We bought a camper! I've been spying campers for a couple of months now and really didn't think we'd end up getting one until next year. On a whim, I was able to get Hubs to jump on the bandwagon and we went to go view a 1979 Airstream. It was in great condition and if the owners came down in price, we would have bought it. It needed cosmetic work on the inside but the real reason why we didn't buy it was because it needed axle work and that is a much bigger project than we wanted to take on.
Here is what we bought!
1995 Jayco Eagle 24 Feet
Later that day, feeling a little deflated, I went on Craigslist and saw a much smaller travel trailer for sale and it was nearby. The pictures made it look extremely clean and well kept. I emailed the seller and she quickly got back to me. I was leery though because she said they were the third owners. Hmmm, I really wanted to buy something that was from one owner. However, I was giddy to hear that the location of the camper was only 15 minutes away. I almost jumped in the car and went to spy it at night, but knew that wasn't the best thing to do...even though I really wanted to.
Hubs and I went the next afternoon and had a price in our head of what we were willing to pay. The camper is from 1995 so it's rather old. We were actually very surprised how clean and well maintained the camper was. The couple that were selling it had upgraded to a slightly newer and bigger camper. They were very nice and showed us all the mechanics of the camper. They let us inspect it all over, under the sinks, on the roof, under the belly, everything. They were very open to our questions and answered everything we asked.
Now Hubs is the negotiator. I run the other way.
He asked the owner if there was room for negotiation and she was willing to come down $800 dollars but it was still far from what we had in our minds. I could tell that Hubs was willing to go up on our agreed budget and he politely gave an offer. She didn't bite. We thanked her for their time and let them know if they changed their mind to give us a call.
We had a few things going for us.
They already had another camper in their driveway.
We were so nice and polite how could they not like us. :)
We made a lot of small talk as we had a camper before and gave them some tips on places to stay where they haven't been before.
The husband wanted to sell it to us. You could tell. The wifey was the money negotiator. She didn't budge at first.
On the way home, Hubs and I discussed how much we liked the camper and how clean it was.
Do you know what made us make a counter offer? The little camper has two entry doors.
Yes, that was it! Hubs could get up in the AM and go get coffee without having to disturb me.
We made a counter off that was very close to meeting the owners offer in the "middle."
The owner and I had communicated via email over the last few days, so I emailed her and then held my breathe. Actually, I went to go clean out my husband's truck. I had the vacuum blaring and glanced over at my phone. SHE ACCEPTED OUR OFFER and said Bring Cash and Come and Get it.
I screamed and did an odd jump in the air.
Hubs thought I found some freaky bug while cleaning out the truck.
Within 15 minutes we were on the road to go pick up our brand new camper.
Here are some things we learned and some things that may help you if looking to buy a camper.
1) Go to dealers and look around. Try to figure out the size you want and what some of the amenities you need.
2) Look on Craigslist, Ebay, newspaper, peer in people's driveways. Basically get the word out you are looking and go on the hunt. I never thought I would buy ours 15 minutes from home.
3) Look for any sign of water damage. Look under the sinks, each of the corners of the camper, check windows, poke around the floors, etc. If owners look at you weird, who cares. If they won't show you around the camper, think hard about why not.
4) Know that you can fix the cosmetics of the camper. If you are like me, you want the camper to be pretty, to be fun, to be your home away from home. Know that you can paint, clean and make the place look fabulous.
How do you like that lovely floral fabric, pastel wall covering and oak plastic trim and cabinets?
Here is what we wanted when we were looking for a camper.
1) Small camper between 20-24 feet that had bathroom and two places to sleep.
2) Lighter weight camper so we could possibly tow it with our Ford Explorer or our Ford F250.
4) Clean spaces that had a little more room that our previous truck camper.
5) A bathtub/shower that was bigger than what was in our truck camper.
We came away with all of that and the two entry doors. :)
I'm working on ripping out carpet, plastic trim and other things I no longer want in the camper.
Next steps are painting and adding lots of fabric by Premier Prints. I love their patterns!
The carpet was very discolored, somewhat clean. It didn't smell like dog or cat or pee and just looked old. I found out there was a lot of sand ground into it when I ripped it up. It was a real pain to tear up because it is attached under the walls and under the bed, not right up to it.
Also, see all the dirt in those floor vents. ICK. I bought new ones that open and close at Lowes yesterday. Hopefully that will help from crap falling into them. I don't think they were ever cleaned.
I ripped all the fake plastic trim off the walls and ceiling. I will caulk and fill in most of the gaps and holes. Some spots will require new trim, but I'd rather have real wood trim then plastic stuff.