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Old 07-12-2020, 09:19 PM   #1
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Best Approach to Sell

I have 3 Airstreams from the 70's which have been in our family as original owners. I want to sell them but they are old and haven't been well-maintained. The interior is shabby, the appliances don't work, and they are not roadworthy at this point since they've sat in one spot since the late 70's/early 80's. In order to sell for the best cost/benefit ratio--meaning, I want to put as little work into them in order to get the most profit from them--should I tear out all of the old, nasty interior (couch, cabinetry, etc) and gut it for the prospective buyer OR leave the old, nasty interior in and let them decide what they want to salvage? Which will fetch a better price: gutted or as-is? And again, when I say "as-is", picture a unit with no updates or maintenance for the last 40 years. I just don't know if restorers like to work with original, dilapidated equipment or if they have a way to get OEM or replica parts? Thanks!
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Old 07-12-2020, 09:28 PM   #2
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Leave them as is and let the new owners decide what they want to salvage. Once the original guts are gone, they are almost impossible to replace. Even it they are "too far gone" to use as is, the original interiors will provide templates.

List them on AirForums Classifieds...

Good luck in whatever you decide to do!

Shari
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Old 07-12-2020, 10:12 PM   #3
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Old 07-12-2020, 10:37 PM   #4
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Ditto, x3, believe it or not they will sell. And the amounts you get will be better than nothing. Be honest about their conditions. Someone like us (folks on AirForums) will show up with Aluminum dreams and drag them away after lubing the bearings and bringing tires.
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Old 07-12-2020, 11:05 PM   #5
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Ditto, x3, believe it or not they will sell. And the amounts you get will be better than nothing. Be honest about their conditions. Someone like us (folks on AirForums) will show up with Aluminum dreams and drag them away after lubing the bearings and bringing tires.
That's just it though, I don't want "better than nothing" bc ppl are always looking to get something for nothing. I'm just wondering if fetching the most possible dollars involves leaving them as-is OR gutting them myself? If I was slightly more ambitious on this one, I'd restore them to flip but I hear how expensive they are to restore.
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Old 07-12-2020, 11:34 PM   #6
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Leave them “as is”.

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Old 07-12-2020, 11:35 PM   #7
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Sorry not trying to be flip. If the option is "gutting them" or "as is" I would leave them as is with the following caveat.

I would clean, tidy and throw out torn upholstery or window coverings. Get rid of foul odors and patch up places where water can get in. Leave furnishings and fixtures along with all the nuts and bolts.

Take nice pictures in decent lighting and post correctly oriented photos on this site in the classifieds. Mention if you have clear title.

If you gut them that will be an investment in time you will likely not see in the return of dollars. There are plenty of gutted (projects we with Aluminum dreams couldn't finish) Airstreams on this site where folks have invested time and money in.

Good luck
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Old 07-13-2020, 12:50 AM   #8
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Sell them "as is" and have a clear title in your name for each trailer ready to sign over to the new owner. I can gut a trailer in a day with a little help from my friends and have fun doing it if there's plenty of cold beer. Securing a title for a trailer without a clear title is no fun at all and can take months.
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Old 07-13-2020, 04:32 AM   #9
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OK, I re-read this post. It does sound grumpy and even churlish, but I am sending it anyway. Big point is sell as is. You will need a tetanus shot before you even start (lockjaw is lethal!) and if you are unemployed, getting a job in fast food or Walmart for minimum wage will put more money in your pocket than doing anything more extensive than shoveling a dead raccoon out of one of these shells for sale.

Be honest with yourself. You can refuse any offer you think is too low. However, these three HAVE been sitting without shelter or maintenance for 40+ years. Anyone who has successfully restored one in this condition will spend $30,000 "not including labor" and spend 2000+ hours doing the work.

You will find that a junkyard will charge you to take them away, because it costs them way too much to disassemble them to have a clean aluminum inner and outer shell to crush. And the cost of advertising parts like windows and doors for sale... is prohibitive.

If you start any work, where can you dump the interior junk for free? And what are the odds that you will throw out something a buyer would want?

