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-   -   How does one buy a used RV from a private seller? (https://www.irv2.com/forums/f258/how-does-one-buy-a-used-rv-from-a-private-seller-542381.html)

WalkTheWalk 06-24-2021 05:07 PM

Just went thru this last month. A listing on RV trader, 2 hours from home.

Found a like new 27 ft Class A. The private seller was using an RV brokerage, who acted much like a realtor would when selling a home.

We paid $900+ for a full RV inspection by a well qualified certified RV inspector, who also sampled and tested 4 fluids in the RV (oil, coolant, tranny, etc.)

The RV broker had a 3 or 4 page purchase agreement. They asked for a 10% deposit, but I said "No, thats too much", as it would've been $8500. As a retired realtor, I told them a $3K deposit was the largest I'd ever collected, so I deposited $1500. (Lawsuits are born of large deposits forfeited, and he who has the gold makes the rules.)

We had 15 days to inspect and back out and keep my deposit per the contract.

We then had to go back after the inspection for a final walk thru, test drive and sign an acceptance doc.

They had clear title in hand, so we did not have to go to the bank to do the final payment. In fact, due to logistics, I had to wire the final payment to the broker's escrow account the day before the walk thru/final acceptance.

The seller kept their tag as required in FL, and we drove the RV home with no tag, but our car was right behind the RV, so no one saw that. We had a Bill of Sale, title and temp tag on paper. We even had put their RV on our insurance for the final test drive before acceptance, so we were fully insured from the get go.

The real tag arrived in a week from the DMV.

After spending all that $$ with Orlando's best RV inspector, it turns out he never went under the coach. He took selfie style pics on a stick of the undercarriage instead.

I could've brought my own creeper and gone under it myself if I known. I sure should have.

The inspector missed the leaking orange Hydraulic return hoses. Lippert leveling systems uses cheap orange thermoplastic hoses for the return lines from the leveling jacks. The Lippert system started alarming about 10 miles from our house. The pump was surging on and off.

We discovered the Hydraulic fluid was a quart low. How did the inspector miss this? Then we crawled under the coach on a creeper and found Hydraulic fluid on every Hydraulic hose. No major leaks, just minor ones at every fitting where the orange return hoses connect.

This is a very common problem, too, although both Coachmen and Lippert deny knowing its a widespread defect and safety issue.

We have owned this like new RV for 2 months and haven't been able to take it anywhere. It's in the shop this week (week 2) getting those crappy cheapo Lippert orange hoses replaced with 5000 PSI rubber hoses.

The cost is astronomical. $2700 plus tax. Mostly lots of labor and 4 or 5 new custom made hoses.

THIS is the one critical thing to check on your new RV. If it has electronic levelers, be sure to exercise them multiple times, check the level of the fluid, and use a creeper to check for leaky Hydraulic hoses.

I would not have closed the deal if I had known about this issue. We found a service ticket where Campers Inn RV had looked at the surging pump in February and had not found the problem. So, the seller likely knew something.

We'd really like to sue the seller or the inspector. It's a major defect.

However, this same defect is present on any coach with a Lippert automatic leveling system. It's inherent since even the new ones use these cheap orange hoses.

All in all, it was just like buying a Fannie Mae foreclosure home, complete with a less than full disclosure and latent defects.

I wish I'd offered $3K less.

Bottom line: Get an inspection. Bring your own creeper and check underneath, if your inspector doesn't. There's lots of room under there.

Ensure they have clear title. Offer only a minimal earnest money deposit and insist on a 10-15 day inspection window, as inspectors are booked up in advance.

Ask for all service tickets before you close. Read them carefully.

Make sure the seller demonstrates that everything works, and have them arrange to plug it in to shore power if possible.

Check the date codes and brand of tires. Look for cracks, abnormal wear. Hell, one tire for my rig costs $450 and there are 6 of them. If the tires are worn down, that's $3K right there for tires.

That's my two cents.

Winemaker2 06-24-2021 06:06 PM

Related thread
https://www.irv2.com/forums/f59/negotiating-a-purchase-542382.html

Mike-NM 06-24-2021 06:22 PM

I sold my Class C to a guy from AZ the other day who saw it sitting in the driveway and stopped and ask if I would sell it. I had not used it in almost a year as we have a class A. We negotiated, came to a price, checked with the wife "you good with this price" she agreed then I gave him a bill of sale with "as is no implied warranties as is" written on bill of sale and had him initial next to that "as is" and photographed his DL on the bill of sale, had him give me his cell number and I texted him while he was standing there to make sure the number was good and he then gave me cash. I told the wife take it down the street to the bank and have them check the 100's for any counterfeit bills. She called me said the bank said it is good and deposited it in my saving account. Once I got confirmation it was not counterfeit. I signed the title over to him, took my license plates off of it, gave him the keys and he drove it away. Called my insurance company the next day and cancelled the insurance. Couple days later turned the tags into the DMV. That was the end of that.... oh.. then I updated my signature line and removed it. :cool:

gorgeguy 06-25-2021 09:23 AM

I have my class A Tiffin Allegro Bus on the market now, it will be interesting to see the reactions and demands of the interested parties. I have bought and sold seven other RVs over the years and all were smooth smooth transactions. None of the previous buyers paid for an inspection just as I have never paid for an inspection. This is an interesting thread to see what others have done.

