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Old 07-19-2012, 07:00 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Woodbridge, VA
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Timing our MH purchase

I've been lurking on this site for over a year and have learned much from the collective wisdom, so first let me thank all of you for generously sharing on this forum. I haven't found much on this topic, so thought I would throw it out there for y'all to consider.

We've long planned on purchasing a MH to snowbird in once I earned my second retirement (first one was from 30+ yrs in the USAF). That date is approx 7 years out. The question is how to time the purchase of the MH. My current plan is to buy an approx 8-10 yr old Class A DP. I like the idea of getting a well built coach, but can't afford to purchase one brand new.

So, I'm interested in your opinions - Option 1 to buy approx 3-4 years prior to retirement, finance for a short period, and use the coach to get used to it and have it paid off prior to full retirement. Option 2 is to wait until full retirement and downsizing of our stick/bricks home to pay cash for the MH.

I think there is merit to both ideas, but maybe y'all have had some experiences I could benifit from.

Thanks, Mike

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Old 07-19-2012, 07:07 AM   #2
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WI waited until I retired from my first life job, then bought a 3 year old coach. It was actually like a big expensive gift for us. We traveled extensively and enjoyed ourselves.

Good Luck, Be Safe and Above All, Don't Forget To Have Fun
2006 Fleetwood Discovery 35H, being pushed by a 2009 Honda CRV
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:14 AM   #3
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Miller 205, why would you wait until your second retirement? Look at all of the fun you are missing out on NOW! Besides if you get one now you will have time to 'figure' it out, make repairs and learn what it will take to maintain it once you do retire.
Look now and if you find something that fits your purpose, get it.
2009 38' Diplomat
CSM- retired, wife as co-pilot
Reka & Ali providing security (our 2 labs)
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:24 AM   #4
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I agree with R2Home. Why wait? We wish we had done it 10 or 15 years ago.
Just DW & me, the driver
2001 Foretravel U320 42 ft, ISM450
Toad: 2010 Honda CR-V
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:53 AM   #5
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A couple thoughts here.

1. As other said...why wait? That is a tough one on a few levels. If you buy now, can you get a good bang for the buck? This may dictate you buy something more modest to meet your expected use before you go FT. There are many avenues but one that seems reasonable is a good gasser because of the (generally) lower buy in cost. If you don't think you will see a lot of miles and you aren't in an area where performance is an issue (big hills) this may be a good way to start early. I would still think on the bigger side. Something close to what you think your "end state" might be. This could meet your learning needs, allow you to find out what you don't know yet, give you a more definitive idea of what your dream rig should have.

2. Don't wait to just before you retire. I think as a minimum you want something for a couple summers before you FT it. If you do choose that option, you could bank up more $$$ for that end state rig.

My wife and I opted for #1. Sometimes I go through some diesel envy but we have a great floor plan and are in some relatively flat land traveling for this year. Next spring we will have a toad and plans to do some trips through the big hills on the eastern side of the country. That will be our time to make a final pre-FT shakedown of systems and capabilities. If we find we need something else, we can make that choice with a lot more practical knowledge behind us. However, it is possible that this rig will suit us well.

Right now we see 2 issues to keep a close eye on for that time:

1. Available carrying capacity - Ours has a GVWR 24,000 lbs but due to the options we have on this rig we have a lot of the 15,500 rear axle weight in use. As it stand, we have about 400 lbs available on the rear with full fuel, fresh water, LP, the assortment of stuff (tools, compressor, chairs, mostly full refer, misc supplies) and 1 set of clothes. We need to consider that FT means more clothes and stuff. That doesn't even count the possibility of adding a roof top AC to supplement our basement AC.

2. General performance - We haven't gotten a toad on it yet and even though we haven't had any issues so far, we are waiting to see how a toad will play. There are certainly options to help that along such as HP mods to up the HP. The balancing act will be how much in total they will cost and whether saving that money to put into a DP is better in the long term.

I'm not going to get into the larger debate of gas vs DP because I think you have seen a lot of that already. The decisions you will make on which is best for you will need to be a balance of floor plan, available money, and how you value the things a DP/gas can do in context of those first 2 items. It sometimes gives me a headache. LOL

So0o many decisions. BEST of luck!
Don, Sandee & GSD Zeus. Gardian Wings earned are GSDs Gunny (7/11/15) & Thor (5/5/15)
2006 DSDP 4320, Spartan MM IFS, 2013 CR-V, Blue Ox Avail, SMI AF1, Samsung 197R Refer.
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:37 AM   #6
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You mentioned snowbirding?
To me that implies staying in one place half the year, and in a (single) second place the other half....

