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Trailer Value...I Got It!!!! Now with Pics!

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  • Trailer Value...I Got It!!!! Now with Pics!

    Ok so quick question...

    How well does a trailer actually hold value?

    As in if the one I am looking at cost $10,400 new 13 years ago. Was appraised for $8k in 2001 and is being sold now after having sat for 8 years and done next to nothing including not had service or inspections.... Is it worth $8k still???

    My gut says now. Not to mention the new tires, wheel bearings and unknown condition of the brakes and electrical.

    BUT.... It's a well loved brand and indeed has rarely been used and looks great.

    I am just not sure how to go about trying to offer less without 1.) losing the deal altogether or 2.) offending the seller. Or even knowing if I should offer less. I have at least $1k worth of work in front of me before I can put a horse in it. Minimum.

    Any and all advice is welcome.


    Last edited by Xctrygirl; Mar. 8, 2012, 10:24 PM.
    "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries

  • #2
    What would a new one like it cost? Maybe that's a better standard to compare it to than what it cost when originally purchased. Also, has it
    been sitting under cover or out in the elements?

    Can you or they take to a dealer/repair shop for an inspection before purchasing it?


    • #3
      I'm surprised it lost $2400 in value in only 2 years. Most trailers hold their value for a long time. I've sold a few higher end trailers that were 4-5yrs old for the same price I bought them for...


      • Original Poster

        Out in the elements.

        WE definitely could take it for an inspection. I had that as a fall back plan to non successful negotiations of a lower price. I shot 100 cell phone pics and got the manufacturer and the selling dealer to look through and give me their assesments based off the pics. (I know that doesn't account for eveything but still) Both said it was a good buy, but would offer lower.

        In my head I am thinking if they disagree with my rough estimates for what I will have to do, I would say fine.... "Lets take it to (X) shop and see what they say it needs."

        Still formulating a plan though.

        "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by DiablosHalo View Post
          I'm surprised it lost $2400 in value in only 2 years. Most trailers hold their value for a long time. I've sold a few higher end trailers that were 4-5yrs old for the same price I bought them for...
          My question on that was based on the newness of the brand back at that point and maybe the existing dealers were still judging it as an unknown quantity in the long haul.

          But maybe too it had marks against it for not having a ramp, having a customization in the dressing room that's not a bad thing, but definitely different than the other models of the same type.

          It was appraised by it's original selling dealer. And was done so in an estate evaluation moment. So definitely in "as is" condition then to settle out the estate. And maybe that not so much depreciation of the trailer but rather the actual value as it had a markup when new. I don't know. I am guessing.

          "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


          • Original Poster


            Alum Skin
            Steel frame
            Fiberglass Roof

            Dressing room

            2 horse GN
            "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


            • #7
              My mom bought a similar model, same aged, but more used, Trail-et for about $4k. I think $6k sounds closer to the mark than $8k, but I'd probably try to find ads for used trailers of the same brand online and see what they're going for.


              • Original Poster

                I have been trying. Sadly these trailers 1.) Hold their value and 2.) Not many from the late 90's are online to be sold.

                And the ones that are most prevalent for sale online are from the last 5 years. And the going rate for this model now is roughly $16k plus or minus according to the manufacturer.

                So trying to figure a sliding scale of value is a challenge. Combining that with the lack of use and sitting outside doing nothing and growing older is complicating matters.

                If this thing was current, good tires and service records I think it would be around 8000-8500.

                My gut really has a cheap side and wants badly to offer 5k. I never would but its tempting. Anyway..... I think that the mark would probably be somewhere between 6-7500.

                I might actually want a professional run down on what it will cost to get on the road.

                "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


                • Original Poster

                  Any other thoughts?
                  "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


                  • #10
                    Get an estimate on new tires, repacking, and brake check. Offer $8k minus the price of those things, letting the seller know that those costs will be incurred immediately by you, and you're trying to stay at your budget of $x. Probably $6500 for an offer --- IF that seems like a reasonable price for you, which is the key to all of this.

                    Either the seller says yes or no, and depending on how much you want that specific trailer, you can work from there.

                    Good luck!
                    "And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!"


                    • #11
                      I think 8k sounds high. It's been sitting outside doing nothing for a long time with no maintenance.... that's hard on equipment that's designed to move. I don't think your offer of 5k is out of line, but I wouldn't expect to get that if they are thinking 8k. I would definitely take it somewhere for a good inspection first. Have you hooked up electrical to see that everything still has power? Brakes?

                      FYI, I traded in my 2007 Trail-et 3 horse gooseneck in perfect condition b/c it wouldn't sell - I really needed to downsize. It sat on the dealer's lot for months at only 9,500. It finally sold but I'm sure it was for even less.


                      • #12
                        No Blue Book for trailers means condition is everything.
                        You have to determine the following if looking at a used trailer.

                        Are the tires and mechanicals sound?
                        Is the frame intact and not rotten?
                        Is the flooring solid?
                        What kind of layout does it have?
                        What dimensions does it have?
                        All of these things add into what a buyer would be willing to lay out for a used trailer.

                        Full sized (meaning not small dimensioned ones like some of the older narrow/short ones) will command more money. Condition (like the ramp works easily, lights work, brakes work, etc) adds value.

                        Extra options that may have been provided when the trailer was built will too (lined and insulated roof, extra footage in the dress or horse area, fans, water tanks, etc) all add value.

                        Construction will be key. Better built = better value later on.
                        All aluminum trailers will generally have higher values than steel framed ones or all steel ones. A well respected company will usually command a higher resale than a new one, or a lesser company. It's a lot like cars in that respect. You have Kias and you have Lexus, with all manners in between.

                        Also: Does it have a title?????? Be very, very wary of something that doesn't when it is supposed to.

