Would You Buy A Trailer that's Been a Rental? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 09-17-2022, 05:31 PM   #1
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Name: Shangie
Trailer: Northwood Nash 22/1977 Trillium 4500
Washington
Posts: 145
UPDATE! Would You Buy A Trailer that's Been a Rental?

Now that we have hotel reservations to see the trailer more exterior pictures came in. This surprised me because the exterior of the trailer was described as near mint. There is a five inch long crack about two inches wide and cracked on both sides along with a few more around the front window. The roof appears pitted. I suppose this is common and I am beginning to understand people more experienced with vintage contain see these as 'no big deal' and maybe they truly are just viewed as such. I've spoken with enough people who have trailers with cracks for sale and they will tell me they don't see them as a huge issue. We appreciate the seller sending these and now we have to sit with ourselves and make a decision about how we see camping going the next five years.

Tackling a vintage trailer, especially fiberglass issues, might not be for us due to not wanting to spend additional time on more time consuming repairs, which fiberglass done right is.

Hello- we recently made contact with a couple selling a trailer we are interested in. They have receipts for work done and said they rent out travel trailers but that this particular one never has been rented out because it was their personal use one and too nice. They sent us several videos and the trailer seems really nice. Newer interior, working appliances, reupholstered, etc. Fiberglass exterior- no paint, which I was hoping for so I wouldn't have an expensive paint job down the road which can cost half of one of these trailers!

So we set up an appointment which is no small feat since it will require an overnight stay due to distance, coordinating schedules, importing the trailer, which by the way I am familiar with

Then hubs, all excited about the trailer, is looking for the ad and checking out some others just to make comparisons and comes across the same trailer offered as a rental! We know it's the same one due to some very specific things unique to the trailer.

Okay, so now I don't know what to do because they clearly fibered. I realize this does not make them evil as they were very forthcoming about other aspects of the trailer, even sending pictures of two gelcoat cracks which I can repair so long as it is only gelcoat, which they claim it is and it appears to be. Now I wonder why they are selling this trailer? What do they know that they are not disclosing. They claim to have technicians that look over their trailers for rent and have had this one inspected as well for the sake of maintaining the trailer. ARGH!!!!!!! Thoughts?
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Old 09-17-2022, 05:51 PM   #2
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Name: You can't call me Al
Trailer: 1977 Scamp 13'
Massachusetts
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I would call them back and ask them why they lied to you and judge how honest they are by their response.

If they cover up their lie with another, then you can be pretty sure they are hiding something else.

If they say, "Well, we didn't want you to know it was a rental because we thought you wouldn't buy it," then you can be a little more reassured they are not 100% terrible people.

They may also lie to their rental customers by showing a photo of their personal camper when it's not actually the one people rent.

You never know until you ask and even then you'll never know.
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Old 09-17-2022, 06:59 PM   #3
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Name: Shangie
Trailer: Northwood Nash 22/1977 Trillium 4500
Washington
Posts: 145
I did Alan K. this and here's the response...

Thanks for your feedback and suggestions.

So I called and was non confrontational. Just told them we were excited to see the trailer but needed clarification about the rental situation. The trailer is priced at the higher end of the market which we don't mind for a documented trailer.

Response was: "We bought the trailer three months ago to add to our rental fleet and then decided it was too nice and parts were too difficult to come by should a customer break something like the windows."

So then I asked why they didn't remove the ad that shows it has been up for over two months. The response was "We forgot". And "We had a ton of responses from people thinking we were selling it for the nightly rental rate so that was frustrating but no one ever contacted us to rent it. They wanted to rent our larger trailers with bathrooms". Yet they have one 25' trailer and one Little Guy trailer, hardly a spacious trailer with great amenities.

Well, it seems to me that if you run an ad and then you decide not to sell because no one wants to rent it and people are annoying you by responding to your ad thinking it's for sale for $120.00( the nightly rental rate), then wouldn't you remove the ad? So I asked about this and they just said they forgot. Again, if you are reminded through people annoying you wouldn't you get rid of the ad? I would.

