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Author Topic: Buying a RV for 6mths  (Read 18248 times)

yammers

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Buying a RV for 6mths
« on: February 21, 2011, 05:36:56 AM »
My wife and I arrive in the US (from the UK) mid April on B2 Tourist visa. We are hoping to buy a used RV for approx $20/25000 to drive around america. (Not mexico/canada) for 6 - 12 mth (I have full UK driving licence and an International Driving Permit. I am 32 yr old)

We have not booked our flights yet and people have told us to check state laws regarding buying / lic / registering / insuring etc.  Do you have any recommendations regarding which states may be best to buy in?

We have friends living in Cincinnati who I am sure would allow us to register the RV at their property.

We also have a 3 year old daughter so would need to meet child safety laws etc.

Any advice regarding what to buy / where to buy etc would be great. Really looking forward to trip but the RV thing is bit of headache... Getting the right one, I guess will either make or break the trip.
Thanks
Paul,

Tom

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2011, 09:14:58 AM »
Hi Paul and welcome to The RV Forum from an ex pat Taff.

While awaiting other replies, you could browse the messages in this Visitors to the USA message board, and there's also an article or two in our forum library written by folks who have blazed the trail ahead of you. Click the Library button above and look in the Visitors to the USA area.

One clarification, in case you missed it in your reading here, is that a B2 visa will give you a maximum of 6 months stay in the US, the actual time being at the discretion of the officer at the port of entry. In any event, you'll need to leave the US for a brief time and return/re-enter in order to restart the clock on the 6 months limit. Most visitors satisfy this by crossing into Canada for a couple of weeks.

Be sure to bring your driving licence in addition to the permit as some states don't recognize the permit although they'll recognize your UK licence. I can only say for sure that this is true in California, and haven't specifically looked at this issue for other states.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2011, 09:17:34 AM by Tom »
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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2011, 09:34:35 AM »
Quote
We also have a 3 year old daughter so would need to meet child safety laws etc.

Use the Search button in the toolbar above and search for "child restraint" or "child restraint seats" (with the quotes) to find a number of prior discussions on this subject. The laws vary by state, but generally speaking you'll need a car seat such as the ones shown here and it will need to be securely fastened in a forward-facing seat. The latter makes it a little difficult to comply with the law in some (all?) states that say your daughter would not be allowed to travel in a front passenger seat, while some RV models don't have any forward facing seats other than the driver and front passenger seats.

For info only, here's what I decided to do as my best compromise between satisfying the law and being safety conscious when we travelled with a 4 year old grandson. Reading some of those other discussions will give some insight into what others chose to do.
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Chet18013

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2011, 02:29:15 PM »
You should look at the sales tax and license fee, which can vary considerably from state to state. Insurance costs can also change depending on where you license the RV.
Chet18013
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Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2011, 03:01:58 PM »
I just met a Brit here in the resort who is retired. He bought a new coach (~$200k), licensed it in Montana with an LLC, but has to store it for the six months that he has to come back to the UK.

There are issues with residency for registration, licensing, etc. that are unique to those from another country. This gentleman spent a lot of time jumping through the hoops, which were quite maddening to someone who wants to be in the US and travel. Lack of a permanent ZIP code and a Social Security Number seem to be real issues!

That was not meant to discourage, at all, but do the homework! I am sure there are others lurking on the forum with even more information.

And, we are happy to have you! Anybody who is willing to put up with all of that just to see America deserves our help!

Kim

« Last Edit: February 27, 2011, 12:14:58 AM by skyking4ar2 »
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pdq

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2011, 08:49:13 PM »
Hi Paul:

we are from BC...

a few years ago, my parents sold their TC to a couple from the UK who were doing similar to your plan
while i do not know all the details, i do know they had no issues with registration, licensing, insurance, etc.

regards, pdq
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yammers

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2011, 03:06:21 PM »
Hello everyone. thank you for you replys and Tips.

Tom... thanks, you directed me to some very useful information.

Quick update with a couple more questions:

Visa's arrived yesterday.. B2 Tourist - 10 yr multiple entry for 'probably' 6mths at a time (Depends at point of entry) Ė A relatively simple process with just very basic questions asked at embassy interview last week.  Tom.. you mentioned about dipping into Canada to restart the clock after 6 mths... the lady at the embassy told us during our interview that we would only be able to enter the US once every year for upto 6 mth??? that scared me a bit..

We have a friends address in Cincinnati (Ohio) who will allow us to register RV at.

