Strategies for a Purchase?

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

ChinMusic

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2006
Posts
113
Location
Rochester, IL
When it comes time for me to buy my first RV (Class A), I have a few questions.

I live in Illinois and I notice that most of the used units are located in southern states.? Lets say I see a unit I like in Texas that looks like a good fit for me.? I like the pictures, the features listed in the offer, and the price looks right in that area I was looking as well.? The NADA numbers look in line.? I'm starting to think that this is the one.

Now what?

I assume it's time for me to make a visit by either driving my future toad or fly.? I know next to nothing regarding mechanics/inspection, so "kicking the tires" on my part would purely be for show...... ;D

After seeing the unit and having the same good feeling I had prior to my visit, I would think it would be best to have an inspector give it the once, and twice, over.

What other considerations should I be doing at this point?? I'm sure that these transactions are done all the time and I'd love to hear what others did right, and wrong, in such a purchase.

Dave
 

Beerman

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 28, 2005
Posts
97
Location
Hanna City, Illinois
What part of Illinois are you in? I bought mu used ultrastar from barrington motor sales in Bartlett. My salesmans name was Bruce very nice and honest guy. I told him i had 60k to spend and he found me a rv for around 25k.
hope this helps
Brian
 

Shayne

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Posts
4,324
I too am from ILLINOIS until Dec last, and when I bought my previous unit in Jacksonville, Fl  at a dealer, we made the deal on the phone contingent on my approval.  The next AM at 4AM I drove down there and looked it over.  After agreeing on the unit and having them throw in a Dolly, I spent one night in a hotel at their expense and one in the
RV on their lot and using their hookups while checking everything out that I wanted done.  I paid up and left. Worked out great for me on that occasion.  Also made friends with the salesman and actually helped sell a couple of unit for him over time.  Now whenever I'm in that area I stay at their CG free of charge with ;hookups/  Good Luck  IF I can be of further help let me know.
 

scottydl

Site Team
Joined
Jul 1, 2006
Posts
8,937
Location
Land of Lincoln
Another Illinoisian here, and Chin I agree that most of the Class C's I see and like are South or Northeast.  I would be very wary to take a loooong trip for such a major purchase, unless you really had a good and seemingly trustworthy rapport with the salesperson (whether professional or private) over the phone first.  That being said, my last two cars I bought in Joliet, IL and St. Louis, MO (both about 2 hours driving time from me) after seeing them listed online and making deals over the phone.  My '69 Pontiac I still have I bought 9 years ago from a guy in South Dakota, and drove 6 hours to meet him and the car in Iowa.  So I've been lucky with distance-buying vehicles thus far, but a motorhome has a lot of components that could be faulty and might get overlooked on the phone.  I'd rather wait and buy locally, so I have *some* recourse if the thing blows up on me a day later... rather than being 1000 miles and 3 states away by then. 

If you think you've found "the one" in Texas, make phone contact.  Several times.  Ask detailed questions, and evaluate for yourself how well the seller answers them.  A professional dealership or a private seller who took car of his MH should come across that way, and not give hurried, impatient, or incomplete answers.  If something about the deal just doesn't seem right, trust your gut instinct and walk away no matter how "perfect" the MH is.  ;)

P.S. If you're looking on eBay (which I certainly have done) everything seems overpriced doesn't it?  I can't believe the ending price on some of the 17-20 year old units I'm watching.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
74,325
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
I wouldn't be afraid to buy "long distance", but you can't go there committed to the deal. You have to be able to take that final look, evaluate and walk away if need be.  Even though you may be out the trip expenses.  If you don't have the intestinal fortitude to do that, stay local.
 

