Scared about Purchase

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New member
Nov 13, 2006
My husband wants to purchase a 2007 28A Four Winds 5000.  We have never had an RV before and I feel lost as to whether we have done enough research to know whether this is a good vehicle (price is right) or whether we should look at other makes.  We know we don't want slides or anything bigger than 28A--we like to dry camp and it will only be the two of us.  Well, maybe the two of us and our two Shitzu dogs.  I really feel nervous about the purchase, would appreciate any pep talks or advice. :-\
Relax, you are doing fine. While a motorhome has a lot of new things to learn about, you have all your new found friends here to help you out with answers and advice.

Is this the first or only motorhome you looked at?  Shopping around is goodness - you can learn a lot by seeing how different manufacturers do things in different models.  I also usually recommend buying used for the first (and maybe subsequent) RV because chances are you will decide you want something a bit different once you gain some experience. But you sound pretty firm about your wants and needs, so maybe you will get the right one the first time. Most of did not, though.
Thank you for your prompt attention.  We have only looked at Class C because of the size and prize range.  We have shopped several difference dealers within a two state area.  My main concern (after reading the forums at this site) is that perhaps we are buying a lower quality rv.  My husband and I are set to sign papers on Wednesday and I can't seem to get him to look further.  Does anyone out there own a Four Winds 5000 and are they happy with it?
You might try entering Four Winds in the manufacturer's name on this web page.

That will give you a list of reviews, one of which is here for your model.? There may be others, I just did a quick scan...

I think as an entry level or otherwise the Four Winds, 28A is pretty good value.  I had shopped around for similar models and styles with a variety of manufacturers before we made our purchase and found the price, comfort level and overall value better than most.  However, I finally settled on the same model Dutchmen Express, (for $5K more) simply because it had a few upgrades which personally suited me a little better.  I preferred the Ford engine and chassis which the Express came with over the Chevy (which was how the Four Winds came at the dealership) but that was a matter of choice with nothing against the Chevy. I drive a Chevy truck and wouldn't part with it.    The unit I purchased came with a tow hitch installed, but the Fourwinds did not and the cloth interior was a little more to our taste.  We opted to go without slideouts because in my opinion the extra weight and convenience did not justify the additional cost or increased MPG.  There were a few other differences (electric step, oven, Fantastic Fan and a few other things)  but the floorplans are the same.  Mostly my wife and I use the MH and we have already had some great and memorable experiences since the purchase, last June.  It's big enough for the two of us and can accommodate our son. his wife and three grandkids (for a short time).  We are very happy with our purchase and I don't think I would trade it for anything different at this time.  Who knows in a year or two we might venture into a Class A,  but for now ...for serves us very well.

Four Winds and Dutchmen and other MHs by Thor are not 'top of the line' but you should not be paying 'top of the line' money either.  The overall fit and finish is a little 'sloppy'.  You basically get what you pay for with many of the same appliances in MHs costing significantly more.  The 28A has pretty good storage, a nice walk-around Queen bed - which was the real selling feature for us, over other models and the ability to sleep 8.  It could definitely do with better positioned electrical outlets but I guess that's what extension cables are for.  The kitchen countertop is also somewhat 'stingy' but you make the best with what you have.

I'm glad I went for the upgrades because they are items I probably would have wanted to install aftermarket, so having them already on the coach saved time,  money and aggravation.  Since our purchase, my 'wandering eye' has continued to look at other similar makes and models - (some for as much as $20 - $30K more) but I haven't found anything I would have rather purchased.  We did experience a problem with the fridge, which never worked and had to be replaced under warranty, but that could happen with any unit.  Since then everything works and runs fine.  My wife and I thoroughly enjoy the freedom the MH gives and we make the most use of it - without being full-time.  We too shared your concerns and trepidation but since making the purchase I now wish I had done so years ago.  Especially when I recall all the aching backs,  cold nights and  damp mornings while tenting.

Being this was our first MH also, we opted to buy new rather than used.  I wanted some warranty protections and assurances. And we liked the 'new home' smell and feel.  My only complaint with the MH has to do with the dealership not having a convenient (for me) repair facility and if/when I purchase again that's something I will seriously look at and might persuade me on a different make/model entirely. 

I hope this helps a little and I wish you the very best in whatever you decide.

Thank you so much Buddy.  You have helped a lot.  The Four Winds we are set to buy is new and comes equipped with everything you mentioned except the electric step and actually includes about 6,000 in other options, on a Chevy.  The dealer has come down from 68,000 to 53,000 and is less than 10 miles from our home.  My husband will be pleased that I feel less nervous now.  Again, thank you.

You're welcome.? Seems to me that at the price you mentioned you are getting a reasonable deal.? A new, basic FW 5000 28a typically sells for around $50K +? the cost of the options/upgrades. You may be able to squeeze the dealership a little more if you are prepared to walk away from the deal.