Basic route (all round America) is sorted, however starting point and where to fly into is still giving me a headache.
Two main things to consider:

a) Seasons ( I want to see most of desert end of april, may, june)
b) and Of course purchase of Class 3 RV.

Plan was originally to fly to Chicago. Buy RV there (Looking to spend approx $25,000 on 2005-08, 24-26ft with approx 50k miles)
and start the trip heading west down Route 66.

Benefit = Cheap flights £365pm - (11th April 2011) (Have to change flights though) and I like the idea of doing Route 66 first as I donít think it will be the best bit of our trip. This would also get us into Utah / Nevada middle to late May prior to crowds and heat.

However, I have also got some flight tickets on hold with Virgin direct to San Fran for £500 each (Very reasonable for 12th Apr 2011). I looked at SF because I was told it might be easier to purchase RV there. It also sounds more appealing place to be based for a couple of weeks while we purchase an RV.. and its also close enough to to the desert part of our route as soon as possible.

Questions:

Can a buy and RV in California... and register it in Ohio. For what ever reason i was under the impression that I do not have to register RV in same State as purchased??????? I was told yesterday however that if i by in CA then I have to register it in CA. If this is true then it flying into either Chicago or SF would be out the question.

As flights are not booked (but need to be within the next week) does anyone have any knowledge of where may be best to fly into to buy a RV? (based on state laws or simply amount of RV's for sale)

I have considered Oregon (for Tax purposes) and Arizona ( lots of people retiring there and selling RV's, Allegedly)

Any advice would be appreciated... its great having the flexibility to start my route in any state however sometimes I think it would be a lot less complicated if we were not flexible and just had to make do with the situation.

I have also just read that Ohio State Laws regarding registering RV  would involve us producing a SSN and Ohio driving lic number... we have neither... and if we have to register RV in same state we buy it then that would mean that my friends address in Cincinnati is worthless to us.  Urrggghh!!! stress time.

Tom

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2011, 03:46:04 PM »
Quote
... the lady at the embassy told us during our interview that we would only be able to enter the US once every year for upto 6 mth??? that scared me a bit..

First time anyone has mentioned that, and I'd be wanting to get further clarification. We have heard of one or more British couples not being allowed back into the US after several successive visits to Canada with the intent of re-starting the clock. But lots of Brits have reported single brief trips to Canada and re-entering.

At least one couple decided to try filing a form I-539, which is an application to extend a stay (after you get here) by up to 6 months, without actually leaving. I don't recall the outcome, but you might read this message for a few caveats. Since Mick and Pat (in that other discusssion) were going to file a form I-539, you might email or PM Mick to ask him what happened.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2011, 03:48:09 PM by Tom »
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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2011, 04:26:22 PM »
Quote
I looked at SF because I was told it might be easier to purchase RV there. It also sounds more appealing place to be based for a couple of weeks while we purchase an RV.. and its also close enough to to the desert part of our route as soon as possible.

I assume you'd want to do some shopping around before forking out your hard earned cash. Are you planning on buying privately, or from a dealer? Whilst there are a number of RV dealers in the greater SF Bay area, I don't know about in SF itself. You might want to do some Googling for dealers, checking out their inventory and where exactly they're located. If buying privately, take a look on Craig's List to get an idea of where the sellers are. Were you planning on renting a car for a couple of weeks? Getting anywhere in the Bay area, outside the city itself, by public transit isn't very convenient.
 
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2011, 04:44:28 PM »
Neither San Francisco or Chicago come to mind as good places to buy an RV, but don't have any actual experience with either one of them.  Perhaps in the outlying areas, but you won't find RV dealers in either city. Florida and Arizona seem to be the prime spots (both a mecca for RVers in the winter and they trade their rigs there). Many Brits choose to fly into Florida (Orlando or Tampa) and buy from the numerous dealers in that state. Jim Dick & I recently helped Dougie Smith of the UK purchase a pre-owned Class A motorhome at Lazydays,  the largest single site RV dealer in the world. Rent a car and plan o spending 4-7 days in south Florida, shopping for an RV and enjoying the area as well. I know the folks at Lazydays are familiar with handling inter-country money transfers, insurance, etc for visitors, and also with registering vehicles in other states. It's all "old hat" for them - they do it all the time..

You can buy in California, but you will want to take delivery outside of the state to avoid their horrendous taxes. Most dealers will drive the RV to nearby Nevada for you and turn over the keys there, making it an Out-of-state delivery. You can register/title in any state, but you generally have only 30 days to do that. Don't know if you actually have to take the RV to Ohio to do the paperwork there, but I would suspect so.

