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Old 09-05-2012, 11:59 PM   #1
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Need advice on buying my first RV

My plan is to buy a used RV, and my budget is 25,000 cash, max. But if I could find a less expensive one (with a slideout), that is in good shape, I'd like that. Because I plan to LIVE in it, I think I need a class A, which I'll park in my own back yard while I rent out my house.

I've spent a few days looking at RV lots, of which there are plenty here in Tacoma, Wa, and outlying areas, which have seemingly nice RVs which fall in my price range. Trouble is, I have no idea which ones are better than others. Here are some of my questions.

Is there such a thing as professional buyers who know all the ins and outs whom I can hire to buy me an RV to my specifications?

If so, what might such a person charge?

Can anyone recommend such a person in the Tacoma/Seattle area?

How much should an inspection cost?

There's a book for sale for around 27 dollars that can be downloaded, which claims to help buy an RV. Anyone know if it's a good idea to buy it?

How does one learn what the "going rate" for a certain model and years is?

Can one get a decent deal at an RV lot? Or is the best plan to buy from the private market?

Well, that's all the questions I can think of now. I'd really appreciate some perspective from you more experienced RVers!

Michael (1world)http://www.irv2.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:21 AM   #2
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IMHO you need to "row your own boat", not hire someone else to do it for you. The reason I say this is because buying/owning an RV is a very personal thing. The options on RV's is essentially endless as to floor plans, chassis, engines, appliances, quality of construction, etc, etc.
You'd be best served to learn about Class A's by visiting dealers, talking to owners in campgrounds, reading the rv forums, reading topics in rv magazines, talking to friends that own rv's. You'll also want to start checking out rv's for sale on the internet sites to get a feeling on what class A's are selling for and what you can get in your price range.
Yes, it'll take some time and effort but there really is no other way to learn about rv's in general and be able to hone-in on exactly which models/years rv you're really interested in owning. In the end, you'll get out of this effort exactly what effort you're willing to put into it.
I think you simply need to GET TO WORK!
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Old 09-06-2012, 05:35 PM   #3
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Hi Micheal, welcome to the forum. I agree with Schleder advice. Do you have water, electric and sewer set up in you yard to hook-up to and are there any ordinances/home owner covenents that you'll have problems with in your intended arraingment?
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Old 09-06-2012, 05:41 PM   #4
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If you are just going to park it in the backyard, and rent your house out, just buy a travel trailer or fifth wheel. Why pay for all the extra stuff on class A you won't use
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Old 09-06-2012, 05:44 PM   #5
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Some questions... first, why do you want to live in an RV? If you will be travelling then it makes sense but if you primarily just need a place to live then there are lower-cost and easier options. Also if you intend to travel, how much? If you will be stationary much more than mobile you may find a 5th-wheel trailer and tow vehicle to be a better choice as you will have more living space per foot and more options in terms of floorplans, as well as a better selection at your budget level. Plus if you're not moving much it's not that great to let a Class A drivetrain sit idle for extended periods. All of these factors are at least as important as what specific RV you choose.
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Old 09-06-2012, 05:51 PM   #6
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I appreciate the responses I've received thus far, and look forward to more.

I agree that just paying an expert to do my shopping may not be necessary or good. I was feeling overwhelmed with the vast choices, combined with my inexperience.

I just left a conversation with my sister who has a 24 foot RV from the seventies which she says is livable and dependable. She paid 2500 dollars for a model that had been owned by a mechanic, so she was reasonably sure it had been well-maintained.

The fact that she could get one that old and have it be workable and dependable has made me adjust my path going forward.

IN other words, now I'm not necessarily convinced I need a more modern (10/15 years old) RV, and maybe I could be just as happy in an older model, especially since I plan to live in it mostly, and take fairly short, infrequent trips.

I havent explored the private market yet, so that's my next move. I think that I'll need a lot more experience to make a good decision.

Any and all perspectives still appreciated

Michael
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:09 PM   #7
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If you are just going to park it in the backyard, and rent your house out, just buy a travel trailer or fifth wheel. Why pay for all the extra stuff on class A you won't use
Your point is well taken. However I LOVE the idea of being able to drive my home, with all my creature comforts IF and WHEN I want. I don't think I'll be doing tons of driving, but I want to leave myself that option.

Additionally, I will take it on occasional small trips over to, say, Port Townsend for music festivals, or to Portland for blues festivals. The Portland excursion would be almost 300 miles round trip.

