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Old 09-06-2016, 10:57 AM   #1
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Actively looking 23-25 or close New vs Used vs Restore

Hello Airstream Family,
After many years of sizeable time periods spent in SOB "some other brand" (right??) with my husband on his remote job sites building custom homes over the years, I didn't think I would ever be interested in being in a camper again. We sold our old one several years ago. I'm a nurse, and he's semi retired. Over the last couple of years, (I can't believe I'm saying this) we began to miss it - not the job sites, but the intimacy of having our home away from home; not to mention we're getting older and the tents hurt.... a little.

Recently, we've been walking the local state parks, and specifically Deception Pass State Park. We've developed Airstream Fever - yes, a nurse diagnosis! We NEEEEED one! So, here we are - decision time and a good time of year to buy. The question is: new - 50-60K, used 30-40K, or restore 5-10K. Currently, it's between spanking new or restore. My husband is super handy and although we understand this would be a learning curve; if others can do it, he can too, and others have been successful. Anyway, wish us luck. Let us know if you know of anything out there that would be good one way or the other. Adventures On!
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Old 09-06-2016, 12:00 PM   #2
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Unfortunately, for them, there are many individuals that buy new trailers only to find they don't like camping or or made a mistake in what they bought. This offers a large selection of almost new, but will reduced in price, trailers for sale. Additionally there are those that trade in 1 or 2 years. If you know what you want spend some time looking in that direction and pocket the savings.
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Old 09-06-2016, 12:51 PM   #3
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New or used

Welcome to the AS world! We have had 3 25' AS's; 2 used, and one new. We have found issues with all of them, but none that were show stoppers for us. The newer models have many features to consider including ducted air and LED lighting which are huge! There have been some QA issues in past couple years (2015, 2016) associated with the air ducting/vents, but those have been largely addressed by AS. We have had our 2014 now for 2.5 years and love it. That being said, we are looking at the newer units now (2017- 25') as we like several additions: LED lighting, textured leatherette, new flooring, ducted air directional vents, LED patio awning light, the new folding steps, solar wiring, new digital TV antenna, rear view camera prewire, blackout curtains/shades, roller blinds, etc.
Question is, how much money and time do you want to spend...or do you want to enjoy the latest technology and hit the road? Good luck!
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Old 09-06-2016, 01:21 PM   #4
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I'm thinking that your numbers might be a little bit off.

A new 23' FC is about $71K

A new 25' FC is about $81 K

Don't know how used you want. Don't know what deal you will find.
BUT a few year old trailer…MIGHT, be your best bet.


You can easily spend $20 K on a restoration, plus cost of the trailer.
Even a really handy guy can't make a refrigerator
A years worth of work .How much is your time worth?

The thing to remember is that you probably won't get what you put into it in time and money if you sell it.
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Old 09-06-2016, 10:49 PM   #5
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Right, I see the wisdom and thanks for sharing it. We were offered a 2016 23FB Serenity New on close out for 64K. Just too much money as we don't RV full time and tend to stick to the mountains and such. However, we do want to use it and not work on it...all the time anyways, did that with a boat. Yes, we sold the boat and bought new only because we couldn't find the one we wanted in good condition new. Seems to be the case here as well. We like and want the 23FB and so we'll wait for one or compromise should a good value come along 2010-2014 or maybe a 2016 next year... Thanks so much for your time and thoughts.
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Old 09-07-2016, 01:20 AM   #6
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Seattle (Covington) dealer posted CL add....

2015 Used/New 23B Flying Cloud...just in, he says text or call no email.

I texted him: "I'm in the market for the 2015 23FB that you're advertising on CL" (He was asking 54K and I offered 45K)----He responded immediately "NO" and that was it...co-put!! No counter, not explanation of any kind...I think he's rude! How is 45K kicked to the curb?

"Greg" should try to understand my thinking...
NADA for Average Retail:
2016 - $59,350
2015 - $50,300
2014 - $42,550
2013 - $38,000
2012 - $33,850
2011 - $28,250
2010 - $24,450
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Old 09-07-2016, 02:58 AM   #7
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NADA is not accurate when it comes to the going prices of used Airstreams.
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Old 09-07-2016, 07:16 AM   #8
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NADA is not accurate when it comes to the going prices of used Airstreams.
Is it then also irrelevant when a used AS is traded in, I doubt it. I just wanted to start a negotiation....an arrogant "NO" with no follow up is just not cool. I'll contact the regional sales manager this morning.
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Old 09-17-2016, 03:35 PM   #9
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Howdy--welcome aboard. Thought I'd chime in as I am shopping and know my prices quite well. I went through the same exercise last year and bought one in the fall, then had a silly moment this spring and sold it. Trying to fix my mistake now.

As a previous poster stated, you absolutely cannot rely on NADA values. They seem to rely on overall RV depreciation including other brands. The value they assign Airstreams are certainly extremely low compared to the real world. You can try to throw the numbers in with a seller to see if it helps, but most sellers are hip to the fact that NADA value is worthless. When I sold mine, I had to have that conversation with a couple of buyers who were stuck on those numbers. They soon disappeared.