Reentry on your visa: it's up to the people at the border.  No sure thing, though they probably would not deny you on a whim.
Gary
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ArdraF

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2011, 04:58:37 PM »
I agree with Gary, there are not many RV dealers in the SF area.  When we lived there and the RV market was booming, there weren't all that many dealers.  The nearest may be south of San Jose but I'm not sure the one I'm thinking of is still there!  Arizona and Florida definitely are larger RVing destinations and thus have more dealers.  I wouldn't think Chicago would be a good source either.  RVing tends to be a western and southern activity here, so generally speaking the northern states don't seem to have large concentrations of dealers.

ArdraF
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Tom

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2011, 06:28:45 PM »
Quote from: ArdraF
The nearest may be south of San Jose but I'm not sure the one I'm thinking of is still there!

Ardra, you're probably thinking of Garantee RV in/near Gilroy, and you're right, they're no longer there.

BTW there are a number of small dealers in the east Bay and the Central Valley, but San Francisco wouldn't be a good base for visiting them, which was why I suggested Paul Google to see where they are. There's obviously nothing on the scale of Lazy Days or even Garantee RV in Junction City, Oregon.

Edit: Meant to add that, with us not being in the RV buying market  for some time, and with all the fallout that's occurred the last few years, I have no idea how many of those small dealers survived.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2011, 07:30:04 PM by Tom »
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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2011, 08:19:19 PM »
Paul,

On the entry/re-entry/extend-stay issues, I'd suggest you look at these official pages on the US Citizenship and Immigration web site:

Visit the US.

Extend your stay (form I-539).

At the end of the day, the US authorities need to satisfy themselves that you don't intend to work here, and that you intend to return to the UK; Be prepared to provide some proof of this by having proof of your UK anchors (e.g. house and other ties). However, these won't guarantee your case will be made. Having personally stood in a queue at a US consulate in Canada, and having listened to a Brit pleading his case, offering a return airline ticket and being denied entry, I'd suggest you do your homework.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2011, 08:24:24 PM by Tom »
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yammers

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2011, 04:13:08 AM »
are the Laws in Oregon and Washington similar in that Non residents can register an RV there.

Tom I m thinking of flying into Portland now... I have found Johnson RV dealers (www.johnsonrvsales.com/Contact/VisitUs)  they claim to have the largest selection of used RV's in Oregon.   Do you know anything about them?? do you think this would be a good idea?

Re: Re Entry... I guess the embassy staff at my interview are not aloud to recommend dipping into canada for a week or two to restart the clock. hence them stating  '6 mth max in any 12 mth period'  I didn't question it at the time as she was typing my answers to her questions into the computer and i didn't want to say anything that could hamper my return ofter going into canada.

I can not fly into Florida... So I am thinking either Seattle, Portland or Phoenix... purely based on what people have told me about state Laws.

I was talking to a man called Dom who operated AutoTourUsa... they are recommended by the Lonely planet as someone who will provide reliable honest used RV's for purchase and they took care of Registration and insurance... however he has just had to close his business down due to the difficult economy.
I have also been in touch with Rudi from Highway Camper... they sell you new(ish) RV's cheap with a $4000 buyback (Of course you have to sell it back to them)... looks ok... but nearly as expensive as renting I think... and I have to send all the money $21,000 45 days prior to arriving to a Swiss bank account.  I didnt fancy that bit!!

Any advice, contacts would be great

Thanks

Tom

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2011, 05:31:44 AM »
Paul,

On the Oregon registration question, here's some "official" reading for you at the Oregon DMV web site. For different states, you can Google 'DMV in (state)'. Unlike the DVLA in the UK, individual states have their own regulations, and I wouldn't assume any equivalency between different states.

Sorry, I don't know anything about Johnson RV sales, nor had I heard about them until I read your message. Not surprising really, because I've never shopped for an RV in Portland, but maybe one of our members is familiar with them.

The Better Business Bureau listing on the company gives them a good rating. I don't rely on the BBB for anything, but it's a data point when contemplating doing business with an unknown company.

I have/had no experience with AutoTourUsa, but their web site suggests they're (were?) a broker, and they don't appear to carry any inventory.

I'm also not familiar with Highway Camper, but the web site for the only company I could find with that name is on the east coast.

Quote
I have to send all the money $21,000 45 days prior to arriving to a Swiss bank account.

You should run from that as fast as you can.

If you drive 100 miles south from Portland, Oregon there are (or were) several dealers in/around the area of Coburg and Junction City, and maybe a little further south in Eugene. The significance of these locations is that there are (or were) several RV manufacturers in the area. Guaranty RV is a large dealership in Junction City. You can Google for 'RV manufacturers dealers in (city/town name)' to find others.