ChinMusic

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2006
Posts
113
Location
Rochester, IL
In decent size cities are there usually inspectors that the buyer can hire to evaluate the RV?  Like I said in my first post, "kicking the tires on my part would purely be for show"
 

Shayne

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Posts
4,324
Having an inspector is like having your cousin or brother in law look at something.  If its a CHEV  and he likes it but you want a FORD.  He's not looking out for your best interest.  What he likes doesn't matter it's what you like.  Personally think inspectors are a complete fraud.  But to each his own if you don't have enough ability on your own to buy how are you going to be able to maintain it?  Call the inspector when something is wrong? When dealing long distance, make a verbal deal contingent on your final approval.  Check it out thoroughly yourself and go from their.  NO ohter individual has your needs in mind when looking at a unit.  it's always what they want and you are not even in the picture.  You'd be like a  puppet on a string.
 

ChinMusic

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2006
Posts
113
Location
Rochester, IL
Shayne said:
Personally think inspectors are a complete fraud.? But to each his own if you don't have enough ability on your own to buy how are you going to be able to maintain it?? Call the inspector when something is wrong?

Interesting take on inspectors.  I'm wondering if that opinion is common.

Regarding maintenance.  I plan on maintaining it just like I have my home, my autos, and my business my entire life.  Unless it is something REAL easy I support the economy.  Certainly you aren't saying that the mechanically challenged among us are ill-suited for the RV world.
 

Shayne

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Posts
4,324
Thats My opinion of inspectors  I feel most are in cause it is a job they can do easily and really no repurcusion should they be wrong.  They can say I didn't see it that way or It didn't appear to be a problem to me. Not much you can do about it.  I can't see how anyone would want to pay someone to tell me about something I want to buy.  He doesn't know me and my wants nor needs and probably could care less. Maybe he doesn't like the unit and has a friend that didn't have good luck with one so or did have success with one and that could sway him in his thoughts.  After all he is not the one paying for it nor going to use it.  Besides he knows you problably will never do buisness with him again. So what is he going to lose. As for as being mechanically challenged, it certainly helps big time to be able to do normal maintenence on RV's cause there is a lot goes wrong.  Not always , but there is always something that can be done, changed, or altered on an RV.  YHou can save a lot of $ if you can do these items yourself.  These's several good books out there that can help.  Probably listed in the library of this forum. Again this is just my opinion.  If I'm going to buy a lemon, a piece of junk, or a great unit, I want it to be my decision not somene else that I don't know.
 

Karl

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 3, 2005
Posts
5,154
Location
Elkhart Lake, WI for the summer. Work at Road Amer
Shayne,

I have to disagree with you. Let's say you're buying a house. Unless you know all about plumbing, heating, electrical systems, roofing, structural details, etc., you would be ill advised to not get a home inspection by a qualified person. You've already picked out the house, so his personal tastes don't even come into play. His job is to tell you what's right and wrong with it, and the probabilities of you having to replace or repair something in the future, and approximately when and at what cost. Many states now require that all homes be brought up to code, and require the seller to fill out and sign a detailed form about the condition of the house, taking away a bit of the 'caveat emptor' and providing the buyer with a little bit of legal recourse. You don't have that when purchasing a motor home, except for the current warranties and any written agreements between you and the seller. You may not need a certified mobile home inspector per se; there are many savvy motor home owners who, through experience, can help you check out your prospective purchase and show you how things are supposed to work, what is supposed to go where, etc. That's one of the main reasons that this forum exists - to pass along good information to others who may be having problems, or are contemplating a purchase, or just want to know our opinions and track record with items/vendors/brands, and so on. Let's face it - many motor homes cost as much as or more than the houses people live in, so it would be foolish to buy one without taking advantage of all the resources at your disposal, be it Forum, friend, or professional.   
 

