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Old 07-23-2014, 08:25 PM   #29
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Ron_H I am doing exactly the same thing but am in California looking in what sounds like the same area you were looking. Florida between Orlando and Tampa. It might even be the same dealer!

Is there a way you can give me the contact info for the inspectors you used?

And I would like to compare notes on your experience with the dealer.
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:07 AM   #30
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Interesting report. Thanks for sharing. I'm starting to question the wisdom of buying used as well... that said, go look at new prices (even after discounting 30-40% off MSRP), then factor in the interest you'll pay on a loan (even with excellent credit 4% financing and 20% down). If you plan to keep the RV for 7 years or longer, and play it off early, it might make sense. Each case is different, especially when comparing to the used unit you're looking at. But if you finance a new one (say, a $75,000 FW) for any long period, you're potentially looking at an additional $20-30,000 in added interest expense charges. Now add in the depreciation hit (maybe $20-$40,000) and the used argument starts to make sense. At the end of the day, all new products become used and therefore will have to be maintained.

In my case, I picked up a screaming deal, a used FW for $6500 that would retail out at maybe $20-$24,000. But I don't think I was honest with myself about what kind of work would be required. I didn't look at the minute details when agreeing to the deal. To be fair, the seller gave me such a deal because he didn't want to deal with it anymore. So I'm not complaining. But getting it just right, to CLEAN/ almost-new condition, has proven to be a tall-task... I'm almost there though. For example, I didn't look at the window sills because they are behind the shades and screens. When I pulled the shades and screens off it was obvious the sills had never been cleaned in the entire ownership of the vehicle. I had to steam clean each sill, all the seals, in-and-out, on 14 windows. Average time was 2 hrs per window (28 hrs total). That was tough work. The good news is I have no loan to speak of. And I could quite easily flip this for over double what I have invested in it already (paid $6,500, put in another $2,000 in upgraded/ new parts). But the bad news is that I'm drained in energy due to the effort it's taken to get it the way I want it (super clean). Many other tedious projects about which I won't bore the reader with the details.

I agree with pre-purchase inspections... especially if you're looking at a high-dollar DP MH. But if you're getting in light enough, one can over look that process. Buyer beware though, fixing a new RV or a used RV cost the same price.

I think the key is how the RV (MH/FW/ TT) was maintained. And that's almost impossible to know, especially from a dealer.

We're new to RVing so this is FW is going to work as our initial unit to see whether we like this sort of lifestyle. If we do keeping RVing, we'll eventually be getting a new one... but only once I have the cash saved. In that case we'll be able to control the maintenance aspect by keeping it covered and staying ahead of the process.

I think people in general aren't being honest with themselves about the cost to buy new in terms of interest and depreciation hits. Even with respect to real estate. Unless in California, New York, or Hawaii, where the prices appreciate regardless of property condition, maintaining the property adds to the overall expenses and the overall return is significantly diminished on a real basis. Plus insurance and taxes ALWAYS go up as well. But there is still a return. With RVs though, they are quite cheaply built (even the best ones) and will of course only lose value over time. If you've got plenty of money, or are retired and finally living the dream, have at it of course. But for those of us who are still saving for retirement, and still raising a family, our money can be put to better use. I was a stock broker in a past life. I use to tell my clients that $3,000 missed in contributions to an IRA one year amounted to $14,000 in realized retirement due to the power of compound interest. So extrapolating that out, a $40,000 hit in depreciation could potentially cost you $275,000 in growth over a 25 yr period (assuming 8% per annum). Again, if you're already retired, it doesn't matter. But some of us are still 20-25 years away from that illustrious goal.

BTW, part of the reason we went with the FW vs MH setup was the added Mx expense. I can quite easily find a mechanic to work on my F350 diesel were that to have any problems. But getting a DP's drive train worked on and maintained is going to be more than double the expense. Something to think about.
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:09 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by JohnR1949 View Post
Ron_H I am doing exactly the same thing but am in California looking in what sounds like the same area you were looking. Florida between Orlando and Tampa. It might even be the same dealer!

