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Old 09-14-2016, 05:37 PM   #1
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Coloradans looking for our first Airstream

After spending a good while considering tiny homes, and deciding against due to the regulatory mess they currently are, our sights have shifted to an old Airstream for full time stationary living for a year or two, possibly on land to be purchased, before hitting the road.

The tow vehicle limits us, as it can only pull about 6,500 lbs., but looking at the spreadsheet Iíve made up of models and weights, there are a ton of Airstream options from the 60s and 70s well below that weight, and fortunately I love the look of old Airstreams and am not afraid to get my hands dirty doing some restoration and renovation.

That said, other than living comfortably together in small spaces, this is all new to us. So I just need to learn about city and county zoning, RV financing, 12V electrical systems, RV plumbing and water, solar systems, insurance, financing land, wells, septic, how to buy a vintage trailer without getting burned, maintenance and repair, how to tow, and everything I donít even know yet that I donít know
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Old 09-14-2016, 05:46 PM   #2
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You're in for a lot of fun! Good luck!
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Old 09-14-2016, 06:33 PM   #3
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Yep, lots of fun. Except possibly in the winter.
airstreams are built to be three season rigs.

The wonderful windows are a real liability in cold weather. Single pane and weep holes to let little blasts of cold in.
They also have little Insulation be cause of the thin walls.
Plus aluminum is a great conductor of temp.

I'm planing on putting plastic sheet material over some of the Windows this winter to try to seal it up a bit better. And will probably do skirting to slow the flow of cold air under the coach.

Sorry to be a downer, but want you to be aware of some of the issues with cold weather streaming.
Good to go forward with your eyes open.

Cheers Richard
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Old 09-14-2016, 06:48 PM   #4
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There are a hundred or so used trailers on the Denver Craigslist. Many late model Some Other Brands that seem cheap. These need no restoration and are sometimes trailers purchased by someone who after two nights in their trailer... parked it for five years and will be eating a lot of depreciation.

A guy I met in Las Vegas said he made a fortune buying and selling used trailers. He bought from widows who wanted to dump the trailer she always hated and sold them to smart folks like yourself. You make your money when you buy, not when you sell. If you paid too much, a trailer depreciates as you breath air.

By making your post, we have already saved you a bunch of cash. You owe us all a good dinner, already.

Buying an Airstream and 'restoring' it? It is a labor of love and having a place to do the work. I do not even want to buy a sports car and restore it... as it is cheaper NOT to do the work yourself. Otherwise buy stock from the company selling parts for trailers. You will need it. Let someone else get... soaked.

You do not say what your tow vehicle is, but start with a late model SOB trailer. You use it until a great Airstream deal can be picked up... sell the bargain SOB and if you negotiate well... make a few bucks, since your trailer has working appliances.

Price a restored Airstream. It is more expensive than some that are new. Unless you are driving an air cooled Corvair from the late 1960's... find a legitimate SOB for sale. They are like trying to sell two tons of brush out along side your driveway.

The money you save... Invest in Cloud Peak Energy in Gillette, Wyoming. Cannot be any crazier than fixing a run down trailer. You must be young... and time is on your side.

Good luck. As it gets colder and the snow begins to pile up... the trailer prices will go down with the Colorado temperatures... way down.
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Old 09-14-2016, 07:02 PM   #5
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Why would living in an RV be any less of a regulatory mess than tiny homes?
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Old 09-15-2016, 08:13 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ray Eklund View Post
There are a hundred or so used trailers on the Denver Craigslist. Many late model Some Other Brands that seem cheap. These need no restoration and are sometimes trailers purchased by someone who after two nights in their trailer... parked it for five years and will be eating a lot of depreciation...
I feel like I just got a lot of years of experience distilled into a few paragraphs. Thanks for taking the time to write that.

The other brands are just...so...ugly, but point taken. Even a casual look at craigslist by my untrained eye tells me there are livable, lightweight trailers that I could write a check for.

As for owing dinner, well, if you find yourself in Boulder, I'd happily buy dinner or a happy hour for a chance to ask all my dumb questions rapid fire in person!

tevake, thanks for the heads up on three season design. I did not know that, and it's definitely a consideration, especially since cheap (relatively speaking, it's all too expensive around here) land is all up in mountains.

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Originally Posted by mandolindave View Post
Why would living in an RV be any less of a regulatory mess than tiny homes?
I'd love to be mistaken about this, but the problem with tiny homes I see is there isn't regulation specifically for them in most places, so every government official you meet gets to decide if they are RVs, mobile homes, or regular homes--and if the latter they're under minimum square foot ordinances and not legal. RVs are a known quantity, you can find out what the rules are in any given locality, and there are RV parks where you know you can park them.

Thanks everyone for the welcome! I look forward to lurking around here and learning.
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