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Old 05-27-2012, 04:43 PM   #1
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What's a Real Value for a Used Airstream?

Can anyone explain the huge difference in values between the NADA book prices for used Airstreams and the prices asked by owners in the Forum Classifieds? It seems the NADA values are much lower. Check it out for yourself.
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Old 05-27-2012, 04:53 PM   #2
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If I were selling something I'd set the price and couldn't care less what NADA said.
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Old 05-27-2012, 05:01 PM   #3
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NADA may have a handle on the possible value of used cars, but they are out to lunch when it comes to travel trailers. Especialy vintage Airstreams.
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Old 05-27-2012, 05:52 PM   #4
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Well one that has been properly restored is going to be worth many times one that is going to take years and tens of thousands of dollars to get back into shape. The problem is you never know what you have until you buy it. Documentation is the key to finding value. Without documentation a rebuild is worth nothing. In fact, I would rather have one that has no been messed with than a hack rebuild. I don't know what NADA bases things on but it is probably based on average condition which for a 30-40 year old Airstreams means it is a wreck.

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Old 05-27-2012, 05:53 PM   #5
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So many variables go into an old / restored airstream that it's hard to know where to start. Sometimes they are inflated for no reason other than the person selling is under the assumption that just because it says airstream it's worth a ton of money... but other times they have had many many hours and new parts put into them so they are worth a lot more.
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Old 05-27-2012, 06:19 PM   #6
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Probably also has to do with how NADA sets their prices. I used to think the book value of cars was determined by compilation of the actual selling prices. Now I think NADA just calculstes depreciation, probably at the same rate as for any other brand of trailer.
Good for the insurance companies. Maybe okay for a buyer. But the line I heard from a seller is, "well, just buy one from the blue book then."

I paid double or more over NADA for the 2 I have bought. Only way I can recover any value is through use, which I am working hard on.
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Old 05-27-2012, 06:21 PM   #7
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I was told by an insurance agent that the NADA value for my trailer was based on the origional retail price. I have the origional paper work from the first sale of my trailer and it is almost the same as the current NADA price. Thankfully I was able to get insurance thru Foremost where we agreed on a value for the trailer in case of loss. Hopefully I will never have to test them or the policy.
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:54 PM   #8
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It's not even "restored" - our '95 books at a lot less than we paid, and we got a fair deal. I think NADA is applying some formula for how much they depreciate and not taking into account that they're Airstreams or something.
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:00 PM   #9
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Still, folks, as much as I appreciate your collective responses, which I really do, nobody has indicated any way to price a used Airstream! It just can't be whatever the owner thinks it's worth, and apparently it can't be NADA values either. Does anybody have a reasonable formula or way to calculate used Airstream values?
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhunt
Still, folks, as much as I appreciate your collective responses, which I really do, nobody has indicated any way to price a used Airstream! It just can't be whatever the owner thinks it's worth, and apparently it can't be NADA values either. Does anybody have a reasonable formula or way to calculate used Airstream values?
Look at the classifieds and Rv trader and you will get a good idea of what the Airstream your looking at is worth the smaller ones 16' -19' will bring a higher price due to their popularity. Look at NADA to get the lowest price but expect to pay more. Sorry there is no clear way to price an Airstream.
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Old 05-28-2012, 08:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhunt View Post
It just can't be whatever the owner thinks it's worth
Why can't it?
My son is looking to buy his first car. Book price on the year and model he wants is $1500 but he has yet to locate one for for under $3000. How do you deal with that when the seller says, "thats what I want". You either accept it or walk away.
If you are looking to buy one and its too much for your budget, haggle with the seller. If you get no luck reaching a price thats acceptable to you, move on to the next one.
As far as I am concerned, a seller has to justify his/her asking price to nobody, (but me, if I want to buy it) and can ask whatever they like.
Why should there be a formula? I, like many others have spent considerable hours on my fix up and I would like some of that reflected in my selling price (if I ever decided to sell) Now, whether you, as a buyer are interested in that is of no concern to me. You will buy it or not because
1. If fits your budget
2. It has renos carried out that you are not willing or able to do
If there is a formula involved then its just what I decided my hours and parts are worth.
When looking for our trailer, I saw many that in my opinion, were over priced, but without exception, they all sold.
Anyway, thats my 2 cents, FWIW (although I think my 2 cents is worth much more than book value)

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Old 05-28-2012, 10:14 PM   #12
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Go see as many trailers as you can. This will give you the best idea of what they are ultimately worth, and more importantly what you are willing to pay...
As my father always said, something is worth whatever someone is willing to pay.
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Old 05-28-2012, 11:06 PM   #13
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The simple answer for the spread between NADA and a sellers asking price is "supply and demand". There are fewer and fewer decent vintage airstream remaining and a increasing demand. It has become a precious metal.

HOW TO BUY

Know what TT suites your situation best and what your are willing to spend on that TT. Educate yourself as your searching. What you will find is a direct correlation between the models, age and it's condition. At the end of the day, any owner that is or has used their trailer knows it's worth and the cost to own.

In the case of vintage anything, sellers set the price and the marketplace responds. No formular will nor should account for demand.
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Old 05-28-2012, 11:30 PM   #14
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Keep an eye on Craig's list. You will see a full range of prices. Keep in mind the older AS , usually need new axles, brakes, frame work, etc... I bought my 1969 a 29' ambassador for $3000, but I have already put in $4000. Sadly most is structural and you can't even see it!
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