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Old 03-01-2017, 09:02 AM   #1
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Saint Louis , Missouri
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NADA RV Guides

Newbie here starting buyer research. Looking for a used AS 28+ made within the last 10 years.

I've noticed there is usually a BIG difference between prices listed on the NADA RV guides and the prices in the classifieds and RVtrader. How accurate/useful price indicator are these guides?

When I've bought cars in the past the process I'm most comfortable with is using to determine 'true market value' and then I make my offers based on that number. I'm trying to figure out if making offers off of the NADA RV guide appraisal makes sense or if these values don't reflect the general AS market.

Any input appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 03-01-2017, 09:22 AM   #2
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While NADA is an excellent source for determining fair values on white box stuff, IMO, it's useless for an Airstream. There is no quick and easy reference for Airstream values. Watch this group's classifieds closely, along with RVtrader and Craigslist. If you are diligent, over time you can come to a fair opinion of reasonable pricing. I'd say six months or so of scanning and pondering every day.

With Craigslist keep in mind at least half the ads, especially the newer stuff, are bogus. Only pay attention to the ads where the seller posts more than three pictures and actually leaves a contact phone number. Sure some viable sellers do leave ads with no/few pictures, and no contact numbers, but ignoring those will go a long ways towards filtering out the scammer noise.

Call and talk to sellers that are selling models you might have an interest in, then follow those ads to sell how long it takes to get them sold. Eventually you'll get a feel for it.
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Old 03-01-2017, 09:46 AM   #3
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NADA does not use actual transaction prices for RV trailers. There is simply no organized and systematic way to collect this information by brand and model and in any event, the universe of transactions for each brand/model combination is very small compared to the automotive market (think about all the private party sales in the RV world and the fact that most state registrations do not differentiate between a 16 foot Bambi and a 34 foot Classic!) So they use a depreciation formula to determine used RV and trailer prices based on MSRP. This is slightly accurate when it comes to recent model year white box trailers, but they apply the same formula to Airstreams which have a totally different depreciation curve. The inaccuracy between NADA prices and the "real world" is especially true of Airstreams that are over seven years old as relatively few white box trailers survive that long so the white box trailer's depreciated value is very low compared to a similar age Airstream.

Your best bet when shopping for a used Airstream is to absorb all the listed prices like a sponge from as many sources as possible, recognizing that all actual sales will occur at a price below the asking price, and make your own best educated determination for the particular unit you are evaluating.
Bob Martel
WBCCI# 5766
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