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Old 09-17-2016, 01:04 PM   #15
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The real answer to your question is how much did you enjoy using the MH's that you rented. If you had a great time and really enjoyed the experience then there is no reason that you shouldn't buy a MH. Yes they can be an expense, but anything you enjoy doing is. Only you can decide what it is worth to you.

One way to look at it is when you rent MH's they are most likely not maintained in the same condition as one you would buy and own. Rentals get abused by the mere fact that a lot of people either don't know or don't care how to properly operate many of the amenities in a MH, and use it however they want during their rental period. They really aren't concerned about the long term consequences of misusing a MH. So if your experiences in a rental were good there is no reason to believe that one you maintain yourself, or pay someone to do the maintenance is going to be a worse experience.

All MH's will require maintenance and some type of repairs over the course of use. I think one thing that may ease your fears is to develop a relationship with a dealership or repair shop that can maintain or repair your MH when needed. Go talk to them first and get a feel for what you are getting into, and how they can help. You can even buy warranties to cover used MH's. Some things are very simple to fix/maintain and really anyone could do it, but at least you would have the confidence that you have someplace you trust to take it to. Yes they can be a lot of work, but you need to make it somewhat of a hobby. I'm taking a break from washing/waxing the MH as I type this. I've been at it since 6am, it's not always fun but It's great when it's all done and I can sit back and admire my hard work. By the way I'm retired, over 60, and can still do what needs to be done.

Another thing is don't worry so much about everything you read here. I love being a part of IRV2, and there is a lot of good info here, but most times people only post about things that go wrong, when in fact there are many more people who maintain their MH's and have no major issues at all. Also some people think you have to rebuild the whole MH(I'm exaggerating a little), when minor issues occur, and recommend to others to tear apart things or use all kinds of testing equipment when a simple question is asked. Many times the fix may be as simple as buying a new battery, or tightening some screws, or the person isn't using the particular amenity correctly. Always start with the simplest thing first and then go to other things if that does not correct the problem. I think if you just read IRV2 and everything was true or as some post, this difficult, lot of people would not buy a MH to begin with. So don't let that scare you away.

Most importantly buy a quality MH to begin with. I know you are buying used, but do your research and find the quality and floorplan that best meets your needs. Make sure before you buy anything you have it checked by an Independent Inspector, so you will know of anything that may be a problem to begin with. We went with a new Newmar for a lot of reasons and the quality is top notch in the price point. We have had it for almost 3 years now, and except for a few very minor adjustments and a couple of switches that needed to be replaced we have had no issues with it, nor has it had to be left at a repair facility even overnight. I only mention that as you get what you pay for and you probably have read the horror stories about people having their MH's in the shop for weeks or months at a time. We have not had that experience.

Good luck, and if you do decide to buy one, take your time looking, look at and drive as many as possible, do your research, and you will end up with a MH that you love. Only you can decide what qualities are important to you and the extent of your budget both before and after the sale.
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Old 09-17-2016, 04:31 PM   #16
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While I don't agree with Mel S at times, this time I do. A coach needs to be maintained and paying someone else to do at $100 or so an hour can quickly eat thru your travel budget.

But considering your time line to retirement acquiring a low cost coach now will give you opportunity to determine if owning one will fit you post working years budget.
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Old 09-17-2016, 04:44 PM   #17
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We started RVing in our late 30's. We weren't gonna wait for our 60's. I have about 70knmiles behind the wheel. I remember our first MH. I was driving it down to the bay area to 'Show off'! That day I said to myself 'I don't like this'. But I made the investment, so we continued on. Now I tow a heavy trailer on twisting mountain roads and don't give it a second thought.


No one gets in the seat and says let's go....This is great! It's a learning curve. I do a lot of the work/maintenance myself. I don't enjoy it, but I don't like throwing the plastic down for a job I can do at a fourth the price. You'd be amazed what you can do. The RV lifestyle is for everyone who wants to experience it. I'm seriously considering selling my Vacationer next year and getting our 3rd MH. And I'm only 60. Get ur feet wet. Pretty soon you'll be soaked head to toe with happiness.
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Old 09-17-2016, 07:11 PM   #18
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My story is identical to yours. We did it and love it. Go for it now. You won't regret it.
Good luck and enjoy!


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Old 09-17-2016, 09:30 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by CrapsGuy View Post
A little about us:

Early 50s, active/good shape, one high school age son at home, two grand kids one in each neighboring state, no pets, have rented class A RVs several times over the past few years primarily camping travel and have enjoyed it. My job allows me to work from anywhere I have Internet and a phone (which is another reason Im thinking starting to RV now is attractive).

