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Old 07-03-2017, 04:19 PM   #1
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2019 27' International
2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
Fort Saunders , Wyoming
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,124
Sellers and Buyers of Used Airstreams...

I was a seller of a clean and well maintained 2006 23 foot Safari. My first task was to determine WHAT similar Airstreams were selling on Craigslist in our area of Denver, Colorado.

I looked for Airstreams listed for sale in the local papers. Mostly Dealers.

There were three or more 30 foot Airstreams and no 23's or 25's for sale. One was very nice, stored inside a rental storage. Just too long for us.

I checked other areas on Craigslist to get comparisons of location and location.

We paid about $40,000 for our 23 foot Safari in 2006.
We sold the trailer off of Craigslist August 2014 for $27,500.

I took pictures of the exterior and had one dent above the gravel guard on the door side of the trailer. Originally I towed with a 2006 Tundra with no issue backing up at any angle. The 2012 Tundra had bulging tail lights... discovered when back up at a sharper angle that never was an earlier issue, but made contact to the aluminum. The tail light suffered no damage, but it was probably easily repaired.

The interior photos were general shots and the interior was as perfect as one could expect in a 8 year old trailer, stored mostly indoors. All weak points within the trailer were upgraded myself. Everything worked with no issues.

Craigslist is a wonderful medium to sell about anything. Deal with local individuals is the caveat. I had quick responses at asking $28,500, but the early interested buyers needed to borrow money to pay... that much. Two later had checked on financing, but then I already had TWO buyers. As a seller, I got the idea that I could have asked more and negotiated down to $29,000... but now I know better. The 23 foot and 25 foot are a perfect fit for more trailer buyers... You will find that out and a premium no doubt can be asked.

After less than a week I had One Buyer that qualified for financing BEFORE looking for trailers. A second buyer's wife had passed and he sold his RV and the 23 foot was perfect for him and would write the check while looking. I had already taken a deposit and gave the first buyer a deadline. I would have preferred to have sold to the older gentleman, but a deal is a deal.

The first buyer I began to dislike quickly. The agreed price was less than the $27,500, but it was written that after a deadline he would have to pay the $27,500. But at the last hour we banked at the same bank and the deal was made.

The story is: if the SELLER likes you and why you want their pride and joy... you have a better chance to complete a purchase. BUT you must be able to close the deal quickly. Tire kickers are everywhere and try to weasel down the price AFTER an agreement, as if no one else was interested.

Not long afterwards I see MY old 23 foot on Craigslist for $1000 more than I sold it for. The buyer's girlfriend and teenage daughter(s) did not like camping.

It sold, as the new buyer emailed from the Airforums to tell me he thinks he now owned my trailer, which he did. I have not heard back from him, but my Airstream was 100% roadworthy with good NON Marathon 14" tires. Sometimes honesty may not be the most fair way to pick a buyer, but... I still regret the buyer visiting his son in Denver, from Montana, was just a telephone call sooner.

Our 25 foot is absolutely perfect fit for our Boondocking. The longer trailers were much too long. The single axles were out of our needs. For resale the 23 and 25 foot are, in my opinion, the easiest to sell with most interested buyers.

If you have any question(s) about the other details of a Craigslist listing or how I proceeded to avoid being scammed... Post on this Thread. Do not PM me as no one learns one thing this way.
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Old 07-03-2017, 04:39 PM   #2
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2019 27' International
2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
Fort Saunders , Wyoming
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As A Buyer:

Have your financing up front approved and local.

Be able to show the seller you have the cash in your account.

Know what length of trailer you, really, really want. To resell a mistake may cost you.

Check serial numbers on the title and trailer. Check for a clear title with no liens on the back. Check with DMV if not sure.

Have someone who knows Airstreams INSPECT before you pay. A 'bargain' may be a total nightmare in the deal. The seller wants to DUMP it quick in that case.

The first customer who could pay up front... would be my first choice.
The customer with pre approved financing... second choice.

Buying a very old remodeled, original or 'restored' Airstream... be careful. You may have to be hands on and very mechanically minded... with a deep pocket.

Be patient. Airstreams come up for sale when you least expect it. Mine is an example. A 'steal' will need to be examined very closely... at a RV Lot or even a Dealer selling on consignment.

While you are at it... if you do not have a hitch and it will work for you that the previous owner has on hand... asked to have that thrown into the deal.

Some day our 25 foot will no longer be used and needs to find a new home. It will be years, but there are owners thinking about selling and tomorrow it may show up where you least expect.
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Old 07-03-2017, 05:10 PM   #3
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A few years ago we purchased a used Airstream Class B motorhome, used it for several years and sold it for a premium price. Here are a few things I remember from the purchase and sale. Some of these comments will be similar to Ray's.