ARGH! Why is sourcing a good, used vintage fiberglass trailer so difficult? Well because all you out there with the good ones are probably enjoying them and the majority will come up for sale once they need everything again at some point in their life!!! Happy Camping!


Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanKilian View Post
I would call them back and ask them why they lied to you and judge how honest they are by their response.

If they cover up their lie with another, then you can be pretty sure they are hiding something else.

If they say, "Well, we didn't want you to know it was a rental because we thought you wouldn't buy it," then you can be a little more reassured they are not 100% terrible people.

They may also lie to their rental customers by showing a photo of their personal camper when it's not actually the one people rent.

You never know until you ask and even then you'll never know.
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Old 09-17-2022, 08:00 PM   #4
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Name: RogerDat
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I would think the trailer is what you are buying, the owner isn't of primary relevance. I might guess that if someone had wanted to rent the trailer in response to the ad they would have considered doing so. Considering a long weekend would have put close to $500 in their pocket. "Forgetting" may have been another way of saying ambivalent about removing rental listing so it didn't get done.

All just speculation so not all that valuable. Might be a reminder to look with care at the places and features to find any hidden damage or wear that could be an issue for you as new owners.

With these campers to some extent when you find what you want you have to take the good with the bad. With older ones you will most likely find some things that you as new owner will need to deal with. Privately used or rental won't impact that much.

Learn what the model you are buying has as known issues and inspect for them. I would note for example looking inside cabinets and under seats around the edges. Water that is getting inside will go to the lowest point, hit a wall, then run along the wall until it finds a way out through the floor. Checking the wall and floor (from underneath) to make sure the walls and floor that support the door are sound is another good thing to check.

One of the reasons people buy a molded fiberglass camper is they can be repaired and maintained almost indefinitely. With the value of the camper being enough to support the cost and effort of those repair and maintenance efforts. Some of that does depend on how much you have to pay to have done and how much you are able to do yourself. However since they last for so long one can consider even an expensive repair something that amortizes over many years.

For example replacing an axle may cost several hundred dollars but also lasts around 20 years which assuming the rest of the camper is maintained one can expect to use the camper for as many of those 20 years as one wishes, and the newer axle will enhance resale value. This sort of long time frame is just not something that owners of many stick built campers ever need to consider.

Expect to find at least something not right or needing work that isn't discovered on inspection and only shows up in use. Hopefully not anything major, the more complete your pre-purchase inspection the less likely it will be that a big item will come as a surprise later. Finding some stripped screws or loose rivets or switch that is getting "iffy" are par for the course. Just avoiding the big stuff like appliances, floors, frame, axle, or hard to replace hardware for some of the vintage age trailers is the best anyone can typically expect. If the owner can provide you with a detailed list of things you need to fix it would be a surprise. Often using the trailer one doesn't really do the sort of detailed inspection that a new owner does or believes that the cause of something is minor and not worth mentioning.

Bottom line inspect the camper, if it meets your needs and requirements as to condition for a fair price you are good to go. If it was rented, never rented, or the current owner is say "spinning things" a bit on that subject won't really matter. Clear title and actual condition are much more important to your purchase decision.

Good luck.
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Old 09-17-2022, 09:14 PM   #5
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Name: Shangie
Trailer: Northwood Nash 22/1977 Trillium 4500
Washington
Posts: 145
Thanks for the thoughtful response- Now the pictures with cracks...

Thank you for the thoughtful response. Your comments are being discussed as I write and hubs and I are needing to figure out if we want the work of owning a vintage trailer.

