Thinking about a big upgrade

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Skookum

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Dec 19, 2018
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We're on a couple-week trip here in the Southwest and dealers down here have big inventory of a coach we've been pining after. We bought our '06 Seneca in late 2018 and have enjoyed the heck out of it, but we bought older and lower-cost not knowing how "invested" we'd become in RV'ing. Uh...we're hooked. And we eventually want newer/nicer. The new Senecas we're looking at are pretty much the same layout and concept, with increased dimensions where it matters to us. It's very tempting to go look at them...

I'm not sure whether to sell ours private-party or trade it in. (06 Jayco Seneca 34SS HD, 62k miles) NADA says low retail is about $60k and average $73k, so I have to imagine a ballpark trade would start around $45k and work up from there. I think we'd be waiting quite a while for a cash buyer to show up on a private sale, and/or they'd need to show up with their own financing, tough on an RV that old and costing that much. It seems if people can get decent financing, they buy much newer.

We did buy our old coach through a dealer and they were OK to work with. We have never purchased a new RV, however. I'm not sure whether we should only be looking locally (at home) for the service and relationship of a nearby dealership for warranty purposes, or if buying out-of-state comes with any disadvantages or disadvantages. Thoughts?

Does anyone know of any issues with trading an out-of-state diesel motorhome into a California dealer? I thought I read somewhere some new regs about bringing in older diesels from out of state. I'm sure a dealer could answer that but knowing in advance may mean not even thinking about this until we're home.
 
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Kirk

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I have found that there are advantages to buying through a dealer but sometimes you can find a better price from a private seller. Two of our 6 RVs were bought from private sellers. We also bought from an out of state dealer once and that was as we were about to go fulltime, which was good since the local dealer for that brand was very slow to help with any kind of warranty work to the point that we only went there once and the other time (we bought a year before going on the road) time we drove the 120 miles back to where it was purchased in order to get reliable service. If you are traveling fulltime it probably doesn't matter.

I would hesitate to trade in CA and if you do, make sure that you can have them take it over the state line to deliver it or you will have to pay CA taxes. Since CA also has a lot of vehicle regulations that are unique to CA you may well find you don't get as much trade-in vlaue.
 

Skookum

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The taxes and registration are straightforward, as we expected... we pay sales tax and registration fees in our home state. Nothing to CA. No problem with trading in a diesel rig either - whatever emission reg I was thinking of doesn't apply.

The first dealer we visited was a bust. We also didn't show up with our trade so I think they doubted how serious we were. We are, but taking the rig with us today wasn't in the cards. We worked a sheet but they're pretty proud of their coach compared to other listings. No hard feelings, they said it was the best they could do. Onward. (Or, maybe they'll call back....lol!)
 

Henry J Fate

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The taxes and registration are straightforward, as we expected... we pay sales tax and registration fees in our home state. Nothing to CA. No problem with trading in a diesel rig either - whatever emission reg I was thinking of doesn't apply.

The first dealer we visited was a bust. We also didn't show up with our trade so I think they doubted how serious we were. We are, but taking the rig with us today wasn't in the cards. We worked a sheet but they're pretty proud of their coach compared to other listings. No hard feelings, they said it was the best they could do. Onward. (Or, maybe they'll call back....lol!)

Who handles the registration and taxes? Do you do it or do you pay the dealer to do it?

Last year we looked at buying an EV in California because that was the only state that had them at the time. The dealer in Long Beach told us that the tax rate ceiling would be the California tax rate. If the taxes in the registration state was higher than the California tax rate, California got nothing. If the tax rate in the registered state was lower than California, California would be paid the difference of the two tax rates. I then asked how it would be handled if we trailered the car out of California without registration. They said you would need a Bill of Lading to do that. I am not sure you can get a Bill of Lading for a private pick up. I think you need to be a shipper of some known certification. We never went ahead with the purchase so none of what I was being told was ever officially confirmed and still in doubt but I thought it was something you may want to know.

Just be careful of these types of details as they can come up to bite you in the behind after you have settled on the purchase. You can never be sure in these types of environments that you are being told the correct information or if the person you are talking too even knows the correct answer. It seemed a little sketchy to me.

There are special emission rules in California so make sure all is clear and upfront about that with your trade in. Diesels and RVs may be treated differently but make sure it's all clear.

Buying from a local dealer is an advantage for warranty work but you may be able to defer to a dealer local to your home. Make sure that has clarity too.

Dealers will do just about anything to hook you into a written deal then hand you the bad news later.
 

