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Old 09-09-2012, 11:56 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sierrafun View Post
My husband and I would like to purchase a new Airstream. We noticed that people have two options when purchasing new:

1) Order a new one from the factory with the options you want

2) Save quite a bit of money by buying one that is new but has been sitting on the dealer lot for months.

The money savings of buying one that has been sitting on the dealer lot for months appeals to us but we wondered:

What are some of the things people should be aware of when considering buying a unit has that been sitting for a while on the dealer lot?

Thank you for your time and help with this
I think there are two basic approaches to this. One for people who will not miss the money spent on a new trailer, and one for whom each dollar is somewhat dear. These really are two different kinds of buyers.

Considerations:
  1. If you buy the wrong trailer you will suffer a financial penalty. By wrong, I mean one that YOU don't find comfortable, efficient, or suitable to your specific needs. You might be quite surprised at how different a front bedroom is from a back, or a long bath is from a short, or a curved settee is from a right angle and so on. You won't discover it by hopping around on the lot, you will discover it after camping a few times.
  2. Trailer models that don't move as fast get sold at steeper discounts
  3. The various appliances and sub-subsystems in RVs are not "high end" - they are generally very mediocre compared to cool things you can buy for your home. By mediocre, I mean not very sturdy or robust. So, when they blow, get out the dough. Older units may have maintenance issues. New units at least have some warranty.
  4. You really can spend a LOT less money for 3 and 4 and 5 year old trailers. But you can almost bet some compromise will be involved.
  5. It's really a GRAND feeling to buy a new trailer with exactly what YOU want. Especially if you plan to keep it a long time.
So, you can see the conflict clearly. If money is dear, some compromises will have to be made. If money is available it can be exchanged for the really great feeling of having it exactly your way. If you aren't sure what your way is, it might end up costing you if you have to sell a new trailer after only a year. You could lose $15,000 very quickly. For some people they can chalk that up to a mistake, for others it will break their bank if not their heart.



I think it is all about what kinds of risks you are willing to take. These darned things involve a lot of money.
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:12 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by sierrafun View Post
Hi Bob,

Thank you for this tip! We were under the impression that if we ordered brand new with exactly the options we wanted, we would have to pay full MSRP! Glad to hear that is not the case :-) If we were to go this route, what would you say we should expect to pay i.e. 10% off normal MSRP or even more like 20% off?

Thank you again Bob!
Hi, I sent you a PM.
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:17 AM   #23
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WOW Mstephens...you've really looked at all angles! Thank you for being so forthcoming with your knowledge and wisdom! Just from your post alone, we will definitely be planning to RENT several different floor plans before buying - thank you! Hopefully the floor plan we end up liking is one that we can get at a "steeper discount." :-)

We also didn't consider that most appliances and sub-subsystems in RVs are not "high end." We figured we were paying the high dollars for quality...thank you for the reality check! Now it makes even more sense when you stated that compromise will be needed not only in floor plan and size of trailer but also in our expectations of the service components of the trailer. Hmmm...now I'm beginning to see why some have advised for us to buy gently used...because more than likely we'll be upgrading the systems in the trailer within a very short period of time (2-3 years) - during the steep depreciation period.

This realization gives new light to your phrase "These darned things involve a lot of money."

Gives us something to consider for sure! Thank you again :-)
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:24 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mstephens;It's really a GRAND feeling to [B
buy a new trailer with[/B] exactly what YOU want. Especially if you plan to keep it a long time.
Hi, we studied well and picked our trailer for life. After about five years, I remodeled our living room. You can read all about it in my blog. "2005 Safari remodel."
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:44 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sierrafun View Post
WOW Mstephens...you've really looked at all angles! Thank you for being so forthcoming with your knowledge and wisdom! Just from your post alone, we will definitely be planning to RENT several different floor plans before buying - thank you! Hopefully the floor plan we end up liking is one that we can get at a "steeper discount." :-)

We also didn't consider that most appliances and sub-subsystems in RVs are not "high end." We figured we were paying the high dollars for quality...thank you for the reality check! Now it makes even more sense when you stated that compromise will be needed not only in floor plan and size of trailer but also in our expectations of the service components of the trailer. Hmmm...now I'm beginning to see why some have advised for us to buy gently used...because more than likely we'll be upgrading the systems in the trailer within a very short period of time (2-3 years) - during the steep depreciation period.