So, unlike many, I won't be driving it all over the country constantly, but I intend to do some driving. Again, I love the idea that I CAN drive it occasionally, though presently I don't anticipate that will be the rule.

Moreover, I don't want to jump through the necessary hoops to tow it to my house. I don't own a powerful truck, or any truck. I just want to drive and park.

Since I'm at the beginning of my search, I anticipate refining my views, so what I think today may not be what I'll think tomorrow.

Thanks for your response!

Michael
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:19 PM   #8
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However I LOVE the idea of being able to drive my home, with all my creature comforts IF and WHEN I want.
So do we 'Nuff said...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1world View Post
I don't own a powerful truck, or any truck. I just want to drive and park.
Makes sense. But also consider what you will do for transportation when you arrive. It isn't very practical to take a Class A out for nighttime entertainment or shopping.
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:20 PM   #9
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I strongly disagree with the go it alone advice. What's the point of visiting and participating in this forum, if not to take advantage of others experience and advice?

I say, if you can find a trusted advocate, even another set of experienced eyes to help you look and learn, why the heck not?

Especially if you go for a class a, with drive train to assess, since you want to make even short trips.

Good luck with the process.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:51 PM   #10
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Some questions... first, why do you want to live in an RV? If you will be travelling then it makes sense but if you primarily just need a place to live then there are lower-cost and easier options. Also if you intend to travel, how much? If you will be stationary much more than mobile you may find a 5th-wheel trailer and tow vehicle to be a better choice as you will have more living space per foot and more options in terms of floorplans, as well as a better selection at your budget level. Plus if you're not moving much it's not that great to let a Class A drivetrain sit idle for extended periods. All of these factors are at least as important as what specific RV you choose.
I own free and clear my home, but I need more income in order to more fully retire, which income I can get by renting out my house. I've considered building a mother-in-law apartment in my yard, but the costs are prohibitive compared to what I'd spend for a used RV, and additionally the permit/regulation process in Tacoma is onerous to me.

There is a small-domicile movement emphasizing downsized housing, which I resonate with (having lived in many smallish bungalows already). It has occurred to me that there is no better small domicile than an RV designed to include the most features in the smallest area; thus RVs fit within the idea of small domiciles perfectly. The extra twist is the luxury of driving one's smallish "house" away to where ever one wishes.

I'm curious what your "lower-cost and easier options" are.

As to maintaining the drive train, I imagine a drive once in a while could address that issue. Please correct me if I'm off-base in respect to that.

Thanks for your input

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Old 09-06-2012, 08:58 PM   #11
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I strongly disagree with the go it alone advice. What's the point of visiting and participating in this forum, if not to take advantage of others experience and advice?

I say, if you can find a trusted advocate, even another set of experienced eyes to help you look and learn, why the heck not?

Especially if you go for a class a, with drive train to assess, since you want to make even short trips.

Good luck with the process.
Jack
Thanks Jack. Makes sense to me!

I think the best path might be to keep on learning all I can AND, if I can, find a person or persons like you describe.

I'm feeling very cautious about this because if I screw up and buy a lemon, or some style I don't need and which isn't conducive to my needs, it could be a huge waste of money.

On the other hand, I'm pretty stoked about the prospect of living full time in one of these babies. I'm accustomed to small places, and the idea of a small place fixed up just the way I like it, which I can drive to where ever when I want fires the old imagination. http://www.irv2.com/forums/images/sm...coolsmiley.gif
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:03 PM   #12
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My advice for what it's worth, a 10 year old Winnebago, Bounder, National, Holiday Rambler. Since you don't plan on driving much, a gasser should be fine. 30-35 feet. Even a good size class C may be a great choice for you.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:07 PM   #13
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So do we 'Nuff said...

Makes sense. But also consider what you will do for transportation when you arrive. It isn't very practical to take a Class A out for nighttime entertainment or shopping.
You can say that again! My idea of a short trip would be under 150 miles, but far longer than a trip to the store or a restaurant.

Also, I have a small compact which I'd tow if I think I'll need to be buzzing around a particular locale once I arrive at a destination.

I appreciate your input,

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Old 09-06-2012, 09:08 PM   #14
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Before proceeding too far check your city ordinances to see if they have one prohibiting living in an RV in a private yard. Our city does.

Good Luck,
Jon
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