Motorhomes, especially DP's, are expensive and meant to be mobile.

A 5th wheel can be just as big, just as nice inside, not quite as easy to be mobile with, and 1/4th the cost, ezspecially if u like big brawny diesel pickups trucks.
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:50 AM   #7
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Jim, Sorry, but I may have misused the term. By snowbirding, I mean we want to use the MH to escape the snow. Probably not staying more than a couple week in any one spot, we want to travel and see the country. We also want to participate in NOMADS, the RV group that does service projects typically in the South and Southwest during the winter months.

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Old 07-19-2012, 11:11 AM   #8
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Mike...There is no simple answer to this. We had a Class C motor home that we camped in for 14 years with the kids. We knew we wanted a DP for retirement, but we were about 7 years away from retiring. We didn't want a 7 year old DP when I retired so we bought a used 2004 Fleetwood Fiesta 32' Class A gasser. Our intent was to keep if for about 5 years and then buy the DP 2 years before we retired. We kept it about a year and hated it. Liked the floorplan, but hated the brakes, cheap carpeting and a toilet that plugged daily from a bad tank design.

We decided to bite the bullet and bought our DP new. I've been retired one year this month and the DP will be 7 years old next month. For us, the decision worked out. We love our DP and have put 50K on it even while I was still working. The downside is that the DP is now 7 years old, I'm 56 and we plan to RV to at least 70. That means we'll probably need one more RV before we're done.

The point I'm trying to make is that you can't predict the future. For us, if we had waited for another three years, before we bought the DP, we would have been in the middle of the recession and would have had a hard time finding a DP and someone to finance it. Now we're in a position that we might need another before we quit RVing.

Soooo.....don't over think this decision. You can't control your future health, economy, fuel availabillity or price. Spend reasonably with a plan that may include one more purchase (depending on your age) before you're done RVing. Get out and enjoy as much as you can. It will also give you a good idea what will really work for you in retirement.

When it comes to buying a coach with enough power, remember that in any one trip you probably only spend about 5% of your time climbing grades. A coach that might be a little under powered will only add a few minutes to a trip.
Don & Mary
2014 Newmar Dutch Star - All Electric - 450 ISL
2016 GMC Canyon 4WD Crew Cab
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:50 PM   #9
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I am along ways from retirement, I say why wait I'm on my third MH and second new one. You cannot predict the future so enjoy life now no regrets.
2007 Fleetwood Revolution LE 40V
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:02 PM   #10
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As has already been stated, 'why would you wait' as one nevers knows what is going to come our way. Live hard, camp often, meet new people and enjoy life while you can. We bought our first MH in 1988, and were a LONG ways from retiring. We are now on our 4th MH and looking to get a newer one.
As long as you can afford to purchase one now, I would. Just think of all the good time you are missing!
2009 38' Diplomat
CSM- retired, wife as co-pilot
Reka & Ali providing security (our 2 labs)
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Old 07-21-2012, 11:46 AM   #11
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Here's another thought. The years 2007 ~ 2009 were pretty much the high water mark of motor homes IMHO. There were some spectacular coaches made that cost north of $7~900,000, that can now be purchased for $3~400,000. Most of them will still be under warranty for all the drive train systems, and all of them will probably have had "the bugs worked out." I personally think this is an unprecedented time to purchase a used MH - they are "young" enough to be financed and still carry warranty, but "old" enough for someone else to have taken the major depreciation hit (so you don't have to).

You can buy an awesome, used high end coach (Country Coach, Newmar, etc.) for equal or less than a new mid or lower end coach. And you can also buy and extended warranty for a reasonable amount of money, making it the best of both worlds. Plus, you can review history on these to know, in advance, what there weak spots are to make sure the coach you are interested in has already resolved it.

Live is really short - my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimers before my mom was able to retire, dashing their post-retirement plans. Enjoy each and every day to it's fullest!

Wishing you all the joy and wonderment of your RV life ~ no matter when you choose to start it.


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