If financing the MH, the next biggie is the interest rate.? That's where the dealership makes the real money.? The difference between say, 6.5% and 7.5% on $50+K can be many thousands of $$$ over the life of the loan. They will want to 'sell' you their own financing because they either get a percentage back from the finance company or if carrying the loan themselves (unlikely) have your business at a good rate of return for potentially may years.? ?Ideally, negotiate for the lowest price for the MH and have them commit to it, then negotiate for the lowest interest rate.? Don't be shy about telling the dealership you will look for your own financing before finally committing yourselves, you will be surprised at what they might do to keep you on the premises to make the deal.? ?A little 'on-line' research for rates will give you a good basis from which to negotiate.? ? My dealership actually told me they would even 'break-even' on our deal if they had to, because they were more interested in selling us our next MH (and the next), increasing in value each time.? Thus ensuring them of long term business and income stream.? Typically, entry level buyers like ourselves, upgrade within a year or two and continue to do so, once 'hooked' and they want our repeat business.?

They might bring the price of the MH down during negotiations, but the interest rate may go up accordingly or vice versa.? So be careful.? However, dependent upon your tax and financial situation, the interest rate may be deductable as a second home - just as a home mortgage is.? So paying a higher interest rate is not all together a bad thing.?  Consult with an accountant and/or professional tax adviser.  Have the dealership loan guy run the numbers on say, $53K at 6.5% vs $50K at 7.5%  over the same term.  The monthly repayment is basically awash (within $5.) but the higher rate with lower basis is better because all the interest is potentially fully deductable. That's a win - win and you may be able to re-fi.  later on,  as long as there is no penalty, to lower the monthly payment.

And again, good luck.

Four Winds and Dutchmen and other MHs by Thor are not 'top of the line' but you should not be paying 'top of the line' money either.  The overall fit and finish is a little 'sloppy'.  You basically get what you pay for with many of the same appliances in MHs costing significantly more.  The 28A has pretty good storage, a nice walk-around Queen bed - which was the real selling feature for us, over other models and the ability to sleep 8.  It could definitely do with better positioned electrical outlets but I guess that's what extension cables are for.  The kitchen countertop is also somewhat 'stingy' but you make the best with what you have.

That's a good summary from Buddy and excellent advice. As long as you aren't expecting top of the line quality and features, you will probably be satisfied with 4 Winds value. Personally I think some extra dollars spent on a more upscale and higher quality rig is worth it, but the budget must be observed!

I would, however, suggest looking at similar size Class A's e.g. Fleetwood Terra.  They usually cost the same as a Class C of identical length and amenities but provide more interior and exterior room because the driving area is part of the living area rather than separate.

The bigger concern in my mind is that you are making a large investment in something you have no experience in. It is very difficult to get your money back out of a new RV within the first 3-4 years, so if you find you really want a different floor plan (bigger bath, more kitchen cabinets, more closets or whatever) you will be stuck[financially]  with what you have.  A lower cost used rig is a safer bet while you learn what factors in RV layout are important to your happiness.

But don't agonize too much - this is supposed to be fun!!!  ;)
I really want to thank everyone who posted to my inquiry.  After much agony and consideration, I called the dealer yesterday and cancelled the purchase for the time being.  My husband is disappointed but I assured him that we will own an RV after we have learned more about them.  I have received excellent advice from the people at this website and I will continue reading the forums here.  We are in the position to either finance or not finance; although we have been told not to tie up our cash flow if we can get a good interest rate.  Having worked as an accounting paraprofessional, I did know about taking the interest on our income tax and that makes the buy an inviting one because we are empty nestors with no current mortgage, thus no tax deductions.  We have decided to do more looking,  try to really figure out if we need to look further than Class C, and maybe rent an RV to see if we actually are compatible to RVing.  Again, thank you to everyone for all the advice you have given.  I already feel that I can anticipate making new and real friends when we do join the RV family. :)
dupie, I can't comment enough on the importance of doing more research.  My search for a used RV has taken my emotions in waves... I went from feeling hopelessly overwhelmed at first, to hopeful (especially after joining this forum), to confident and ready to buy (when I found a rig I liked), to confused and frustrated (when that and other purchases fell through for various reasons), to more educated and FINALLY ready to wait as long as it takes to find the perfect motorhome for my family.  My brand and feature preferences are always becoming more refined, which will allow me to make a better, more informed decision when the time comes.

I no longer feel the impulsive need to find and buy something quickly, but have realized that it may take many months.  And I'm fine with that!  In fact in our case, that's even better because it will give us more time to save $$ over the winter and we'll hopefully be able to afford a newer/higher quality motorhome.

In your case, unless you have a bunch of extra cash to burn (hehe), don't rule out a gently used motorhome that's been well-maintained.  You can get all the features you want and save a LOT of money since motorhome values depreciate sharply in the first few years.  IMO there really aren't many new ideas in motorhome designs (especially Class C's), so I can't see buying brand new unless you like giving money away.  ;)

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