Is there a way you can give me the contact info for the inspectors you used?

And I would like to compare notes on your experience with the dealer.
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:23 PM   #32
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Buying the type of rig we wanted new was out of the question for us as I was on the verge of retiring then and we were insistent on paying cash based upon what we had saved up for this. Yes, we could have altered the type and size and purchased new but I was confident in what we needed to accomplish our retirement goals.

I agree that some purchases do not warrant the cost of a professional inspection – its all a matter of balancing the cost and risk. With this unit being 3000 miles away and a cost of approximately $100K it seamed prudent for me to mitigate the risk somewhat through an inspection. In the end, we purchased a similar coach located only 250 miles from where we live and I was able to fully inspect it myself, view a good number of maintenance records and the seller was a well respected dealer known for standing behind their product. We did find a few small items post-purchase but the dealer looked after those items plus he provided a 3rd party warranty that covered the coach appliances anywhere in North America for 4 years. I followed up on the coach with an inspection at an authorized Spartan dealer and all they found was a very small air leak that was repaired with a new hose.
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:30 PM   #33
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Thanks for the advise. I'd recommend buying new.
Why? Even with $25k of "hidden" damage, he's way out in front of new.

Very through process... Interested in references to the moisture inspection.
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:37 PM   #34
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I think people in general aren't being honest with themselves about the cost to buy new in terms of interest and depreciation hits.
Yes, due to the very high depreciation in the RV world there's very rarely a case where buying new really makes financial sense, there are just too many excellent condition used units on the market where someone else has paid the huge initial depreciation hit. That's not to say that there's never a reason to buy new, sometimes it's simply a matter of 'that's what I want and I can afford it', and that's fine because after all enjoyment is why most of us have RVs. But skip the rationalization part... there's a very high cost to buying new and that's just the size of it.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:55 PM   #35
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Respectfully, I can't think of a reason to buy new... A large part of it IS the depreciation part, but that's true of any vehicle. The secondary part is that it doesn't seem to matter what RV make/model/brand you choose, there are going to be shake-down issues. This is unique to the RV space and buying new doesn't seem to guarantee fewer problems. It should guarantee that they'll be fixed in a reasonable manner with $0 out of pocket cost, but they're going to be there.

My advice:
Find the make/model you're looking for. Be patient. Find one that's been kept indoors, used at a reasonable rate, and has documented maintenance records. That's the one you're after....
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Old 07-24-2014, 03:16 PM   #36
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The secondary part is that it doesn't seem to matter what RV make/model/brand you choose, there are going to be shake-down issues. This is unique to the RV space and buying new doesn't seem to guarantee fewer problems. It should guarantee that they'll be fixed in a reasonable manner with $0 out of pocket cost, but they're going to be there.
That is frequently all too true, and in fact a well-checked out used unit may well provide less grief than many new units. And any warranty is a double-edged sword... by the time you drive the unit to the dealer, lose use of your purchase, then take it back 6 times until they finally fix the problem (if they do, and if they don't try to evade responsibility, and along with all the incidental damage they caused) it hardly ends up being 'free.' You're often better off just doing the work yourself, and in that case why pay for a warranty? It is a sad situation but all too often the way it works in the RV world.
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Old 07-25-2014, 11:04 AM   #37
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That is frequently all too true, and in fact a well-checked out used unit may well provide less grief than many new units. And any warranty is a double-edged sword... by the time you drive the unit to the dealer, lose use of your purchase, then take it back 6 times until they finally fix the problem (if they do, and if they don't try to evade responsibility, and along with all the incidental damage they caused) it hardly ends up being 'free.' You're often better off just doing the work yourself, and in that case why pay for a warranty? It is a sad situation but all too often the way it works in the RV world.
+1,000,000!!!