Coldjensens 06-25-2021 12:03 PM

I would fly out and look at it before hiring an inspector. No point in paying an inspector if you do not like it. Before hiring someone,, look a the layout, condition, colors, smell, etc. Sometimes they smell awful and you would never consider buying it (mold, cats, cigarettes, meth lab etc.).

Buying FSBO is not necessarily cheaper than a dealer. Owners base their pricing on what they see dealers asking for similar motorhomes. Dealer prices are hopeful prices, not real prices. The hope a farmer from Iowa will waltz in without knowing they can negotiate and offer 100% or 90% of asking and think they got a deal. You are always going to negotiate, sometimes you will negotiate a lot. Private owners often lack the sophistication to realize the price they see on the dealer's website may be 25% or more higher than the actual sale price.

When we visited a large dealer in Texas (I think it was PPE) we came across a crew cleaning a used motorhome that had just come in. They were taking everything apart and literally scrubbing the nooks and crannies with toothbrushes (or larger brushes where practical). The motorhomes we saw on the lot were spotless. Not so with FSBO ones we looked at. They also fix the little things that you might not even notice.

An advantage of FSBO is they often throw in the stuff they have collected over the years. Camp chairs, outdoor rug, ice chests, leveler blocks, lanterns, sometimes even pots and pans, off, citronella candles, folding table, tools, necessary fluids, games, etc. One even had a DVD movie collection included. Dealers toss all that stuff. It does not add up to a ton of money, but it can be significant. More critically, you save the time to figure out that you need those things and then the time to run around to find and buy them - as well as the cost of buying them. Sometimes with FSBO you might find a minor repair needed that will result in a big reduction in the price, where the dealer would make the minor repair to avoid the big reduction in price.

If it is a major dealer with a stellar reputation, they are not going to risk that reputation just to rook you out of a few extra thousand. It is not worth it to them. They spend hundreds of thousands building a great reputation. Unless it was a huge bargain, I would prefer buying from dealer. If you are very risk tolerant and budget conscious, you might look at auctions. We just saw a 2005 (I think) Monaco Signature Castle VI (or was it IV?) sell at an auction for $111,000. Market for those is about $150,000 - $180,000. If we were going to buy an RV right now, I probably would have bought that one.

You also have more recourse with a dealer than with an independent owner. One very effective means of leverage with a dealer is you can picket their dealership if they try to rip you off. An individual will usually not care if you picket their home. For a dealer, quickly fixing some minor items is no big deal. An individual is not going to fix it for you. They will either have it fixed as cheaply as possible, give you money and tell you to find someone to fix it, or more likely, tell you to go pound sand.

TriMoot 06-25-2021 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dejus (Post 5802329)
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.

I think you probably already have some good advise from all the other folks here, and I'll tell you our experience.

We've finally found one we wanted and have had so many of them slip through our fingers...we just didn't pull the trigger quick enough I guess.

So on this one, we talked to the owner, asked all the usual questions, did a video walk through and then made a full price offer. You really have to in this market! Plus this was a very nice rig and as other folks have said, you kind of start a relationship with the people. We could tell these folks were honest and straight forward, and they've proved it numerous times.

I mentioned I was concerned about hopping in it and driving 2500 miles back to our home without getting an inspection done, so we would have to schedule one before we even got there. He volunteered to higher a mobile tech and have them come in and inspect all the hoses, belts and filters and have them replaced as needed. Even the air filter, which on these big rigs (45 feet) are very expensive.

He just called today and said that the Ubers and Lyft's in the area are not very timely, and offered the use of his truck while we were there. That's pretty telling.

So we leave tomorrow, to look at it. If for some reason it doesn't meet our expectation, I know we'll get most of our deposit back, as I would offer to give him a few hundred dollars for his trouble.

But yes, it's difficult to figure how to do it. Although in your price range, $300K I think a written contract would be wise.

Good luck and happy hunting. It took us almost two years to find our 'dream rig'.

Sonic 06-26-2021 04:58 PM

Similar to others, we found our four year old Ventana (2,000 miles away) on RV Trader and sent an e-mail to a very responsive seller who answered all of my questions.
The motorhome had been stored in a barn on his property and plugged in when not in use. He also had receipts for all of the maintenance and warranty repairs. House batteries were new as well.
We had a couple of enjoyable phone calls with the couple selling the motorhome, came to an agreement on price, and felt comfortable in proceeding, subject to an inspection.
He said he didnít need a deposit.

I hired a level 2 inspector who did a very thorough six hour inspection with an extensive write up and lot of pictures. He found only a few very minor issues that werenít worth renegotiating the price over.

We flew into Austin, checked out the coach and had our bank wire the money directly to the sellerís account. There were no loans or liens against the coach and we paid cash so the transaction was easy.

Being new to motorhomes, we hired a driving instructor to meet us at the point of sale and spent a day and a half of hands-on training.

