There is an issue of real value vs perceived value that's way out of wack these days. It's not just in used car prices, but TT, homes, microphones, and just about everything!
To sanity check value you can do two things:
* Call your bank and tell them that you want to borrow $12,000 or whatever the asking price is for the unit. They'll come back and tell you that the most they'll give your for THAT unit is $8250. $8250 + a percentage based on your credit rating is the real value that unit.
* Call your insurance company and ask them to speak to an adjuster. Ask the adjuster how much they'd pay out for a rig that cost you $12k used, but in excellent condition if it were totaled. They'll hem-n-haw and finally tell you $4500-6000 based on what they find. The rigs real value is $4500-6000.
The trick in buying one of these things is to minimize the difference between the asking price and the real value. You are on the hook for the difference.
Keep in mind that most people who purchased anything in the better economy of 4 years ago is woefully upside-down on most of their purchases. Even when their asking price is VERY LOW based on their situation, it puts YOU upside-down because YOU are taking their burden of debt.
Travel trailers are not an investment. If you live and travel in a TT enough, you can recover your cost plus because you lived in it. However, the TT itself is never an investment.
In a sane world, a 5 year old, never sold TT would sell for 60-70 percent of its new value - maybe much less because it is unconsumed inventory and costs money to hold; the same TT used by a family and kept in tip-top condition is probably worth 40-50% of the original price. Of course, this bears no resemblance to the used market that we see today where some people try to sell their used TTs at thousands higher than the original price. Unless installed by the factory or a recognized professional of the industry, improvements add no value and are often a liability when the electrical
system is involved.
The conflict is based on the value of use to a prospective buyer. In the case of the 5 year old TT above, a full timer could recover the difference through use; the weekender can only recover the value through enjoyment of the TT and the cost of that enjoyment is very high.
So when someone wants to sell you a well-loved, entirely-stock, 28 year old TT, what is its real value?
NADA doesn't go back that far, but for the oldest unit that they list, the average retail was $1050; the seller's asking price was $7000.
As much as I would like to buy that TT, I cannot carry $6k of risk. Would you?
Derived from lessons from my father; no damned wonder that I am such a curmudgeon!!!