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Old 02-02-2018, 12:24 PM   #1
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Overpriced?

I’m very seriously considering the full time airstream life. I have been looking for a quality turn-key trailer that I won’t have to do a ton of work to in order to move in. I am going this weekend to look at a 1973 Argosy 24’. It looks in really good shape and has been cared for well. The seller has repainted it, redone the plumbing, put a new toilet in it, new floor, repacked the bearings & put new tires on it. The list price is $12K. The ad link is:

https://tulsa.craigslist.org/rvs/d/1973-argosy-24t-vintage/6452141790.html

I know that restored airstreams sell for a premium but this seems overpriced by quite a bit. The seller told me that he has “wiggle room” on the price but how much should I realistically offer for it? (Assuming it checks out in person i.e. no leaks, floor rot, etc.)
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Old 02-02-2018, 03:11 PM   #2
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Well, I would start out by demanding a discount to offset the horrible orange trim the current owner put on some of the interior components.

My rule of thumb is that $10-12k should buy a fully functional trailer that is ready to go camping. If this trailer really lives up to the seller's description, then $12k with some wiggle room probably isn't outrageous.

The problem with this trailer is that they didn't do a full rennovation of the trailer, they just did some fairly superficial "spruce-ups." It is hard to get a read on the overall condition of the exterior since there is only 2 exterior pictures, but one picture shows what looks like a couple dents in the front lower street-side corner, and the other shows a big, nasty dent in the front of the roof--very undesireable. If they haven't changed out the axle (they don't mention it), it probably needs to be done--the rubber rods in the torsion axles only last about 20 years. The refrigerator is also missing--that will set you back $6-700 for a new RV style fridge. They also say "wired for 110 inside and out," which makes me wonder if they ripped out the 12V system--something else to check. When they say they "redid the plumbing," what does that mean? If they upgraded the lines to pex and installed a grey water tank, then great. If all they did was repair some copper lines that split in a hard freeze, then that doesn't add any value. That new toilet also looks like it is overhanging the edge of the platform it is mounted on...sloppy.

Do a thorough inspection. If you go to the Portal page and scroll down, you will find the Inspector's checklist. Use this list to fully evaluate the trailer. Pay particular attention to the condition of the subfloor immediately next to the walls, especially in the very rear, under the bathroom cabinet. Trailers this age are very prone to floor rot. If all your seller did was slap down new flooring over rotten subfloor, you may be in for a nasty surprise.

The more I look at this ad, the more I would conclude that this looks like a trailer flip. They might have picked up the trailer for a couple thousand, spread some paint around, and now they are looking to make a nice tidy profit for some rather minimal improvements. Tread carefully. Most trailers this age really need a complete rebuild, a little paint isn't going to make this thing safe to live in full time.

good luck!
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Old 02-02-2018, 05:13 PM   #3
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I think $12k is a decent price for decent trailer. We paid $13.5 for a ready to camp in 1989 32' AS Excella (it had rear subfloor replaced at some point) We did find some floor rot (dry) under the fridge (12"x14") since the condensation tube had not been routed out of the trailer. However no leak damage noted under the windows/door when we removed the carpet. We replaced things as we wanted and were able to enjoy the trailer as we did. We may have gotten lucky, but a trailer is worth what someone will pay for it. If yours checks out fairly solid, then it's worth it. Any cheaper will most likely cost more in the long run. We have less than $20k altogether including new rims/tires, a/c, toilet, converter and flooring, adding new axles in the Spring (+$2k). Axle replacement should be planned for if unit is 25yrs or older in an AS... Good luck
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