The reality of what it takes to own and care for vintage trailers is setting in. I see so much work being done by members of this forum. We have to decide if we want to do fiberglass maintenance which not minor by any means when it comes to taking care of needed repairs, especially if one does not have a dry shop or climate to work in. It's no small job and it's expensive to have others do the work in our region, with appointments months out. We are not experienced enough to know whether a crack is a stress crack and that concerns us because it seems stress cracks just continue unless the stress is remedied. My husband says this might not be for us and your comments are leaning us in that direction.

More pictures are coming in now that I asked about cracks, etc. It was described as having an incredible exterior and now there is a picture of a five inch long deep crack above the door by the corner of it and several other smaller ones around the front window frame. At first they sent two pictures with spider cracks. Now that they know we have a hotel room reservation, the other pictures of these latest cracks came in. I realize they are trying to help us not waste ours or theirs and avoid an expense for us. They are stating these are gelcoat and they may be but I can't tell from pictures and they are not experts.

It seems like cracks are a part of life with vintage trailers and visible or repaired with gelcoat or bondo. Maybe we just live with common issues until they can be repaired and not be so fussy? That is so not like us and I wonder if we have the temperament for vintage trailers. More to think about......my brain hurts and our other trailer, though a big brute to tow, isn't needy at this time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
I would think the trailer is what you are buying, the owner isn't of primary relevance. I might guess that if someone had wanted to rent the trailer in response to the ad they would have considered doing so. Considering a long weekend would have put close to $500 in their pocket. "Forgetting" may have been another way of saying ambivalent about removing rental listing so it didn't get done.

All just speculation so not all that valuable. Might be a reminder to look with care at the places and features to find any hidden damage or wear that could be an issue for you as new owners.

With these campers to some extent when you find what you want you have to take the good with the bad. With older ones you will most likely find some things that you as new owner will need to deal with. Privately used or rental won't impact that much.

Learn what the model you are buying has as known issues and inspect for them. I would note for example looking inside cabinets and under seats around the edges. Water that is getting inside will go to the lowest point, hit a wall, then run along the wall until it finds a way out through the floor. Checking the wall and floor (from underneath) to make sure the walls and floor that support the door are sound is another good thing to check.

One of the reasons people buy a molded fiberglass camper is they can be repaired and maintained almost indefinitely. With the value of the camper being enough to support the cost and effort of those repair and maintenance efforts. Some of that does depend on how much you have to pay to have done and how much you are able to do yourself. However since they last for so long one can consider even an expensive repair something that amortizes over many years.

For example replacing an axle may cost several hundred dollars but also lasts around 20 years which assuming the rest of the camper is maintained one can expect to use the camper for as many of those 20 years as one wishes, and the newer axle will enhance resale value. This sort of long time frame is just not something that owners of many stick built campers ever need to consider.

Expect to find at least something not right or needing work that isn't discovered on inspection and only shows up in use. Hopefully not anything major, the more complete your pre-purchase inspection the less likely it will be that a big item will come as a surprise later. Finding some stripped screws or loose rivets or switch that is getting "iffy" are par for the course. Just avoiding the big stuff like appliances, floors, frame, axle, or hard to replace hardware for some of the vintage age trailers is the best anyone can typically expect. If the owner can provide you with a detailed list of things you need to fix it would be a surprise. Often using the trailer one doesn't really do the sort of detailed inspection that a new owner does or believes that the cause of something is minor and not worth mentioning.

Bottom line inspect the camper, if it meets your needs and requirements as to condition for a fair price you are good to go. If it was rented, never rented, or the current owner is say "spinning things" a bit on that subject won't really matter. Clear title and actual condition are much more important to your purchase decision.

Good luck.
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Old 09-18-2022, 10:54 AM   #6
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Name: David
Trailer: currently shopping
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Lying seller

IMO, if you catch a seller in an outright lie, beware beware beware!
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Old 09-18-2022, 11:11 PM   #7
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Name: Shangie
Trailer: Northwood Nash 22/1977 Trillium 4500
Washington
Posts: 145
Outright Lies

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveMinBako View Post
IMO, if you catch a seller in an outright lie, beware beware beware!
I would hope most people selling their trailers just don't know what is wrong. In reality none of us can know 100 percent what is wrong nor can we anticipate what will go wrong.

