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Old 11-14-2019, 04:39 PM   #1
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Purchasing Airstream Across the Country

Hi,

My husband and I have been looking for an Airstream. We have visited and looked at multiple units at dealership as well as a private seller in person at this point. Now, we have found one that fits all our criteria, is at reasonable price, checks off all the boxes and we just really like it from what we can tell so far. Itís being sold by a private seller. However, itís on the other side of the country. We havenít been able to see it in person. Have any of you bought an Airstream that you werenít able to see in person first? We are thinking that if we can: 1) ask the seller if he could video chat us and walk around and show us the Airstream live and answer questions, 2) hire an inspector to inspect it if the first step goes well, and if that goes well, start the process of negotiating/purchasing. Does this sound doable? Is this crazy. Any other advice. And whatís the best way to hire an inspector that we can trust to not be partial? Is an NRVIA certification a good measure of this? Thank you in advance.
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Old 11-14-2019, 05:00 PM   #2
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Iím sure there are experienced people on this site that live near the trailer and would be willing to take a look at it for you.

Just say where it is and ask for help!

Bill
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Old 11-14-2019, 05:26 PM   #3
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It's a very reasonable expectation.

We also purchased cross-country and we contacted a local unit of airstream club members and they put out an email and a very nice gentlemen responded to that email and then we got in touch with him and he offered to go and do an inspection for us.
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Old 11-14-2019, 05:45 PM   #4
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Hi

Compared to the price of an Airstream, the cost of a "cheap" flight across the country is not that big a deal. Shop hard and you probably can do it for a couple hundred dollars.

Go see the trailer yourself. We've done this sort of thing a number of times. Video / pictures / second hand analysis never get the job done. You need to see it yourself.

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Old 11-14-2019, 06:28 PM   #5
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Thank you

Thank you, all! Itís all very helpful advice and gives us guidance as we ponder next steps.
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Old 11-14-2019, 06:28 PM   #6
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My experience--slightly tangental

I once ran into a guy who offers his inspection services through the WB Club and, I think, this site. We got to talking at the Shasta KOA where we were both overnighting. After a couple of beers I challenged him to do a quick inspection of my nearly new 25'EB. In about 10 minutes he had a giant list of things I should either fix, replace, or upgrade. He also showed me where I was going to have problems--problems that have since nearly occurred and would have if he didn't warn me. I couldn't believe it. I got the impression that if you called this guy in to do an inspection he'd take it very seriously.



Bottom line: I think finding an inspector from the club or here is a very good idea
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Old 11-14-2019, 08:22 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by brad1 View Post
I once ran into a guy who offers his inspection services through the WB Club and, I think, this site. We got to talking at the Shasta KOA where we were both overnighting. After a couple of beers I challenged him to do a quick inspection of my nearly new 25'EB. In about 10 minutes he had a giant list of things I should either fix, replace, or upgrade. He also showed me where I was going to have problems--problems that have since nearly occurred and would have if he didn't warn me. I couldn't believe it. I got the impression that if you called this guy in to do an inspection he'd take it very seriously.



Bottom line: I think finding an inspector from the club or here is a very good idea
I agree. If you can get an inspector you could save a whole lot of money. Iím not saying people arenít honest, but it only takes one time to get a dishonest one and you kick yourself. Also I donít buy what I canít see. My brother flew all the way across the country to get his Class B. Then he drove it back. At some point you have to get the trailer anyway Take a vacation and go see it.
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Old 11-15-2019, 10:39 AM   #8
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I would like to think that Airstream owners like myself (in the area which your trailer sits) would check it out for you, do an inspection report and send pic. That is what we did when we bought our AS. Other than normal stuff on a 16 year old AS it was a great move.
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Old 11-15-2019, 10:41 AM   #9
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We have an airstream that we bought locally but a very good friend bought one on the other side of the country. I think if your plan A and B works I would fly to the location to negotiate face to face. I looked for 1.5 years on Craigslist right across North America’s and with patients bought one 100 miles from home. I would not buy on site unseen
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Old 11-15-2019, 10:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daquenzer View Post
I agree. If you can get an inspector you could save a whole lot of money. Iím not saying people arenít honest, but it only takes one time to get a dishonest one and you kick yourself. Also I donít buy what I canít see. My brother flew all the way across the country to get his Class B. Then he drove it back. At some point you have to get the trailer anyway Take a vacation and go see it.
Honest or not, many Airstream owners (looking at me) just arenít as into their trailers on a technical/mechanical level as others are. Iím one of those guys who assumes that if nothing is broken, everything is fine. There are others who canít help looking ahead to what might go wrong, and who have technical insights into Airstreams out-of-sight inner workings that make them particularly good at something like inspections.

You might find a seller who tells you in all honesty that everything is fine, where a knowledgeable inspector might find issues that it would be good to know about.

