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Old 03-12-2016, 12:10 PM   #1
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Newbie needs help!

Hi Everyone.

I've spent several hours poking around the forum discussions and couldn't find an already-existing topic which answered my question so I'm reluctantly starting a new topic.

If anyone can link us to existing topics which might answer our question we would be very grateful. We certainly don't want to waste anyone's time or clutter the forum.

My wife and I are shopping for an Airstream Travel Trailer. We are looking at used models because we feel there is good value there and to give ourselves more choices, we're open to buying out of state. We're also open to buying sight-unseen. My question:

What is the basic sequence of steps for purchasing an Airstream from out of state, sight unseen?

Obviously we want to structure the transaction so that we're protected. It's also worth mentioning that our plan is to have a third party tow the vehicle for us. We have our eye on an Airstream in Texas and we live in California.

Again if there are any existing topics which address my question, I'd be very grateful for linkage. Failing that, if anyone has any experience or even expertise in this area, I would be most grateful for some feedback.

Thanks everyone!

Snow Creek
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Old 03-12-2016, 12:16 PM   #2
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You do not want to buy sight unseen. Go to members search, advanced search and put the location of the trailer and check the trailer inspector box. Members here have volunteered to be inspectors if they feel qualified. You want to get someone who knows Airstreams to do a thorough inspection. After that, it is not much different than buying a car in a different state.
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Old 03-12-2016, 12:20 PM   #3
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I completely agree. I completed the same task a few months ago. Had to go to Reno to find what I wanted. Well worth the investment to fly out there, the seller agreed to pay half the airfare when he felt I was a serious buyer. You could wind up with someone's problem if you aren't careful.
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Old 03-12-2016, 12:30 PM   #4
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Thank you both for that unequivocal advice!

Just in the last few minutes I've become aware of inspection services and we will be having the trailer inspected by a third party.

Our plan however is still not to go in person and because none of the transaction paperwork will be done face to face, my main question regards how to navigate the transfer of funds/bill of sale conundrum.

It seems we would draft a bill of sale, both sign it, fax signed copies to each other, then transfer funds.

Does this sound about right?

Thanks again.
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Old 03-12-2016, 02:32 PM   #5
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Not enough. You need to make sure he has a clear title; you should ask to see a copy of that. You also need to find a way to insure that you get the title "at the same time" you provide the funds. I do not know what kind of money you are talking but if I were to do this remotely for mid to upper 5 figures, I would want some sort of escrow service to assure that he does not get his money until a valid title is signed over to you.
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Old 03-12-2016, 03:07 PM   #6
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I have a bridge I would like to sell you, sight unseen . . .



Snow, from over here you appear to be setting yourself up for disappointment IMO.

Caveat Emptor . . .

May I suggest that you review everything with your attorney?
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Old 03-12-2016, 03:43 PM   #7
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I live in MO and bought a used from TN using AS Classifieds. I was satisfied so it can be done. But as others have said be careful. Have it checked out before committing or paying hard earned money.

You might try a large dealer too as some take trades. We have a large dealer in SEA and I know they do. Maybe one they've had for a while and like to unload.

Another thought, look into a warranty. I usually don't go for extended warranty but I traded my used trailer for a new one and a 7 year warranty was extremely reasonable cost. Given the price of service labor and RVarts maybe some peace of mind yo be had.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out! Pics too!
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Old 03-12-2016, 04:07 PM   #8
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What do you call "used"?

Certain vintage trailers often go sight unseen. Within 5 minutes I sold a 67 Tradewind for a fair price on Craiglist with a non refundable payment in full to my Paypal account. I could have sold it sight unseen a dozen times over. This was my quickest. I sold several other 70s Airstreams sight unseen, no questions asked within a couple of days.
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Old 03-12-2016, 04:31 PM   #9
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Welcome to the forums.

I've purchased and sold vehicles privately a couple of times. Each time the seller kept the title until the funds cleared. The buyer took a bill of sale and the vehicle. Should the funds not clear the seller could go to law enforcement and report a stolen vehicle. Should the title not be sent the buyer would also have legal recourse.

I don't think the volunteer inspectors really intend to make the call for you about whether or not you should buy that coach. Rather, as I understand it, they will give you their honest impression based on their experience and what they were able to see. I wouldn't buy from someone who wouldn't allow the inspection.

The final call, though, is yours alone. If you aren't willing/able to go get your new coach you will need to arrange to have it shipped, and that will add significantly to the cost. Again, though, that's your call.