I do agree that if lied to, that is a red flag.

Several years ago we were trying to find a vintage trailer and gave up. After the day we had today we are going to enjoy our beautiful big trailer and just wait for a newer Scamp 13 to come along. Hubs was able to confirm he fit in one fine lengthwise on the bed at an RV dealership (fair condition Scamp- an alleged one owner, non verifiable) with rough exterior, dozens of popped rivets -don't know what that means and the fiberglass was super dull so it seemed like someone couldn't afford a hundred dollar cover every two years or the annual cost of good polish).

Unfortunately we had a family event when a 2017 came up for $16,000.00 three hours from us and sold quickly. We need to rely on Want to Buy Ads and will do so. This gets me off the hook for the all consuming hunt which I don't have time for and am not inclined to want to do. My attitude is 'it's just not worth it to me". We upped our budget for a really nice, newer Scamp so we won't have the heavier maintenance needs of an older vintage trailer.
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Old 09-24-2022, 10:31 AM   #8
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Name: To Infinity & Beyond!
Trailer: 1985 Uhaul VT-16 Vacationer, 1957 Avion R20 & 1977 Argosy 6.0 Minuet
Tennessee
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The fact a trailer has been a rental does NOT make any difference to the 100's of UHAUL CT-13/VT-16 owners across the country.

As a matter of fact they are PROUD of the fact that their fiberglass trailers were RENTALS and as such their CT-13 and VT-16 campers are now very desirable and collectible.

It's all in your own head what you make of the fact that a RV/trailer has been a rental at some point in its life!

As always what's really important is:

Does The Price Match The Condition????
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Old 09-24-2022, 12:58 PM   #9
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Name: Mindy
Trailer: 13’ Boler
Ontario
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Wondering

Why not rent the trailer and check it out fully instead of a hotel? Then you will answer all your questions. For future, you can never get a vintage fiberglass that doesnít need some sort of work. (Speaking by someone who just rewired the tail lights for the second time in 5 years!)
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Old 09-25-2022, 10:01 AM   #10
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Name: Shangie
Trailer: Northwood Nash 22/1977 Trillium 4500
Washington
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I would think a rental has been maintained as well? Anyway, there were lots of interesting comments. I think I was caught off guard by the seller telling us specifically that they rent out trailers but that the one they were selling that we were interested in was 'too good of condition" to put in their fleet because they were concerned about finding vintage parts should something break but then having an advertisement for it as a rental online. Seemed flaky and began the thought process of "what else are they lying about?".
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Old 09-25-2022, 10:25 AM   #11
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Name: Pat
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Exclamation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shangie View Post
I would think a rental has been maintained as well? Anyway, there were lots of interesting comments. I think I was caught off guard by the seller telling us specifically that they rent out trailers but that the one they were selling that we were interested in was 'too good of condition" to put in their fleet because they were concerned about finding vintage parts should something break but then having an advertisement for it as a rental online. Seemed flaky and began the thought process of "what else are they lying about?".
Yep, and I don't trust many in the RV sales/rental industry. Worse that the old style "sleazy, pushy, crooked used car salesmen".
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Old 10-29-2022, 08:37 AM   #12
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Name: Michelle
Trailer: Casita
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When a seller lies to you, it's lying. Pure and simple. I agree that there are cases where a seller of anything just doesn't know, but in your case, the seller did a whole lot explaining and not much owning up.


It sure sounds like a 'this car was only driven on weekends by a little old lady." situation Well, I have an aunt who's in her nineties and beware, Southeast Michiganders...she drives like a bat out of hell.



The sellers saying it was too nice to rent, and yet you found it for rent? Doesn't this trip every alarm and wave red flags from the rooftops?