This realization gives new light to your phrase "These darned things involve a lot of money."

Gives us something to consider for sure! Thank you again :-)
Renting some different ones is an excellent idea. Smartest thing I've heard in a long time. Small things in layouts make big differences to people in ways you can't easily see until you are camping.

RVs really do burn up money in lots of ways just like owning a boat or a race car. They take quite a beating being towed around, and maintenance cost is a reality that must be faced. I generally refer to RVs as "luxury" items for that reason.

Many people will refer to the "mistake trailer" they purchased. The first one they bought that wasn't "quite right." We had one, and it ended up costing us $4,000 to get out of it 4 months later when we realized it wasn't the right one.

When it comes time to buy one, if you buy a new one, you ought to be able to get about 15% off the MSRP if you are an average negotiator, and tough negotiators can do even better I am told. Used is trickier to estimate. You have to compare to what is being sold at that moment around the country.

I wouldn't want anything I said about the cost of ownership to sound discouraging. I absolutely LOVE our AS, and if I could, we'd be on the road every day. Being a part of the AS community (WBCCI, etc) is a huge positive and worth every nickel we spend.

Best of luck to you and keep everyone informed of your progress!
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:00 AM   #26
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We bought kinda new. Dealer had one with all the bells and whistles, including the Canadian suspension which somebody ordered, purchased, then changed their mind without taking it off the lot.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:09 AM   #27
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Thanks SO much for the feedback so far!

Bob - Thank you for sharing your living room remodel with us I guess it goes to show that even when you spend a lot of time studying floor plans, nothing compares to the actual experience of living in them to see if it really fits your lifestyle.

Mstephens - Thank you again for the advice. I didn't realize we could get at least 15% off MSRP when buying and ordering brand new! Although, I must say, after the reality check from you on maintenance and the lack of quality in the subsystems, I'm still leaning toward gently used because it sounds as though we will be spending a significant amount in upgrading those subsystems. Hmmm this gives me an idea...perhaps a spreadsheet would be helpful outlining the common upgrades and their costs? This way if we know ahead of time what upgrading these subsystems will cost ($4000 for example), then if we choose to buy new, we must make sure we get more than the standard 15% off in order to accommodate for these upgrades. Just an idea. Would you mind if I PM'd you to ask what some common upgrades were that you did and what they generally cost?

Ahab - Thank you for sharing your success at the dealer - How lucky for you! I've never heard of the "Canadian Suspension"...it sounds intriguing...

Thank you again everyone for sharing your advice with us! We look forward to any other advice others might have
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:15 AM   #28
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I think the best way to save money on purchase is to buy the right trailer the first time. We didn't, too small and two year old dealer stock that showed signs of wear, no maintenance.

If you would keep it through retirement years, it ought to be at least 25' which is smallest of the large Airstreams but very adequate for extended travel. The larger trailers can easily be modified to fit changing lifestyles. For example we have a front dinette 25' with queen bed. We planned to install reclining chairs in the front when we needed more comfort (that will happen soon actually) and someday install twin beds in the back if we need them as we get older. Quite adaptable and always repairable.

So as you consider the perfect layout, also think if its adaptable to changing lifestyle and needs through the years. Careful of "bigger is better" for loss of maneuverability, and need for an oversized tow truck to also drive daily when on extended travel.

doug k
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:34 AM   #29
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A note on "necessary" upgrades; that is entirely an optional idea, in many cases a waste of money. We and many others have traveled extensively with no problems with our trailer as built. It also depends on individuals who must have only the best of everything and those who don't.

We have made no upgrades and have no failures in six months travel so far. We are planning a long, extended trip this winter and may upgrade tires. We may upgrade seating for comfortable recliners. We use our Airstream six months steady every year. If it was for weekend and vacation use, we would upgrade nothing, its fine the way it is.

I don't want to discuss quality here (many threads have overdone that one), just giving our experience and thoughts on money well spent.

doug k
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:35 AM   #30
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Hi Doug,

Thank you for your great advice! Your point about "buying right the first time" is such wise advice. We do indeed plan on keeping it through retirement and honestly didn't even consider that our trailer should be at least 25' in order to be adequate for extended travel. Also, we hadn't even considered getting a layout that could be easily adaptable and remodeled for our changing lifestyle. Bob, one of the posters above, did a living room remodel in his AS after only 5 years. And now you are doing your reclining chair remodel after only 6 months. Giving even more merit to the idea that remodeling might be inevitable as we age and our lifestyle changes. Thus, reinforcing the idea that Mstephens said, "these darned things involve a lot of money."

