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Old 06-22-2021, 09:30 PM   #1
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How does one buy a used RV from a private seller?

I've been spending way too much time searching RV Trader for used DPs. It seems most of the listings I like are from private sellers (as opposed to dealers).

We're in the process of selling our house, and will buy the RV from the profit -- probably one around $300k in value.

But I was wondering what the logistics of that would be. Assuming we find a great-looking motorhome somewhere (we're looking nationwide, as there's bupkis in the Portland area), then what? Contact the seller, find out more info, and reserve it somehow?

We'd want to get it professionally inspected; hopefully we can find a nearby inspector that can see it in a timely fashion.

If it checks out, we'd drive or fly to the RV, take a look ourselves, pay in some way, get the title assigned to us, then drive it home.

But I'm unclear on (a) how we'd reserve it (no point in getting it inspected and flying out there if they sell to someone else in the meantime), (b) how we'd pay for it (cashiers check, I guess), (c) how the title would get assigned, and (d) other aspects I'm forgetting or not aware of.

When buying a house, we have a buyer's real estate agent to hold our hands. I kinda wish there were a buyer's RV agent... I guess a dealer is kinda like that, though they don't have the buyer's interest at heart. I've read several stories of nice experiences buying from private sellers, but the details are a mystery to me.
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Old 06-22-2021, 10:10 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dejus View Post
I've been spending way too much time searching RV Trader for used DPs. It seems most of the listings I like are from private sellers (as opposed to dealers).

We're in the process of selling our house, and will buy the RV from the profit -- probably one around $300k in value.

But I was wondering what the logistics of that would be. Assuming we find a great-looking motorhome somewhere (we're looking nationwide, as there's bupkis in the Portland area), then what? Contact the seller, find out more info, and reserve it somehow?

We'd want to get it professionally inspected; hopefully we can find a nearby inspector that can see it in a timely fashion.

If it checks out, we'd drive or fly to the RV, take a look ourselves, pay in some way, get the title assigned to us, then drive it home.

But I'm unclear on (a) how we'd reserve it (no point in getting it inspected and flying out there if they sell to someone else in the meantime), (b) how we'd pay for it (cashiers check, I guess), (c) how the title would get assigned, and (d) other aspects I'm forgetting or not aware of.

When buying a house, we have a buyer's real estate agent to hold our hands. I kinda wish there were a buyer's RV agent... I guess a dealer is kinda like that, though they don't have the buyer's interest at heart. I've read several stories of nice experiences buying from private sellers, but the details are a mystery to me.
All your points you would negotiate with the seller. Think of it like buying a house.

A) The seller is probably going to want some sort of deposit to essentially take it off the market while you have it inspected. You're probably going to want to agree on a price prior to this, contingent on the inspection.

B) Again, negotiate with the seller. Wire transfer, cashiers check, crypto etc.

C) When you complete the sale, the seller gives you the signed title, you take it to your local DMV and register it, give uncle sam his piece, and head back to your new RV with plates in hand and drive it home.
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Old 06-23-2021, 05:01 AM   #3
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As Massparanoia says, it's all negotiable between you and the seller. If there is lien that needs to be satisfied, then going through a financial institution would be smart. We purchased a 5th wheel from an individual and met at his bank and met with bank representative, paid the seller who paid the bank note, and we received a clear title. Also, be sure that each of you know how the transfer of funds will take place.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 06-23-2021, 05:10 AM   #4
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I sold my DP privately. The buyer essentially paid off the bank (and I paid the bank the difference :( ). It’s a bit worrisome, but we developed a relationship with the buyers and in the end there was an element of trust involved. They also were taking a loan to buy the coach, so that made it a bit less risky for me.

I must however give one bit of advice, I actually prefer buying a used RV from a reputable dealer. I know I’m paying more, but a good dealer will inspect and repair the major items, usually provide a limited warranty, but most of all you get service preference from them. Getting any RV serviced these days is tough. The best I could do was get 6 weeks on my travel trailer from my dealer to get some bugs worked out. They won’t even make appointments is you have not bought from them. Just another thing to consider. I’m sure there are independent RV repair shops, but I’ve had spotty success with them.
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Old 06-23-2021, 10:29 AM   #5
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Thanks. Yes, everything is negotiable, though I'd be interested in reading about experiences of people who have done private selling (as a buyer or seller).

Interesting points about buying from a dealer instead. Though I've also read people saying that dealers don't necessarily do any significant checks, and don't know the history as well as a private seller would.

