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Old 07-11-2016, 10:15 PM   #1
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Help talk this newbie down from their first RV purchase

Well, we dove in and bought our first RV, and because of our long term goal to be a full timer, got a Diesel Pusher. We intentionally don't take delivery until mid August. As I'm sure many of you have done, we spent more money than we originally set out to spend. I really would have liked about a year more of research to be sure, but we were under the gun to get something now. You see we had to get a loan to get an RV we thought we'd be happy in, but we were getting ready to close on our home in a couple weeks, so we undoubtedly would not have qualified for a loan otherwise after the closing. Our short term plan is to work some more for the next 6 months or so and take some weekend trips to get used to her, and then long term full-time it. This forum has been great in our rushed, but well researched decision. We were spending about 4-6 hours every night for two weeks straight, on the computer seeing what we liked, what we could afford, what were musts, what were good engines/chassis, models to generally avoid, and models that are generally good. While we were considering several brands and models, I posted previously about 2 of the models we had narrowed it down to: a 2012 Holiday Rambler Ambassador 36pft (concurrently considered a 2011 Monaco Knight, but it was out of state so we used the Ambassador for comparison sake), and the other choice was a 2013 Fleetwood Expedition 36M. It was nice being able to do back to back comparos as it really does keep the differences fresh in your mind.

I'll tell you our impressions of both and then tell you our decision. First, the Ambassador/Knight. Between the Fleetwood and the HR, we felt that the quality "felt" better in the HR. Not by a lot, but just noticeable. The HR had 25k miles on it. The test drive itself was interesting. I did not feel the power I expected out of the Maxxforce engine. I had it floored going up an on-ramp, and it was underwhelming. Since I hadn't done many test drives of any RV, I assumed I was doing something wrong. I don't think I was. The salesman was great though. He knew what he was talking about and my BS meter did not go off with the HR salesman and he was very trustworthy. (In fact, I'll tell you it was Dean at Alliance MH in Wildwood, FL--highly recommend). Back to the vehicle. Loved the full closet in the MBR. (I should note here that the Knight puts the washer/dryer in that space, which is probably the only real difference between the Monaco and the HR). The washer/dryer was not in the bedroom on the HR though so it was nice to have all that space. Liked the bench seat/drawers in the MBR as well. The bathroom, we prefer a separate toilet, which the HR did not have. Also, the shower was relatively small. Kitchen was decent, but not total wow either. Liked the exterior quality as well such as the back end cap feeling more secure. In comparison to the FW, the HR did not have much basement space, although it did have a slideout. Front controls felt similar and layout in the front of the coach was fine in both, although it was layed out slightly differently. We left the first dealer, and his "bottom" line was about $128k. I put that in quotes because we might have gotten a couple thousand more. To make things even more interesting for our decision, we negotiated a price on a 2011 Monaco Knight for $110k BUT it would have required us flying there and driving back from a dealer we didn't know and wouldn't see again. We were prepared for the risk though because of the price.

The next choice then was the Expedition. Of the two, the 2013 Expedition had a really nice exterior color scheme. In fact, we decided early on that so long as it wasn't down right ugly, color didn't matter much. In this case, the Scarlet color Expedition is one of the best looking exteriors I've seen on any coach, regardless of price. However, importantly we hadn't driven the Expedition yet, so we wanted to make a fully informed decision. Went straight from the first dealer to that dealer. We had already seen it a week earlier when it had just come in on a trade. So they were still doing their prep when we first saw it. We liked the layout when we first saw it but did not have time to get a real feel for it. This time, we took it for a full test drive and played around with more things. This was where we started to notice little things here and there like cheaper wood feel, among other intangibles. Of course we were assured they would be fixed before delivery. At first, when seeing a few little things I almost completely ruled it out. But I was patient and wanted to drive it. Although the Expedition had the 360hp cummins, compared to the Maxxforce 350hp engine, I really didn't expect much difference. I was wrong. Now it is certainly possible the HR had something amiss, but the FW pulled like a regular size truck. Obviously I liked that a lot. Also liked little things such as the dishwasher, the separate toilet, the extra awnings, and the previous owner put in a tablet to control the radio and some other apps on that tablet (more on that to come). Didn't like the washer/dryer taking up space in the MBR, but closet was cedar lined. Very nice basement, although missing a slider. Wife drove it as well, and seemed confident, even though that day she only had these two RVs as her very first test drives. Nice stereo. Soft seats, although admittedly the HR had nice soft seats as well. One big difference was the salesman. Although he wasn't totally smarmy, he did not engender the trust that the other salesman did. We decided to not go by everything he said, and although he said he's been in the business for 15 years, his knowledge did not seem to express that. On the plus side, this dealer is about 45 minutes away compared to two hours with the other one. Price for the Expedition we got down to $123k. We feel really good about that.

