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Old 02-02-2013, 09:55 AM   #1
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What's the Marketability of Older Rigs?

I'm considering jumping into the RV lifestyle and am looking for an older, less expensive rig as a starter. This way it's not a huge investment for something that may not work for me.

I see these two units at a dealer near me. One is a 1987 Fleetwood Southwind (26 yrs old) for $5995 and the other is a 1991 Gulfstream Sun Stream 2000 (22 yrs old) for $7995. Although there are the usual important variables, condition/options/price/etc isn't important for this discussion, but let's assume it's all good to go and worthy of a purchase.

Let's say I buy one of these or one similar in age and price, and 2-5 years down the road I decide to upgrade. Given the age of the units now and factoring in additional 2-5 years, am I going to be able to sell it or am I stuck with very expensive lawn art?

I know trade-in value would be about a dollar (I say that sarcastically) and I realize there may always be a buyer somewhere, but will it take a year to sell, 3 years to sell, or would something of that age create a huge buzz and people flock to my house to scoop it up?

Anything I buy at that age is money out the window - I know that going in. Even if I only sold it for $2000, that's fine, but how long will it take me to get that $2000?

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Old 02-02-2013, 10:11 AM   #2
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You'd have to do some research for your area to see what kind of additional depreciation you might expect to see. Local Craigslist ads are a good place to start. I do not think you would be stuck with an expensive lawn ornament regardless. I would expect a clean $6,000 rig today could easily be sold four or five years down the road for $4,000.

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Old 02-02-2013, 11:05 AM   #3
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Resale value

In that price range you are pretty safe depending on condition but I'm sure you can expect to make some repairs due to age. Just be sure you buy something that would be desirable as far as brand goes and in my opinion not anything made by a manufacturer that is no longer in business. Sometimes people buy a rv without paying much attention to brand only to find out that when they go to sell it nobody wants that brand!
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:20 AM   #4
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If reading these forums over 11 years is any indication, you will be able to resell those rigs if in decent condition.

For the first 7 years, everybody was buying $200,000 and higher new motor homes.

The past 4 years has many more people sanely buying well used rigs to enter the hobby and see if they like the benefits vs the costs.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:44 AM   #5
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From what I have seen on Craigs List and similar sites, 20+ year old RV's all seem to have depreciated about as far as they are going to go unless something major goes wrong with them. I would expect that 4 to 5 years down the road you could sell it for roughly the same price you paid. Your biggest problem is finding something in reasonable shape so that your maintenance costs during those years don't break you.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:55 AM   #6
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The hole deal depends on how good of a deal you get. My first was a 1995 itasca suncruiser bought it in 2000 sold it in 2003 and got what I payed for it. In 2004 I bought a new HR and sold it in 2008 and lost my ass. And I'm sure if or when I sell my REV considering what the book value is on it i don't want to think about it. Anyway it's a fun hobby.
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:01 PM   #7
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If you are already accepting that you might lose more than 50% of what you've spent, you shouldn't have any problem just getting rid of it. Most of the depreciation has already happened, and if you have even a little patience you should do better than 50%. My brother recently sold a 1981 Southwind front engine diesel for $2500, and it was not in spectacular condition! It only took a month or two, though it was in North Dakota, where there is an oil boom going on and a market for such housing. The real question is what is the alternative? If you buy anything much newer, you just have that much more to lose, and less of the inevitable depreciation has happened already. Seems to me if you do a good job of shopping now, you'll get far more value for your money in the long run by buying the older coach.
As to just getting it gone, scrap prices are up right now and they are heavy! Bottom line: you can't lose more than you spend, and the less you spend now the less you can lose.
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Old 02-02-2013, 01:32 PM   #8
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I'm going to say there's always people like me on the market - looking for a quality older rig for a reasonable price that I can fix up.

It might not have all the amenities of the newer models, but I don't have $$$$ to drop on newer models.

Plus, duct tape repairs on an older model are more acceptable.
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:57 PM   #9
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Jim: I did exactly as you are doing... only I did it 3 1/2 years ago. I bought a 1993 32' gasser with 60,000 miles on it ... used very little so everything looked really good inside & out. The awning was damaged, needed new tires, I had to fix a non working fridge which cost me $300 and she was an absolute JOY to own and scoot around FL in. I picked it up in NJ and drove it home with no trouble! Sold it in an hour and a half after putting it on craigslist and ALL it cost me over 3+ years was what I invested to fix this n that (tires, fridge, oil changes) and I got $400 less than I paid for it. There is ALWAYS a buyer for an item that is well cared for, kept in good operating condition and reasonably priced. The ticket is to buy right in the first place, and those older units can be a buyers delight. Not quite so true with the 2000 and newer units as I paid 3 times for my 01 vs what I paid for my 93 but it's bigger with slideouts so it's still a very good buy, just not the steal I think my 1993 was. The new one's a gasser with a little more power, more room and everything from tires on up are more expensive but oh the price of luxury. Good Luck and buy right!!
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