Shayne

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Posts
4,324
Well that's your opinion not mine.? We do have the right to disagree and no hard feelings.? That's just my way.? I wouldn't trust anyone elses opinion on a house either.? That's just me, as I said earlier.? Dosen't make me right nor you right.? Just a matter of opinions.? I feel comfortable with my own decision as I said.? I stated my opinion not the forum's.? From what I understand, if I don't agree with you, my advise is bad advise cause you speak for the forum.? Well? you missed the whole point of the messages I stated.? THEY WERE MY OPINION AND I FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH MY DECISION ALONE AND DON'T CARE WHAT OTHERS THINK OF MY UNIT.? IF I MADE A BAD ONE SO BE IT. IF IT WORKS OUT GREAT IT'S TO MY ADVANTAGE.? I just don't believe in inspectors,? I've worked with them in the past on construction and they got their job thru appointments and never knew the backside from the door.? Also know some inspectors of vehicles the same way.? Unless the inspector is a qualified mehcanic and authority on RVs, OK? ?Doubt very much if you find many.? Some perhaps, but few if any.? I would trust Gary, Ron and few others. Yes I qouls weigh tgheir opinion, but the decsion is mine. However they don't call themselves inspectors and probably have more knowledge of RV's than 99.9% of the so called inspectors.? Now if this makes me wrong? so be it.? ?I'll trust my judgement over others I don't know.? But then again I only drive a Pace Arrow so maybe I don't know anything of valve.? Also I thought there was supposed to be 2 sides to an issue.? Guess not? I'm wrong and you are right.? That's the way I see it, cause you told me so.? ? NOT
 

StormRv

Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2006
Posts
16
Don't know if it helps any, but Pontiac RV in Potiac,Illinois I hear is a great place to do business with. They didn't have the travel trailer we're looking for, but they are watching for us.

We talked to a gentleman by the name of Jeff Heath. This place is HUGE!
 

ChinMusic

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2006
Posts
113
Location
Rochester, IL
I was told by a local contact of mine that Pontiac RV is a great place to do business with as well.  I think the wife and myself will make a trip up there in the near future.
 

Karl

Moderator Emeritus
Joined
Mar 3, 2005
Posts
5,154
Location
Elkhart Lake, WI for the summer. Work at Road Amer
Shayne,
I have to disagree with you.
As quoted above, I said "I" have to disagree with you. This is not a Forum stance; merely my personal opinion.
Unless you know all about plumbing, heating, electrical systems, roofing, structural details, etc., you would be ill advised to not get a home inspection by a qualified person.
My point here was that if someone not as technically knowledgeable, intelligent or astute as you were to dive headlong into an expensive purchase without a bit of help from an outsider, they may be making a decision that could cost them dearly. 

As to the rest of your response to my post, I don't understand why you responded so vehemently to mine. Mine, on no way, questioned your intelligence or decision making process, nor did it even touch on personal tastes. Whatever you are happy with is all that matters.
 

Smoky

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 11, 2005
Posts
3,589
Location
wherever we are parked
Shayne:

I find myself agreeing with Karl.

The reason I say this is that last year we sold our home in order to go full time.  The buyer is a builder.  Our property was in a desirable location and he wanted to completely redo our house.  (and he has and it is gorgeous now).

Wow, was I surprised when he sent a certified house inspector out.  I accompanied the inspector and he spent 7 hours there, starting on the roof, and working his way down to the septic and the basement.  The builder was NOT there, trusting completely in the paid inspector.

In fact, as you recall, I was so impressed with the whole deal, that when I bought my motorhome, I used the same inspection technique, reserving an entire day for myself, with the dealer prohibited from being anywhere near me, to inspect the motorhome when it was delivered.  If there were such a thing as a certified motorhome inspector in my area I would have hired her.

This house inspector I am talking about, had a book that looked like a 3 inch thick oversized telephone directory.  It covered every aspect of a house, along the lines Karl described, with forms to fill out for everything imaginable.  He even had special equipment that could detect moisture in the ceilings and walls.  Even moisture that had been there years ago.  For example he found a spot in the bedroom ceiling where the roof had leaked down.  I had completely re-shingled the house and in some cases installed new roofing panels.  I could not even see any weakness or stain in the ceiling drywall.  His roofing inspection had already confirmed we had an outstanding roof.  But this ceiling inspection triggered another trip to the roof to be certain that the cause of the leak had been fixed.

Hour after hour went by.  This guy found things I never dreamed of.  Fortunately all the problems were things a builder could easily correct.

