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Old 03-20-2018, 06:19 AM   #1
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Concerns with buying a repossessed 5th wheel

Hello All,

New guy to the forums here. I'm going to apologize for such a lengthy post but really want to give a good background here. Scroll to the bottom if you just want to skip to my questions. Ive got questions about my tow vehicle, buying a repossessed trailer, etc.

Was originally looking at travel trailers, but found a fifth wheel that checks every box on my "wish" list. Admittedly it is larger than I really wanted, but I have a fairly large wish list so I suppose it works.

This particular 5th wheel is a 2015 Sandpiper. It is at a very small out of state car dealership that also has a small selection of campers. The dealership has fantastic reviews and seems well recommended by locals. This particular trailer was repossessed in 2017 and brought up here to the northeast in the fall of 2017. It is priced almost $10k below NADA retail, but it's got its faults for sure.

The coach has basically been stripped. All of the furniture is gone, minus the table and chairs. The outside kitchen is missing the fridge and TV. Entertainment center was missing the TV as well and it doesn't have a mattress. There is a slight wrinkle in the skirting along the driverside rear and along the bottom of the RV is residue from the trailer skirt that the PO had installed on his seasonal site.

The camper looks beautiful and is in great shape inside. All of the appliances are very clean, there's no marks on any of the cabinets or countertops, the bathroom doesn't look like it's ever been used, etc. My theory is that the guy didn't know he was being repossessed and didn't have time to remove the missing items/potentially do unseen damage to the unit. I believe that the repo crew hastily tore the skirting off the bottom, leaving the residue, and then "cleared out" the trailer when they got it back to their lot.

I'm not opposed to replacing the furniture and mattress. The furniture it came with was not appealing to me, nor is the idea of sleeping on a used mattress. I would like to replace the couch and theatre seats with offerings from a furniture store, not the stuff built specifically for RVs if possible. Replacing an outside fridge and a few TVs is not the end of the world either.

Now here's where my concerns start coming in:

The salesman demoing the unit for us came in on a Sunday while the dealership was closed just to show us the trailer. He stated he had a hard time getting power to the unit and had just gotten the slides open right before we arrived (we scheduled an appointment before our 2.5hr drive there). The battery was shot, he had a truck running idle with the camper plugged in to the bed to provide power. He put a new propane tank in it to show us that the fridge and water heater worked. The unit had been winterized, but there was ice dripping from the septic drain. The unit has a sealed underbelly so I couldn't see any broken pipes or anything of that sort. We could not see the electric fireplace work, nor did any of the lights in the camper. However, the salesman said he has seen the camper fully function, he just wasn't sure how to get them to work. I don't think that the truck was providing enough electricity, and that he killed the trailer battery opening the 3 slides.

Our salesman admitted that he really wasn't very knowledgeable about the RVs and that their RV salesman wouldn't be back until Monday. He said his techs had already gone through it and there wasn't anything written up needing repair. He understood why we couldn't buy it then not being able to see several of the major functions work.

I really like the camper, however I really don't want a basket case.

My thoughts:

1.)Hire an independent party to inspect the camper. If they give it a decent review, start trying to buy the camper.

2.) For peace of mind, strongly consider a warranty. I've seen very mixed reviews regarding wholesalewarranties and good sam. I used to sell extended service plans so I know what they're usually like. Good Sam had worse reviews and is an inclusive warranty, but it significantly cheaper than wholesales exclusive warranty.

And finally, my questions.

This camper is over 100 miles from my home, so going to view it a second time isn't a simple drive. Is there anything in particular that I need to ask the inspector to look for?

Who would I search for the find an RV inspector, another local dealer? Repair shop? Never had to hire one before.

If you were in the market for a used fifth wheel, found a trailer that you really like and is very well priced, would you consider buying a repossessed trailer? Why or why not?

Is financing any different on a repossessed trailer? I know interest rates will be higher on a used model, but I've never considered any type of previous repo so I'm not sure if the financing is different.

The salesman said he has repo papers and a lien release for the trailer, is there any other information that I need to make sure this trailer has? I live in NY, trailer is in MA.

You guys are the experts here, does this just sound like something to avoid? Our salesman did say that he had a guy that tried to buy it, but couldn't get financing due to a bankruptcy. That to me is reassuring that someone else thinks it's a worthy buy.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post. I am beyond stressed over this camper and I haven't even bought it yet. Very torn between really liking the camper and the price, and thinking it's too good to be true.