If you want top dollar for these, leave them alone - and turn down 20 or 30 offers. A polite "no" is all it takes to turn down a low offer.

Keep the contact names and numbers in case you decide to "want" less than you do today while you wait for the right "rube" to come along. Eventually you'll find the highest a price that you can wait for... but it won't be as much as you could have gotten in 1995 or 2005 or or 2015. All three of your Airstreams are depreciating assets.

BTW there are 20-30 Airstreams of similar age in a Florida campground that used to be Airstream only. Most are unrestored, but are maintained well enough to be used every winter by snowbirds. A few have sat empty as older owners have kept them in spite of being too old and ill to use them again. Their heirs never recoup a fraction of the lot rental/membership fees when they sell these old trailers.

70's Airstreams aren't that rare or that desirable and there are many that haven't been abandoned in fields for close to half a century.
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Old 07-13-2020, 09:17 AM   #10
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Score: “AS-IS” = 5 vs “GUT= 0

Check out this Price vs Condition link for some pretty realistic “value” info.

From your description, I believe they would all be considered in “as-found” condition.

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Old 07-13-2020, 09:29 AM   #11
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Yeah, I appreciate the honesty, actually. I'd rather hear it straight than waste my time tearing stuff out or trying to renovate. So I'll return honesty for honesty: is the best bet for selling these to do as little work as possible and hope for a sucker OR fully restore and reap the "rewards"? What can one of these fetch realistically--as-is and restored? I'm seeing prices on here and elsewhere for $50-60K on up to $80-90k for fully restored but I doubt that's realistic. I don't mind hard work but this isn't my area and I don't want to invest $30k to reap a $10-15k profit. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks!

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BTW there are 20-30 Airstreams of similar age in a Florida campground that used to be Airstream only. Most are unrestored, but are maintained well enough to be used every winter by snowbirds. A few have sat empty as older owners have kept them in spite of being too old and ill to use them again. Their heirs never recoup a fraction of the lot rental/membership fees when they sell these old trailers.

70's Airstreams aren't that rare or that desirable and there are many that haven't been abandoned in fields for close to half a century.
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Old 07-13-2020, 09:41 AM   #12
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Sweep them out, clean the windows, wash the exterior, get rid of trash and sell as is.
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Old 07-13-2020, 09:51 AM   #13
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OP quote, "So I'll return honesty for honesty: is the best bet for selling these to do as little work as possible and hope for a sucker OR fully restore and reap the "rewards"?

Hoping for a sucker is not honesty.

Those high prices are realistic IF those were fantastic renovation/restorations. Check out Timeless Trailers for top of the line results.

The skill set and learning curve for these is both intense and immense. Acquisition of skills, time, patience, tools, research and parts is just part of it.

Or if you don't think "as is" is the right answer then start with the worst condition trailer and gut it just for the experience.

Then you can get back to us and give us the "as is" or "gut" expertise.
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Old 07-13-2020, 09:54 AM   #14
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Another good point you brought up with regard to towability. Since these haven't seen a road in 40 years, I'm sure the axles are in no shape to ride and the tires...well, forget about the tires. Do you think I should get them towable with new tires, inspecting the axles, and installing new drums/rotors/bearings OR price out how much it costs to get them on a flatbed and hauled out?

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Originally Posted by Hittenstiehl View Post
Ditto, x3, believe it or not they will sell. And the amounts you get will be better than nothing. Be honest about their conditions. Someone like us (folks on AirForums) will show up with Aluminum dreams and drag them away after lubing the bearings and bringing tires.
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Old 07-13-2020, 10:08 AM   #15
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Sweep them out, clean the windows, wash the exterior, get rid of trash and sell as is.
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Do you think I should get them towable with new tires, inspecting the axles, and installing new drums/rotors/bearings
Getting them safe to tow would be nice to do and you would recoup the money & effort....but probably not add much to your "profit". Restoring these Airstreams is like peeling an onion - the more you do, the more you realize needs to be done...