I have to agree. If I may, I'd like to link that same finding to home warranty companies. I have a home wty that I've been paying into for the better part of 14 years. It's been a huge waste of my money for two reasons:

1) They always do the absolute minimum to get by... which means rarely, if ever, getting the job done right.

2) They subject you to their contractors, who are under-mined and questioned at to how or why they are going about a certain repair. Each contractor complains about the home wty company being "cheap" and it shows in how they treat your home.

Here's two examples that happened to me in the past two weeks alone:

1) Dishwasher goes out. It went out before, AHS replaced the motor when they should have just replaced the whole dishwasher. This time it goes out again so the tech orders every part he can... why not? It's not his money. Parts arrive to my house by he can't get back for two weeks. No matter how many calls I made or how many levels up the chain I pushed the call. So I took the DW out and installed the parts myself.

The whole thing could've been done for $250 of my own money had I just blazed down to Home Depot and picked up a new DW. Duh. I pay $58/ mo for that useless warranty.

2) Main sewer line clogged up with hair this past week. Having no toilets in your home with a dainty "clean-freak" wife and a pre-teen daughter is simply NOT an option for me. AHS tells me all I want to hear "we're working on it, sir!" We'll get someone ASAP. But they fail to deliver during an emergency in a timely manner? Why? The true 24/7 plumbers won't deal with them at their pre-contracted rates. What do I do? Fix it myself. I rented a 100' 3/4" line roto-rooter from Home Depot (300 lb machine) and cleared the line myself. It was dirty/ messy work. Took a day of my time but that's home-ownership. Maintenance is time-consuming and you simply have to deal with it.

I mentioned this story to a friend and he had a similar experience where he bought a top-of-the-line Kitchenaid and it developed problems from the outset. It took 15, yes FIFTEEN calls, including 6 service calls until he finally threw it out and swore to never buy a Kitchenaid product ever again. He now has a LG DW and loves it.

BTW, as I was on hold with AHS for 40 minutes for the stoppage issue at 23:30 in the evening, I started reading my contract. The whole document is written to protect them. Things like, "blockages in the sewer line beyond the foundation of the home will not be covered." What? That's pretty much the majority of the line? Also, I always kept the warranty because I figured it would cover an AC system were I to ever need replacement. Their terms: "AC replacement limited to $1,500." And that too only after the owner can show proof of quarterly servicing. My contract expires in two weeks, I'm firing them.

My career has lacked consistency in recent years so I had to be overseas a lot. I rented my house during that time so it made sense to have a home warranty company, someone my tenants can call in an emergency. But in the end it's bs.

A buddy of mine has WarrantyDirect on his car (I have them on one of my cars). He told me similar stories where they spend so much time dicking with a claim to hopefully wear the customer down. Eventually, once you exceed your pay-in, they limit all claims and it's basically your lawyers against theirs. Or so was the case for his Honda.

I've done maybe 50-60 mini projects in the past month that would've cost me a mint had I not done the work myself, including rebuilding the carburetor on my 2 hr old Honda EU2000i. Had I taken that gen in, the guy wanted $160 to rebuild it... "unless more parts needed." Sure, just throw parts at it when it's not your money. I put no new parts in and she purrs like a Honda should now.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no mechanic. But you can fix a lot of your stuff these days if you just commit to the time and effort. WHen you factor in the time it takes to get an appt somewhere and the back-and-forth to the facility, it's often the same level of difficulty, save for something major like an engine/ transmission rebuild.
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Old 07-25-2014, 02:50 PM   #38
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Great Thread. It reminds me of something I have been meaning to post for some time. Anytime we sell a house in the real estate business, the seller is required to fill out a "SELLERS DISCLOSURE".

This is a questionnaire asking everything about the home during the time of their ownership. This covers everything from basement to rooftop, pet ownership-present and past, leaks-past and present, water system, AC, heating, electrical, etc.

If the administrator (NLOVNIT ????) of this forum would like to post something like this as a “sticky” , I would be glad to start making one up. Being a newbie, I would need a lot of help and input from the senior members but I think something like this would be a big help to anyone who is looking to purchase.

