Buying a trailer that's a long distance away - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-04-2016, 09:02 AM   #1
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Name: Rebecca
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Buying a trailer that's a long distance away

There is a trailer that I'm interested in that is a long distance away. The seller and situation sound legit, but I would not be able to see the trailer prior to purchase because of the distance. She is willing to let me put about 1/3 of the price down on it as a binder (by personal check through regular mail). I would pick the trailer up in a few weeks.

Is there a way to protect this transaction, or it something like this just too risky? One seller I spoke with for a similar transaction said I could call the local authorities to come look at the trailer and confirm everything on that end... I just don't have friends to do this in that area.

Any input? I would not consider this if I were not in a time crunch.
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:23 AM   #2
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It sounds like a situation where you would be vulnerable. I don't think any 'local authorities' would get involved.

Perhaps the seller could take the trailer to a local RV shop who you would pay for an inspection and report.
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:52 AM   #3
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Name: Rebecca
Trailer: Scamp
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I just called and the local RV seller knows her (seller) and is selling another RV for her, but he knew she planned to sell this one on Craigslist. He's already looked at it and winterized it - said it's in great shape.
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:59 AM   #4
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Arizona
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Hey Rebecca;
There are escrow companies that work well on long distance sales of cars, trailers, etc. Try one like www.escrow.com. You arrive at an agreed price with the seller, the seller provides a detailed description of what you are buying (the description, including photo's, title, etc. is filed with the escrow company), you pay the money into the escrow account. Once you have a chance to examine the trailer you ok the transfer of money and it is released to the seller. All this can be done online.
Hope all works out for you!
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Old 04-04-2016, 10:00 AM   #5
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I have personally purchased many vehicles and trailers long distance without personally seeing the items. I have always had a friend or a "Hired" inspector/appraiser physically look at the item. There are many ways to confirm if the seller is real.

Google is your friend.

Ask for the address. Use google earth to see if the trailer might be sitting a their location in the Google earth pictures. Is there a real location at that address. Get a copy of the title. Call the state DMV to confirm that the title number is the current title. Is the title in the sellers name or are they selling "Open Title" which by the way is illegal in every state in the union. Is the person you are talking to real? What's their name? Needless to say the internet is your friend and can "help" determine if the seller is real. It certainly will not confirm it but it "can" help.

Ask yourself this question:

If you are UNWILLING OR UNABLE to go look at trailer or anything else for that matter that is not local to you why in the world are you shopping for a trailer a "long distance away" from your home?

There are many answers to this question ALL of which make sense to the buyer when they want something. So this begs a second question:

Can YOU afford to LOSE YOUR MONEY?

If not as suggested above HIRE someone local to complete a pre-purchase inspection. Have that inspector go to the sellers location to inspect the trailer on your behalf and present a detailed report on condition and does it exist. This way you know where the trailer is really located and not vacant lot for an address. This will be the BEST $100-$250 you will ever spend in your hunt for a trailer.

My experience over the last 30+ years has confirmed that for every $10K I am willing to spend on a vehicle not local I budget $1K for travel to go look at vehicles. $20K vehicle $2k travel budget. This "travel" budget let's me look at more vehicles than are available locally and I ALWAYS find the one poor SOB with a much nicer vehicle than all the others that really needs to sell and that means a MUCH better deal that far and away makes up for the expense of travel. If I do not have a friend or a "Paid Liar" (Local Appraiser) available locally to personally inspect the long distance item I am interested in I pass on that item.

The "feeling" that if I don't act quickly this trailer will get sold before I get there is a strong emotion and seller's know it.

CL is the worst with the invention of national CL search engines. People from all over the country call on items not local to them listed on CL. When selling I list items on CL that I am not willing to ship. Items I am willing to ship go on Ebay or other national selling platform. Everyone wants to negotiate on the telephone on something they have never seen. How dumb is that??? Come look and we can make a deal.

Long winded answer with some personal opinions that make little difference however you did ask.

Good luck with your purchase.

