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ncolondi 06-26-2018 09:11 PM

Difficulty Financing as a Student
 
Hi I'm new to the airstream forums.

I'm currently an undergraduate student but I'm planning to attend medical school in about a year and a half. As part of my plan for maintaining cost of living down, and starting to build equity, I want to purchase an airstream (globetrotter or classic are currently under consideration) as my full time living quarters. I have a great credit score, usually stays within mid to high 700s and I will have at least 10% down if not more. I'm planning to have my payments be taken care of by my student loans during medical school, but for the first few months of owning the airstream I will probably receive some assistance from my parents. My question is, I've seen some of the RV lenders like Good Sam and KOA say they do not inquire about income until you borrow over $150,000. Are the dealers the same? Or will I need proof of income? If proof of income is required I would not have anything to show other than the money I receive monthly from my parents and the refund I receive from school each year.

I'm also considering a co-buyer in the form of my parents, but I do not want to have to use them unless it is absolutely necessary. I don't own a home (since I move about every 2-3 years), but I own my car (no lease involved).

This is quite honestly the most cost effective option for living, I will probably not have a steady home base for a few years, which means having to buy and sell a house every 3-4 years is not an option. Renting ends up being extensively more over time with rent being increased every year, possibility of having to move due to bad landlords.


Any advice is greatly appreciated.

bweybright 06-26-2018 09:36 PM

Welcome to the wonderful life of loving Airstreams....now get ready for direct and often pointed advice.


Starting with me: My first suggestion would be to really ask what you are trying to achieve. Getting the bucks for an Airstream is relatively easy compared to your goals of doing med school. Having had several neighbors and friends go through med school my next question to you so we on this forum can better answer you is: Why? Following up with do you really want to be cleaning and dumping black and gray water tanks and fixing broken stuff when you have to study for a practical exam tomorrow?


From what I have seen via friends and neighbors who are now doctors is that it is much easier to call the landlord when the toilet is plugged than fix it yourself...while cramming for that practical.


Oh, and be careful of labeling that student assistance "income" for a loan as it then becomes taxable by the IRS. Just some insight from doing taxes for a family member doing an advanced degree and receiving cash from the school in the various weird ways they do.



The dream of having an Airstream is valid...it just might take 30 years to get there as it has many others before you. Until then tents, tent campers, even cabins with friends can fill a lot of voids until you are able to reach your dream.


A bit more info about your objective then things will really take off for you.

ncolondi 06-26-2018 09:51 PM

I definitely understand. Medical school is a big endeavor one that I'm fully committed towards, I've been around medicine and doctors my whole life.

As to the dumping and cleaning of black and grey tanks, I have no issues with it. I also forgot to say I will not be alone. This is a collaborative endeavor between me and my fiancé. It is a joint effort in which he is committed to me having the best environment for my studies, and we currently have landlords that will not respond to my air conditioner isn't cooling for over 2 months. It is not a chance I'm willing to take again in a strange city.

Hittenstiehl 06-26-2018 10:04 PM

We are definitely on your side with the Airstream dream that's why we're all on this forum. Plus we commend you on your educational and career goals.

That said why not just a regular, clean, used inexpensive trailer or rent a trailer in a trailer park.

An Airstream in Texas heat will need quite a strong or couple of air-conditioners in the heat of summer.

ncolondi 06-26-2018 10:27 PM

We've seen the quality of other trailers and are not impressed. Plus we want this to be a long term investment, that yields the maximum return. We've compared most major manufacturers and found the quality subpar, both models we are considering will be fitted with two air conditioners. We actually visited a dealership when it was 100+ degrees outside and found the a/c output in each to be more than adequate.

Rocinante 06-26-2018 11:10 PM

You're missing a key element in your plan, though a previous poster has referred to it. To be blunt, RV's always be breakin'. Always. No matter what RV you buy, used or new, something will always be breaking. You will need available time and/or money to get those things fixed. We bought our Airstream brand new, and we spent two years getting things fixed under warranty. Since then, it's been on our dime. We manage fine, but we can allot time and/or money to get stuff fixed when it inevitably breaks.

Don't believe me? Check this out: on GoFundMe there are, at this very moment, roughly 560 requests for money so broke folks can get their RV's fixed (search for "RV repair"). Nearly 600 people right now, who thought they could live for cheap in an RV, and then found out too late that RV living is not as inexpensive as they needed it to be. Something busted, they're too broke to fix it, and now they are literally begging strangers for help.

Don't be that person. Rent an apartment with an air conditioner that works. Save the RV for later in life when you'll have the time and/or money to take care of it. Best wishes for a great med school experience!

Oh, and if you're viewing an RV as an "investment," I have some swamp land in Florida you should buy instead. Seriously. Even Airstreams, though they retain their value pretty well, are *not* investments. ;)

swakyaby 06-27-2018 02:41 AM

Rocinante's advice is spot on. I have been through medical school myself. Everything about living in an Airstream takes more time and management compared to renting an apartment. Studying for college does not compare to the intense time commitment of medical school and later medical residency. Living in an airstream is an additional stress that you don't need when you need to manage your time and your sleep most effectively. Trying to save money in the short term in this case I would not advise. You will be able to pay off your educational loans once you end training and begin a group or solo practice. Any financial advantage, if any, of living in an Airstream vs renting an apartment is not enough to give you this additional time stress.