On Buying:

We looked and looked and looked for what seemed like a few months on Craigslist, RV Trader, Air Forums Classifieds, B190.com and other places for a van. If you think your certain Airstream trailer is hard to find, I can assure you finding a specific kind of B190 is equally difficult.

We already had phone calls with several people, not tire-kicking, but serious phone calls and identified two or three vans that were not suitable due to condition or other issues. We looked at a van in person and found it was not as represented on the phone. So with the purchasing hunt going nowhere we were quite disappointed. We finally started telling friends (mostly Airstream owners) that we were in the market and within days we found a van. Buying from this particular seller was a bit odd/quirky but the van was in good condition, had service records, a few things didn't work but I thought I could fix those (and did). A week or two later we were beaming with our newfound beauty of a van!

I guess my point is don't get discouraged if you don't find what you're looking for. It may take a few months. The internet is a beautiful thing but good old-fashioned networking put us in the right place at the right time.

On Selling:

We made several significant improvements to our van. We upgraded the steering stabilizer, upgraded the shocks and further upgraded the rear suspension with an anti-roll bar and helper springs. We upgraded the battery system for the "house" and the charger/converter. Every system worked - the water heater, the refrigerator, the shower, toilet, etc. We even included the basics such a leveler blocks (made of wood), water hose, a 30A extension cord, a set of simple tools. All the buyer had to do was put their clothes, linens, kitchen implements, and food in the van and it was ready to go.

We asked a premium price for our van. Yes, it had a few more miles than when we bought it. Yes, it was two years older. But all the systems worked and we demonstrated that to the seller. We even put together a first-timers binder that explained how every system operated in addition to including the original Airstream Owner's Manual.

When we listed the van on Craigslist we did not use a phone number. I suggest avoiding phone numbers in your listing. Instead, rely on the Craigslist email exchange until you are comfortable talking directly to the potential buyer(s).

We had several people interested. A few tire-kickers but we dropped them quickly. We allowed some flexibility in the price but only after we met in person. We kept of list of who called and when, telling everyone that the first person with money in our hands was going to get the van. We didn't accept any wire transfers in advance, didn't accept any dealer calls, other "monkey business."

So do your research and ask a reasonable amount (even if a bit of a premium) and be prepared to back up your asking price. Make a distinction of why your Airstream is worth more than others on the market. Be willing to walk away if the buyer low-balls you.

We sold our van to the 4th or 5th person that contacted us and they were very pleased to have found our van. They had almost given up looking for a Class B motorhome because so many were in such poor condition and had so many had appliances that didn't work or couldn't be proven to work. We're happy they found us and our van is now with a good home.

on edit: Let me clarify what I mean by premium. We did sell the van for more than we paid but we didn't make money due to all the upgrades we installed. That wasn't an issue for us. We didn't buy to flip it. We used it for two years and had a great time. We sold our van for about 15% more than similar year model vans were selling for at the time.
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Got a cooped-up feeling, gotta get out of town, got those Airstream campin' blues...
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Old 07-04-2017, 09:44 AM   #4
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This obviously has hit a dead end and lets bury it.

Unfamiliar trailer buyers have a distinct disadvantage when looking at any used Airstream. They have no clue what they are doing. They would not know how to test the water pump, or if the hot water tank operates. The list of important components are totally ignored. A used anything is SOLD AS IS. The individual selling has no warranty to offer, nor needs to list one or any problems with his trailer.

An experienced Airstream owner understands that the water pressure needs to be tested. Black, Grey and Fresh Water tanks need to be checked for leaks. The AC working. Ceiling fans. Leaks around windows. Rusted frame. Refrigerator operates... flawlessly. ... and on. Thousands of dollars of components. Good luck finding a seller that will demonstrate everything is working. If you find this owner... pay the extra money he wants. You will not be disappointed! You get what you are paying for... this time.

WHY is this trailer being offered for sale in the first place? Many stories just do not make sense. Think like a detective interviewing the guy who just robbed you, but be discrete. Only a small number of people flip cars and trailers and they disappear.

NEVER buy someone else's project rebuild in progress. The proverbial 'Money Pit'.

Even at a dealership, they make no claims as to anything working on any new trailer on the lot. Good luck. "Its covered by warranty". Well... when you find a major problem, or minor... try getting it into the shop right away. Reminds me of the 12 month, 12,000 mile automobile warranties. This is not much different and the 'buck passing' is contagious.

Try having DEAD batteries replaced on a new trailer on the lot... until AFTER purchase. Ask... you will get an answer that you will not believe.