                        By that, I am not talking about trailers so old the state uses a current registration as transfer of ownership, I mean the excuses like, "Oh, I'll have to mail it to you." Or: "It never had a title."
                        Be sure if they show you paperwork that it is an actual title with it, and NOT the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin.

                        A title will (at least in my state) have the current owner's name on it. A certificate of origin will NOT have the current owner's name printed on the front of it. It may be written in the back as sold to.

                        Some reasons a trailer may not have a title:
                        Owner misplaced it for real. If so, they can get a duplicate, usually within 4 weeks.
                        There is a lein on the trailer that is not paid and the bank holds it.
                        They never registered it and are trying to give you the original MCO. That is a PIA. If you register it now, motor vehicle will likely give you grief and try to hit you with back taxes and fees.
                        Someone else may own the trailer. Yes, I have seen couples divorcing and one of them trying to sell a jointly held asset.

                        Do your homework. Check sites online for the same (or as close to) unit and setup and get an idea of average pricing. I would not call a dealer unless they actually have the very trailer you are thinking of buying. You are essentially asking for a free appraisal of something they can't look at themselves, and will have no way of knowing what features it has.

                        If this is a Trail-Et, they are out of business now. In my area, a 2H GN if it was in very good shape, would be worth around $7,000. They probably won't take 5k if they want 8. (again, if this is TE, 8k is a bit ambitious) Maybe $6,500 will fly. If it is a Hawk it may be a bit more valuable (due to being in business still and being perceived as better built than TE)

                        Check the fit of the doors too. If they don't close well, be careful. The frame may not be true anymore. Fiberglass roofing doesn't give the same triangulation over the years as metal does, so you end up with doors held shut with bungie cords. Good luck and be careful in your purchase.


                        • Original Poster

                          Agree with everyone so far.

                          What we're trying to do now is to go up with my barn owner and his truck to hook it up, test electric, see if brakes work etc and tow it around the block to see if its ok.

                          That way if something is amiss.... seller will bear witness to it and can better grasp where my offer prices are coming from.


                          Stay tuned for more!!!
                          "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


                          • #14
                            All the above said...having both bought and sold trailers (and a horse van)...cash talks.

                            If someone is offended by an offer, the worst they can say is no. Frankly, when I was selling my last trailer and the horse van, I accepted less than the asking price on both.

                            I wouldn't have been offended even by offers that I wouldn't have accepted, though that may just be me. Maybe a little peeved if I spent a bunch of time showing the trailer/van and then got very lowballed, but not personally offended.

                            That said, I think given the amount of time the trailer in question has been sitting, a professional inspection would be very worth your while. Without one, I wouldn't bother offering less than $6k cash, but would probably start about there. If you get an inspection and it shows really major issues, then you have specific reasons to justify a much lower sale price.
                            Custom and semi-custom washable wool felt saddle pads!


                            • #15
                              I agree. Since the trailer hasn't been inspected, have that done and see what needs fixing. Then make an offer. The worst you would be out is the cost of the inspection and your time.

                              I'd also look at what similar trailers of the same age and model sell on a national basis. The current owner probably has done this much.

                              As for offering low, as long as you don't mind getting declined, then go at it. I had someone make a lowball on my Brenderup and I said no thank you. The two weeks later someone bought it for the asking price.
                              Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                              • #16
                                What brand is it - some really hold their value better than others. I could expect to sell my Jamco for what I paid for it (used) 8 years ago. Although it's in top condition.

                                To some extent they are like saddles - cost a lot new, but once they hit the 'used' value if the are well maintained they keep that used value. They are not so much like cars & trucks where more age = less and less value.

                                I like the idea of having the mechanic tell you what it needs and subtracting that cost from the asking price.

                                Another consideration - if you were the seller what price would you ask?


                                • Original Poster

                                  Be hard to answer what I'd ask because I don't know what I have into it. (Or what they have into it in this case.)

                                  It's a bit of an odd situation all around as the original owner died. Hence the sitting etc. But they do have the right paperwork (Including its title) and authority to sell. That we did look over.

                                  I can say for my trailer I have priced it's local and nationwide competing prices and I know it'll be priced close to the last 3 to have sold in the immediate 200 mile area. Close being within $300.

                                  "Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all." ~2001 The Princess Diaries


                                  • #18
                                    The repacking of the bearings and such is a minimal expense. figure $100/tire. I'd be fussy about the wiring and caulking. Wiring is a PITA for people who don't like that job. Caulking dries and creates leaks over time. Also a pain as well as a likely problem for an older trailer.

                                    I'm feeling that $6,500 as a price you should be proud of paying.

                                    It's likely that the executor of the estate doesn't know what it's worth either and just wants this obscure little piece of stuff sold. Trust me, settling an estate is an exercise in disposing of as many obscure pieces of stuff for as much money as you can get.....until you just don't care anymore and get rid of the junk. You never know when the settler person has "hit the wall" so to speak.

                                    Last, look around for "comps" of the same design and quality in your area. If you can't get another 2H GN for similar, then be happier with paying a bit too much. Time is money (see above), and you'll spend more of both if you start over.
                                    The armchair saddler
                                    Politically Pro-Cat


                                    • #19
                                      ..and aluminum has gone up an awful lot in the last few years. I was surprized at how little value mine had lost after l3 years, but it has been kept up very well by Trailer-guy. Nothing needs doing.
                                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                                      • #20
                                        Take trailer to someone who can do a safety certification - as a licenced mechanic I can tell you that sometimes sitting can do more damage than being used - depending on where it sat.
                                        In this area a safety inspection on a horse trailer runs from $60 to $200 - verifying that the unit is structually sound is most important- brakes, tires, suspension and wiring are relatively easy and inexpensive.