Based on my spreadsheet I developed of different model years and sizes, from 19-25', 'fair' value for a 2015 23 would be about $53,400. How far below that you can get, the better a 'deal' it would become.

As a seller, I always respond, but can say that I would be fairly short with someone offering me $45,000 on it. That is ridiculously low for a 2015. as you'll learn as you figure out resale values. I also always try to have a conversation first just asking some general questions, etc, to feel out the seller a bit. It's tough to consider any offer serious if the buyer hasn't asked any questions about it's condition, or has seen it. Especially on Craiglist, where there are so many un-serious responses.

The NADA prices you quoted: the stated value of 59k for a 2016 is actually high--you could likely get a dealer down near that number for a 2017 at this time of year. Where the NADA numbers fall apart are the resale values on the next few years...they drop WAY too fast.

You also are correct, dealers generally slaughter you on trade-in. One seller just got $40k for his lightly used 2014 FC 20 from a private buyer--the dealer was only offering him $30k on trade, and he was buying a new 25' from the dealer. Selling privately is the way to go, in general.

Shopping for a resale can be daunting because prices are all over, but dedicate some time and research to it, and you'll soon be able to know a good deal when you see one. As the saying goes, when buying a resale--you make your money when you buy it right, not when you sell it! So I am all about looking for a great deal...and the right one always comes along if you are informed, and patient.

Good luck in your search!
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Old 09-17-2016, 05:25 PM   #10
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I agree with everything above by PCSkier. The best way to know actual values is to research CL and the classifieds here. Keep in mind if you are going to finance, banks will use the Nada numbers and you'll have to cover the difference plus the normal 10% down. Not as big of a deal with a 2015, but something 10 years old will have a much larger gap to cover.

In dealing with CL, keep in mind that this guy/gal has been dealing with all sorts of shady and not so shady characters. Add to the fact that texting is such a disconnected interaction, especially if you don't know the person. That said, I never entertain offers before someone has seen my product. The last time I did, the guy wanted me to come down more when he saw the blemishes in person.

Be patient, be persistent. Don't get too upset when someone doesn't see the fairness of an offer the same way you do. It's only money after all
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Old 09-17-2016, 08:29 PM   #11
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Also, realize that finding a two or three year old used Airstream in your region can be a daunting task. It is a low production item and there are very few for sale.

Consider what you'd pay new (normally 12 to 15 % off msrp max) and then take a look at the asking price of a fairly new used Airstream. You'll find that most asking prices are very fair.

Take it from one who has owned three, Airstreams are very rugged and reliable and in no way compare to your average truck or car or SOB trailer that generally much less reliable normally depreciate in value much more dramatically.
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Old 09-17-2016, 10:54 PM   #12
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Hey, thanks for your reply's. Yes, I've been educated over the last couple weeks. I do, I get it and don't hold any hard feelings at all. I actually looked at a 2015 at the dealership and discussed the matter with the regional sale mngr. Water under the bridge. I'm a carpenter and deal with folks that don't understand the work and associated costs...guess it's human nature. I appreciate AS and would very much like to pay the depreciation on a newer one as support for a great company and wonderful product, just can't afford it. Sooo...

I passed on a 14 25' front twin in like new condition as the owner had used it very little since purchasing new a few years back. I'm set on a 23' or I'd have jumped on it. It went in a couple days, the owner was asking 49K...that would have been a deal. So, I know they come up. I'm ready and yes, I have financing in place and cash for the over book. I'll find one, and get into a good payment at a fair price.

I agree that my initial was a lowball, but as my grandpa used to say.."doesn't cost anything to ask"

Thanks again,
Duane
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Old 09-17-2016, 11:43 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by sevbldr View Post
Hey, thanks for your reply's. Yes, I've been educated over the last couple weeks. I do, I get it and don't hold any hard feelings at all. I actually looked at a 2015 at the dealership and discussed the matter with the regional sale mngr. Water under the bridge. I'm a carpenter and deal with folks that don't understand the work and associated costs...guess it's human nature. I appreciate AS and would very much like to pay the depreciation on a newer one as support for a great company and wonderful product, just can't afford it. Sooo...

I passed on a 14 25' front twin in like new condition as the owner had used it very little since purchasing new a few years back. I'm set on a 23' or I'd have jumped on it. It went in a couple days, the owner was asking 49K...that would have been a deal. So, I know they come up. I'm ready and yes, I have financing in place and cash for the over book. I'll find one, and get into a good payment at a fair price.

I agree that my initial was a lowball, but as my grandpa used to say.."doesn't cost anything to ask"

Thanks again,
Duane
Be patient and prepared! When I looked for my first AS and tow vehicle last year, I was heartbroken when I missed on 'great deals' for both items. But within a few weeks, I got even better deals on a pickup and an AS--felt SO lucky that the earlier ones didn't work out. Stay on top of it and it will work out!!! Can't wait to hear when you get your 23,
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