This thread is aimed at those that have purchased a used motorhome from other than a traditional dealer.
What I am trying to accomplish with this thread is feedback for prospective sellers.
I am only interested in feedback from those that have bought... not from those that are trying to sell. The purpose of the feedback I am seeking is to give insight to those currently trying to sell and those contemplating selling.
So if you can please give us some insights concerning;
Where you looked;
What you were looking for; Being specific would be helpful
Complete inventory of equipment, options, additions
What sort of ad that you excluded
What sort of ad that you pursued
What sort of contact was the best?
Once contact was established with a perspective seller...
What were the turn offs
What keep the interest up?
If possible describe the differentiators that separated the seller you ought from from the ones that you did not consider or broke of contact?
For those of you that have bought from other than a traditional dealer your feedback will be of tremendous value sp please take the time to give us your insights...
If I missed something that sellers ought to take into account please add you insights.
We have both bought and sold and RV. When we were looking we were very specific in what ads we looked at and the ones we automaticly excluded.
The ad itself is very important. If it didn't have pictures I usually passed on it. I wanted to see the front, the living area, sleeping arrangements, and a shot of the outside. Presentation of the RV was very important. If it had junk inside that told me it wasn't cared for. On the description I wanted as much detail as possible. The more detail the better. Records were important, but not essential. Based on the year, the mileage I wanted was under 70K. In looking at photos it is hard to tell condition, but sometimes you could see damage (I wouldn't even call them). It didn't matter whether a contact was phone or e-mail. Although if no number how serious are they to sell. Price is the biggest issue with none dealers. Most people have their rigs priced well above what they are worth. Emotional attachment. Dealers charge more and they will have more room to lower.
The differentiators that separate a seller from another was their availability to view. Once I viewed it how they answered questions. If they advertised a good unit only to find a piece of junk. I also liked it when they gave me information that included what was wrong with the unit. Allow me the chance to decide if I can work with that or not. The williness to deal on the price. If I left a message or sent an e-mail if they responded in a timely manner. If they sent me the information I requested (more pictures)
Now we weren't in the market for a high end unit. Our budget was under $9k, so I knew there was going to be things to fix and we allowed that in our budget. I also knew that I was going to have to put money into it. A little damage or repair didn't scare me off, but if the owner wasn't willing to reduce price I would say goodbye. And tell them why.
To sell quickly its all about presentation (clean organized unit), quality pictures (plenty of them), records are good, manuals are great, and the more information available to the prospective buyer the better.
I've bought a few RV's from Truck campers all the way to Class A and I start first by coming here. I find out what the community here has to say. After reading a number of posts you will see names of what you are looking for float to the top as the " best" in the area you are concerned about.
Then it's searching the Internet.
I've been lucky, real lucky. I even bought a truck camper from Canada and had it shipped down without even seeing it live.
I usually buy at a great price use it for a few years then sell it for what I paid for it.
Now a days 90% of question and answers are done via email, with digital pictures, videos etc.
Buyers need to know what you have done and you need to prove it with records. If you have ab insurance policy that is worth Gold to buyers. They figure even if something goes wrong they are covered. Insurance policies are pretty cheap to cover all the equipment in your coach.
The cleaner the newer you make you equipment look the better you will sell it.
As always if the price is low people will break your door down trying to buy from you.
We were looking specifically for our Jayco 31.5 BHDS. I looked at Craigslist,RV Trader, EBAY and an extensive Google search. I didn't limit my distance. We live in California and I looked on the entire West Coast went as far east as TX. The units had to look clean without clutter. I did not want to see your camping pictures with all your stuff inside. I found two units I was really interested in. One in Tx at PPL Motorhomes and a private individual in Idaho.
The description was very important as well as pictures. The ad didn't necessarily have to have a boat load of pictures,but enough to peak my interest. Email or phone number didn't matter. I did want further detailed pictures upon request. The couple I bought from had a set he had already taken and took even more upon my request.
We chose the private seller because the unit was stored inside, limited use per their report, and the owner's willingess to meet us in Nevada to complete the sale. Because we lived so far we had him take the unit to a dealer of our choice for a paid inspection by us. The tech phoned and faxed a list of deficiencies he found. The owner had already informed us about most and one he did not know about. When we met in person we went over the unit ourselves and it was as described. Friends met us in Vegas to help go over the unit as well.
We financed our unit through USAA and informed the owner of such and that the check would be from USAA. When I sent my deposit I sent an approval letter and when we received the check scanned a copy to him, so he knew we knew we were not shady.
We had negotiated with Giant RV in Southern California on a similar unit but they acted as if they were doing us a favor by selling to us. We bought this one for $3k less than the dealer and in better condition. The dealer unit had sat on the lot with slides open for 10 months.
PPL had a better price, but I would have had to drive to TX to get it or pay for transportation. Would of cost more in the long run. I also felt very rushed by there policy to have the sale completed in 5 days.
I my case, when we were ready to buy we had narrowed our selection down to a specific manufacturer (Travel Supreme), size (38' or 40') and required four slides (wanted a specific floor plan). I was willing to travel almost anywhere and ended up finding one in North Carolina. Although I had limited myself to a not so common rig, where and what I looked at may still be helpful.
