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Old 07-03-2017, 10:06 AM   #1
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Question Value of Pre-Owned AS Trailers

I am in the market for a 4-7 year old 23' FB (Queen) to 25' trailer.

I understand the premise of something being worth what someone else is will to pay. I understand that sellers want as much as they can get and buyers want to pay as little as possible. And lastly, I understand that a "good" deal is one where both parties do not exactly jump up and down after shaking hands.

All that being said, I am an engineer by education and profession and have a difficult time being happy (or unhappy lol) unless the deal makes fiscal sense for me. I am sure, as well, most sellers feel the same.

I have done the typical on-line research and concluded the following as a very general rule of thumb. Buyers should have paid roughly 21% off of MSRP. After two years, the trailer depreciates about another 20% or about 10% per year. Thus a three year old unit would be about 40% less than MSRP. After the three years the depreciation flattens or levels out to about 5% per year for another 7 years.

I know supply and demand and size desirability kick in but to those AS experts "in the know", does this sound "about" right"?
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Old 07-03-2017, 11:01 AM   #2
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I'm not an AS owner in the know, since I've only bought one AS (new) and have never sold one, but along with the things you mentioned, I would also weigh any upgrades that might have been done, and also how well it's been taken care of. You'd probably have to compare some similar models that are in the price range you have in mind, and be ready to buy when you find the right one.
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Old 07-03-2017, 11:02 AM   #3
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I don't think you can follow a rigid format but that might be realistic to some degree?
The length of the trailer plays a big roll in the depreciation, with new trailers the price goes up as they get longer and with used trailers they seem to drop the fastest to point were they become less valuable than the shorter compact models which can end up selling for more than they were new.
Maybe future trends will be different, who knows?
Just my observation of course.
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Old 07-03-2017, 11:05 AM   #4
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Also whether or not they still make the model new is a factor. Ya didn't say if it's any sorta special edition but that would apply. I had a 15' trailer that the manufacturer stopped makin and it went way up in value and I ended up sellin it for more than I bought it for so ya never know.
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Old 07-03-2017, 11:21 AM   #5
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Hi

One thing that messes with your math is the fact that the prices have been going up year to year. For various crazy reasons, cars, trucks, and trailers track the *current* MSRP to some extent. Next up, are you buying from a dealer or is it a private sale? They dealer will always make something on the deal. Yet another issue is the time of year (this is high season) and the region you are buying in ....

Lots of messy variables.

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Old 07-03-2017, 11:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vpocino View Post
I am in the market for a 4-7 year old 23' FB (Queen) to 25' trailer.

I understand the premise of something being worth what someone else is will to pay. I understand that sellers want as much as they can get and buyers want to pay as little as possible. And lastly, I understand that a "good" deal is one where both parties do not exactly jump up and down after shaking hands.

All that being said, I am an engineer by education and profession and have a difficult time being happy (or unhappy lol) unless the deal makes fiscal sense for me. I am sure, as well, most sellers feel the same.

I have done the typical on-line research and concluded the following as a very general rule of thumb. Buyers should have paid roughly 21% off of MSRP. After two years, the trailer depreciates about another 20% or about 10% per year. Thus a three year old unit would be about 40% less than MSRP. After the three years the depreciation flattens or levels out to about 5% per year for another 7 years.

I know supply and demand and size desirability kick in but to those AS experts "in the know", does this sound "about" right"?
I would agree with your theses because one needs to have a logical starting point. However as you start shopping in earnest it won't take you long to realize where the market is on the various models. Some are more desirable than other.s Certain models and sizes are made in greater quantity than others. One thing I can tell you from personal experience is that buying or selling used Airstream from or to a dealer is the least desirable. Settle on a model and size and work the classified which in itself is a competitive market, and you will end up with the fairest deal.
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Old 07-03-2017, 12:19 PM   #7
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Your value calculations will probably keep you from buying a great Airstream at a fair price. You need to lighten up a little. Used Airstreams are red hot right now it's a sellers market. I know if I was selling mine and you came by and explained your theory on what my trailer was worth you would be leaving without a great trailer.
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Old 07-03-2017, 12:29 PM   #8
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AS Value

Thank you all for weighing in especially so quickly. From what I've seen on this forum's classifieds thus far, the 23'-25' (4-7 year old) mid trim level do not seem to match up with my thesis. I've lightly inquired a few times on 3 year old units where the asking price is 25% lower than MSRP. It seems on its face that people are looking to get out just marginally less than they put in because they "havn't used it much and it is well taken care of." Kind of reminds me of the situation where you buy a $35,000 electric car and get a $7,500 tax credit from the government and then try to sell for $30,000 after a year ignoring the tax credit you received.

I know that the asking price is obviously subject to negotiation and I don't mind offering significantly less but sometimes that really starts off the convo in a bad way whereas I always prefer starting in the same ballpark.

I will keep trying and eventually land something. AS owners seem to really make a connection with their trailers and have a hard time parting with their "investment" that really was an expense.

THX

Again, thank you to everyone for your input.
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Old 07-03-2017, 12:37 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Vpocino View Post
I always prefer starting in the same ballpark.