Best of luck in your search, procurement and new adventure

murphylawe 06-27-2021 08:14 AM

Take a tube of K-Y... for both of you. The best part of a person-person sale, no one is happy, and no one is screwed.

NinaNJ 06-27-2021 09:08 AM

We flew into Austin, checked out the coach and had our bank wire the money directly to the sellerís account. There were no loans or liens against the coach and we paid cash so the transaction was easy.

Being new to motorhomes, we hired a driving instructor to meet us at the point of sale and spent a day and a half of hands-on training.

Best of luck in your search, procurement and new adventure[/QUOTE]

Sounds great - thanks for info. Were you out of state (sorry didn't look at your profie first) if so how did you register to drive it home? We are in the same boat (mostly) when searching RV trader :)

arcaguy 06-27-2021 09:47 AM

I just went through this a couple of months ago with an out-of-state seller and with a loan on the coach. The biggest fly in the ointment was Ally Bank who will not take a wire transfer to pay off a loan. I literally told them the were doing business in the 19th century. I digress.
Fortunately the coach I bought was about 6 hours from my home in Michigan in Wisconsin. I mention this because in Wisconsin the lender holds the title, in the case and electronic title, while in Michigan the owner holds the title with a recorded lien. I drove to see the coach after having made tentative arrangements with an inspector to inspect the coach subject to cancellation if I didn't like it. This made it a two day trip but I only had to travel once to look at the coach. I liked the coach, the inspector didn't find deal breakers so I gave the seller a check for $1,000 as a deposit. As one of the previous posters stated large deposits are the stuff of law suits. If you file suit against someone in another state it needs to be in Federal Court and last I knew it was about $30,000 just to file the suit. My point being don't make the deposit so large that you can't afford to lose it if push comes to shove. Then the fun begins.
As I said earlier the coach was financed through Ally Bank and all they will take for a payoff is a cashier's check. That became somewhat of a sticking point as I wasn't going to pay off someone's loan without title in hand. For whatever reason the seller didn't want me to know how much is loan was so we hired an escrow agent in the form of an attorney who was also a realtor and had an escrow account already set up. Most attorneys also have what they call a trust or escrow account where they deposit client's money so that would work too. The attorney cost us $250 which we split. This was very cheap from what I can determine. I checked into an escrow service and they wanted $1.500 for their services. At any rate I wired the money to the attorney and he cut the check to Ally Bank. Then the waiting started. It took about 10 days for the bank to pay off the loan and get the title to the seller. Once the seller had the title in hand I drove to Wisconsin to pick up the rig. My truck was already set up to tow so I didn't need a second driver. After that I just drove the motorhome back to Michigan with no plates. This is legal in Michigan as long as you drive it directly from the place of purchase to the place it will be stored, but I did have insurance. What your state does is probably different, I chose to run the risk of getting a ticket for an unlicensed vehicle, you may do different. Something you may want to think about is your route home. In my particular case the shortest route home would have been through downtown Chicago through about a 10 mile construction zone with very narrow lanes. I opted to go west of the city and not drive my new-to-me rig through a very tight construction zone in the first 100 miles. It also avoided having to deal the thieves that run the Illinois Tollway but that's a whole different subject. Good luck finding your perfect rig and have fun.

Fu227 06-27-2021 11:18 AM

My buddy bought a class 8 truck in Florida and we were in Las Vegas....

After a week of phone calls and texts and very thorough pictures, we gave him a 1k deposit to take it off craigslist, and we flew out to Florida...

We inspected the truck and once we confirmed on buying it we drove it to a tire shop that we preordered 6 tires for it..... My buddy banks with Chase who was nationwide we met with the seller.... Went to the nearest Chase Bank picked up a Cashier's check with the seller present then went to the seller's bank paid off the loan and got a notarized bill of sale and the seller then mailed us the title....

Call the insurance company to put a binder for the truck and drove it back home to Las Vegas....


When I purchased my motor home we did the same thing we drove to Texas met with the seller inspected it went to his bank and I handed him a cashier's check which he deposited into his bank, I put insurance on it and he left his plates on so we did not have to wait at DMV.

. Had a notarized bill of sale and I mailed his plates back and he mailed me the title

BOSTONBERNIE 07-01-2021 03:12 PM

EXCELENT point on the title search !

MommaZ 07-01-2021 03:14 PM

Buyer beware
 
We bought a lovely newish pop-up camper from a young couple who seemed very nice. If we had head it inspected, it wouldíve revealed to us that the roof was full of water. It cost a pretty penny to replace the roof. We have moved on to a travel trailer that we purchased from a dealer, so any issues are under warranty for a year
I recommend an independent inspection prior to purchase.

PorscheLover 07-01-2021 03:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dejus (Post 5802329)
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.

For that budget you can buy a 15 year old Prevost which sold originally for over $1.5mil and is still like new. Ask me how I know. On Prevost owners FB group there is a guy named Gil Johnson who is an expert on these buses and will fly to you and take a day or two inspecting and deliver a thorough written report with pictures that you can use as a negotiating tool. His fees are very reasonable. If this intrigues you google Prevost-stuff website and enjoy shopping. ��


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