If we buy from some dealer in another state, and are traveling around full-time, possible preferential treatment from a dealer may not be that useful. Though it's certainly something to consider. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 06-23-2021, 11:01 AM   #6
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When I bought my DP Allegro Bus (which am putting back on the market) eight years ago, we paid with a personal check and the seller held the title until the check cleared the bank and then mailed the title to us. With it being so easy to get a phony cashiers check, some sellers may be unwilling to release the title until the funds are actually in the bank. A wire transfer is good but I am under the impression it has to be originated at the buyers bank and if you are some distance away, that might be difficult. I sold a travel trailer and got a bank draft, but only copied the title and give a bill of sale until the funds were actually in the bank.
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Old 06-23-2021, 03:42 PM   #7
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Inspection reports are valuable. Should your deal fall through, and the seller wants to know what's wrong with the unit, that inspection you paid for is your's. $$
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Old 06-23-2021, 04:45 PM   #8
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If I were wanting to buy from a private party, I would want several pictures and a long conversation with the owner. From that, if I liked what I had seen and heard, I would ask the seller if he would agree to hold it for me to either go there personally or allow an inspector to check it out. I would probably just go there and check it out myself. If I liked what I saw, agree on a price subject to a professional inspection. Prior to going, I would have the funds in the bank to be wire transferred if it passed inspection. I purchased our second coach from a widow after driving four hours to look at it. It was what we wanted. I wrote a check and she signed over the title to me. Trust on both sides.
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Old 06-23-2021, 05:02 PM   #9
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I personally prefer to buy from private party. When looking at MH's in the past the dealers are so full of BS that I can't believe anyone would fall for. I don't really know if there is a "good " dealer out there. Certainly not in Fl. I realize that a newbie might not know what to look for in a MH but I have had them for many years and do all my own work. We have bought our last 2 MH's from private parties and gotten good dealers and fair prices.
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Old 06-23-2021, 05:02 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dejus View Post
Thanks. Yes, everything is negotiable, though I'd be interested in reading about experiences of people who have done private selling (as a buyer or seller).

Interesting points about buying from a dealer instead. Though I've also read people saying that dealers don't necessarily do any significant checks, and don't know the history as well as a private seller would.

If we buy from some dealer in another state, and are traveling around full-time, possible preferential treatment from a dealer may not be that useful. Though it's certainly something to consider. Thanks for the advice.
I sold my National to a private party before I bought our Newmar. The encounter went exactly as I described earlier. They opted to come inspect the RV themselves rather than use someone independent, but otherwise it was all the same.
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Old 06-23-2021, 05:48 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jondrew55 View Post
I sold my DP privately. The buyer essentially paid off the bank (and I paid the bank the difference :( ). Itís a bit worrisome, but we developed a relationship with the buyers and in the end there was an element of trust involved. They also were taking a loan to buy the coach, so that made it a bit less risky for me.

I must however give one bit of advice, I actually prefer buying a used RV from a reputable dealer. I know Iím paying more, but a good dealer will inspect and repair the major items, usually provide a limited warranty, but most of all you get service preference from them. Getting any RV serviced these days is tough. The best I could do was get 6 weeks on my travel trailer from my dealer to get some bugs worked out. They wonít even make appointments is you have not bought from them. Just another thing to consider. Iím sure there are independent RV repair shops, but Iíve had spotty success with them.
Had the exact opposite buying from a large RV dealer.
We had a list of items to be taken care of
Would not pick it up until they completed list
After almost two years of round and round we lawyered up
Had to sign non disclosure about settlement
But we were made whole....terrible ordeal

Do your research on models you want and get back to the owners forums here or elsewhere bfor things to look for

Greg
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Old 06-24-2021, 01:32 PM   #12
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Dejus,

About 3 months ago we bought a used DP from a private party in Hood River, OR. I talked with him on the phone then drove over to see it from our home in Pasco, WA.

The coach was clean and he said the reason he was selling was his wife died 2 years prior and he just didn't use it any more.

At this point price was not even discussed. I told him I was interested and wrote him a check for $5,000 to show I was interested and he could take it off the market. I also told him I wanted to get an NRVIA inspection done and that would take about a week. He was OK with that.

The inspection came back clean except for rear axle tires, smoke detector, propane detector were outdated. Oil samples were taken and sent in.
After a few days the results of the oil samples came back clean.

The seller had a loan on the RV through a nationwide bank that had to be paid off. We called the bank and explained the situation to them. They would not release the title to me even though the seller gave them permission.

At this point I was going to write a pretty big check to him for the agreed price and trusted him to send me the title when he got it from his bank. BIG amount of trust there but I felt I am a pretty good judge of character.

About 3 weeks later the title arrived all properly endorsed.

We just finished our first overnighter and couldn't be happier with the coach.
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Old 06-24-2021, 01:43 PM   #13
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I found one ,flew in to see it, negotiated price, gave a deposit sale depends on clean inspection , finance company (broker) handling the pay off, payoff will be after me doing a final inspection at pickup,plates over nighted, once transaction is cleared.
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Old 06-24-2021, 02:06 PM   #14
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One small point: If someone shows you a clean title in hand, ignore it and do a title search at their DMV. Liens could have been put in place since that "clean" title was printed.


The DMV people tend to be very helpful with this. It's their job.
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