My wife and I have had this goal of when I retire (mid to late 60s) to purchase an RV and travel the country. Go see grand kids and see the rest of the country at our own pace. Ive traveled extensively throughout my career but its been Airport Hotel Business Meetings/Convention Airport, never really stopped to see anything outside of say NYC, San Francisco, Chicago and a couple other major cities.

Recently we had neighbors over for dinner who are in their early 70s, were discussing retirement and what we wanted to do regarding RVing and they both advised us if that was something we wanted to do we should do it now as we dont know how our health etc. will be in 18 years. While they are healthy enough to travel they both said they couldnt handle driving a large RV. The next week I had lunch with a colleague who is getting ready to retire and she shared the same position, do it now.

So wife and I start looking at RVs. Since were buying prematurely vs. at retirement were not looking to spend a lot as were currently maxing out everything we can for retirement, budget $50,000. Im thinking wed like a gently used DP (although everything weve rented to date has been gas), 35 40, two slides, no need for bunks. Hopefully that gives you a good idea of what we desire. Surprisingly we've found some good options around our price point.


I found this site and have been reading at least a couple hours every night absorbing as much information as I possibly can. Which leads to this post; from what I gather I dont think were the right profile for RV ownership. It seems that to be good at RV ownership you have to be mechanical and in some cases a MacGyver type, I am neither. My entire tool collection can fits in a small fishing tackle box, I screwed-up mounting a flag pole holder on my house, I couldnt build a pre-fab bird house with instructions! Anything mechanical or handy is foreign to me, I just don't get it as hard as I try.

From what Ive read it seems like there are regular fixes/repairs that need to be made and often times while youre on the road. I read these stories and become overwhelmed thinking about what we would do if we were in a similar situation. Id pick-up the phone, hope I can get someone to come out and fix it for me and pay through the nose.

So at this point Im thinking maybe were not RV ownership people and stick with rentals.

Anyone been in a similar situation? Looking for some real experience feedback. Thanks in advance, I greatly appreciate it.
If you have the $$$, the time and the DESIRE, you are qualified!!!!!
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Old 09-17-2016, 09:40 PM   #20
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Another thing is don't worry so much about everything you read here. I love being a part of IRV2, and there is a lot of good info here, but most times people only post about things that go wrong, when in fact there are many more people who maintain their MH's and have no major issues at all. Also some people think you have to rebuild the whole MH(I'm exaggerating a little), when minor issues occur, and recommend to others to tear apart things or use all kinds of testing equipment when a simple question is asked. Many times the fix may be as simple as buying a new battery, or tightening some screws, or the person isn't using the particular amenity correctly. Always start with the simplest thing first and then go to other things if that does not correct the problem. I think if you just read IRV2 and everything was true or as some post, this difficult, lot of people would not buy a MH to begin with. So don't let that scare you away.

Most importantly buy a quality MH to begin with. I know you are buying used, but do your research and find the quality and floorplan that best meets your needs. Make sure before you buy anything you have it checked by an Independent Inspector, so you will know of anything that may be a problem to begin with. We went with a new Newmar for a lot of reasons and the quality is top notch in the price point. We have had it for almost 3 years now, and except for a few very minor adjustments and a couple of switches that needed to be replaced we have had no issues with it, nor has it had to be left at a repair facility even overnight. I only mention that as you get what you pay for and you probably have read the horror stories about people having their MH's in the shop for weeks or months at a time. We have not had that experience.
X2! Good thoughts!!! We also full-timed for 8 years in our Newmar without any issues but regular maintenance. Look for a used one! They are a quality manufacturer.
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Old 09-18-2016, 12:37 AM   #21
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WOW so many great posts with helpful thoughts and suggestions. I'm going to re-read these tonight and compose a thorough reply with questions and additional information. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to contribute so far, it is greatly appreciated!
Hiya CrapsGuy..love your post !

Okay, first some honesty, your quip about maintenance and repairs is a deflection, looking for reasons why not to do something now..I would guess if you had your way, you would be motoring around the country in a coach having adventure after adventure while continuing to work..quite frankly, coach maintenance would be far less than home repairs, HOA costs, taxes, insurance etc..

Also, you state you are in your early fifties and are looking at retiring in your mid to late 60's. That's almost a 20 year variance...if you have some kind of guarantee certificate of health and well being..I'd love to see one of those

We too were on the fence of when and why..both of our sons were out of college and on their way (a little ahead of you in kid stuff)..oldest has a great job and stable and youngest is an Army Ranger now in Afghanistan.

We toiled with the "right time" issue a lot. We are in our mid-fifties, we worked hard like you do and stepped back and assessed our position.

