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Old 04-13-2011, 02:51 PM   #1
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Saint Simons Island , Georgia
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To Be Crazy or Only Half Crazed?

Say a couple has $22K cash and is motivated to try full-timing for a few years with little travel. Very particular about the "look" of the interior.
(sleek like the architect's airstream on Apartment Therapy site really appeals) Really think we need 35' vs smaller.

Would you recommend investing more in purschasing something to redecorate or working from a gutted "shell"?

Note: We would hire out any work.

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Old 04-13-2011, 03:07 PM   #2
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Hello amuse.

I read through your other thread.

$22k will not take you all the way there so know that you will be making compromises.

For fulltiming with two people you would want to look only at wide body trailers which means 1995 and later. The purchase price of 30' and 34' trailers from the beginning of this era, in ready-to-use condition, is roughly equal to your budget.

Mid 1970s sovereigns (30') are often used as an inexpensive platform for customization and depending on the condition of mechanical systems can be had for $5000 or so. However, it is unlikely that you could complete a full interior restoration with the balance of your budget, and you would still have a narrow-body trailer.

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Old 04-13-2011, 03:15 PM   #3
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gentle question/suggestion -

is the $22k just for the purchase or renovation ?
if yes, good - otherwise see below:

research cost of new AS
research cost of re-newing an AS 'shell'. [plenty of excellent threads on
this forum about the 'challenges' of restoration]

subtract either amount from your $22k
divide remainder by the number of years you will full-time

decide if you can live on the remaining $; assuming this is a positive number.

pASn - $22k or pASr - $22k
#yft #yft = ???

good luck and happy trails
Jon & Deb
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I Donít Always Pull A Trailer
But When I Do - I Pull An Airstream
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:29 PM   #4
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Interesting plan. I'd list all the assumptions and give them weight and value. If roadworthy is not a concern then axles, solid frame, running lights, 12 volt and gas appliances, and battery life are not considerations. Just cosmetics, heat, air, and park model functions are important. Maybe just buy a park model already set up. I see quite a few of them around.

I'd probably just rent a small apartment and skip the trailer idea. I bet I'll have more space, no maintenance, no depreciating assets, no lot rent, and in 10 years I'll still have the 22k.
Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:53 PM   #5
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Buy one already re-done. I don't think you have enough money in your budget if you're planning to have someone else do the work.
"Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes, well, he eats you." -the Stranger-

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Old 04-13-2011, 10:17 PM   #6
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Don't forget to factor in the cost of a TV (tow vehicle) to be appropriately matched to the weight of your trailer.

If you already have a TV, then great, one of your factors in searching for a trailer (or renovated shell) is the capability of your existing TV.

If not, then you may need to modify your budget for an appropriate TV....

How much you will travel per year, terrain, and what you want or have to carry (pets / bikes / etc ) should be factored as part of your TV decision too...
Kevin & Prim Li
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:28 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by amuse View Post
Really think we need 35'
Isn't the biggest AS 34'?
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:54 PM   #8
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I empathize with the dream...

But reality often diverges wildly from imagination. I and others have noted that 22K is the tip of the iceberg. Get into the SEARCH and start looking at what others have done and found when doing the renovations - try "full monte" as a good starting off point.

Airstreams are NOT maintenance free, they DO leak, they DO get filoform corrosion especially near the sea, they have a cool factor to die for too. But they are not an investment. They are an indulgence. You're not going to get what you want or 22K.

I know that sounds unkind, but you've got a pink nimbus around your head - and you need to slam the brakes on now, HARD before you find yourself with a half finished un-livable wreck and no more money.

Start searching the remodeling threads - research - think - reseach- think. then do a rigorous self appraisal of what your must haves are and what you're willing pay or do to finish the project.

Knowledge - not wishing is essential before you even THINK about going down this path.
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:39 AM   #9
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The girl with the pink nimbus is back - thanks for all comments! I'd much rather confront all the ugly possibilities from this "before" vantage point than from knee deep or higher into the process.

The overall goal was to have a nice spot to live in for 3-5 yrs. at half the ongoing monthly cost of rented houses (hate apartments).

The thinking was that investing my $22K in an AS was better in the long run than stretching it to make a downpayment on a house and slumming it in the meantime for only $200 a month less than my current house rent. (Can't find anything worth renting for less than $700 a month and will still need furniture, yard maintenance, etc.). My monthly expenses (and any money saved/month) will be covered from my income - I will need to continue to work for at least 5 years.

I hear you loud and clear that $22 K won't get me an AS that I'd want to live in nor would it save me enough to replenish and build up my 401K - and so the quest to live decently and protect myself from a decrepid future continues...nice to know there are wiser heads out here
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Old 04-15-2011, 06:10 PM   #10
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Dear Amuse - now for a "real world" plan. You are probably going to have to choose between style and economy. A financial advisor might be a good idea to show you where you need to be headed for the next several years to have enough to retire with dignity. You're late to get started, but you might be able to make 80% of the goal you need with some doable adjustments that don't include gambling with your 401K.

Subsidized over 55 housing. These are nice basic apartment communities, where your income determines your rent. Since every resident has to be over 55 there are no young gangstas in these places. Looking into them won't cost you anything. Don't imagine what they are like, find out.

Many traditional mobile home parks are slums, but some are really nice. Most mobile home parks now welcome RV's with open arms because an RV uses less water and utilities that a "manufactured home". Find out what the gamut of mobile home parks is in your area.

Many RV parks are looking for "work campers". You stay for free in return for mowing lawns, working the front desk, etc. You'll end up living in an SOB (square old box) camper, but what part of "free" wouldn't make a huge improvement in your retirement options if you put away the saved rent/mortgage for the next 5 years? You might even find an Airstream in the 10 year old range for a good price in decent condition - it won't be designer chic - but slipcovers and curtains could go a long way.

I found a time share campground that was 40 years old and all of the old owners were dying out. They or their heirs were selling the memberships for the cost of the annual dues. I spend 30 weeks per year on that campground for a total of $1200-$1300 per year! The rest of the year costs me $4000 between other RV parks and boondocking while traveling. On top of that I do have the "mother truck" that costs far more than a compact to operate and the duty cell phone/internet to keep me hooked up to the world. I do have a decent disposable income, and I'm not a born cheapskate, but it kills me to realize that my annual housing cost is now what most people spend to keep their homes for 2 months!!!!!

I fulltime by choice because owning a big "this old house" was killing me with maintenance time and cost. I'm HBC (homeless by choice). I've been blessed with many things in my life - especially the quality and number of my friends here! One of my other blessings is that at some point it hit me that bright shiney new things have often quickly lost their luster. I do what you're doing, dream - then reality check the dream. Then decide whether the downsides have taken the shine off of the dream or enhanced it. Go look up posts by "Monah" - she and her hubby have renovated an Airstream that I drool over. I especially LOVE her countertops. Was ready to get them myself until my counter guy made me review the maintenance on hers and on some made from recycled glass. Monah has a home and a "show winning" Airstream. I love her countertops but after careful consideration - I want formica to LIVE with. Why? If I mess it up I won't cry for a month. Monah - I'm happy just LOOKING at your Airstream.


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