Thanks again
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Old 03-20-2018, 07:00 AM   #2
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Repossessed to me, means a RED flag. But , if you know what you want and think you found it, listen to your friend or companion (females have a sixth sense) find someone that's had a 5th. wheel or at least knows what to check out and start your bidding. Most dealers don't camp, and you know what they do best. Good Luck.....
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Old 03-20-2018, 07:04 AM   #3
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1) I wouldn’t put much faith in NADA retail guides for RVs. Dealers don’t even use them much as a reference. Seems that way with boats, too. Just focus on market price for comps. What model is this? What are the actual market comps? Even lowest advertised new model pricing, like on RV Trader, tends to have wiggle room in it.

2) why would the repo company strip the interior? Sounds to me like the previous owner might have defaced the furniture as spite, knowing that the unit was getting repossessed? Did they tell you why the furniture was removed? Seems like a red flag to me, and there might be other spiteful damage.

3) unless you can check all systems, don’t limit your repair budget to furniture replacement. For comparison, it can take 6-8 hrs to do a proper PDI on a *new* unit (that’s how long I took on mine), let alone this unit. There are a lot of hidden systems that can bite you hard. Busted hot water heater from incorrect winterization? $6-700. AC unit hit by branch and condenser punctured? $6-700. Roof leak that is hidden because heat was not on, and water is currently frozen? Thousands.

Unless this unit is way more than $10k below comps, not sure it’s a deal or worth getting involved in, especially when you look at how little difference in monthly payment there would be between used financing rate and new unit financing rate.
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Old 03-20-2018, 07:49 AM   #4
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Offer them half of what they are asking to account for possible damages. Thats probably still more than they paid for it. This deal sounds like a mile of head aches. Find a unit that was owned by an older couple, always stored inside, and they were anal about fixing every little thing. This unit will be in as new condition. If you are lucky, you will get a good deal as they are getting out of travelling. If not, you will pay a little above average price, but it will be well worth it. Some times, there are so many little things you cant see. Only proper care from the beginning can avoid lots of these little problems. Good luck.
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Old 03-20-2018, 07:58 AM   #5
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I would run away. Who knows what else was stripped? Not to mention there is a lot you can't see that could be wrong
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Old 03-20-2018, 11:09 AM   #6
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I personally want to buy things I can use not things I can work on. Are you wanting to relax and camp or relax and remodel ?
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Old 03-20-2018, 11:30 AM   #7
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Run, don't walk away from this. It may be under NADA pricing, but by the time you replace all the missing items and whatever else shows up, you could have purchased a nice unit and used it right away. Most repo's are beat to heck and back by people who don't care since they are losing it. In this case, they stripped and sold off all they could. Keep looking.
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Old 03-20-2018, 02:25 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by HighDesert View Post
Run, don't walk away from this. It may be under NADA pricing, but by the time you replace all the missing items and whatever else shows up, you could have purchased a nice unit and used it right away. Most repo's are beat to heck and back by people who don't care since they are losing it. In this case, they stripped and sold off all they could. Keep looking.
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Old 03-20-2018, 04:39 PM   #9
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Thank you everyone for your response. I must admit I'm disappointed hearing that it's not the deal of the century, but I don't think it's surprising. I was hoping that a warranty would be a good option but I think I'm going to trust you guys here and continue my search.
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Old 03-20-2018, 05:04 PM   #10
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Good plan and I congratulate you for asking a good question, then taking the advice of some very experienced folks.
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Old 03-20-2018, 08:24 PM   #11
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We just recently purchased from the credit union the 2012 Prime Time Crusader. Before we were obligated to complete the deal we were able to take it for a complete PDI. Since I am a competent mechanic I brought it home overnight, hooked it up under my pole barn to my full hookups and went through it. I intended to replace tires and repack bearings if I got it. Basically everything important was good and we went over it very thoroughly. We agreed to complete the purchase but had to take it back to the storage lot until the bankruptcy paperwork could be completed. Few days. Storage lot was at a friends place so it was secure. We then finished the paperwork, took it home and began our refurb. Purchase price was about 60% of average NADA low retail and we got a good deal.

A repo can be a good deal but it will be an "as-is" sale. Eyes wide open and completely checked out.
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Old 03-20-2018, 08:53 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by HFolb23 View Post
Ive got questions about...buying a repossessed trailer, etc.
As others have said, steer clear. A repossessed anything is your first warning. It was owned by deadbeats.
Think about that and all of the implications thereof.

There are no "compartments" in people. They do the things that they do, because they are the way that they are.

Many people say "you cannot judge a book by it's cover". That is not how the saying goes. It is "You cannot always judge a book by it's cover". That means that most of the time you can.
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