My favorite saying, one I used with many of my employees, was that nobody I have ever known, on their death bed, stated "Wow, I wish I would have spent more time at work"...

At 55 years old, we decided we were not going to be those people that you have spoke to and we also know first hand..neighbors that retired at 65..illustrious plans of travel and enjoying life, only to find out, in the case of our neighbors, one has Parkinsons disease and the other heart failure. They can't fulfill their dreams.

We divested from our businesses and real estate holdings in early 2015. We feel like we are 30 again and travel the country in our RV..we decided that we would not let fate decide our future, but we would, and fate can just try and catch up to us !!!

Bottom line, do what is best for your family, and that includes you !! Kids can make their way, and should make their way on their own..you and your wife have done a great job in raising them, now how about a little mom/dad time to chase dreams !!
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Old 09-18-2016, 04:20 AM   #22
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Go for it. Also, is your wife more mechanically inclined. I know several couples where the wife is the "mechanic". I also second the Escapees and going to a Boot Camp where you learn the basic systems; go to an Escapade where you will be in information overload. They also have a great mail service which you should start up and switch to several months prior to hitting the road.

There will be bumps and bruises. That is part of the RV life. Makes for great stories.

The next Escapee Escapade will be in March, 2017 in Tucson, AZ. There will be a Boot Camp prior to that. There are also additional Boot Camps around the country.

I also second not ruling out a later model gasser. We just switched from a diesel to a gasser and really like it. Totally impressed with power and up/down hills. Gasser are generally a lot less the diesel so with your budget you may get more MH. Al.so remember you will need a car you can tow, preferably 4 down. If you have one, great, if not add that to your budget.
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Old 09-18-2016, 07:35 AM   #23
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It would be a great help to be handy, but I am living proof that you don't have to be. Sure, it costs more to hire someone to do everything. But that is true for you if you are not RVing, right? Yesterday I paid $170 to a mobile RV tech to install a new water valve that the company sent me for free and that people on the forum said was easy to install yourself. I am glad I didn't try it because the tech had some trouble before he got it replaced. I would not let that alone stop you.
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Old 09-18-2016, 08:00 AM   #24
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Sure, you are qualified...all it takes is money.
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Old 09-18-2016, 08:10 AM   #25
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I agree that if you have the money, time, and desire then you are qualified.

We are not handy and also have the dream to travel full time when we retire. If you plan well you can do it whenever you choose. I can't do my job from the road and giving it up now end up costing me my pension.

We found a compromise that works for us. Four years ago we got on a tight budget, paid off all debt, and are now throwing all money towards a motorhome and early retirement. We were going to wait until I retired to buy the motorhome but we decided to buy now and use it whenever we can. In two years I will retire with a paid off motorhome, money ready for a new car, a hearty emergency fund, and a livable pension. I will be 55 and dh will be 65. He would have preferred that I retire now but he knows our plan makes the most sense in our situation.

We bought our first travel trailer and our current motorhome from a local dealer. When we are on the road they are just a phone call away and have talked us through many problems. We bought a Fleetwood because of the service centers they have. When we fulltime some of our travel will be planned around the service centers, as well as our dealer, for routine maintenance.

Devise a plan, create your budget, set the timeline that works for you, and make it happen.
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Old 09-18-2016, 09:16 AM   #26
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Overwhelemed by the volume of posts and shared knowledge, thank you all. I tried to use multi quote to respond but it became unmanageable and I was answering/commenting twice or three times on things so I'm going to reply in a summary format.

Repairing anything of significance - This was in interesting point. Along with the YouTube and forum help comments. You're right, I'd never dream of doing anything of any significance (to me that includes an oil change) and it appears a lot of information is on the internet and even in many posts here. Someone had mentioned intelligence; I like to think I'm of reasonable intelligence and comprehension. A couple years back I built my own pool (owner/builder) from information I found on-line and with the help of a pool forum similar to this. I've since helped 25 people build their own pools. So I suppose it would be possible to pick some of this up. I didn't do any of the labor, served more as GC and planned everything out. I did however have to learn a lot about equipment design, local code etc.

Do it now - Seems to be a theme and one that's not lost on me. I have an uncle who retired at 59, he passed away at 60, had so many things he wanted to do. Worked very hard to be able to retire at 59, sad. Much of this is a push from my wife as well, I don't take time off and she sees this as a way for me to force me to take time off. She knows me, and she knows if I have a $50,000 unit sitting on the side of my house collecting dust it will drive me nutz, I won't be able to deal with it so it will get used/I'll take time off. The ability to work from anywhere would also help. If we're on the road somewhere and I need to work I just pull over (hell I can work while she's driving) pull out the laptop and work. Speaking of working on road, I'm in the information technology field btw.

