Friday, September 16, 2016

Motorhome Purchase - New or Used? - Well Maintained or Not So Much?

Moving onto to the next phase prior to purchase

As we go forward with finding and purchasing an RV you should by now have identified the type and class RV that best fits your requirements. To get to this point you should have been searching dealers lots, dealer websites, manufacturers websites, RV Trader, Craigslist and others.

Assuming you have done your homework you should now know which class, make, model, year, mileage, and years that will fall within your target budget and specific needs.

For instance if you are buying a used unit and have $50,000 budgeted, you should know now that you are looking at motorhomes in the following categories (based on 2016 prices):

2001-2006  - Model Years
Diesel - 50K-150 miles (mileage won't as much of a deterrent on a diesel)
Gas - 50K to 65K miles (fewer miles will be a fresher engine)
Slides - 2-3
Older - tires
Older - batteries
Worn carpet
Dinette instead of table and chairs (not always)
Front TV, Bedroom TV (both likely older and clunky)
Coach equipment getting older - think pumps, faucets, microwave, refrigerator and movable parts

Should I consider paying more or less up front to insure I get what I want?

After deciding on a budget and knowing what you can expect to see in an older coach you need to make a final decision. Do I want to just load and go?  Or, do I mind renovating the inside of the coach?

Which is right for me?

The first consideration here is how handy are you? Can you rip out stuff without damaging the coaches wiring, plumbing, heating or sewage systems? Are you a Klutz?  Because if you are you might want to buy a coach that is ready to roll.

Should I Purchase a "read to roll" RV?

There are dealers like Johnson RV  (no I am not affiliated) that completely recondition coaches and replace things that need replacing prior to even listing them on their websites. You will of course pay for this convenience and reliability.

Should I Purchase an RV that potentially requires some systems updated?

If you have done your homework you should be able to inspect your prospective coach (less the engine mechanical systems) by visiting RV dealers and private sellers in your city, town or surrounding area and be confident with the condition of the coach.

Should I Purchase an RV that has a good body, chassis, engine and transmission but lacks TLC otherwise?

You found a 2005 coach that was lived in. It wasn't moved for several years and lived in an RV park. It hasn't been maintained properly because the owners were older and unable to do the work. You inspect it and find that the batteries are shot, the tires are dry rotted and way past their build date. The engine runs but could use filters, oil change, perhaps the manifold or another part of the engine has developed an oil or water leak due to age and lack of exercising the engine.

Should you buy it?  Well that depends. Can you buy it cheap? Will the outside clean up by removing oxidation and waxing?  How many tires need replacing? How about belts and hoses? You will need to find our how much the tires cost per unit.  You need to replace the batteries, how much will that cost? Maybe an A/C unit is on the fritz, how much will it cost to service or replace?

Again, if you are handy, resourceful, don't have a hard departure date and are determined to "make a silk purse out of a sows ear" for the price of a song, then this may be the route you want to go.

Before even making an offer on these type rigs run the amenities through NADA. Be careful to read the notes in NADA on that coach. In general you will learn what was standard equipment and that will give you a base price. Then add in the options that the coach had installed at the time of sale.

Now add in tires, engine work, replacement of flooring, repair of systems, and the total estimated cost of getting the coach back into the type of condition that will make it reliable on the road or in the RV park.

All of this should be done PRIOR to making an offer. If the coach is too valuable to the owner and they will not negotiate walk away and don't look back.

Should I purchase an RV that is ready to roll and go?

For me I want to load and go. Why? I am retired and don't want spend six months, gutting, upgrading and getting the coach ready to roll. I want to get on the road. Besides, I am older and some of the work I can no longer do.

Is there a universal answer to these questions?

You're kidding right?  No, absolute answer is available. Do your homework, figure out the cost of replacing and renovating as opposed to a well maintained coach at the time of purchase.

Good luck

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