In case we've not mentioned it previously, do yourself a favour and click the Library button above and visit a couple of sections: Buying an RV and Checklists. Do some reading, and at least print out a checklist or two and take them with you when you look at RVs.
Edit: Changed Google search parameter.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2011, 09:17:05 AM by Tom »
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Tom

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2011, 05:50:35 AM »
Another tool for you Paul: Go to the NADA Price Guides site and click on the RVs tab. You can use 97205 (for Portland) when it asks for a zip code, or 97401 for Eugene. For a given make/model/year combination, don't tick any of the options and click the Continue button at the bottom of the page to get the range of prices.

Don't be afraid to offer the low retail price for an RV you want to buy, and be prepared to walk away if the dealer won't work with you. This is very much a buyer's market, so you're in the driver's seat (no pun) as a buyer.

My standard piece of advice, which is all too often ignored by Brits flying in: Don't fall in love with the first (or second, third, nth) RV you see. Go window shopping (aka kicking the tyres) and don't be bullied into signing a sales contract until you've looked elsewhere and done some homework.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2011, 09:18:27 AM by Tom »
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yammers

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2011, 08:47:00 AM »
Hello Tom and others,
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions and helping us to your best ability!!
We really appreciate it!
We're going to spend some more time reading the different recommended sites and library articles.
I'm sure we'll be back soon with more questions!
Once again, thank you very much
Paul and Annie

Pierat

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2011, 10:20:47 AM »
If you do end up in the Eugene OR area, several of us here can help you find independent mechanics/RV techs to check out your rig prior to purchase, places to stay, etc. I think someone posted a message not too long ago about a dealer other than Guaranty in Junction City, OR, but I can recall who it was.
We Have Hung Up The Keys!
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Tom

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2011, 10:47:20 AM »
John, your message caused me to do a Google search, and I found this interesting list of dealers in Oregon. Looks like the page allows you to re-run the search for any state, or refine the search for different areas/cities within a state.

Methinks that Paul and Annie could work their way through the list, starting in portland and driving south.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2011, 10:53:52 AM by Tom »
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Pierat

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2011, 07:27:12 PM »
Very interesting site, Tom. I'm sure they can work through the list pretty readily. The "handbook" idea is kind of interesting, although lots of ads as I suppose we should expect. Just out of curiosity, to check out the informational items, I clicked on a few of them. For example, compact washer/dryers is represented by an article about a Splendide model, with illustrations, that all appears to be written by the manufacturer or the author is pretty good at imitating them. Still, could be helpful if taken with a grain of salt (or a shaker full, depending).
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Tom

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #20 on: March 05, 2011, 09:09:38 PM »
I ignored the ads and everything but the lists of dealers. Thought it might be useful for Paul & Annie, especially since they're not familiar with where dealers might be located. Having dealer web site addresses linked is an added bonus. There are more dealers in Oregon and California than I remembered.
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AJHales

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2011, 05:05:49 AM »
Good luck with your trip  8)

As Tom has already said the NADA price guide is an invaluable tool in negotiating a deal.

I found the advice and support of this forum invaluable, without there help we wouldn't have felt confident in buying our motorhome.

The most important thing is have fun and remember there is no such thing as a stupid question - I've asked plenty , this forum has been there to answer all my questions  and helped me all the way.  ;D
 
All the very best in your journey,

Andy
Andy
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yammers

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2011, 10:03:53 AM »
Thank you very much for the useful links and advise posted.

We've also read some of the posts started by other people. One of them was by an Aussie couple who were talking about going to Oregon. Ned made them aware that to register and insure a RV there you need to be a resident and provide proof of this instead of just an address... If that is the case then it wouldn't be a good idea for us to fly into Portland and start looking for a RV in Oregon.

We've been in touch with a man called Don who ran Auto Tour USA from Seattle. He has packed up his business but used to help foreign visitors purchase, licence and insure cars and RVs. He said Washington State is one of the few states which allows non-residents to register and insure a RV.

Would we be best to fly into Seattle and try to buy, register and insure our RV there?
Thanks for your help!
Paul and Annie

Tom

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2011, 10:14:09 AM »
We have several members who either live or previously lived in Washington, and maybe they'll jump in with some 'local knowledge'. Meanwhile, here's the WA Department of Licensing web site: http://www.dol.wa.gov/

Most of the other links, tools & advice apply.

