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Old 04-28-2019, 06:56 PM   #1
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No Reason to Buy Used?

We are newly to the project of purchasing a fiberglass trailer, downsizing from a 32' fifthwheel. Maybe I am missing something, but in looking at the used units available and their prices I am beginning to think it makes more sense to buy new. Is seems the following are skewing the market for used units to the high side of pricing:

1. Many of the used units have an asking price that indicates either no depreciation or only a few hundred dollars a year. I have actually seen some advertised for more than the factory prices, particularly in SoCal. Is this a new phenomenon, or has it been this way for a while?

2. It appears the factory is so oversold that there is a wait time of several months, which affects the prices of used units.

3. Possibly the units are actually selling for much less than the asking price, but I doubt it based upon their very short time on the market.

4. Are the older units better than the new ones (quality, features, etc.)?

5. I know this is not the time of year to find a bargain in an rv, but does the market for Escapes fluctuate much based upon Spring vs Fall?

6. Should we just bite the bullet and buy new, hoping that our unit also will not depreciate much in the future?

My observations pertain to Escape units, but it looks like it also applies to Casita and Scamp. Comments would be most welcome.
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Old 04-28-2019, 07:51 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marant View Post
We are newly to the project of purchasing a fiberglass trailer, downsizing from a 32' fifthwheel. Maybe I am missing something, but in looking at the used units available and their prices I am beginning to think it makes more sense to buy new. Is seems the following are skewing the market for used units to the high side of pricing:

1. Many of the used units have an asking price that indicates either no depreciation or only a few hundred dollars a year. I have actually seen some advertised for more than the factory prices, particularly in SoCal. Is this a new phenomenon, or has it been this way for a while?

2. It appears the factory is so oversold that there is a wait time of several months, which affects the prices of used units.

3. Possibly the units are actually selling for much less than the asking price, but I doubt it based upon their very short time on the market.

4. Are the older units better than the new ones (quality, features, etc.)?

5. I know this is not the time of year to find a bargain in an rv, but does the market for Escapes fluctuate much based upon Spring vs Fall?

6. Should we just bite the bullet and buy new, hoping that our unit also will not depreciate much in the future?

My observations pertain to Escape units, but it looks like it also applies to Casita and Scamp. Comments would be most welcome.
Welcome to the forum. It is important when looking at used units that you go to the Escape web site and use the build estimator for the options listed on the used unit. If you are only looking at at the base price, then you are comparing apples to oranges.

For example, I recently sold my 2013 19' and my asking price was $23,000 US. At the exchange rate on the day I place my ad, it equaled about $30,000 Canadian. A new 19' base unit sells for 32,150 CAN. so it appears at first blush that my 6 year old trailer was only $2,150 less than new. But my 19' had most of the available options. So a new unit configured like my 2013 would have sold for just over $41,000 CAN.

Regarding the backlog, Escapes are hand built to order per customer configurations. They do not have a dealer network and the amount of options and custom colors etc make it impossible to build them ahead of time. So they are not "oversold" but neither are they mass produced. The lead time had actually shortened over the last year or so. It used to be almost a year.

So yes, this business model and the quality of the build all lead to higher prices in the secondary market. I hope this helps.
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Old 04-28-2019, 08:38 PM   #3
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The way it is now is the way it's been for the 10 years I've been paying attn. Supply and demand dictate used prices, with all the retiring baby boomers the market is bigger then the supply. Molded fiberglass trailers are built by small operations, not many turned out. They also last much longer then conventional campers.

These factors add up to low depreciation.

You won't save much buying a late model used, you do save the wait time for new.

There may be a few more used coming up for sale in the fall then the spring but I've not seen any price differences between the seasons.

For the most part, used trailers don't stay on the market long, some only hours. You are best moving quick if something you want comes up. You can save a decent buck if you go for an older unit, older being maybe 5+ years old.

Personally I'd go for new and get exactly what I want.
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Old 04-28-2019, 09:23 PM   #4
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Itís true, molded fiberglass trailers hold their value because they last for decades with care, unlike stick-built trailers. I bought my 1998 Casita used 12 years ago. Iím reasonably sure I can get just about what I paid for it when I get ready to sell, though itís true I added to its value by changing out the flooring, adding a larger freshwater tank, and a few other things. I donít believe prices fluctuate depending on the time of the year, but itís possible trailers sell even faster with prime camping season upon us. Truly, they do sell within hours, so if you see one you like advertised, PM the person IMMEDIATELY with your phone number and donít post a message asking them to respond to you. It will be too late. Also, be prepared to pay the asking price, if it is within your budget, or you may lose out. Itís a sellerís market and has been the last thirteen years I can attest to. Others on the forum may have a different opinion. Good luck! Havenít talked to anyone yet who regretted buying molded fiberglass!
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Old 04-28-2019, 09:41 PM   #5
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Welcome Mike to the forum.

