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Old 03-18-2014, 11:29 AM   #1
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Buying a rig from out of town????

For those of you who are experience in having purchased a MH or TT from a private seller who is not local to you.

If this has been posted somewhere else on this forum, please direct me.


OK. The basics are:
1. View an ad and verify all information
2. Talk to the private seller and ask every possible question (or at least try to)
3. View detailed pictures
4. Decide on whether or not to spend the time and money to physically see and test the unit

I've hear it both ways:
1. "Fantastic unit! Just what it was proposed to be."
2. "What a piece of CRAP!!! Worse than a dating service with false pictures..."

What has been your experience? And, most importantly, what did you learn from your experience that you would or would not do if again deciding on an out of town unit?
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Old 03-18-2014, 12:26 PM   #2
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I bought my RV in Casper, WY from Cincinnati. I did careful research of possible issues with engine, chassis, manufacturer, and systems, asking seller about each possible issue that I found with that unit. I paid for an AutoCheck on VIN and got complete history of vehicle. Researched seller and found quite a lot about him and his family. I was promised a full refund of my deposit if it wasn't as listed, so I flew out to Casper, inspected and test drove RV and went through we the purchase. No regrets, we've enjoyed and camped from coast to coast and many places in between.
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Old 03-18-2014, 12:27 PM   #3
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When you say out of town, is a it a day trip or do you buy plane tickets. If you are flying I would have 3 or 4 coaches lined up to look at on the same trip. Check in the area to have the coach checked out. Just remember pix can make anything look good.
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:52 PM   #4
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My son-in -law and I flew to Miss. and bought his. We flew to Fla. and bought mine. both were described to a tea. Both looked good. Both were great coaches. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Mine was nine years old. His was seven years old. So neither was a almost new coach. He now has a DP that was bought at four years of age and he picked this one up in Arizona. It was as described and he has been happy with it.
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Just For Fun View Post
What has been your experience? And, most importantly, what did you learn from your experience that you would or would not do if again deciding on an out of town unit?
I made a lap around Arizona when purchasing my (seriously used) Class A. I was armed with a computer, long list of possibilities from Craigslist, and addresses of consignment yards, and RV dealerships. I made an adventure out of it.

I saw lots of junk that was billed as "perfect condition" but plenty of good stuff that just didn't meet my needs or didn't feel right.

The biggest problem with this approach, in my opinion, is that I tend to apply pressure to myself after having committed a small sum of money. In the grand scheme, a $500 plane ticket (or couple tanks fuel and hotel or whatever) is nothing when purchasing a $20k MH. Wasting money stinks (even a small chunk of it) but making a big expensive mistake stinks more. At least that's what I keep telling myself in an effort to minimize the pressure to act.
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:16 PM   #6
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I had never owned a Moho before, thought I knew what I wanted -vs- didn't want based on leasing/renting experiences. Looked at a few, eliminated many based on conversations with the owners and vibes that were gleamed from the questions asked and responses received. I ended up traveling from OKC, Ok. to Texarkana, ended up buying the unit I went to look at. In the end I'm still not sure if there were coincidences after the purchase or if I was fibbed to? Ask hard questions and make it clear that it is not your intentions to travel all the way for nothing, I would usually advise that if the unit were to be depicted as something that it was not I would be really unhappy. Usually if the other party is up to no good they witll sense that there are probably softer targets and come clean. Be smart and ask questions, best of luck and enjoy.
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:23 PM   #7
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Have you ever looked closely at a Big Mac ad only to go in an buy one and see how it looks in real life?
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:30 PM   #8
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x2 to JFN's advise.

You didn't mention rough dollar amount or how complex the systems are on the coach(es) you are considering.

The more expensive and the more complex those systems are, the more you may want to find a local inspector to go through the coach top-to-bottom. Even if it looks "show room perfect" here in winter, you'll be steamed this summer when you find none of the A/C unit's work and the awning won't deploy (or worse).

For the cost of about $200 (roughly) you can get someone to objectively eye-ball your perspective coach...before you invest the $$ in plane tix and fall in love with it!
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Old 03-18-2014, 06:20 PM   #9
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I have purchased two used MHs from private party. One was 3000 miles away, the other 1000 miles away. The first hurdle the unit had to clear was checking the data in the RV Consumer Group guide (rv.org). Then detailed discussions with the owner. Next, I negotiated the best price on the phone (can involve multiple calls). Then, draw up a Purchase Agreement to be signed by both parties and secured with a refundable deposit. The agreement is contingent upon inspection, either upon my arrival or a 3rd party inspector. Then buy a plane ticket.