And would I buy a rental? No. One time many years and a husband ago, I rented a small stick built camper for him to go elk hunting in. I'd inspected it before signing the paperwork and everything looked okay.


Husband takes it up into the mountains to set up camp. It was snowing when he turned in for the night, so he fired up the propane furnace , turned out the lights and went to bed.



For about about half an hour. Then he got bit by something. Then bit again, and suddenly, he's being bitten all over. He turns on a light and sees a virtual flood of fleas, all heading for him. "Hundreds" he said, and I didn't doubt him. Someone had kept their flea ridden dog in the camper.



And another: just recently I watched a guy pull up to the dump station in a Cruise America camper. (Class C). He dumped the black and gray tank, then...I am not kidding...filled up the water tank using the same hose that he'd just hosed out the black water pipe.


I would say a resounding no to buying that camper..or for that matter, anything from that seller.



Put me on the 'never buy a rental" side.
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Old 10-29-2022, 09:15 AM   #13
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I dont know ,,, would depend on the trailer.
If it was the brand with the options I wanted at a great price point probably.
Anything used is going to have issues and I accept that. A personal inspection is much more important than the sellers story anyway.
Certainly buyer beware but if the price is right and the repairs suit my skill level I'm in.
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Old 10-29-2022, 09:31 AM   #14
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With a trailer I’m inclined to agree with you, Fred,, but with a vehicle, rental is a kiss of death for me. People do too many things to rentals that cause damage that can’t be seen in an inspection but make for premature and expensive repairs down the road.

If catching a seller in a lie automatically nixed a transaction, I’d probably not have any of the vehicles in my driveway. Sometimes exposing the lie tactfully (without calling it a lie) increases your power in a negotiation. There are “fatal lies,” of course, such as actual ownership of the property!
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Old 10-29-2022, 09:32 AM   #15
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FWIW, though OP didn't close out this thread, apparently she has made a decision and bought a trailer.
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Old 10-29-2022, 09:38 AM   #16
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Yup, was aware of that. But itís a good general discussion for future readers.
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Old 10-29-2022, 01:31 PM   #17
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Name: Shangie
Trailer: Northwood Nash 22/1977 Trillium 4500
Washington
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How do I close out a thread?

Hello- We purchased an egg (1977 Trillium 4500 we are preparing for camping) and so I need to close this one out. Apparently we can do that but I don't know how. Thanks!
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Old 10-29-2022, 01:36 PM   #18
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Name: Shangie
Trailer: Northwood Nash 22/1977 Trillium 4500
Washington
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Oh my that sounds bad! I didn't have an issue with the trailer being in a rental fleet so much as the deception. There was no need for that. If you tell me you have rented a trailer out and maintained it to an inch of it's life for your customers, insurance, etc. I'd be thrilled. If you act like you've owned and used a trailer for years and it's just up for sale because you are going bigger when in fact you used it as a rental and have only owned it as a rental for a few months, I'm walking away and did. No seller can know everything about their rig nor know what the future holds, especially with trailers that rattle down the road. I get that. But why the lies? That's the worst part. Honesty is best and goes a long ways towards an ethical sale because it can help the buyer know what they are getting, what needs improvement or repair, etc. so they can make the best choice for themselves. Sorry about the flea situation- WHAT A NIGHTMARE- YUCK!!!!!!
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Old 10-29-2022, 01:39 PM   #19
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You can post the end of your question, but threads have a life of their own. They’re only closed if they become ugly or stray into forbidden topics such as politics.

Could be worse. Ever tried to get rid of bed bugs?
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Old 10-29-2022, 03:48 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shangie View Post
Hello- We purchased an egg (1977 Trillium 4500 we are preparing for camping) and so I need to close this one out. Apparently we can do that but I don't know how. Thanks!
All you need to do is let folks know you've got what you needed and are done with the thread. Congrats on the Trillium!
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