Many of you may have read into my choice already which was the ............. Fleetwood Expedition. Here's where I need talking down. After TT&T, we were at $132k. Can we make the payments? Yes. That said, we went from paying cash (after our home sale) to a small loan to a $50k loan, and then we ended up getting an $85k loan. Waaay more than we planned. Again, it's doable, but scary. We feel we made the right decision, but then I see Rvers on here that have old coaches running great, and having a good old time. Since this is our first RV, our fear is what happens if after owning and living in it for a couple months, we realize we don't like this model and decide we made a big financial mistake. My gut doesn't tell me that, but again that's why I'm asking for help in talking me down from the scary ledge that we just stepped closer to by buying. As much research as we did in the short amount of time, it would probably never feel like enough. It was rushed, but we believe in our choice because we knew what we wanted, and the 2013 Expedition had everything we wanted. (We realize being first timers that experience may tell us other things that are must haves, but for now, it has our wants). We just felt that if we went "old" meaning 2004-2007 or thereabouts, we wouldn't be happy. Although I've read many tales of owners on here who say that the older ones had the quality built in and that's why they have them. We felt, rightly or wrongly, that newer ones would have more up to date features built in, and our hope was much less compromising than going older. Unfortunately, it's almost as if we are buying used at the wrong time. In "normal" times, we probably should have been getting something about 6-8 years old. The problem with that is that means 2008-2010 models. Because of the Great Recession, there just aren't that many built in that time period. Companies were going bankrupt, and allegedly quality suffered for many companies in those years for the few that were built. In other words, our choices were to get a 2005-2007 for roughly $80k-90k, or a 2011-2013 for $120k-$130k. We couldn't find that happy medium, so we decided to stretch our original budget to get more of what we want, and go with the 2013.

So please tell me we made the right decision. I don't care, lie to me if you have to. Tell me we're going to be fine. Or feel free to tell us what fools we were. Just need to hear something from those who know and not from anybody that doesn't know the RV lifestyle or for that matter a salesman trying to sell me something. Would really love to hear responses, but if I get none, I feel a tiny bit better for letting me vent my thoughts and fears. Thank you all.
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Old 07-11-2016, 10:38 PM   #2
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Calm down ; you ARE on the right track . Once you're fully involved in the RV lifestyle , you are going to feel great. For now open a cold one and relax , plan a short trip and get out and enjoy yourself , as soon as you take delivery.

BTW: I had similar feelings , when after buying an empty lot to build my dream home , I found out that because of it's remote location , I couldn't get a general contractor to take on the build, had to hire all the trades and schedule all the inspections while working 8>10 hours a day and trying to keep up on construction in the evenings while living in a 5er on site . Did I mention the area had no cell phone coverage.
Opened a number of cold ones during the 5 months of construction .
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Old 07-11-2016, 11:56 PM   #3
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I think everyone makes the right decision for them. You will not regret the fun that can be had running around and looking at stuff. Point the machine a direction and turn when you hit water or a border. Some don't even care about the border but do turn before water. When I was buying my current motorhome the seller wanted to travel the world fishing. We closed the deal while he was headed to the airport for south America. One of the last things he said to me was "the end is closer then you think". It took me a while to figure out what he was telling me.
Go have fun. It sound like a nice rig. Learn how it works and keep up on maintenance.
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Old 07-12-2016, 11:17 AM   #4
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Wow, that was a long post. I have to ask if you might be opening yourself up to possible disappointment. If this is your first RV and you have sold your home, and are going fulltime in a few months with no RV experience's, that's a BIG Major step/change. A lot of people enjoy full timing it, but most of them worked their way into it with several short or even several month long trips. Our first coach was a 32' used Southwind to see if we liked the RV life. We did and went to a used 34' Adventurer. Now, 23 years later and six motor homes later, we have our last coach. After six weeks in the motor home, we were ready to get back to our stick built home. Although we have always worked together in our businesses, we have never wanted to full time it. We enjoy traveling in it and taking side trips, but could never give up our homes.

I wish two things for both of you. First, that you will like and adapt to the full time lifestyle. Not everyone is suited for it. Second, that your choice of motor home will prove to be trouble free and fit your needs for several years. Repairs can be costly and changing motor homes is even more expensive.

Good Luck
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Old 07-12-2016, 11:30 AM   #5
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Whatever you do, DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF

And make a pact with you wife, NO FIGHTING in the small space.

I completely get your nerves... I think a lot of have felt that way when jumping off the ledge - but it passes.
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Old 07-12-2016, 11:59 AM   #6
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I think you made the right decision based on how you plan to use the MH. What you are feeling is very normal and had you bought an older MH and saved a few thousand dollars, you would be doubting your decision the other way. If you can afford the payment, be happy that you were able to buy newer, getting all the newer technology, as well as something you really like and weren't just accepting something less than what you wanted. After you use the MH for a few trips and make a few payments, you will really appreciate that you spent a little more on the front end. Good Luck and have many safe and happy travels.
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Old 07-12-2016, 12:38 PM   #7
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Hey, if you were able to close on your house after you obtained this loan on the RV, then you got nothing to worry about! (you did close, right?).

