FEMA trailers at discount prices

    6:21 PM, Apr 2, 2010   |    comments
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    Winning bidders are selling the mobile homes to the public at discount prices. This comes at a perfect time when most families are planning camping trips and other outdoor activities.

    But while, the deep discounts on the mobile homes are certainly a draw, there are some things interested buyers need to be aware of before making the investment.

    Shawn Light spent Friday going in and out of stores looking for parts for his new $4,000 trailer.

    He says he's generally happy with his purchase, but minor repairs could make the deal less of a bargain.

    "Now what I'm having to do is what you would call, 'red-necking it,' and get me a separate tank and hook the hoses up to it," Light says about plumbing repairs he needs to do on the RV.

    Jan Davie of Fred and Jack trailers says the parts and labor could cost consumers up to $5,000.

    "They don't have the tanks and they don't have a lot of the equipments that a normal travel trailer would have," she says.

    But Ron Campbell, who purchased and is selling about 1,700 of the FEMA trailers, disagrees.

    "When we are talking about parts, we are really not talking about parts that people necessarily need. It depends on whether you want one that's self-contained," Campbell said.

    Apart from the plumbing concerns, Campbell believes there's nothing wrong with the mobile homes. In fact, he says the discount trailers have been selling off his lot very quickly.

    "There are a lot of dealers, camper dealers that I know this is going to hurt their business," said Campbell.

    Traveling trailer dealers say the market was hurt back in 2005 when most RV manufacturers were tied up with FEMA orders for Hurricane Katrina.

    "We've had some part sales for them but it didn't bother us so much this time as it did a few years ago," Davie said.

    Back on Campbell's lot, customers like Keith Slaten say the purchase is well worth it.

    "It's in good enough condition that it's ready to go," Slaten said.

    Campbell says there's a company that is selling the parts for the trailers without holding tanks for about $60 but that doesn't include labor costs.

    Consumers have also brought up concerns about formaldehyde, mold and mildew building up in the trailers since they sat in Hope for years, unused before being auctioned off.

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