Your point about bigger is not always better is spot on! We love to camp in the National parks and before looking at floor plans, we looked at our favorite campgrounds to see what options would be available to us for that size. It was amazing to see how quickly the options dwindled above 24' in length. At one NP, if your trailer length is above 24' you only have six campsites to choose from! That is really stiff competition when you are competing against thousands of people for one out of only six spots!

Lastly, your note on "necessary" upgrades; and sharing your perspective that these upgrades are an optional idea and in many cases a waste of money is something for us to certainly weigh. Sounds as though we should wait and upgrade when necessary. Although, I would hate to have a tire blow out and have to spend $5000+ to repair a panel because we waited. Regardless, your point is well taken and we certainly don't want to waste money.

Anyway, thank you for the tips Doug...much appreciated!
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:21 PM   #31
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sierra' I want to clarify our choice of 25' as our "lifetime" trailer as related to comfort. It has space for a queen bed and a reasonably large living space. Anything smaller does not have space for both. But smaller Airstreams are wonderful choices for many and have advantages, smaller can be better.

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Old 09-10-2012, 12:56 PM   #32
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Hi Doug,

Thank you for the clarification. Yes, there are compromises to be made in everything!!! For example, the 23FB is great because it has a queen bed but not great because the living area is small and the moment you walk into it, you have a wall directly to your left (which bothers my husband). The 23D has a nice living area but a bed size that is a little bigger than a twin but smaller than a full. So, my husband and I would have to sleep separately (he's 6'4"). So, this led us to the 27FB because the tongue weight is less than the 25 and we like the bed orientation better.

Anyway, your point is well made and here we are going round and round with compromises :-)
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:36 PM   #33
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Upgrades.

Hi, although it wasn't really necessary, we replaced our bathroom faucet with one that is taller and with a single handle. You can find this in my blog too. "Simple Safari Faucet change?"
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:05 PM   #34
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Hi Bob,

Nice job on both the Living Room and the faucet remodel! It's really nice to see and read how people as you have customized their homes on wheels to fit their lifestyles.

In reading all this advice, my perspective is shifting and broadening in terms of looking at floor plans for not just what they are when you buy them but also like Doug said, how they can serve us in the future when we are retired and enjoying extended trips in them.

Thanks again for your input Bob :-)
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Old 09-12-2012, 11:41 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sierrafun
Hi Bob,

Nice job on both the Living Room and the faucet remodel! It's really nice to see and read how people as you have customized their homes on wheels to fit their lifestyles.

In reading all this advice, my perspective is shifting and broadening in terms of looking at floor plans for not just what they are when you buy them but also like Doug said, how they can serve us in the future when we are retired and enjoying extended trips in them.

Thanks again for your input Bob :-)
Hi Sierra,
I didn't mean to imply that there were upgrades. There is a small set of companies making RV appliances. In short, a very narrow selection of rather similar items. It is not like shopping for "home."
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Old 09-13-2012, 12:55 AM   #36
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We bought our Bambi in the "lightly used" category-- two years old, from the Can-Am dealership in Ontario, Canada. We saved a lot of money this way. It did have some problems, as we discovered as we went along, but because it was under the dealership's one-year warranty, they fixed everything, no problem. So a warranty is one thing I would recommend looking for.

We were total newbies to RVing of any description, although we had been tent camping for years. RVing is a lot more comfortable and a lot more complicated.

But maybe this is why we really didn't like the look of the Jolly Jumbo white box RVs we saw along the highways. Small is beautiful. Bambi was love at first sight.

If you plan to camp a lot in US national parks, with their older campgrounds, shorter does seem to be better.

The main decision for me, if I were to consider a new Airstream today, is the advantage of having a "dry bath" and larger kitchen in longer models, vs. the disadvantage of a much heavier trailer to tow and one that won't fit in a lot of older campsites.

Having said that, we just camped at Lake Louise in Banff NP, and the sites were all gi-normous pull-throughs, suitable for Greyhound buses towing boats. It just depends where you go!

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