You mentioned Phoenix in one of your messages. A number of our members either live or own a winter base in Arizona, and they'd be best to advise you on RV dealers there. Weather wise, you should be OK in May but, in case you decide to arrive later, be aware that it will start to get toasty. Here's the Phoenix climate: http://www.rssweather.com/climate/Arizona/Phoenix/

Quote
We've been in touch with a man...

Is this the same guy who said you had to send all your cash before arriving in the US and before seeing any RVs?
« Last Edit: March 06, 2011, 10:26:54 AM by Tom »
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yammers

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2011, 11:11:25 AM »
Don from Auto Tour USA didn't want all the money up front in a Swiss bank account: He would find two samples and provide photos and information. The client then decides which one to have and sends half the money. The rest is handed over when you go to pick up the keys. He would have all paperwork etc sorted the day after arriving. He was recommended by the Lonely Planet. He has however, packed up but still offers to help with insurance by providing the number of the person he used to deal with.

Tom

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2011, 11:40:13 AM »
Thanks, just curious. I can't comment beyond saying that, when we bought our first vehicle here as non-immigrant visitors, we kept our money in our own bank accounts until we'd finished shopping and decided which one we'd buy and from whom.

Most of the advice you get here is from folks who are or were RVers &/or who have RV'd for many years. Many of us have met in person &/or have known each other online for some time, and have a good feel for the reliability of what each other posts. If one of us inadvertently posts erroneous information, others will jump in and correct it. Where appropriate, we'll direct you to an 'official' source. If we don't know the answer we'll say so &/or do some research before responding.

Some of us have personally navigated the somewhat rocky road of US immigration on many occasions over the years, as visitors (including from the UK), as residents, as citizens, and as sponsors of immigrants. But we'd still recommend reading information from the official source. Immigration laws do change, and world events do change the mood of border agents.

But, as we always say, any advice you get here is worth what you paid for it.
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Pierat

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #26 on: March 08, 2011, 05:29:22 PM »
Absent a really reliable, third-party, licensed and bonded escrow company, you take a big chance when you send money before getting hands-on with the coach, seeing the title and registration, etc.
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Tom

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2011, 07:14:55 PM »
Paul & Annie,

Please be sure to keep us updated on your plans, your research, and your trip.

Apologies if I appeared "heavy handed" in my prior message, but I come from the "school of hard knocks", i.e. I've been around the block a few times. I've dealt with US immigration for 40 years, visited the US (from the UK) numerous times over the years, immigrated to the US in the 80's, and subsequently became a naturalized US citizen. I've sponsored several family members to become US citizens.

If you prefer to rely on this unknown entity called xxx, recommended by some unkown source xxxx, be my guest, but we can't comment on the individual, since he's unknown to us. Caveat emptor!

Good luck.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2011, 07:16:43 PM by Tom »
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comsense

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2011, 03:40:05 PM »
Hi all,

The amount of useful information and helpful people on this forum has bee amazing when planning an RV trip in the states.

My wife and I are in the same boat, we are heading to states from Australia on April 28th, and are also looking to purchase a used RV to travel around in for 6 to 12 months.
The only difference to Paul and Annie is that my wife has her US passport and Social security number (Her father is American). She has not lived there and doesn't have residence or a permanent address. Not sure if this will make a difference with insurance or registration. (She doesn't have a US drivers license or history).
We are landing in LA, but I was planning of heading south or east to Arizona to purchase an RV (probably privately through Craigslist or alike.)

I have been researching the process of registering a vehicle and have even setup a mail forwarding address through USA2me that is based in Texas.
I figured I could use this for an address when registering  the RV. However on further reading, I'm thinking Texas might not be a good place as it seems there are some hoops to jump through to buy a car from out of state. (ie it must have insurance first, and a few other things).

The other option would be to "somehow" get across to Texas and buy an RV there, although I'm not sure if Texas is a good place to buy an RV.

Any advice on our current plan would be appreciated.

Brad

Lou Schneider

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Re: Buying a RV for 6mths
« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2011, 08:38:26 PM »
The end of April is a good time to buy a RV in Arizona.  Most if not all of the winter snowbirds have departed for cooler climates, so dealers are looking at either holding on to their remaining stock until next winter or transporting it to another market.  In other words, you'll likely find some very good deals.

A few years back I was looking for a Class C and didn't find anything I really liked where I was living in San Francisco.  So on a whim I booked a flight to Phoenix, took the Metro phone book and a map and marked a trail from one RV dealership to the next.  Spent the better part of 2 days looking at what was available, then went back and bought the one I liked best.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2011, 08:45:07 PM by Lou Schneider »

 

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