It will take upwards of $20K+ to fully restore them properly and will take well over a year each unless you are working on them full time with helpers. Our restoration took 4000 hours over 2-1/2+ years and it wasn't our first...we knew what we were getting into.

If you put any "decorator items" in them like floor finishes, curtains, upholstery, etc. "your tastes" could limit your buyer pool because people will not want to buy something just replaced only to redo those things because "their tastes" vary from yours.

Sticking to purely functional "get them moving" things are okay if you really want to do something. But I don't think it will create more profit - just make them easier to sell.

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Old 07-13-2020, 10:17 AM   #16
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That's just it though, I don't want "better than nothing" bc ppl are always looking to get something for nothing. I'm just wondering if fetching the most possible dollars...
Isnít that the truth? Good luck!

Cheers,
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Old 07-13-2020, 10:29 AM   #17
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I appreciate the feedback but I disagree with this part. There's always someone that's willing to overpay for something--in this case, it's those "Aluminum dreams" ppl keep referring to. If I know most buyers wouldn't pay more than ~$2500 for an "as-found" that they hope to restore but I ask for and get double bc someone either had money to throw around and/or didn't do their homework, that's not me being dishonest--that's just real life. I'm not obligated to sell anything at any price and if I ask for more than fair market value and someone wants to pay it, that's not immoral/unethical/dishonest any more than paying $8 for a beer at a stadium (supply and demand). I know beer is cheaper than $8 but I wanted THAT beer at THAT time for a reason of my choosing. The only time that changes is if I lie about something's condition--which I wouldn't do even though others might. No one's wearing a mask during these deals...er, wait! lol

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Hoping for a sucker is not honesty.
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Old 07-13-2020, 10:31 AM   #18
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Good question regarding towability.

Axels are shot (rubber torsion rods are hard as rocks) but that just means a rough ride home. New owners can put new axels on. Minimum $1000. to 1500. a piece depending on double axels.

Brake can be fine but bearings will need grease or lube (terminology might be off).

Tires (opinions differ on this) might depend on money. With three trailers and number of axels that can really add up. Usually the end result tires will be replaced by the new owners. To get a trailer home you just need safe tires of appropriate size and wear. If you live near a good source for tires the potential owner can go grab a set.

Maybe start with a local Craigslist posting then the potential new owner can come and go and make equipment arrangments from close proximity versus across the country.

Look up Airstream Hunter a out west buyer of Airstreams.
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Old 07-13-2020, 10:53 AM   #19
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added thought - it is never "just"

There are unknowns "just" to get these roadable, right? Bolts rusted, brackets rusted, hitch coupler frozen, etc. I don't envy your dilemma. Maintaining or resurrecting airplanes was a tedious chore of many hours and many more dollars - but there was some passion behind it. And it almost never returned dollar for dollar.

If your passion is top dollar - you could go for the remediation, but it will be difficult to know where the optimal stopping point might be, and your time will be gratis.

Might try listing as an auction if you are concerned that your first offers to buy may be low.

Looks like a fun project and you are bound to meet some very interesting people.
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Old 07-13-2020, 10:53 AM   #20
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You've now have had a few folks tell you with a combined knowledge of over 55+ years of dealing with Airstreams, positing on these forums, restoring many Airstreams themselves, what you should do with the trailers based on the information provided by you.

Each trailer is worth about $1,500-3,500 in "AS-IS" condition, you go gutting the trailers, look to the low end of those numbers, IMHO. Now, if you have the time, money, effort and experience to turn them into $50,000 dollar trailers, while only costing you $20,000 dollars (not including your time), I'd suggest you get out there and work 40 hours a week, which will put $10.00 an hour in your pocket if you don't have a job, plus maybe $10,000 profit "possibly" per-trailer "if" you're really lucky.

Better yet, you can be like many Airstream folks trying to get $10,000 for a trailer that's been gutted saying "All the hard work has been completed", never to be sold for anything close to that number.

I have an Argosy that's half gutted, $1,000 bucks and it yours, you can add it to the fleet.
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