more or less. Still, we probably wouldn't go that route again. We know more now.... We probably could have backed out when we got there, but wouldn't have. We didn't know about the member inspections at the time. It wouldn't have made much of a difference for Little Girl because of what we planned on doing with the trailer (complete overhaul), but if we were buying a more pricey trailer, we would inspect before buying. We have done inspections for a few people, one after sale but before pick up, and another before sale. It's fun for us!

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Old 02-21-2014, 02:43 PM   #11
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2014 30' International
Lake Kiowa , Texas
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 69
We bought our 6 year old trailer sight unseen. Had tons of photos from a small dealer who had a reputation to protect, and we had a great AF inspector. Scariest part is wiring the money then waiting for the delivery from a third party transporter. A cross country trip just to see firsthand is also a time & money risk. Airstreams are not found on every corner. Worked out great for us!
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Old 02-21-2014, 03:16 PM   #12
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1989 29' Excella
Cumming , Georgia
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A trusting sole indeed.
I just can't imagine doing that.

Ironically, ... most Airstreams are like people after a few years warts and all.
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Old 02-21-2014, 03:36 PM   #13
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1965 26' Overlander
Tulsa , Oklahoma
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I bought my current 65 overlander from these classifieds last summer going off of pictures & several phone conversations w/ the owner. I will never do that agAin!! Super nice guy, but he played the naive game, long story short I paid $ 10k for a $5k trailer!
My advice is don't do it( unless it is a few years old).
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Old 02-21-2014, 03:39 PM   #14
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1975 27' Overlander
Twin Cities , Minnesota
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The first AS I tried to buy was about a 68 Tradewind on Ebay.
It was about 200+ miles from me.
Seller had written a glowing description and had taken lots of photos (from a distance) that made it look very nice.
So I was high bidder and went down there, cash in hand to pick it up.
I was so completely disappointed that I spent about 10 minutes looking at it then got in my truck and left for home.
I was out the gas and got a non paying bidder on Ebay but I would not have given the seller half of what I bid. I wasn't looking for a project and that one certainly was.
Yes I felt like a heel.
But about a month later I found a very nice 75 OL for about $400 less than what I had bid on the other one.
And I didn't look back.

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