Where you looked?
1) Checked dealers online listings
3) RVTrader & RVT
5) Local papers
What you were looking for. Being specific would be helpful:
History...I felt history was somewhat important, which is a plus for a private owner sale, esp. if they were the original owners. Typically dealers will/can not provide that info, but if a particular rig looked good this would not have been a deal breaker.
How used...Mileage wasn't a concern (provided it wasn't overly excessive), but how used was the interior/appliances/carpet/etc was a big factor. A low mileage rig that was lived in full time would have been a turnoff for me.
Maintenance...Records would be great, but few keep them. However, small signs (ie: oil change stickers, clean undercarriage/engine/genset/batteries) usually speaks volumes.
Recall Compliance...Goes along with maintenance. If an owner didn't even bother with a recall, their maintenances practices were probably lacking.
Condition...Expected normal wear and tear (small paint chips/scratches) but signs of water intrusion, collision, cracked floor/wall tiles, broken/torn furniture or appliances not functioning would have ended the deal.
Complete inventory of equipment, options, additions?
I wasn't too concerned with the options because I usually jump in and start changing things (TV's, stereos,etc) right away. I found too many people list EVERY little item, whether it was standard equipment or not. Almost like they were trying to make their rig appear better than it actually was. I found that I usually didn't read all the those details. If someone is interested, they will contact the seller and that's a great time to provide all the specifics.
What sort of ad that you excluded?
The ones that were too good a deal to be true or had an asking price around what they paid for it.
What sort of ad that you pursued?
The ones with lots of pics. Although I did pursue just about everything I found because I limited my selection to a specific rig.
What sort of contact was the best?
I like email for the first contact and then followed up with a phone call.
Once contact was established with a perspective seller...
What were the turn offs?
Those that didn't respond promptly. If they are serious about selling, I would expect them to check their email/calls regularly.
What keep the interest up?
Friendly people that appeared sincere and honest with their response. I always asked to described any repairs made or known faults/problems (even if it is a describing a chip or scratch on the basement door) and honest people usually tell you.
Thanks for the input... We are getting some really useful feedback... Hopefully we will additional insights from a buyers perspective... I have added this thread to add this to the Class A Frequently Asked Questions Sticky
* This post was
edited 05/06/11 08:26am by JohnnyT *
I agree with much of what others have posted. If pictures were not included I usually thought to myself maybe there is something they don't want me to see.
I also insisted on seeing maintenace records. I can honestly say that in the three coaches we have purchased over the years not one of them had maintenance records. Our previous coach (1991 Beaver Contessa) at least had all of the manuals and literature that the owner kept but no records or even receipts.
Another thing I like to see as well as pictures that others suggested about the various angles and views of the coach, is pictures of the engine bay, undercarriage, tire tread depth, tire dates, windshield picture for chips/cracks, up close pictures of the paint, especially around handles and key holes. Pictures of the engine bay with wires looking like spaghetti tells me someone has not done a professional job when doing any repairs. It will also usually tell me if there is an abundance of RTV silicone sticking out from under components such as water pumps, rocker covers and/or oil pans.
I also realize that I am a terrible buyer because my idea of immaculate or pristine condition is totally different than most. To be perfectly honest not one of the three coaches that my wife and I have owned has been in my opinion road ready. The only reason I bought the ones I did is because they were all a good 'starting point' for the budget I had at the time.
From there I commenced much TLC and getting them to the point I was happy with them.
I looked at several websites for our last coach and then would call and discuss with the owners various questions that I would like answered. I also looked at miles, one with very few miles was more of a turn off than one with 5-10k miles per year average.
On the description I wanted to see as detailed as possible or at least have the option of acquiring more information if add space was limited. I also expected the units to be clean and ready for inspection/viewing. Many had cupboards loose missing screws, garbage on the floors as they hadn't been vacuumed.
I was also leary of many modifications because of the potential to cause more damage than not.
I know some will disagree with some of this but also the people that are on this site as well as many other sites are probably not the normal nor majority of RV owners. Many on here keep records, have reputable shops work on their rigs and keep up on the maintenance. I just don't think that is the norm after what I saw when looking. Maybe this is also why my wife and I hold on to ours for as long as we do. Once we get them where we want I don't want to start over again.
In all the more pictures and information on an ad the better. Those are the ones that I generally pursued the heaviest. Price being negotiable but it had to be within reason. I was willing to spend to the high side of my budget if I could have found one with all the records and in as good of shape as the ad said, I just couldn't find one. Mike.
We bought our class A from a ebay seller. We knew what we wanted and found the ebay listing but the price was too high for us. I had some questions and emailed the seller and also asked for his phone #. The listing expired without reaching the reserve price. After a few days thinking about it I called the seller and we negotiated on the phone. We were able to agree on a price and were happy with the deal. Seller also seemed satisfied.
For a buyer that knows what he wants, a lot of pictures will help him make a decision. For new buyers, that may not know exactly what they want, a floor plan drawing is a must, along with the pictures.