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Old 02-08-2014, 06:31 PM   #1
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Fair price for older motorhome

Over the past two years*we've probably looked at 100 motor homes. Test drove maybe 10 and researched hundreds more. Frequently, the asking price for motorhomes is 20% more than NADA retail. This is especially true of dealers. But many private sellers are also asking considerably over retail. I understand the strategy and the negotiation game. But where I have difficulty is determining a fair selling price. The price I'm willing to pay

Based on what I see here and on other forums, I should not pay more than low retail. In fact I should try for considerably under low retail. But how is that done? I know this sounds like a dumb question. But if I offer $25,000 on a motorhome that is listed for $45,000, I risk offending the seller which is no big deal unless I really want the motorhome.

Honestly, I'm either doing something wrong or less than low retail doesn't work on older coaches. I've looked at the sold motorhomes section that PPL lists. Most of the 15 year old high-end coaches are selling at or above average retail. These are actual selling prices.

So on a coach being offered for $40,000, if I shoot for something less than low retail, my offer could be 1/3 less than asking. This would be a steal. But I can't imagine any rational individual agreeing to such an offer. Unless of course there are major undisclosed mechanical or equipment issues.

So for those of you who have actually purchased at or below low retail, what's your secret?
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Old 02-08-2014, 06:38 PM   #2
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I recently bought a 98 windsor with 32K miles for 20K. How? By searching craigslist and buying where snowbirds sell rv's when trading up. Florida is the tops in snowbird resales. Between now and April there will be lots and lots of good used rv's going for less than retail because thats more than the dealer would give.

you will never find a "deal" at a dealer.
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Old 02-08-2014, 06:42 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by garyb1st View Post
Over the past two years*we've probably looked at 100 motor homes. Test drove maybe 10 and researched hundreds more. Frequently, the asking price for motorhomes is 20% more than NADA retail. This is especially true of dealers. But many private sellers are also asking considerably over retail. I understand the strategy and the negotiation game. But where I have difficulty is determining a fair selling price. The price I'm willing to pay

Based on what I see here and on other forums, I should not pay more than low retail. In fact I should try for considerably under low retail. But how is that done? I know this sounds like a dumb question. But if I offer $25,000 on a motorhome that is listed for $45,000, I risk offending the seller which is no big deal unless I really want the motorhome.

Honestly, I'm either doing something wrong or less than low retail doesn't work on older coaches. I've looked at the sold motorhomes section that PPL lists. Most of the 15 year old high-end coaches are selling at or above average retail. These are actual selling prices.

So on a coach being offered for $40,000, if I shoot for something less than low retail, my offer could be 1/3 less than asking. This would be a steal. But I can't imagine any rational individual agreeing to such an offer. Unless of course there are major undisclosed mechanical or equipment issues.

So for those of you who have actually purchased at or below low retail, what's your secret?
Speaking for myself this is a hard question to answer. I you see a 40,000 coach where the owner has done all the maintenance it has been kept in a heated garage all of its life. The owner just wants to sell because he does not use it any more etc etc. You might not get it for a 25,000 dollar offer. I think that there is a price where you obviously are insulting you are offering approximately 60 per cent of the asking price. I would not be insulted if someone did that to me. I would however start laughing and tell them no way. If they offered 15,000 I would probably tell them that they need to leave. A couple of things about negotiations for anything. I use and give this advice also for buying houses. Do not fall in love with anything and think it is the only one you will ever like. Its not. If you do not buy this MH there will be another one down the road you will like. the other is do not be afraid to make an offer if they get mad look at rule number 1. I was looking at MH before I bought the one I have. I saw a 1 year old 45 (?) foot Winnebago journey. It was a repo and at a show they were asking 235,000 which was more money than I wanted to spend on my 1st MH. I happened to go to that dealership a couple of months later and happened to mention how much I liked that journey. They told me someone came in offered 160,000 for it and the bank took it. You never know.
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:07 PM   #4
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It doesn't matter is they are asking 40,000 or a million.

Show them a print out of low retail NADA, show them what needs to be done, subtract it, you can insult anyone ever making an offer.

After all their asking is an offer to you isn't it?

I bought mine way under low retail
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:23 PM   #5
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Ive sold a few RV's, one motorhome, and I allways got close to what I was asking. I had one guy give me an insulting offer on the Pace arrow I was selling, if he woyld have been standing in front on me, he would have been on his arse, but it was a phone call. Beware who you insult
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:29 PM   #6
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You need to be careful with pricing and mileage quotes on forums, if you believe them all then you'll expect 18 mpg out of your gas Class C and every seller to jump at the chance to sell to you at 50% below asking price.

What affects the price the most is the motivation level of both the buyer and seller. You can probably negotiate somewhat below NADA value but may or may not get the screaming deals you frequently see recounted here. It also depends on whether you're willing to shop for a year, make a zillion phone calls, and travel anywhere in the country, and if you have the stamina for that you'll certainly save some money (not counting all the time you will commit to the search however.) Or you may find exactly the unit you want in good condition and close by, and you might have to deal with the temerity of an owner who actually wants to be paid what his vehicle is worth. That choice is always up to the buyer.
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:37 PM   #7
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I recently bought a 98 windsor with 32K miles for 20K. How? By searching craigslist and buying where snowbirds sell rv's when trading up. Florida is the tops in snowbird resales. Between now and April there will be lots and lots of good used rv's going for less than retail because thats more than the dealer would give.

you will never find a "deal" at a dealer.
Which model? Low retail on 98 Windsors range from $15,000 to $25,000.
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Old 02-08-2014, 08:25 PM   #8
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You need to be careful with pricing and mileage quotes on forums, if you believe them all then you'll expect 18 mpg out of your gas Class C and every seller to jump at the chance to sell to you at 50% below asking price.
I suspect this is true with mileage claims and sometimes it's simply a math error. But why would a buyer suggest anything other than what he paid.