Having PAID inspectors to help you during your search is not a bad idea. The Seller who is selling a true personal Lemon Trailer, will not be happy and may insist you take a walk. Even then, like a Home Inspector, cannot guarantee every issue has been discovered. Even a new trailer already may have problems just under the aluminum skin, or behind the walls of the shower.

Be very careful. Our trailer was road worthy the day we sold it. Others... for sale by owner... you need to know something about one. My buyer not only knew nothing about Airstreams, but had his 'Brake Controller' laying on the floor of his Tundra before towing off the Bank's Parking Lot. I told him it was probably better than he not even have the controller plugged in...

There are honest buyers who assume the seller is telling them the truth. Buy from a Seller who takes you on the Show and Tell how everything is... indeed working.

Do not expect an employee at a RV Lot to help. They cannot even keep their obligations on time. My neighbors have a SOB RV that took months to get a slide out motor replaced. They had a hundred on the back lot for repairs. This is in Las Vegas.

If you do not know what you are doing, this is a Mini Home on wheels. Components are expensive and the labor at $100 an hour is not 'chicken feed' either.

May this thread rest in peace, but please think about your purchase before you buy. It could be the Pride and Joy of a satisfied owner, or a nightmare with a beautiful skin of aluminum.
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Old 07-04-2017, 11:50 AM   #5
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Hailey , Idaho
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A respectful Independence Day, Mister Ray
Re your statement
Be patient. Airstreams come up for sale when you least expect it. Mine is an example. A 'steal' will need to be examined very closely... at a RV Lot or even a Dealer selling on consignment. Definitely be patient but once in awhile things go one's way and ASs fall into your lap. In early 2010, out of the clear blue my wife, of all people, told me to go look at a 2010 20ft FC for sale in Bend, OR...the owner had used it ONCE!!!....didn't like it...sold it a month later for $36k...with the WD hitch etc. I hadn't even looked at campers, much less ASs, in fact had just bought a new tent, but this was too good to pass up. So...back to your advice re having the cash or financing up front, if you do...you'll be ready the minute "a steal" comes up and....just once in awhile...they do. Safe travels, and NO FIREWORKS in the woods!..jon
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Old 07-04-2017, 09:05 PM   #6
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2018 25' International
Sioux Falls , South Dakota
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Appreciate your advice on finding a 50 amp 25' RB twin Intl. Sig.

Ray,

We will really appreciate your help.

We are returning to the US in the late Fall of this year.

We are looking forward to seeing our home country after spending many years over seas. We have studied the advice in this forum, and have decided to See The USA in an Airstream.

We are looking to find a lovingly used 25' International Signature with a Rear Twin Beds floor plan. We are especially interested in one with a Model Year younger than 2015 with 50 amp Service and 2 Ducted Air Conditioners.

We are willing to pickup our new home anywhere in the mainland US. We will make sure to have the trailer pre-inspected by a professional. We will also make sure to have final settlement at a local bank of the seller's choosing.

We need your advice on where to begin our search.

Thank you for your time in reading this post.
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Old 07-05-2017, 02:02 PM   #7
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2008 27' Classic FB
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Currently looking two: Size matters if you are planning on living in an AS. Size matters if you are also going to be traveling while you are living in an AS. Where besides a dealer can you look inside one? I don't want to travel 300 miles to an individual seller only to look at his dimensions and layout. Is it kosher to walk up to strangers in a RV park and ask to look inside? Also since I am a newbie, where do I find a reputable inspector? I looked on this site by state but most of the inspectors haven't posted in several years and none have responded to my inquires??
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Old 07-05-2017, 03:08 PM   #8
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2019 27' International
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2006 23' Safari SE
Fort Saunders , Wyoming
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We give regular tours of our Airstream when traveling.

A proud Airstream owner will gloss over the small stuff and always gives you their opinion of theirs and other lengths.

After looking at a lot of 2017's today in Las Vegas... you cannot keep up with the changes in layout, linoleum changes, formica colors, microwave under the propane cook top, etc. Now they all have the rear camera option, recall is $675 and the short awning on the opposite the door side, maybe was $1275 as added options. Microwave under cook top is a change, eliminating the fan to vent refrigerator.. heat. Prefer the oven to the microwave... but it is a good idea.

The ONE 23 foot had the 15" wheels and new Endurance GY tires, not the 14" 'death tires'. Lots of 26 to 28 footers. A variety of 16 to 25 footers. All with the Endurance Goodyear 'improved' ST tires. Hope you find one you like. Prices are UP which makes our used trailer... an attractive used Airstream some day.
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