Sunday, July 18, 2010



FORT PIERCE, Florida - Florida living is wonderful but doubly-so when your home is transportable. Think of it - spending a week in Marathon from your Airstream or other RV, enjoying the turquoise waters and supremely laid-back lifestyle. Just a quarter tank up the road is Miami where probably more than a week would be needed before any type of boredom would set in. Perhaps even a trip to beautiful Fort Pierce for some golf, good food and beautiful beaches. Your RV or travel trailer is next to all of it. Close the doors and you're back at home. So how much time and money should you reasonably spend to remodel  your Airstream or other vintage motor home or trailer?

One of the advantages to remodeling your home-away-from-home is financial as this dwelling is about 1/10 scale of your actual home. One of the disadvantages is that it's very difficult to find capable craftsmen to either install or fabricate hard to find components. Then, of course, you'll need a competent appraiser to properly evaluate the unit for insurance or loan purposes.

How about taking a glimpse into the cost of remodeling a seventies-era 31' Airstream Sovereign? First thing is to make sure you choose a good candidate. Rust, of course, is a telltale negative as are frame and suspension problems, rotted or soft spots in floors, A/C, heating, plumbing or electrical issues, fixtures replacements, mold, etc.

So what's your pleasure regarding decor? Cost of re-upholstering all of the interior wall panels $750. Front seats re-done in synthetic ultra-leather $1500. A new stereo system AM/FM/CD/MP3 plus front and rear speakers $725. Complete overhaul of cabinetry in wood or brushed aluminum $1000, New appliances $500, Flooring can be linoleum but better choices are hardwood laminate, marmoleum with carpeting and bathroom tile as desired $1750. New vents $1000, mini-blinds $250, TVs, DVDs, Blu-Ray, converter boxes, etc. $850, CB and antenna $250, microwave $350, bathroom remodeling $700, rope lights $800, new main and street side awnings (3) $900, aluminum alloy rims and 8 ply trailer tires $900, professional grade fire extinguishers $200, electric hitch, fresh batteries, inverters, converters $350, twin 40 lb. chrome gas cylinders $300, full diagnostics including repack wheel bearings $450, H&H Super Jack $650, re-done bedroom and access doors $500, Nu-vite polish job $500, odds and ends like fancy screen doors, etc. $500. This is off the top of my head, I may be forgetting a few items here and there. There are, of course taxes, registration fees, etc.

So how much was spent creating your dream home on wheels? Considering the average cost for a decent rebuild-candidate will be around $7500, the whole enchilada comes to around $25,000. How much would I appraise a similar trailer for? Around $25,000.

Happy motoring! Make sure to write to tell us how you're doing and where you've been. We like to think we've helped you get there.

P.O. Box 2700
Fort Pierce, FL 34954
Phone: (772) 359-4300
Fax: (772) 466-8400

Keywords for this article: Airstream, appraisal, florida, florida rv appraiser, fort pierce, insurance, Marathon, Miami, motor home, RV, ST. LUCIE APPRAISAL, trailer, travel

Revised 08-28-2012
Updated 06-19-2013