I also would not continue to rent a place that doesn't provide air-conditioning in Texas.

You will stop moving around every 2-3 years once you begin medical practice. After a few years of paying off your educational loans, you will most likely want to put a down payment on a home. After a few years of paying down your mortgage and paying off all other debt, then it makes sense to consider an Airstream. I know that a lot of people live in and work from an Airstream, but medical training is so different from that.

Lily&Me 06-27-2018 04:28 AM

Ditto to what everyone else said.

We commend you on your dream but suggest you delay gratification for a later time...when you are done with medical school, working and paying down school debt.

There is a reason that you are finding financing an Airstream difficult at this point in your life...students are high risk, and notorious for taking on more debt than they can handle.

You mentioned building up “equity” by buying an Airstream, but our rigs depreciate every day that we have them.

They don’t gain equity over time, like a conventional home would.

In addition to a payment on your Airstream of choice, you would have lot rent and utilities, insurance and repair responsibilities/costs. You would also need a tow vehicle.

If it were me, I would find the cheapest housing option I could, like an efficiency apartment, finish medical school, get a job and admire for some years a picture of your chosen rig tacked to your refrigerator.

Dreams are good, all are not meant to be fulfilled at the time we start dreaming.

Good luck to you. :)

Maggie

70CT 06-27-2018 05:45 AM

Unlike a traditional residence a travel trailer is a depreciating asset. There is no maximum return here. You loose money on this 9 times out of 10. Taking out 6.5% or greater in student loan money to pay more interest on a trailer isn’t a great financial decision in my opinion. I would guess you are in the hole another 6% or more if you finance the trailer. On a 15 year note for a 100k trailer with ~10% down you are paying over 100k in interest at 12%. You can’t make that back up. IMHO

quietguy 06-27-2018 09:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lily&Me (Post 2120614)
Ditto to what everyone else said.

We commend you on your dream but suggest you delay gratification for a later time...when you are done with medical school, working and paying down school debt.

There is a reason that you are finding financing an Airstream difficult at this point in your life...students are high risk, and notorious for taking on more debt than they can handle.

You mentioned building up “equity” by buying an Airstream, but our rigs depreciate every day that we have them.

They don’t gain equity over time, like a conventional home would.

In addition to a payment on your Airstream of choice, you would have lot rent and utilities, insurance and repair responsibilities/costs. You would also need a tow vehicle.

If it were me, I would find the cheapest housing option I could, like an efficiency apartment, finish medical school, get a job and admire for some years a picture of your chosen rig tacked to your refrigerator.

Dreams are good, all are not meant to be fulfilled at the time we start dreaming.

Good luck to you. :)

Maggie

This and all the others before this post.

Trust us. We’ve lived through the journey you’re about to begin.

Learn from other’s mistakes lest yea repeat the same.

brick1 06-27-2018 10:01 AM

One issue I did not see discussed is where you will park the Airstream. Campground? Have you checked the monthly cost of a site?
brick

Countryboy59 06-27-2018 10:39 AM

Don’t forget you need a $50k-$70k tow vehicle for that.

PhxRising 06-27-2018 10:45 AM

ncolondi


You show great wisdom in seeking the advice of others who've gone before you. There is even greater wisdom in allowing the experiences of others to reshape and compliment your original plan. But it sure is challenging to be "open" to feedback which goes against your dream or hopes. Its even harder when you have your heart set on something as fun as an Airstream.


If your current landlord isn't providing the support that he's contracted to deliver on, then move. There are other places out there.



That said, don't let your camping dream die! Go buy a 5-10 year old pop-up for cash or rent something (especially if you've never owned a camper before). Think of camping as your reward for a hard semester and go out and enjoy nature. Give your mind and body a chance to get used to the experience of the RV lifestyle.



What you're not hearing anyone encourage you to do is further strap yourself down with debt (you will have a hard enough time fighting that debt without a massively depreciating item such as a camper - yes even an Airstream.)



Final thought for you (and this one is a game-changer)... Consider enrolling you and your fiance in a "Financial Peace University" course (Dave Ramsey). "FPU" is 9 weeks of even more wisdom about handling money (and all things that swirl around money). Removing the stress of debt, getting on a solid financial plan, and enjoying a happy marriage and life will pay you back dividends like you won't believe.



You have a ton of great things (and some challenging things) ahead of you with your school, career, marriage and family. Strive to do great in each of those things and in the future, that Airstream (which you pay cash for) will be a total blessing instead of a financial burden.



Best of luck in your future!

albret 06-27-2018 11:16 AM

Don't buy an Airstream now. That $130K purchase will cost you interest for the rest of your life from student loans. Heaven only know the burden on your co-signer if you default on the loan.

How are you going to pull a 30+ foot trailer. Your car will not do it. You will need a truck and that can set you back about $70+ for a 3/4 ton vehicle.