Kirk

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. we pay sales tax and registration fees in our home state. Nothing to CA. N
Let us all know how things go. It may be that things have changed but it used to be very common for RV dealers to take an RV sold to a resident of another state just across the state line to deliver it for reasons of taxes. Good luck!
California Vehicle Sales Tax Guide
 

Skookum

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I'm not even sure we will buy one down here yet. CA has a lot more inventory than we've ever seen in WA state, so I'd think they are more eager to move on low pricing to make volume.

They're only at 20% off MSRP, and I think we should reasonably get closer to 25 or even 30, factoring in the over/under we were expecting from our trade.
 

Lou Schneider

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I'm not even sure we will buy one down here yet. CA has a lot more inventory than we've ever seen in WA state, so I'd think they are more eager to move on low pricing to make volume.

They're only at 20% off MSRP, and I think we should reasonably get closer to 25 or even 30, factoring in the over/under we were expecting from our trade.
CA has pretty much an all year selling season, their winters aren't severe enough to shut down sales so you may not find as large of an off season discount.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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The NADA values aren't a reliable measure, especially in today's crazy market. NADA RV Guide doesn't update often (3x yearly) and doesn't get recent sale data at all. Check asking prices on RVtrader.com & PPL. And review PPL's recent sales page to see what rigs like yours sold for.

A dealer with a lot of inventory doesn't have much motivation to pay top dollar for trades, so one that needs things to sell might do better.
 

Skookum

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Dec 19, 2018
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812
The NADA values aren't a reliable measure, especially in today's crazy market. NADA RV Guide doesn't update often (3x yearly) and doesn't get recent sale data at all. Check asking prices on RVtrader.com & PPL. And review PPL's recent sales page to see what rigs like yours sold for.

A dealer with a lot of inventory doesn't have much motivation to pay top dollar for trades, so one that needs things to sell might do better.

Gary, thanks for that resource. I wasn't aware of it. Interestingly, there isn't any data on our specific model, but there is some very good comparable data on a model that is a kissing-cousin of ours.
 

Skookum

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I've learned a lot in just a few days. We went at the dealer again with an offer, and also got them to talk to our state DMV. Seems everyone knows what they need to do, and when. Price is agreed on. Dealer said title application was up to us, lender said no, dealer must do it, and so the finance dept figured out what they need to do. We had the option of registering it in CA but it was going to be very expensive. Instead, we are opting to register it at home. That means we get a "one-way trip permit" so we can drive it out of state. The permit stipulates we leave when we take delivery and take the shortest way to our destination.

We are trading our RV. We've been vacationing in it the last week and it's in good condition, everything works, but I can't change the fact that it's 16 years old and has had a lot of use. I will be sad to see it go as I really enjoyed the Kodiak chassis. It turned a lot of heads, it's just kind of a rare thing to see. Truck enthusiasts and Duramax fans would always walk over to talk about it. I'll shed a tear, while wiping it away in the driver's seat of our new Freightliner S2RV chassis!! lol.

I did put a lot of blood, sweat, and curse words into maintaining it. I won't give up the service records because they have my name and address all over them. But, for the next guy (or gal!) I made a spreadsheet of all the service I did, mileage, dates, and long descriptions of what was done, what was used. I plan to put two copies of it in discreet locations. One taped in the back cover of the chassis owner's manual and another tucked into a spot only accessible when the knee panel is off to access the chassis fuses. I assume that's fine to do? .. and would be a nice "easter egg" for the next owner.
 

A Traveler

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The permit stipulates we leave when we take delivery and take the shortest way to our destination.
That’s a perfect example of a silly and unenforceable law, written by an ivory tower lawyer. Once you leave the dealer, how would anyone know what route you take or what your “destination” is? Ridiculous.

I hope you enjoy the new RV!
 