You "May" need it!!!
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Old 04-04-2016, 10:05 AM   #6
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If the trailer's condition is an issue of concern it sounds like you have addressed that (provided you spoke with the dealer).

If the potential loss of money is an issue, I'd suggest writing and sending a brief statement along with the check which states the mutually agreed terms and conditions of the sale including both the deposit amount and the total price. Then, reference the memo on the check "for XXX trailer as per memo dated XXX".

This would give you some measure of protection in the event that you had some disagreement or needed to address this in court. Small Claims in WA State will address matters up to $5,000.

Hopefully there will be none of that nonsense...

I guess another possibility would be to reduce the deposit to a smaller amount and make it non-refundable in the event you don't close the transaction.


PS: Just read the two posts above; good thoughts there too.
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Old 04-04-2016, 10:09 AM   #7
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Name: Rebecca
Trailer: Scamp
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Thanks, everybody. I feel good about it - the amount is less than $5,000 and I called the RV person without her prior knowledge. The RV person said that I didn't need to hire him to look at it because he'd already seen it (so he's not trying to make money on the deal...) She will give me a full refund if I don't think it's right, when I get there... I'll include the statement mentioned by Civilguy.

Thanks everybody.
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Old 04-04-2016, 10:46 AM   #8
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How about this? Tell us where it is and if it is close to one of us, maybe we could go look for you?
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:11 AM   #9
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Name: Patrick
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Originally Posted by Rebecca3 View Post
I just called and the local RV seller knows her (seller) and is selling another RV for her, but he knew she planned to sell this one on Craigslist. He's already looked at it and winterized it - said it's in great shape.
Rebecca, If I understand this correctly you have called someone local to this trailer and confirmed it does in fact exist. I assume this is a RV dealer.
Based on this information I'd go ahead with the deal.
However you might consider modifying your schedule and just go there now and finalize the sale.
I bought a travel trailer "long distance" a few years ago and after the long trip up to see it, agreed on price and the seller agreed to deliver it to my home location for a small fee to cover fuel consumed in the delivery.
Whatever you do is subject to final negotiations. Nothing is better than seeing the trailer and title before funds are transferred.
Buyer Beware !
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:29 AM   #10
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Hi Rebecca,

I bought 2 RV trailers via e-bay several years back, they were both described as being in excellant condition without leaks and ready for camping. I live in Toronto and went to pick them up the 1st an award in Chicago, the 2nd an Airstream near Boston (both about 600 miles from home), both leaked and were NOT as shown in pix and described. I have never tried it since. I always inspect in person first before paying.
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:27 PM   #11
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Name: Jack L
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Originally Posted by Chris Z View Post
How about this? Tell us where it is and if it is close to one of us, maybe we could go look for you?
Great idea !
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:28 PM   #12
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It's in North Carolina.
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Old 04-04-2016, 01:23 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Civilguy View Post

If the potential loss of money is an issue, I'd suggest writing and sending a brief statement along with the check which states the mutually agreed terms and conditions of the sale including both the deposit amount and the total price. Then, reference the memo on the check "for XXX trailer as per memo dated XXX".

This would give you some measure of protection in the event that you had some disagreement or needed to address this in court. Small Claims in WA State will address matters up to $5,000.
Unfortunately a judgement or threat of action in or from Small Claims court in Washington means nothing to a seller in North Carolina who will NEVER show up in court to answer the charges. To have any chance of recovery of your lost money you the buyer would have to sue the seller in their State of residence which in this situation would be North Carolina.

That can become real expensive real fast trying to adjudicate an action long distance across the country!
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Old 04-04-2016, 10:01 PM   #14
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Trailer: 13 ft 2005 Scamp Deluxe; 2002 Subaru V6 Outback
Oregon
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Hire another reputable RV sales/repair dealer for a second opinion, needs/condition of tires/propane tank valve; negotiate price depending on your dealer's findings of any needed repairs; arrange for payment through your banker with seller's banker who will also verify owner vehicle registration that it is free & clear.

Pack some camping equipment and drive to pick up your new toy...camp on way home to discover what changes you want to make.
Good luck & enjoy.
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