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Old 01-13-2023, 01:18 PM   #1
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Bidding on a repo - how to plan for contingencies

The local bank is auctioning a repossessed 2018 Forest River Wildwood XL series TT. It looks to be in pretty good shape, and I'm considering bidding on it.

I went and inspected it yesterday. It appears structurally sound, and I found no signs of leaks, water damage, soft floors, musty smells, etc. From visual inspection, it appears o.k., but the problem is that the bank has not tested anything besides the awning, and they make no representation that anything works ("as-is"). So I'm having a bit of difficulty getting a handle on what I might need to plan on replacing or fixing.

Some things are visually obvious, like it needs a new mattress and a new screen door, and probably an all-over re-seal job. Other things I can guess that I will probably have to deal with include re-packing wheel bearings, replacing brakes, battery, and toilet flush seal. Tires have plenty of tread and show no obvious dry rot, so hoping I can get another year or two out of those.

The trailer is not parked at a spot where I can hook up to water or electric to test any of the appliances and systems. Not sure the bank would even let me do that. So at this point I have no clue about fridge, water pump, range, microwave, AC, plumbing, tanks, converter, electrical system, etc. Odds are pretty good that something in that list isn't working right, but I don't know what I should realistically budget for these unknown issues.

I figure an unknown quantity like this ought to be selling pretty close to wholesale value, despite the fact that it looks pretty good. So I need to be sure I don't get into a bidding war, that's for sure.

How would you handle budgeting for the unknowns? Or would you run away screaming?
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Old 01-13-2023, 01:31 PM   #2
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Suspect bids will be in the thousands of dollars. How many thousands is an issue, but I would not spend that kind of money without validating the plumbing and electrical. That would make it a nonstarter for me. Best on whatever you decide.
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Old 01-13-2023, 02:43 PM   #3
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You would almost think the bank would welcome someone checking this camper out unless they know there are things which should be dealt with. The better the condition the more folks will pay for it. Chances are the owner is upside down in the mortgage and will never have the money to make up the difference in what the camper sells for at auction and what he or she owes. The bank will have to write it off as a loss. I'd understand they don't want to be bothered with something this trivial but after time these things have to add up.
There will be dealers there to bid either in person or by sealed bid who are wiling to take a chance as well as others who regularly buy these units for resale. Sometimes these dealers will sell "where is as is" for a small profit but if they sell enough of these units they can make a pretty good buck doing it that way. Don't get your hopes up too high. Take a chance if you wish but leave yourself adequate wiggle room for repairs of hidden damage. You might get lucky too. You won't know until you try.
If you have access to the unit look closely to the underside for signs of major water damage to the material under the unit. Wet, soggy or severely stained material is a tell tale sign there is water leakage somewhere. Look for deep or excess rust and signs of any frame damage or repaired spots.
A smell test of the inside is necessary too. Burnt wiring or a fried converter / inverter may be noticeable as well as moldy material on the floors, walls and ceilings. Check for water stains in all the same places. If someone has given the interior a heavy dose of air freshener run away. The smell of the air freshener will wear off much sooner than the odor it is covering up.
Good luck and let us know how you make out or which way you decide to pursue this.
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Old 01-13-2023, 02:59 PM   #4
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You would almost think the bank would welcome someone checking this camper out unless they know there are things which should be dealt with.

Don't get carried away using logic on how banks handle Repos.


I have bought three Repos in my lifetime:


30' Peason Wanderer sailboat. Made offer, told them in writing that the stuffing box was leaking and that the battery powering the bilge pump was dead. Offer rejected. Two weeks later the boat was half sunk. Offered 40% of my initial offer and bought it.


Mercedes diesel sedan. They had no idea how to start it (glow plugs).


Puegeot 404 (ya, a long time ago). 4 speed "on the tree". Both their ad and the officer I was dealing with said no reverse gear. Pushed it out of the parking place to drive to see if other issues. All good. Pulled into a parking lot and selected reverse-- no problem-- they just didn't know how to get it in reverse.



Indeed, buyer beware, BUT do not assume they know what they are doing!
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Old 01-13-2023, 06:37 PM   #5
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Yeah, I think they don't really know what they're doing. They just want to get rid of it and minimize their losses. They've got three other TTs/5ers sitting on their lot right now, and they just sold another one last week.

It's a small town bank where everyone knows everyone. I doubt they want to risk their reputation by trying to hide things. At the same time, they also don't want to look too hard for problems. Best just to let the buyer beware and declaim any responsibility.