You will love your coach. Just name it, and make it part of the family!
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Old 07-12-2016, 12:40 PM   #8
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I'm confused. From what I read you just sold a home, bought an RV, and are closing on a new home so when all is said and done you will have a new home and a new RV?
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Old 07-12-2016, 07:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by dmurdock View Post
I'm confused. From what I read you just sold a home, bought an RV, and are closing on a new home so when all is said and done you will have a new home and a new RV?
Sorry for the confusion. We are selling our home. We are NOT buying a new home, thus the need to get an RV loan before we close because the banks don't like rolling collateral. In other words, the bank want to be able to put a lien on something if we theoretically ran away. We're not of course, but I understand why a bank would want that security. So, we are moving into a short term rental for a few months for job reasons, and then in 2017 making the leap to full time. As noted it is a BIG leap, but we're both surprisingly ready to do it. We've wanted to downsize our life and our possessions, but we love to travel. The RV seemed the perfect solution. We downsize, own less material possessions, and can travel all at the same time. Furthermore, it gets us out of the static house and on to hopefully meeting great people across the continent in our mobile house.

Love all the comments so far. Although still scary, adventure awaits us.
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Old 07-12-2016, 07:54 PM   #10
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Just my opinion here.
You can second guess yourself to death. Don't.
The worst thing you can do is buy a coach and worry so much you don't enjoy it.
Not only are you out the money, your not having fun.
Will there be things you learn you wish were different? You bet there will.
Will you learn those things without having a coach to learn them in? No you won't.
So smile, enjoy, laugh, love and do all the things you hope to.
We only have one shot at life, and there are no do overs.
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Old 07-13-2016, 03:39 AM   #11
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I don't see a problem here, lol. As others have said, we get the trepidation. I sometimes find myself looking around my coach thinking, oh darn, those nice Flex-steel seats are gonna need replacing or reupholstered someday, I hope the tile floors don't crack, is it time to replace all the soft parts on my engine and more. Then, I finish my morning business, walk out of the bathroom to my beautiful wife and a second cup of coffee and am so thankful we were able to buy the 1998 Holiday Rambler a few years ago.
Today, I feel like I'm in my destination coach. With just turning 70k miles and being solid as a rock, I'm totally content. Again, we would all like the latest cool features but the RV lifestyle is more about....the RV lifestyle that the latest and greatest.
From the sound of it you have your health and are young enough to enjoy this stage of your life with money in the bank. You're in a great spot with a great vehicle, well, it is a Fleetwood......I'm kidding, although I'm a little partial to HR goods as an owner.
The next 6 months are gonna fly by and you'll be doing a lot of tinkering and at some point will discover the zen of Motorhome ownership and tinkering. You'll know it when it happens.......I often find myself sitting in mine watching tv or "fixing" something that needed no assistance from me. Oh yeah, last thing, there are always 2 things that will need attention on your RV. I learned that here. Enjoy and send pictures.
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Old 07-13-2016, 07:51 AM   #12
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I don't see a problem here, lol. As others have said, we get the trepidation. I sometimes find myself looking around my coach thinking, oh darn, those nice Flex-steel seats are gonna need replacing or reupholstered someday, I hope the tile floors don't crack, is it time to replace all the soft parts on my engine and more. Then, I finish my morning business, walk out of the bathroom to my beautiful wife and a second cup of coffee and am so thankful we were able to buy the 1998 Holiday Rambler a few years ago.
Today, I feel like I'm in my destination coach. With just turning 70k miles and being solid as a rock, I'm totally content. Again, we would all like the latest cool features but the RV lifestyle is more about....the RV lifestyle that the latest and greatest.
From the sound of it you have your health and are young enough to enjoy this stage of your life with money in the bank. You're in a great spot with a great vehicle, well, it is a Fleetwood......I'm kidding, although I'm a little partial to HR goods as an owner.
The next 6 months are gonna fly by and you'll be doing a lot of tinkering and at some point will discover the zen of Motorhome ownership and tinkering. You'll know it when it happens.......I often find myself sitting in mine watching tv or "fixing" something that needed no assistance from me. Oh yeah, last thing, there are always 2 things that will need attention on your RV. I learned that here. Enjoy and send pictures.
Thanks for the advice. BTW, our second choice was a 2012 HR Ambassador and 2011 Monaco Knight. So I definitely appreciate your choice as well. Crossing our fingers with our choice. And yes, once we get rolling, I will post pictures. (I did post one on the Fleetwood forum under headline of 2013 Fleetwood Expedition, but it wasn't a good angle; i.e., more to come in the next few months)
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Old 07-13-2016, 08:30 AM   #13
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It's called buyers remorse, and occurs with any significant financial purchase, 'significant' as defined by your personal situation.

Worst case, it's a learning experience. I guarantee you, that your 'needs' will evolve as you begin living and travel in it (regardless of what you bought), and may decide at some point in a couple years that you want a slightly different floorplan, or length, or ????......which fits your new list of needs better.
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Old 07-13-2016, 09:07 AM   #14
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Yup, buyers remorse, or in the marketing community....cognitive dissonance! It's normal for any significant purchase. We make the purchase based on emotion and then seek to justify the purchase based on analytic reasons.

Like everyone says, don't sweat it...just enjoy it!
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