In both cases I purchased a 5 year old MH with approx 30 K miles. My savings were significant compared to similar units sold by a dealer. However, private party sales are not for everybody. Some buyers want/need the services provided by a dealer.

This worked for me but I must tell you....... in the past I sold MHs for a large dealership and choose not to subsidize their overhead.
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:27 PM   #10
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When we were shopping for our coach we knew exactly what we wanted. We are in CO and we found the candidate in Oregon on Craigslist. After extensive discussions with the owner and a whole bunch of pictures I was satisfied that it was worth some initial investment. I went on rvservicereviews.com and found a few RV shops in the local area that had good reviews. After several interviews to discuss a pre-purchase inspection I settled on a mobile repair service that was a one-man-band and 20 year ex-employee at Country Coach. Contracted with him to do a full inspection. This gave us enough confidence to begin the negotiation process and we eventually purchased this coach.

Great experience for us, not sure that it is a foolproof method but we got an exceptional deal. Fortunately, my DW brings me good luck (I just go along for the ride) .
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:47 PM   #11
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We went cross country last year to purchase ours, then drove it 2500 miles back home. We looked locally at many different units till we zeroed in on the year, make, and model we wanted. We then looked closer at those local units that might fit the bill, but didn't find one we wanted to purchase. Many were auction units that had questionable maintenance. Others, especially at dealers, were pretty trashed in general. During these local trips we researched and paid close attention to what may be problems for this particular model. For example, if you find out that the chrome on the Velvac mirrors are known to flake and fail on those particular model years, ask specific questions regarding the condition of the mirrors. You may even want to ask for current pics of specific items. Ask specific questions about specific items so there is less opportunity for surprises when you see the unit in person. We didn't get as specific as we should have on some items, so am passing this on to you.

Before our trip, we looked at a unit with the wrong floorplan just so we could see the paint scheme on the one we ended up buying. There were multiple calls to the owner and pictures viewed. When we arrived and saw the unit there were some little disappointments but nothing catastrophic. My advice to you is if you are planning a trip to see a unit that you have your ducks in order. If you want inspections, contact those parties well in advance. If the coach has specialized components such as Aqua Hot, make sure the inspector is qualified. If you want mechanical inspections, you may need an appointment and you should make sure the owner is on board with that plan. Some places are not very close and transporting the rig may be problematic. Have the financials in order. If a loan is in play, make prior arrangements. Finally, you should be prepared to pay near asking price but don't be afraid to walk. We made round trip tickets just in case and enjoyed a vacation while we were there.
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YZF571 View Post
I had never owned a Moho before, thought I knew what I wanted -vs- didn't want based on leasing/renting experiences. Looked at a few, eliminated many based on conversations with the owners and vibes that were gleamed from the questions asked and responses received. I ended up traveling from OKC, Ok. to Texarkana, ended up buying the unit I went to look at. In the end I'm still not sure if there were coincidences after the purchase or if I was fibbed to? Ask hard questions and make it clear that it is not your intentions to travel all the way for nothing, I would usually advise that if the unit were to be depicted as something that it was not I would be really unhappy. Usually if the other party is up to no good they witll sense that there are probably softer targets and come clean. Be smart and ask questions, best of luck and enjoy.

I too went to Texarkana from OKC. We looked at a bunch of MHs in Texas that weekend. We weren't really impressed with any of them. Found out, it seems, (most) all the dealers we sere shopping bought these things at auctions and knew nothing about them. We wound up buying at Camperland in Tulsa, and I think we did ok.
The salesman actually happened to be my brother's next door neighbor.
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:43 AM   #13
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We were in Maryland, the coach was in Tenn. Found it on a web site, called the owner and had three long conversations with him. I never talked money until after it had been gone over by an RV tech I found by googling for a local guy to look it over for me. After the inspection, and getting a thumbs up by the tech I flew to Tn. to see it for myself, test drive it, check all the systems, crawl under and over it until I was satisfied. We settled on a fair price, had the money transfered from my bank to his and hit the road back to MD. That was almost 5yrs. ago, and we've been fulltiming ever since. I believe the most important thing is to find an independent inspector to look over whatever you're looking at. Don't go by some dealer saying "Oh we've inspected it, and it's in great shape". After all it's your money you're spending.
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Old 03-19-2014, 01:20 PM   #14
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We bought ours from internet & private party. Located in Maine and I flew in from Denver after negotiating price over phone. It was 2 years old and still under warranty. I closed the deal and drove it back to Denver. I saved $$$$ in the process. I would do it again.
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