I looked/smelled closely for evidence of water damage and did not detect any. A slight pine sol smell, but nothing musty. I doubt there was any attempt to cover up anything, because while I was there someone was looking at the TT parked next to it, and I could smell an overpowering mold smell coming out the door of that unit. Clearly they didn't make any effort to hide the water damage in that one.
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Old 01-13-2023, 07:05 PM   #6
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Most bank officers understand the loans they write. Not so much the things they write on. I look at reposed property and bid at near 1/2 its value. Then if it has problems that pop up, I have the money to repair it. DR
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Old 01-13-2023, 07:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wellibe View Post
The local bank is auctioning a repossessed 2018 Forest River Wildwood XL series TT. It looks to be in pretty good shape, and I'm considering bidding on it.

I went and inspected it yesterday. It appears structurally sound, and I found no signs of leaks, water damage, soft floors, musty smells, etc. From visual inspection, it appears o.k., but the problem is that the bank has not tested anything besides the awning, and they make no representation that anything works ("as-is"). So I'm having a bit of difficulty getting a handle on what I might need to plan on replacing or fixing.

Some things are visually obvious, like it needs a new mattress and a new screen door, and probably an all-over re-seal job. Other things I can guess that I will probably have to deal with include re-packing wheel bearings, replacing brakes, battery, and toilet flush seal. Tires have plenty of tread and show no obvious dry rot, so hoping I can get another year or two out of those.

The trailer is not parked at a spot where I can hook up to water or electric to test any of the appliances and systems. Not sure the bank would even let me do that. So at this point I have no clue about fridge, water pump, range, microwave, AC, plumbing, tanks, converter, electrical system, etc. Odds are pretty good that something in that list isn't working right, but I don't know what I should realistically budget for these unknown issues.

I figure an unknown quantity like this ought to be selling pretty close to wholesale value, despite the fact that it looks pretty good. So I need to be sure I don't get into a bidding war, that's for sure.

How would you handle budgeting for the unknowns? Or would you run away screaming?
Rule of thumb in a live auction is decide beforehand your upper limit and stick by it. Those bidding wars are often staged, the one you may be bidding against is a shill.
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Old 01-14-2023, 05:20 AM   #8
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Most bank officers understand the loans they write. Not so much the things they write on. I look at reposed property and bid at near 1/2 its value. Then if it has problems that pop up, I have the money to repair it. DR
Yeah, unfortunately the minimum bid is only a thousand or so below NADA's low retail value. So if I do bid, I'll start at the minimum and won't go much above that.
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Old 01-14-2023, 05:21 AM   #9
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Rule of thumb in a live auction is decide beforehand your upper limit and stick by it. Those bidding wars are often staged, the one you may be bidding against is a shill.
Yes, I definitely would decide my top dollar before placing the first bid.
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Old 01-14-2023, 05:25 AM   #10
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Yeah, unfortunately the minimum bid is only a thousand or so below NADA's low retail value. So if I do bid, I'll start at the minimum and won't go much above that.
Why would anyone consider bidding near retail? You can go to a dealer and buy at retail. At least then the rig has gone through some kind of PDI and you get to check that everything works.
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Old 01-14-2023, 06:04 AM   #11
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Why would anyone consider bidding near retail? You can go to a dealer and buy at retail. At least then the rig has gone through some kind of PDI and you get to check that everything works.
I agree completely. With that high minimum price they may not get any bids at all. If that happens, you can make them a lower offer and they will probably take it. They just want to be rid of that thing. An as-is RV should sell for wholesale or less. You should only offer an amount that will allow you enough in reserve for fixing the unexpected.
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Old 01-14-2023, 06:07 AM   #12
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Yeah, unfortunately the minimum bid is only a thousand or so below NADA's low retail value. So if I do bid, I'll start at the minimum and won't go much above that.
A thousand or two below NADA low retail doesn’t sound like such a bargain for an unknown. I sold a TT this summer privately for about a thousand less than low retail after it sat for weeks at a higher price. It was in excellent condition, was attractively staged with quality photos, all details and specs clearly listed in the ad. Posted on both RV Trader (only got a couple of scam replies) and Facebook Marketplace, where it eventually sold. I lowered my price $500 a week until it sold. Took about 5 weeks.

Given the market of used vehicles, if you’re paying close to low retail I think you can do better than taking a risk on an unknown.
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Old 01-14-2023, 06:12 AM   #13
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I'm sure the bank would like to get full retail. They won't.
Make a bid at what you are comrortable with. Leave some wiggle room for repairs.
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Old 01-14-2023, 07:05 AM   #14
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i personally would never pay retail for something i cannot test fully. unfortunately there are far too many upside down in their notes. imo, repo's will increase in a short period of time, there will be more to choose from. sooooo many paid msrp or over and financed through the dealership for the longest term they could.
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