All you gotta do is read some of the repair and upgrade threads here and you know that there are (and I say this with the utmost respect) Airstream fanatics on this site. Having one of them help you out can only be a good thing.
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Old 11-15-2019, 11:02 AM   #11
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Hey, I bought my current house without ever seeing anything but a video, a whole lot more money than an Airstream. I trusted an independent inspection so if you obtain a good inspection, you should be fine.
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Old 11-15-2019, 11:18 AM   #12
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What you are proposing is not unreasonable. However, this is what I would recommend, and have done myself. If you can find an Airstream Club member in the area to look at it, do that. If there are no issues after the inspection, get on a plane and inspect it for yourself. As others have said, there are some inexpensive flights to be had.

Pictures and video can be very deceiving and can not always include everything that should be carefully looked at during an in person inspection, ie, checking carefully for water leaks and damage, making sure every appliance and system works, close inspection of the cosmetic condition of the interior and exterior. These things simply cannot be seen properly on video and photos.

Purchasing an AS is a sizeable expense, so it makes sense to spend a little extra to make sure there are no surprises.
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Old 11-15-2019, 11:37 AM   #13
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Be wary of possible scammers who actually don't have an Airstream for sale. They will use photos taken from an online source. Don't transfer any money with PayPal, etc. Only an in person inspection (by you or your agent) will confirm that the trailer exists and is as advertised.
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Old 11-15-2019, 11:54 AM   #14
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Contingent offer

We purchased our Airstream sight unseen from a seller halfway across the country. We made an offer subject to our inspection. No money down, cash purchase.

It worked well for us, the trailer was in excellent condition as advertised.
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Old 11-15-2019, 11:58 AM   #15
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I think I know a fair amount about Airstreams.

That said I would do as others stated. Have an inspector check it out. If the report is satisfactory then buy the plane ticket for your own inspection/satisfaction and possible negotiation. If you buy it then you have to figure out how to get it home. Go get it yourself (would be a fun trip) or rent a truck to drive it back or have it hauled back. There are many RV haulers who are looking for trip that pays coming from west to east. You will have to put numbers on paper to see the best way to bring it home.
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Old 11-15-2019, 12:11 PM   #16
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Be wary of possible scammers who actually don't have an Airstream for sale. They will use photos taken from an online source. Don't transfer any money with PayPal, etc. Only an in person inspection (by you or your agent) will confirm that the trailer exists and is as advertised.
I agree. There was a posting a few weeks ago on this forum that was a scam. And it was pretty realistic; correct pictures, VIN #, etc. But after thoroughly checking into it I found the ad was bogus.

1). Make sure you or third party checks it out visibly on the site.
2). Check to make sure the sellers are on the title.
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Old 11-15-2019, 12:21 PM   #17
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Hi

Compared to the price of an Airstream, the cost of a "cheap" flight across the country is not that big a deal. Shop hard and you probably can do it for a couple hundred dollars.

Go see the trailer yourself. We've done this sort of thing a number of times. Video / pictures / second hand analysis never get the job done. You need to see it yourself.

Bob
Bob got it right,,,,cheap airfares this time of year between or just after the holidays. Dont buy sight un-seen. Better yet, ask Seller for more photos and if you are interested send a small deposit, then schedule visit. I sold a classic car that way,,,,,and I picked up the Seller at the Airport to prove it was a road worthy vehicle, so you might want to do that as well If you like the AS, you can purchase it then and there, get Seller to drop at storage facility near airport then drive out to get it on your schedule.
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Old 11-15-2019, 01:19 PM   #18
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We live in Southern California and purchased our AS in northern New York state a couple of years ago. We made an offer and put down a deposit with purchase being subject to inspection. We bought some cheap tickets and rented a car to go have a look. We made a fun long weekend of it. We ended up leaving the AS in New York for a couple of years flying back and forth and exploring the North East coast and Canadian maritime. We are slowly working our way across country attending rallies and caravans. we should get it to California in another 3 or 4 years. A bit frustrating to not have the AS local for hands on maintenance but so far we have been able to take care of everything while on the road.

My feeling is do it subject to inspection and then have an adventure getting the AS home.
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Old 11-15-2019, 01:21 PM   #19
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"Buyer Beware"

We are brand new to Airstream.
In July I found the "perfect for us" 1990 Excella 32' on eBay. 1 hour left on the bidding. We decided to go ahead and won the bidding. We drove from Texas to Tennessee to finish the deal. The interior is beautiful. However, we were so inexperienced that we did not know how to check it out thoroughly.
This is what we missed:
-significant sub-floor water damage in the rear of the trailer
-leaking original dump valves
-pitiful sub-floor damage repair in the galley
-cheap carpet job to cover up damage
-plumbing leaks in old original PB pipes
-soiled mattresses ($875 to replace)
-window gaskets need replacing
-tank level indicators don't work
-A/C needed cleaning

So even though we are still looking forward to enjoying the trailer, I have worked on it almost every day since we brought it home to basically restore it from the damaged sub-floor up.

That said, I will know the RV rather thoroughly when i am finished.
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Old 11-15-2019, 08:28 PM   #20
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On the home page (I think) there is a link for volunteer inspectors. It takes just a bit of work to find one or two near where the trailer is, and then you can contact them to make arrangements. Some may charge a set fee, while others may only ask for mileage. That's between you and the inspector. I'm guessing that even those who don't ask for anything won't turn down a gift card.
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