Spending money - Someone mentioned inheritance for the kids. I'm telling my kids to have the same approach to their inheritance that I do with my mother; I tell her nothing would bring me more joy than to have her and my step father spend their last dime the day before they pass on. A little extreme (and won't happen) but outside of helping with home purchases and my grand kids education if necessary I certainly plan on living life to it's fullest and not changing our lifestyle all that much.

Full time - We won't be full timing, nor do I know if we ever will . . . but never say never, right?

Handyman skills not rocket science - I would agree with this, however, for me they're challenging, and I'm not really sure why. I understand what you were saying with getting a couple little jobs under ones belt. I recently installed a new alarm keypad at my home, that however was more technology related in terms of programming it and setting it up vs. the physical install.

Buy a well maintained RV - Yes, this is something that we'll strive for. I've seen some nice one owner, have all maintenance records units advertised. The one thing I do have on my side is time. If we decide to pull the trigger it really doesn't matter if we purchase tomorrow or in a year so we can take our time looking for the right unit. Also, I definitely plan on having it inspected prior to purchasing. I'd like to buy from a private party as here in Nevada there is no sales tax on private party sales.

Warranties, insurance and the like - I loved the recommendation of having someone on retainer that I can call, seems like for someone like me that's money very well spent. I'll also look into the other policies mentioned. Speaking of that, the insurance rates seemed to go up the closer you get to 40', is this correct? What's the sweet spot here?

Many posts are problem related - Yes, I would agree, probably not many people out there posting, "we just returned form a week long trip and nothing broke!" LOL

Did we enjoy renting - Short answer, yes we did. However, the units typically weren't as nice, we always say it sure would be nice if we didn't have to haul all this stuff out to the RV, put it away, then unpack it all when we get home. Someone mentioned friends or co-workers say "why not just drive and stay in hotels". For me, I think it's as they answered, it's staying in my own bed, watching my own TV, being able to go to the fridge and getting a glass of milk at 2:00 a.m. if I want, it's having my own space with my "things" in my space. Also, while we're not campers, it would be nice to pull into an actual camp ground from time to time with a grand kid, teach him to fish, make smores (sp?) etc. and have the same comfort. Don't see us doing a lot of this but it would be nice to have the option.

Money to burn - I don't have money to burn, and even if I did I'd be taking the same approach. I suppose I'm trying to get a handle on my exposure. In a previously life I owned a boat and that's something I will never do again. 1) never used it 2) seemed like every time I took it out something went wrong and we spent more time at the marina than on the water (maybe exaggerating a bit) 3) did I say we never used it? Just want to make sure I'm not making the same mistake. Back to funds. Would a out of the blue 5-10K repair break us, no, not at all, but would it sting, yea. Budgeting for regular maintenance and a couple unexpected repairs a year is definitely something I'm planning on. Enjoyed that post btw.

Opening hood at campground and people helping - I can tell from the response to my post, RVers are a helpful group. I'm the same way, new neighbor moved in, she knew nothing about pools so I told her I'd come over and help her out. Got her set on the right path, even dove down to the deep end of her pool and cleaned out her drains (palm debris) manually for her so it didn't end-up in her filter, so I get and I'm currently experiencing what you're saying)

DP vs. Gas - I've done a bit of reading on this and understand my budget will definitely go further if we go gas. Not shutting the door on gas.

Coaches - The ones listed here are defiantly the coaches I've had my eye on. In-fact, I've seen a hand-ful of Newmar Dutch Star units locally. I'm also looking in southern California as well. I"ll spend some more time in the owners section.

Wife not mechanically inclined, she is sweet though - And, she's not afraid to roll up her sleeves and help with things and she's very supportive and encouraging which will help.

To all the non-handy folks - Thanks, it's comforting to know there are people like me out there who's tool box gets confused with a tackle box who are able to enjoy this lifestyle and that you don't have to be Macgyver.

I think I've covered everything, knowing me I'll re-read this thread a few more times and make additional comments on the above. I've got to say I'm very encouraged by the feedback!
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Old 09-18-2016, 09:35 AM   #27
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Awesome post. Wishing you two the best in your decision. If you decide to purchase and get on the road, please let us know!
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Old 09-18-2016, 10:01 AM   #28
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FWIW even as a handy guy my RV tool box is about the same as yours. It does not take a lot to do simple repairs. Most stuff is simple if it's caught and done before the problem escalates. I'd go gas now with the intent of sorting out the house side over most of the next 10 years then plan on upgrading maybe a year before retiring. By then you will have the house issues sorted out and will know what you are about there. You will pay less than a dp worth buying will depreciate over that time.
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