Lately I’ve had a few questions from friends, family and my beautiful readers about the nuts and bolts of buying an Airstream. I don’t feel like I can make sweeping generalizations about the process of purchasing an Airstream, but I can tell you our story. Learn from it, what you will, my children.
After I got a new job in a new city, George and I began dreaming of purchasing our own home. We started looking at Realtor.com and quickly realized that our home-owning dream was still a couple of years away. We then started looking at rental properties. We saw a few rental properties in-person, but nothing really wowed us. We were also really sick of paying money towards something we don’t own. It just seemed wasteful.
One night while lying in bed looking at adorable little properties we couldn’t afford, George started searching for Airstreams on Craigslist. I had seen stories of people living full-time in mobile homes before and I mentioned to George how appealing it was to live small. I especially loved this Featured Seller story on pollenArts— a creative couple who work and live in their Winnebago! I talked about paring down in the past, but George is really the one who put the pieces together. For the record, it is all his fault if anything goes horribly wrong
We then timidly starting asking ourselves, can we do this? Can we go without most of our worldly possessions? Will George have enough room to do his art? Will I have enough room to craft and cook? The small reservations we had about living small were dwarfed in comparison to the large reservations we had (and still have) about our financial future and our dreams.
Next we decided on a small budget for the Airstream and for renovations– just $6,000. If we couldn’t do it for that price, it wouldn’t be worth it. If it was much more than our price point, we could just rent for a year and save ourselves a huge hassle. With our budget in mind, it became easier to narrow down our search. We trolled Craigslist religiously. We not only looked at Airstreams in our home state, but in other nearby states.
The first Airstream we looked from a Craigslist post was in the mountains of our home state. We knew going up there that it might be a struggle to get the Airstream down into the Piedmont where we live. And the second red flag, the owner was a used car salesman. But we went anyway and even thought, despite it’s bullet holes (yes, bullet holes), we could fix it. We agreed on a price, but we couldn’t pull the Airstream out of the driveway. The tires were old and it was parked at the bottom of a steep hill. We had to leave her behind. I’m so grateful that didn’t work out.
The next Airstream we looked at was fairly close. It was actually located in the city where I went to grad school! We tried not to get our hopes up too much because from the pictures on Craiglist, this one looked rough. It still had it’s original shag carpet. Yikes. But we went anyway “just to look.”
When we arrived, we were greeted by the loveliest free spirit, Deb. She was selling the Airstream so she could move on– both figuratively and literally. She had acquired the Airstream in a divorce and the time was right for her to sell it. We would be bringing love back into the old girl. It wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies, though.
The Airstream was quite frankly a mess. The fridge didn’t work. We were afraid to turn on the stove because it was gas and we might loose our eyebrows or a leg! And the carpet. Oh, the carpet. I can only compare it to a homeless Cookie Monster.
The Airstream had been neglected for quite some time and transferring the title was kind of a nightmare. Deb’s divorce made the transfer of the title difficult. It took two weeks before we could call it ours! Buying an Airstream is just like buying a used car, by the way.
The actual purchasing process was one of the biggest struggles we’ve encountered so far. There were points during the transfer process where we thought we should just throw in the towel, but we stuck it out. The Airstream lifestyle looks dreamy, but it can be extremely challenging, as well. But as our Airstream nears completion, I know we made the right choice.
Hard work and positivity make all the difference.