You can find a 2-6 year old with the length, floor plan and features you want/need for realatively cheap but you must learn what, you want, what to look for, and what to avoid. New looking tires that are 6 years old or more are unsafe and should be replaced ($1400). Generators cost $300 to remove and trouble shoot, $800+ for overhaul. Roof A/C cooling unit replacements are $1000, fridge repairs/ replacments $800-$1400, furnace repairs $300, and so on. Get estimates for any "fixes" needed on a used rig, get any dealer promises on fixes in writing on the contact, parts and labor. Ford V-10 engines and drive trains are mostly the same. Have engine cooling and brake system checked and fluids replaced. Your goal should be to have a rig that is safe to drive, and fun to live in, fully ready for cross-country travel. Set some money aside in a bank account for repairs and upgrades when and if needed. Practice camping locally before that first big trip to identify any fixes needed. Spend time reading similar newbie advice requested threads on this forum.
Personally, I would look for a good , clean , well maintained two or three year old.
You will be able to get much more RV for the money, and someone else will have taken the huge depreciation hit.
While I agree with this - once in a while, you might stumble onto a new 28' "C" priced at the same priced as a slightly-used of the same make/model. That's what WE did in 2004, when we bought our Gulf Stream Conquest. We liked the model, and had looked at some used ones (2002's) for $4495 - then bought ours new for $44,000 with some heavy bargaining on Hubby's part :-)
Ours has been all over N America - we've put on 45,000 problem-free miles (E-450) and we STILL love it!
By the way - since most floor plans are similar from brand-to-brand; check out the 28' no-slide models. They'll be less expensive; yet that floorplan FEELS very open/spacious even without a slide.
Asking your question on a forum that covers the USA & Canada and beyond, has many here assuming you are willing to shop far beyond the Spokane WA area. Great deals can be found, but most often will require significant travel to get it. I am not saying you won't find that perfect motor home an hour from home, but you will be extremely lucky if you do.
As a few others indicated, shop nation wide on Craigslist. It's not easy given it is intentionally setup for local sales, but with enough persenverence you can.
I wish you great success in your search.
ps: I am right there with you on the LD. It looks like something taken from the movie The Long Long Trailer.
My appologies to you LD people.
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edited 05/08/12 01:10pm by ron.dittmer *
Make sure the wheel base is long enough for a 31 foot. You may be saddling yourself with something that is unpleasant to drive. The standard E-450 should not be taken past 28 feet, and 26 feet is *much* superior as far as handling goes.
Given your capacity needs, and so on, if you can afford increasing the budget a bit, the Lazy Daze 26ft is the one I would point you to.
High quality, and great resale.
Agreed. Found a 2006 26.5 foot rear bath Lazy Daze last summer. Fully loaded with 18k miles for 50k. At the time that was low retail. Had to fly down from VA to TX and drive it home but it was worth it. It was in perfect shape. They are hard to come by but worth a look.
Check out the Lazy Daze Yahoo group as there are a few for sale there.
I understand the affinity for the Lazy Daze, but a 26-27 foot just is not going to work for my 5 person family. If I could find one larger, it may be doable. And for some vain reason, I cannot look at a Lazy Daze motorhome for very long. Irresponsible I know, given the quality. But my wife and I both cannot get over the "retro" styling....
We have traveled with 6 in ours and it is tight. You would likely want the 30' LD if you go that route. One thing is to look past all the looks/paint/shapes/etc on every unit you look at. Spend more time looking at how they are built no matter the brand. Looks fade and quality lasts. We hated the look of the LD at first but the more and more I looked at 2005-2007 Class Cs I was not liking how poorly some brands held up and how poor the resale value was. You can say the LD grew on us. We don't look like every white box out there and since they have always looked the same they never really look dated when comparing a LD from now and 10 years ago. I will admit you either like them or not. Ours is a "normal" white/gray/charcoal exterior. Some of the teal or blue painted ones are a bit much.
In the end get what is best for your size family no mater the brand or model. Take the time to climb around in it and act like you are camping. It is amazing how big they look when you are shopping...they seem to shrink when camping....
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edited 05/08/12 02:54pm by axg1040 *
Look towards the 31 footers with bunks. In particular, my wife and I really like the Forester/Sunseeker floor plan with the sofa as the bottom bunk. Nice to have two sofas for family members to sit at (when it's raining, etc.).
Also, another plug for RVDirect.com. We were looking at used rigs that people wanted the same price for as we ended up purchasing new from.
Interesting point to consider though (from someone still looking for THE ONE & wrestling with the dilemma below) -
RVDirect dot com does have very good pricing. You can get a Sunseeker 31 ft with several extras for around $60 k plus or minus depending upon what you want. In this case, you will get warranties as well as Azdel in the walls which should at least minimize (& possibly eliminate) the chances of delam.
At the same time, a 3 - 4 year old unit with no apparent delam, leaks, or problems is in the upper $40's. In this case, you're looking at tires in a few years which is a big ticket item.
So the thing we're wrestling with is the benefit of a new coach worth the extra $13 k or $11 k after tires.
By the way, I 100% agree with the earlier poster who said that buying used from an individual may be more expensive than a dealer as they typically owe so much on them. I have had a handful of private sale coaches that were just simply unrealistically priced & their owners were unwilling to budge.
'13 Forest River Sunseeker 3100
'04 Fleetwood Sedona / Reese Mini 350 / Prodigy / BAL
'94 Coleman Cedar
my local dealer just posted a 31 ft jayco 2010 with 1200 miles for 55K. just as an example. they also have a 2009 four winds 31 ft for under 50K. you can see both on the web under pontiacrv.com they are a large family owned delaer in central il. I have no finacial incentive with the company. again just as an example of what u can get on the used market .