I bought my first Motor Home last year and did very well. It had always been stored inside and cosmetically looked great. Once I owned it there were a lot of small things that I didn’t know to look for or to ask the seller about, (a new “mother board” in the generator was the biggest thing). It would have been nice to have a ‘MOTORHOME SELLERS DISCLOSURE’ to help me.

The nice thing about a real estate Sellers Disclosure is that the buyer can come back on the seller if they hid a material fact.
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Old 07-25-2014, 03:40 PM   #39
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Very educational thread. The recommendation to buy new doesn't mean you'll get a unit with no defects.
The nature of an RV; chassis from one source, house from another, all systems from various places, allows lots of places for mistakes to be made. On top of that, the TERRIBLE quality control of most RV manufacturers means units get delivered to dealers with major issues you HOPE the dealer will catch and repair. Then you buy it, and in the first trip off the lot it looses a huge amount of value because it's no longer new but used. The number of folks who make their RV first trip to the manufacturer instead of a campground is sad. If cars were made that way Detroit would be a boom town instead of a ghost town.
Buying a unit from a distance; many of us do it and do fine. I had to travel 1,400 miles one way, to view and purchase mine. I had lots of sky miles and time so I flew out, inspected and spent time with the unit, purchased it and drove it the 1,300 miles back to my home.
The same thing with RVs was true of yachts when I was growing up. Folks with money would buy new thinking that meant everything was perfect. They had no knowledge of the systems and maintenance needed to keep it up. I think everyone owning a recreational land or water craft need to learn some simple things about the mechanical, electrical, and safety systems of their 'new baby.' If you have deep pockets and can pay, fine, but I like doing it myself as much as I can.
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Old 07-25-2014, 04:24 PM   #40
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I'm curious why you'd consider going 3,000 miles from home to buy a used MH.
For me, finding the right motorhome was far more important than its location. After all, it does have wheels and was designed intended to travel.

I identified what we wanted in a motorhome and started looking throughout Canada and the US. As the selection is less in Canada and the prices generally higher, most of the more promising finds were located in the US and high RV population areas such as Texas and Florida had the greatest available inventory.

Surprisingly, after this deal fell apart I found another good unit at an acceptable price a mere 250 miles from my home.
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Old 07-26-2014, 12:52 AM   #41
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I bought my FW from my neighbor. He owns a very successful RV repair shop. When his wife stopped by to drop off the title we started talking, just shooting the breeze, as it were. I mentioned to her that we were going to buy new until the offer they made us for their unit popped up.

She told me they take in BRAND NEW units all the time from dealers, wty companies, insurance companies, and owners. She lead me to believe that new units have plenty of issues as well. The difference being you're financially covered. But it's still a time and inconvenience issue.

NOTE: I am NOT saying new and used are the same. They aren't. Just saying even new ones have a few problems... though usually nothing when compared to used, or as the dealers like to call it: "pre-owned"
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Old 07-27-2014, 08:16 AM   #42
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I have no problem buying used whatsoever in anything i purchase, houses, RV's, heavy equipment, cars and so on..

Like with anything in life i believe in being a smart consumer and an educated one. New does not mean safe from troubles, breakdowns and defects in anyway.
Case in point my brother was just test driving a 2015 dodge 3500 and the transmission during the test drive with the salesmen sitting right next to him blew up on the road, they had to be towed back to the dealership.

An engine is an engine and will last untold miles if taken care of properly this i can attest to from personal experience. The rest of the RV, well mechanical things can be taken care of, break and can be fixed... It is just limiting ones exposure by doing ones homework and being educated.
Unless i won 100 million i cant ever picture myself buying anything new, not even a car.
I would rather buy one two or 3 years old for half the price and still under warranty if anything.

That said there is some great info and advice i will take away from here in looking and have total confidence the RV we end up with is the one we are meant to have and will enjoy the hell out of it
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