.
That is doable but it takes a lot of time and patience. Plus you need to be ready to move immediately.
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Old 07-03-2017, 12:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wavelength View Post
Your value calculations will probably keep you from buying a great Airstream at a fair price. You need to lighten up a little. Used Airstreams are red hot right now it's a sellers market. I know if I was selling mine and you came by and explained your theory on what my trailer was worth you would be leaving without a great trailer.
Very well said, Wavelength. The OP's philosophy of buying and selling used appears to have been conditioned by his experience with used car dealers. Going in to a transaction with the mind set that you will be (at least) marginally unhappy with the deal (i.e.-paying too much) predisposes you to try and low-ball the seller no matter what his asking price. A dealer who is already asking a high ball price may take this as an opening to negotiation. But a private seller who is more likely just seeking a fair price will tell you to take a hike. The OP will probably miss out on some good deals and spend a lot more time seeking the lowest price....making him all the more "unhappy" with the process.
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Old 07-03-2017, 12:52 PM   #11
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I Like YOUR Logic...

However, your reality will be what you and your seller agree to. Period. Find a desperate seller - with the AS you're seeking - and you may get it at the price you desire. Equally, if you are after a unique model or in-demand configuration, be prepared to offer and negotiate accordingly. Word of advice: Don't purchase these types of toys thinking your algorithm works within your engineering frame of logic. This stuff works JUST like the game of Monopoly. Position is everything; you just hold on to your cash until the right deal comes along. The other side is going to do the same. Many people on the Forum truly believe the dealers are discounting the MSRP. The RV industry does very well making you feel you pulled a great deal. You're going to get a better price from the guy/girl that found out the RV lifestyle is just not to their liking - for whatever reason.
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Old 07-03-2017, 01:27 PM   #12
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I have your desired trailer, 23 FB butI'm not selling but have sold a number of big ticket items in the past. If I were selling and you showed up with that mindset, I'd happily tell you to take a hike and I'd never look back. One such item for sale ... the mouthy potential buyer came back, big time hat in hand and bought the item for asking price. You seem to think sellers automatically don't know what their item is worth and somehow you do ... guess again!!!
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Old 07-03-2017, 01:32 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by guillaume View Post
I have your desired trailer, 23 FB butI'm not selling but have sold a number of big ticket items in the past. If I were selling and you showed up with that mindset, I'd happily tell you to take a hike and I'd never look back. One such item for sale ... the mouthy potential buyer came back, big time hat in hand and bought the item for asking price. You seem to think sellers automatically don't know what their item is worth and somehow you do ... guess again!!!


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Old 07-03-2017, 01:45 PM   #14
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thanks, Sheriff1
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Old 07-03-2017, 01:56 PM   #15
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It's not about how much it should be worth, it's about what it actually is worth.

When I sold my 15' for more than I bought it for, I wasn't trying to be fair about what I paid vs. traditional depreciation etc... I just tried to be fair compared to what others were sellin theirs for at the time. I had a guy call me up and lecture me about my sellin price and that he wouldn't give me a penny over blah blah blah... Meanwhile, I had 3 people in line to look and one guy offerin me even more than I was askin. Long story short, the guy who lectured me about the price didn't get the trailer and the person that paid askin is out enjoyin it right now.
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Old 07-03-2017, 02:44 PM   #16
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In watching the price going up & up each year from $10,000 to $20,000++ on models will keep older Trailer in high demand without a doubt.

Buying new is always a good day for you but then you start adding exter things to make it your own $$$$.
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Old 07-03-2017, 02:54 PM   #17
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Here is my take on this. We just had our 27FB totaled due to extensive hail damage. Before the insurance company had picked it up from our house we already had our replacement parked next to her. I stumbled on a pristine 30' (one of 3 floor plans we agreed on) at a higher price than I had hoped to pay. I was only able to negotiate a little off but guess what, I have the unit I want and we won't miss a day of enjoying an Airstream.
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Old 07-03-2017, 02:56 PM   #18
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That great.
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Old 07-03-2017, 03:22 PM   #19
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Here is the fallacy with using your formula: Many of the people who have these trailers for sale are actually selling them at close to what they are asking for them.

I think the comment about the 20% per year price increase for new Airstreams is certainly a factor. The overall improved economy is a factor. The uptick in demand for an Airstream is a factor. I think people are comparing what they would have to pay for a new Airstream with what the used one is priced at when making a decision.

Maybe you should just buy a new trailer. Get your 21% and call it good.
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Old 07-03-2017, 03:39 PM   #20
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A dealer offered more for our Airstream than that logic, a very good price and we sold it to them. They marked it up and sold it quickly.

But more important than price of a used Airstream is condition and upgrades. Some are used and barely maintained, others are cared for lovingly. Some are bare bones stock factory and others have very expensive and useful upgrades to electrical systems, running gear, and interior furnishings.

Find the nicest used Airstream you can, in the size you need, upgrades you might wish you had, decor and floor plan you like, and negotiate the seller's best price. Pay a little more, in the end you won't get a better and more satisfying deal. Airstreams can last a long time.
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