I was exhausted when it was over.  I sort of felt like I had been raped.  But my point is that a certified inspector can be worth MORE than their weight in gold.

As for the fellow starting this thread, I would recommend that you test drive many different makes and models before you begin seriously considering a particular model for purchase.  We test drove for two years and it is amazing how far our minds were changed during that time about what we really wanted and needed.
 

ChinMusic

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2006
Posts
113
Location
Rochester, IL
Smoky said:
As for the fellow starting this thread, I would recommend that you test drive many different makes and models before you begin seriously considering a particular model for purchase.? We test drove for two years and it is amazing how far our minds were changed during that time about what we really wanted and needed.

I will follow this advise.  Right now I'm just soaking in information with no hurry.  My thought process, at this moment, would be to buy a used Class A diesel in the 70K range and use it for a year.  That year will allow me to figure out what I like and what I don't like regarding size and features. 

If I find out that the RV lifestyle is not what I figured I won't be out too awful much on depreciation.  If I find I love it to death I can upgrade with the experience I have gained during that one year.

Thoughts?
 

Shayne

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Posts
4,324
Again Smoky,  I was not speaking for anyone nor do I say this is the only way.  This is my way and what I believe in. 
Everyone has to do what they think best.  Yep I've made mistakes but they are my mistakes and I have to live with them, yhet I'm comfortable with that method.  Same as buying an RV,  if it where up to me having had TT, tent campers, tents, and small MHs in previous years,  and now having have a total of 7 MHs, No way would I ever ofwn one of the smaller units again.  For as I'm concerned they have no perpose to be manufactured.  Yet I can see where others would like them.  Same as autos, you know what I drive, well I can't stand small verhicles.  My feeling is people that are driving small cars have nothing between them and the car in front of them except a small plastic bumper.  But then that's my opinion and the way I feel. Everyone to each his own.  Sure wouldn't be a variety of wehicles on the road if we all thought alike.  Same as new verus used.  Having been in the business previously, no way would I ever buy a new unit.  I always buy used.  1 to 3 year old units.  Too many people get rid of units just as they are getting all the bugs out and start over. Why would I want to take the depreciation of a new one when the used will do me.  Guess I'm just different and have a different outlook on life.  I would love to have a 2003 American Dream, but as you know I won't spend that kind of money for something that I'm not sure I would get that much use out of.  Then again many of you know my lovely wife and the way she likes RVs.  It's just my way right or wrong,  I'm not asking any one to agree with me nor saying this is the only way.  I just stated the way I feel and do business.  I feel comfortable with my own knowledge.  Others must do what they feel best.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
74,325
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
If I find out that the RV lifestyle is not what I figured I won't be out too awful much on depreciation.  If I find I love it to death I can upgrade with the experience I have gained during that one year.

Thoughts?

Very astute, in my opinion.  There is no substitute for experience and iarge RVs and the RV lifestyle are vastly different than most everybody's prior life experience.
 

scottydl

Site Team
Joined
Jul 1, 2006
Posts
8,937
Location
Land of Lincoln
ChinMusic said:
I was told by a local contact of mine that Pontiac RV is a great place to do business with as well.? I think the wife and myself will make a trip up there in the near future.

Just to add to this, a co-worker of mine bought both of his MH's at Pontiac RV and keeps telling me to go check them out as I am shopping.? He said that place has got to be the largest slab of concrete in the entire state of Illinois.? ?:D? Also they have a pretty nice website www.pontiacrv.com that lists some of their inventory (without prices), but word is that nothing used stays on their lot for more then 7-10 days so you've gotta be quick!
 

Smoky

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 11, 2005
Posts
3,589
Location
wherever we are parked
Shayne:

I totally agree with you that everyone has to approach these matters doing what is comforable for them.

I only wanted to assure people here that qualified inspectors are not "like having your cousin or brother in law look at something".  And that they ARE "looking out for your best interest".  And that they are not "complete frauds".  ;D

In fact, you would be a pretty good choice for checking out a motorhome, so I can understand why you feel no need to hire anyone else!
 
Top Bottom