Quote:
What affects the price the most is the motivation level of both the buyer and seller. You can probably negotiate somewhat below NADA value but may or may not get the screaming deals you frequently see recounted here. It also depends on whether you're willing to shop for a year, make a zillion phone calls, and travel anywhere in the country, and if you have the stamina for that you'll certainly save some money (not counting all the time you will commit to the search however.) Or you may find exactly the unit you want in good condition and close by, and you might have to deal with the temerity of an owner who actually wants to be paid what his vehicle is worth. That choice is always up to the buyer.
Motorhome shopping is getting old. It's been a learning experience but I think I'm there or at least close. Part of the delay has been not really knowing what we want. Gas or diesel. With or without slides. Length. Newer entry level vs older high end coach. How much do we spend. We prefer to pay cash. Where do we store it. Do we do this just once or twice. I'm 70 and really don't want to do this a second time so would like to get it right this time.

You're comments are right on. We're currently looking at a 98 Country Coach Allure that is priced just under average retail. It needs tires and I suspect batteries. It's been serviced by the Country Coach Facility in Oregon every year since new. Sellers are former Canadian Citizens who visits family in Canada once a year. So it's been convenient for them to spend two days in junction City while the coach is being serviced.

Low retail may not work but it allows us a few dollars for tires which are 9 years old and batteries. Coach is parked at sellers home and we haven't taken it out yet. The space is tight so I can't get into the rear bays. The engine looks great. Very clean and the belts are in good shape. I'm thinking this might be the one.

Thanks for all your thoughts.
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Old 02-08-2014, 08:29 PM   #9
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Have you noticed none of these replies talk about spending too much or even listed price. You are only getting half the story on any of these boards. All used coaches someone just bought are in pristine condition, non smoking, no pets. I'm not sure what folks do with all the dogs they post about on this board when they travel, but since all used coaches seem to be no pets they must board them.

It's like anything else you buy. If you find what you like in reliable working condition, can afford it, and won't regret spending the price you can negotiate then just don't post that you didn't screw someone to the wall, and enjoy.

Those kind of bragging rights aren't the reason your buying a Motor Home. If you can live with yourself and the seller is willing to sell than everybody sleeps better. Every time you leave on a trip you'll know you've done the right thing.

Good Luck, get your best price and enjoy.

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Old 02-08-2014, 08:38 PM   #10
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To me, I think you might be missing the point. The 'right price' is what you're willing to pay for a unit. If the seller agrees to the price then they're happy too. If they don't or you don't then you walk away. It's alot like buying a car, just bigger! And yes, many units are intentionally over priced. That's called buyer beware. As others have mentioned, do the research on NADA values for the unit you're interested in then make an offer CONTINGENT ON AN INSPECTION BY A GOOD DIESEL MECHANIC! Class A repairs can get expensive fast. Even the normal maintenance is multiple $100 of dollars.
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Old 02-08-2014, 08:39 PM   #11
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Need to clarify one thing. NADA listings for the 1998 Country Coach Allures do not include any with slides. The Average retail for this coach is $15,150. That makes no sense. So I used the pricing from the 1999 Allure which includes a slide. That price is $37,700. I discounted it by 5% or $1,000. I hope this approach is reasonable.
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Old 02-08-2014, 08:44 PM   #12
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if it works for you and the seller don't worry about it. it's what your happy with, no one else matters, just take it, make it your own and go have fun.
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Old 02-08-2014, 08:45 PM   #13
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So for those of you who have actually purchased at or below low retail, what's your secret?
I have a little bit of experience in this so maybe I can offer you some tips.

#1) I have never bought a coach from a dealer, it's hyper rare that you can find a deal with one.
#2) Concentrate your search in the southern sun belt, coach prices, on average, are lower down south than up north.
#3) You have to find sellers who need to sell, many times they will advertise this. If you are interested in their coach "tell them you like their coach but you are not willing to pay X for it. You would gladly give them Y so if they don't have any other offers to give you a call."
#4) Local Estate sales rock. While I haven't found my dream coach there I have known 3 other people who have bought some super nice coaches for pennies on the dollar at them.
#5) Talk to your bank and see if they have any repo's. I bought my last one this way and paid 50% below low retail. It was in showroom condition, original owner put 3,000 miles on it, I got to look it over for 6 hours before I gave them an offer that they countered asking $4K more and I went up $1K and said take it or leave it. 48 hrs later they called me and said sold.
#6) Do you have any consignment dealers in your area, watch their inventory, if you find something you like and it's asking price - consignment commission is close to what you think is a good deal do a records search to find out who owns it. Then ask the owner.
#7) Dealer Auctions - If you don't know a dealer, get to know one or ask a local small car dealer to help you out. Tell him you will pay him a finders fee if you buy a coach using his license.

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-09-2014, 05:37 AM   #14
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Personal attacks are not allowed here. I've removed one such post and three others that quoted it.
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