The suggestion of using some sort of escrow service is a good one. Again, there is a cost but in this case it would be worth it. Often the seller's bank is the one used, mainly for convenience. You could also use your bank. Of course, if both you and the seller use the same national bank (like Wells Fargo or BankAmerica) it becomes very easy. Might be worth talking to the seller about this.
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Old 03-12-2016, 05:11 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by kb0zke View Post
Welcome to the forums.

I've purchased and sold vehicles privately a couple of times. Each time the seller kept the title until the funds cleared. The buyer took a bill of sale and the vehicle. Should the funds not clear the seller could go to law enforcement and report a stolen vehicle. Should the title not be sent the buyer would also have legal recourse.

This was my general train of thought, too. However I will consider the great suggestions about examining the status of the title and the possibility of using an escrow service.

I don't think the volunteer inspectors really intend to make the call for you about whether or not you should buy that coach. Rather, as I understand it, they will give you their honest impression based on their experience and what they were able to see. I wouldn't buy from someone who wouldn't allow the inspection.

I'm what I like to call "a competent person" with good common sense in practical matters. As such and as a construction worker I'm pretty confident in my ability to evaluate the condition of a trailer however it's very probable that an experienced Airstream inspector will be much more qualified than myself. That's why I'm comfortable in having an inspector make the call for us. I would insist on paying the individual too. We're familiar with the trim packages and options so we feel like we know what we're getting furnishings-wise. We just want the peace of mind that comes with having a qualified person inspect the trailer. And yes, we wouldn't consider a purchase without an inspection.

The final call, though, is yours alone. If you aren't willing/able to go get your new coach you will need to arrange to have it shipped, and that will add significantly to the cost. Again, though, that's your call.

We used this site to get quotes on transporting the trailer:

https://www.uship.com

We got 3 free quotes within minutes. The cost of towing the trailer 1600 miles looks like it's going to be about $1200-1500. We'd prefer it be placed on a flatbed but that adds considerably to the cost.


The suggestion of using some sort of escrow service is a good one. Again, there is a cost but in this case it would be worth it. Often the seller's bank is the one used, mainly for convenience. You could also use your bank. Of course, if both you and the seller use the same national bank (like Wells Fargo or BankAmerica) it becomes very easy. Might be worth talking to the seller about this.
Thanks for your lengthy and thoughtful reply. It's much appreciated!
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Old 03-12-2016, 05:16 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
Caveat Emptor . . .

May I suggest that you review everything with your attorney?


I'll pass on the bridge!

The attorney thing really is the crux... what measures one takes for self protection.

I've bought real estate without lawyers so it seems at this point that the question is whether we use an escrow service so that the title and the funds change hands simultaneously.
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Old 03-12-2016, 05:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumatic View Post
What do you call "used"?

Certain vintage trailers often go sight unseen. Within 5 minutes I sold a 67 Tradewind for a fair price on Craiglist with a non refundable payment in full to my Paypal account. I could have sold it sight unseen a dozen times over. This was my quickest. I sold several other 70s Airstreams sight unseen, no questions asked within a couple of days.
FWIW, the trailer is a 2012 and our budget is into the 50K area.

I'm a trusting person at heart but I'd hate to let my guard down at the wrong time.
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Old 03-12-2016, 05:23 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by mpsgolf View Post
I live in MO and bought a used from TN using AS Classifieds. I was satisfied so it can be done. But as others have said be careful. Have it checked out before committing or paying hard earned money.

You might try a large dealer too as some take trades. We have a large dealer in SEA and I know they do. Maybe one they've had for a while and like to unload.

Another thought, look into a warranty. I usually don't go for extended warranty but I traded my used trailer for a new one and a 7 year warranty was extremely reasonable cost. Given the price of service labor and RVarts maybe some peace of mind yo be had.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out! Pics too!
Thanks for the suggestions and welcoming spirit!

We are looking at dealer trade-ins also for the reasons you give. Also we want to have as many options as possible.

That said there's a certain good feeling one gets from a mutually-beneficial private sale.
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Old 03-12-2016, 05:24 PM   #14
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I sent Uwe from Area 63 Productions to inspect my trailer as well as complete the purchase if it passed inspection. You can reach him at area63productions.com. He also gave me all my lessons in hitching, towing and handles my repairs and questions in addition to vintage trailer restoration.
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