1. No not a new phenomenon.
2. Not oversold but just the fact they are in such demand that the wait time is long but as Arnie pointed out with their expansion the wait time is actually less now
3. I would imagine most units are sold at or close to the asking price.
4. Older could be better we think so.
5. Not much fluctuation, just that in the fall a used unit may take longer to sell.
6. But new if you want the exact options, used if you're willing to take some things that you didn't want, and forgo some things you'd like.

We have bought two used first a 2007 in 2014, then a 2016 in 2018. After four years with the single axle 5.0 we got our asking price about $1000 less than we paid for it, really only thing we did was LED lights, new water pump, and tires. Last year we thought about buying a new 2019 model this spring but glad we were able to get a well cared for barely used 2016 5.0TA. It's the classic model with curved sides and manual awning which we prefer. It had most of the options we wanted including extra 12 volt outlet just where we wanted. It has custom formica and cushion covers which we happen to mostly like and have changed our decor to match. We figure a total savings over buying new similarly equipped at between 8-9k CDN$. We especially save on the high tax we had to pay (13% between federal and provincial).
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Old 04-29-2019, 06:08 AM   #6
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Welcome to the fiberglass side of life. As you have seen, prices of slightly used units go for approximately the cost of a new Escape because there is a 3-4 month wait for a new one. Time is money holds true here. Another thing is Escape has increased their prices over time, particularly when the exchange rate becomes greater because most of the components are purchased in the US. I have owned 4 Escapes and my current one cost me a lot more than my first one. Finally there is the issue of customization, most Escapes are custom built to the owners specifications, these used ones may not be your choice in selection. Buying new allow you to make it the way you want, it took me 4 times....
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Old 04-29-2019, 07:49 AM   #7
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Also take into consideration the exchange rate when calculating the US cost. Depending on when the used unit was purchased the seller could be making some money or taking a loss based on the exchange at time of purchase. Also the sellers could also be taking into consideration the cost of picking it up or delivery which I think is about $1.50 per mile. For example if you purchased a lightly used one on the east coast expect to pay more than one purchased in Washington state for a similarly equipped unit.
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Old 04-29-2019, 07:54 AM   #8
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In the middle of the night (as usual) I had a "Well Duh" moment when I realized that probably the greatest factor is that there is no dealer involved. Due to dealer markup a unit will depreciate 15-30 % the minute you drive it off the lot. This is a cost that does not reflect any increase in the intrinsic value of the trailer, it merely reflects convenience and concern about a far away builder. Buying direct eliminates this markup and drastically reduces depreciation to a more realistic level, reflecting actual reduction in the potential life of the trailer.


Which brings to mind: Does a direct manufacturer take greater care with the design and build process due to intimate contact with the buyer and a desire to avoid expensive long distance warranty work.?
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Old 04-29-2019, 08:09 AM   #9
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We bought our 5.0TA new - having used our previous trailer for 15 years we knew exactly what we wanted, and knew that we would keep it a long time, so with the extensive customization ETI offers it was well worth the wait to us to get it equipped as we wanted. Any cost difference, over the long life of the trailer, is insignificant to me.

Everyone has different wants and needs, though - Escape owners seem to generally take much better care of their trailers, try looking at an old stick and tin rig sometime! And Escape owners are also more likely to have done a bunch of little mods that, if they are to your liking, can be a plus in a used trailer. If you are distant from the factory finding a used trailer close to home can save that journey - although in our case that was part of the adventure, we drove from Austin to Chilliwack before finalizing our order to see the showroom model, determine exactly what we wanted, and talk with our sales rep in person about a few details.

ETI is constantly changing and upgrading different features, either to make improvements in response to customer feedback, replace a component that was problematic, or upgrade a feature. So any trailer will have a few slight differences from ones built six months earlier or later. The ability to choose exactly which components to include or exclude was really nice, and being able to choose from any fabric in the world made my wife very happy!

I don't think there is one right answer to this question - it will vary for each person. But either way, if you are camping in an Escape trailer when all is said and done, you will be very happy indeed.
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Old 04-29-2019, 08:26 AM   #10
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One more thing is the delivery charge, or the time and cost of a round trip drive to pick up and bring home, at least a $1000+++ or more no matter what. Carl
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