BernieD

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Mar 1, 2005
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Goodyear, AZ
We bought our first RV, a new 38' DP, in the spring of 1998 in Phoenix. Still owned a home in NYS which we put up for sale while our new home in Goodyear, AZ was being built. The dealer would hold the RV for us until we could come back to pick it up. We joined the RV Forum on CompuServe in the meantime. We drove our van trade-in to the dealer. He drove the RV to Blythe, CA, where we took possession. Based on all the rules at the time, as NY residents with an AZ dealer, we didn't owe any money to CA for sales tax or registration. Temporary plates were put on the coach by the dealer and we drove the coach back to NY to pick up our car, car trailer and other items still in our home there. The trailer and car both had NY plates while the coach still had the temporary plates.
Our plan was to be full timers for the 6 months or so until our new house was ready. We headed north, crossed the border into Canada without issue and started the trip west. With the NY plates on the car and trailer, no one noticed that we had temporary plates on the coach and were never stopped or questioned. After we closed on our Goodyear house, we registered the coach in AZ. Since we had it out of state for more than 6 months and put thousands of miles on the odometer, it was considered a used vehicle and subject to lower AZ registration and tax fees.
What was funny was that a couple of years later, we did another border crossing at the same place as the previous but this time had AZ plates on the coach, car and trailer. The Canadian crossing guards insisted on a full search since everyone in AZ carries a gun. Right??
I am sure that many of the rules in the various states involved have changed and I could never repeat what we did.
 

Skookum

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Dec 19, 2018
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812
I am sure that many of the rules in the various states involved have changed and I could never repeat what we did.

That sounds like a fun trip....we have thought about doing something similar. You are probably right...a lot of loopholes have closed since then regarding taxes and registration.

Washington State seems to get people coming, going, and while they're there! Doesn't matter if it's new, used, or free, they tax based on book values or new vehicle purchase price as reported by the dealer. We happen to live in an area where the "Seattle" tax doesn't apply (regional transit areas and other ridiculous things) so it's still somewhat cheap to register at home, a couple hundred bucks versus thousands elsewhere.
 

Alaskansnowbirds

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Camp Verde, AZ
We bought our first RV, a new 38' DP, in the spring of 1998 in Phoenix. Still owned a home in NYS which we put up for sale while our new home in Goodyear, AZ was being built. The dealer would hold the RV for us until we could come back to pick it up. We joined the RV Forum on CompuServe in the meantime. We drove our van trade-in to the dealer. He drove the RV to Blythe, CA, where we took possession. Based on all the rules at the time, as NY residents with an AZ dealer, we didn't owe any money to CA for sales tax or registration. Temporary plates were put on the coach by the dealer and we drove the coach back to NY to pick up our car, car trailer and other items still in our home there. The trailer and car both had NY plates while the coach still had the temporary plates.
Our plan was to be full timers for the 6 months or so until our new house was ready. We headed north, crossed the border into Canada without issue and started the trip west. With the NY plates on the car and trailer, no one noticed that we had temporary plates on the coach and were never stopped or questioned. After we closed on our Goodyear house, we registered the coach in AZ. Since we had it out of state for more than 6 months and put thousands of miles on the odometer, it was considered a used vehicle and subject to lower AZ registration and tax fees.
What was funny was that a couple of years later, we did another border crossing at the same place as the previous but this time had AZ plates on the coach, car and trailer. The Canadian crossing guards insisted on a full search since everyone in AZ carries a gun. Right??
I am sure that many of the rules in the various states involved have changed and I could never repeat what we did.
W
We bought our first RV, a new 38' DP, in the spring of 1998 in Phoenix. Still owned a home in NYS which we put up for sale while our new home in Goodyear, AZ was being built. The dealer would hold the RV for us until we could come back to pick it up. We joined the RV Forum on CompuServe in the meantime. We drove our van trade-in to the dealer. He drove the RV to Blythe, CA, where we took possession. Based on all the rules at the time, as NY residents with an AZ dealer, we didn't owe any money to CA for sales tax or registration. Temporary plates were put on the coach by the dealer and we drove the coach back to NY to pick up our car, car trailer and other items still in our home there. The trailer and car both had NY plates while the coach still had the temporary plates.
Our plan was to be full timers for the 6 months or so until our new house was ready. We headed north, crossed the border into Canada without issue and started the trip west. With the NY plates on the car and trailer, no one noticed that we had temporary plates on the coach and were never stopped or questioned. After we closed on our Goodyear house, we registered the coach in AZ. Since we had it out of state for more than 6 months and put thousands of miles on the odometer, it was considered a used vehicle and subject to lower AZ registration and tax fees.
What was funny was that a couple of years later, we did another border crossing at the same place as the previous but this time had AZ plates on the coach, car and trailer. The Canadian crossing guards insisted on a full search since everyone in AZ carries a gun. Right??
I am sure that many of the rules in the various states involved have changed and I could never repeat what we did.
We did the exact same thing as Bernie when we purchased our RV only we registered ours in Alaska.

Did the same thing in 2018 with our Honda except the Prescott dealer drove it to Laughlin Nevada where we signed the papers.
 
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