You must also make paymens for a trailer, payment for a parking space, power, sewer issues, need water connection, and maintenance funds to keep it working. Don't forget all the other extras like tow hitch, chemicals, propane, wheel blocks, sewer hoses, water hoses, INSURANCE, taxes, and yearly recreational fee from the state you live in.

If it is cold, then you need MORE propane, power, and away to retain the heat in the trailer. Remember you are living in an expensive "tin can" that transmits cold and heat faster. (I love my "tin can, but it is an issue you must consider)

akmoores 06-27-2018 01:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Countryboy59 (Post 2120767)
Don’t forget you need a $50k-$70k tow vehicle for that.

I agree with all of the above comments, and add to the seriousness of those replies. I have owned six Airstream and have thoroughly enjoyed them all. The Airstream itself is a wonderfully designed trailer. However, the problems begin with the essential add-ons, the necessary gadgets: A/c, furnaces, inverters, sensors, etc. etc. etc. You would be better off delaying the painful, financial burden of owning a wonderfully designed Airstream; very similar to a Ferrari - you might be able to purchase one, but the maintenance will put you in the psuper’s house.

Good Luck!

Tony

SouthForkAS 06-27-2018 01:41 PM

Rent is cheaper than gas

Sgt.Estes 06-27-2018 01:47 PM

Hello everyone, OP’s fiancé here. Thank you all kindly for chiming in. Any and all advice is welcome, even when it is pointed.

Clearing up a few things here may help simplify what my beautiful lady was trying to articulate.

Regarding the fiscal aspect, we have more than enough means to purchase the Aurstream of our choosing. The financial burden is not solely on her. Currently we live in a brand new three bedroom house and pay somewhere between 2-3 times the cost of the airstream. The airstream payment, factoring in 5-700$ per month to dock, maintenance, insurance, etc still cuts out current bills by over %50. We are well within our means regardless of choice.

Renting is no longer a desired option. We choose not to throw away money that we will never see again. Buying a house is not an issue, but due to needing to move every 3-4 years for hospital residency, specialty, and sub-specialty education, we want to stay away from real estate and have a mobile means of living. Hence an RV , and hence the Airstream.

We will not be paying for 20-30 years on the camper. We can and will pay it off within 8 years. Her contribution to all of this for the next 4 years is allocated within her student loans already. If not spent on an RV it will be spent on rent or mortgage. Our preference is in 8 years to have a tangible result of the money directed to “living.” Even at %50 depreciation, which is hyprbolic, we would have more of a return on investment than if we were to rent.

Regarding the tow vehicle, I believe a new F 350 super duty is more than adequate. ;) with that noted, it will be parked 9 months out of the year. Only moved if necessary for maintenance or within 10 miles to the next RV resort. Summers we will lightly travel around Texas for family visits. We currently travel the world during summers to explore and visit family and yes I do mean global travel. Diesel and docking fees are substantially cheaper ;)

Maintenance: as an engineer who grew up in shops and around technically skilled people I have picked up many different “hats” that allow me to offset a lot of maintenance needs. Other than that, warranty and you kind folks should be more than enough.

We are in this for many reasons:
1- reduce our cost of living from its current bloated state.
2 - the advantage of being mobile.
3 - help OP build her first major source of equity.
4 - the lifestyle and adventure ( this includes the ups and downs of ownership.
5 - avoid the fluctuation of economy and real estate.

Summary, again thank you for the advice. Bringing this full circle, OP wanted to know how her status of income currently being student loans would affect the financing process. If the dealership feels this is inadequate, then we have other means to finance. Co-buyers and co-signers, or myself. She just wanted to try and do it herself if possible. Please again keep in mind this is a separate matter than affordability, as this is not an issue. Financially on paper this is what makes sense to us, cuts our current bills in half, and offers us a lifestyle of flexibility that is needed as we transition over the next 8 years.

Best Regards.
Gunnery Sgt. Estes U.S.M.C.

Wayne&Sam 06-27-2018 01:59 PM

I can't answer your original question, but you have certainly thought this though with the considerations that matter to you. Go for it!

thiel 06-27-2018 02:07 PM

Student status is high risk and low income. If they are willing to give you a loan, the rate will be high enough to completely wipe out the idea of equity value (vs opportunities lost in savings or other investment vehicles.)

Sgt.Estes 06-27-2018 02:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam (Post 2120875)
I can't answer your original question, but you have certainly thought this though with the considerations that matter to you. Go for it!

Thank you! And, thank you to everyone.

We definitely have thought this through. I have owned and lived in campers previously. Currently my father lives and travels in one and lives it. However; I’m not confident in the workmanship and final quality of other brands. The monocoque design and buck-riveting, gives me more assurance of structural integrity. I know at least my “shell” with maintenance should hold up longer than any previously mentioned “pop-up,” manufactured home, or other suggested option.

IF, someone here would like to recommend a “better” built camper that doesn’t fall in the category of “class A” I’m all ears. ;)

We are excited about our journey, learning from great people on this forum, and the adventures ahead that come with the AS territory. We understand it’s not all puppy dogs and rainbows.

Best Regards


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