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Don't EVEN know where to begin!

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Hello to everyone! I joined this forum because I am just now realizing as I read through the topics and look for RV's to purchase, how woefully unprepared I am. I have wanted to buy an RV for a long time and decided that what is best for me and my two kids is to sell our home and live in an RV. Unfortunately I never researched buying them and what all I would need to do because I thought I would be stuck in this place forever and because finding the time to do it is next to impossible as a single parent. All of a sudden, my place is just about sold (waiting on the check) and I'm scrambling to find an RV and find out what to know and do.

As a single mom and trying to keep up with all that that entails as well as trying to sell our place, sell all that we don't have to have, and try to find an RV that I can afford, I'm beginning to wonder if it's the right decision. So after that long introduction, this is where I would greatly appreciate any help from you all. Some things I know: I THINK I will be skipping the dealers and buy from an individual. I'm not sure I would get the truth from them. I know to make sure they have maintenance and repair records. I know how to look at tires to make sure they're good and look for signs of leaks inside. Other than that, I'm pretty much lost and at the mercy of whomever I buy from. I also don't have anyone to go with me to help (no friends or family) and I may end up going a long way off to buy one if it's the right one and the right price. So, can y'all help me? What do need to make absolutely sure of before buying? What do I need to know? Oh, and I do plan on traveling in it, not just living in it. I will be buying either a class A or C.

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First of all, welcome to the Escapees family! You are definitely at the right place to start your search and journey. It is very easy to get overwhelmed when you start looking and trying to figure out what type, size and countless other options you will have to deal with. You need to go to a large dealer or RV show and look, sit and even lay on the bed to see what you like or don't like. The correct floor plan is extremely important when you start living in smaller spaces. If you are in Texas, PPL is fantastic for this purpose. No salesman will bug you, you can look at literally hundreds of RV's and take all the time you want. Be sure and take notes of what you like, brands, size, ect because after you look at so many they will all run together. Take notes, take pictures and start making a list of what you like and what you hate. What you HAVE to have and what you can live without. Ask any question you need to ask on this site, there are lots of folks that are very very patient and help new RV'ers out.

 

When you get serious about an RV it is of the utmost importance to have it inspected and the engine fluids sent off for analysis. The cost is minimum compared to getting stuck with a lemon!!

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Welcome. I'm pretty new to this myself, so I certainly understand where you are coming from. Our goal is for my wife and I to go full time next spring/summer so we still have some time.

 

My wife and I went to an RV show a few weeks back and that was a huge help in just narrowing down what we liked and didn't like. We got to walk through so many units and see so many things. To me that was the best thing we did just to jump start us ahead and get some much better ideas of what is out there. Now the only downside to that is we of course were looking at new RV's that are really nice, but I highly doubt we'll be buying new, so we'll still certainly have sacrifices we have to make. As I said though, we have a much better idea of what we like and it was such a huge help!

 

Also while there, there was some panels or presentations. There was one guy that gave several of them we attended and one of the things his company did was actually go and checkout RV's for potential customers to look them over. They didn't sell RV's but I think they maybe worked on them some. He went into details about warranties and their advantages and down sides and what to look for.

 

It sounds like maybe you are still in a time crunch that has come up rather quickly since you are selling your home. I'm not sure rushing into buying an RV is a great decision since sometimes finding exactly what you want, especially on the used market could possibly take awhile. Do you have the option to possibly short term rent somewhere or from someone to give you some more time?

 

I wouldn't necessary write off all dealers as not good. Some people have some great dealings with dealers. There are also some pretty big dealer locations that deal with a lot of volume of used RV's and that gives you the option of possibly finding something you are looking for a little easier. Buying from a private individual could possibly lead to a better deal, but it would definitely require a lot more leg work on your end going through all the ads, talking to the sellers, and getting to a point you feel comfortable enough to possibly purchase one.

 

One of the biggest killers to RV's that we heard from our presentations was leaks and subsequently water damage if left unnoticed. Besides for tires, I would say the number one thing to worry about is the roof condition, caulking and sealing around everything on the roof and any past or current water damage and how it was fixed or if it was fixed. Motors and transmissions are certainly a concern both in a Class A or C, but water damage can really get you if you don't know what to look for.

 

Maybe some other questions to tell us or think about.

  • Do you have a possible budget you are trying to stay in?
  • Do you have a size limit you are trying to stay in? This may affect a lot on where you stay with the motor home?
  • Have you spent enough time in Class A vs C to know what you really like better? They of course are both coaches you drive, but are very different in so many other ways. Class C are generally smaller and easier to drive if you aren't used to driving big Class A motor homes. You also get standard doors up front for getting in and out of the coach instead of just 1 big door everyone uses on a Class A. Class C also is generally considered safer since you have a more conventional truck frond end vs you being the first thing that gets hit in an accident in a Class A. Class A might be laid out better though to give you more of that family home feel and bigger living area for full time living? The layouts between them can differ a lot so you should probably narrow down what you like better. You almost always get a small bed over the driver area in a Class C, but this isn't always the case in a Class A, though some do have them. A couch that folds out usually makes a great bed, but also takes up a lot of room and most times means you are climbing over the bed to get around it. A dinette booth almost always doubles as a bed, but most times they are short. Take that into consideration as your kids grow. A regular table with standard chairs is usually more comfy to sit in, but you sacrifice a bed.
  • The overall layout of an RV will probably be a big deal to the comfort of you and your kids and where everyone will sleep. This is where an RV show or just walking through lots of motor homes will help. You need to really get an idea of what you like and what you don't like or what you are willing to sacrifice if you must.
  • Slides in an RV give you a lot of extra room and make it feel so much more roomy. However, more slides add complexity and some RV's don't do as good as others making the place as livable when the slides are in. Going down the road and maybe boon docking in a parking lot, you might be forced to leave the slides in so what does that mean? Ask to see it both with the slides in and out. Thankfully motor homes usually do a better job of keeping things livable with the slides in, but make sure you understand what sacrifices you make with the slide in. Sometimes certain cabinets, doors etc get blocked. Does your fridge or something else very important get blocked when the slides are in? This could be a huge deal breaker for you.
  • Do you plan to tow a car behind the motor home and have you already verified it can be towed 4 down or needs a dolly? A lot of people prefer towing 4 down, but setting up a car to tow 4 down can get expensive if you are having to set it up yourself. Sometimes buying one already setup is a cheaper option. A tow dolly can be easier to setup, but it has it's own draw backs as you have an extra piece of equipment to worry about.
Edited by BlueLghtning

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This may not be for everyone, but something else I've enjoyed doing and I feel has helped me is to learn a lot from mistakes others have shared via their YouTube channels to some things I just wouldn't even have thought about. We haven't had cable for years, but I frequently follow many Vlogs on Youtube. Since our transition to get ready to go full timing, I've been following lots of full time Vloggers. My wife and I don't have kids and I don't follow any that are a single parent with kids, but there are a few couples with kids I follow.

 

If you have time to watch any of these vlogs, you may find a couple you like and then go back and see if they have had videos over things that may help you. Maybe others have vlogs they know of they can chip in and share too. I'm sure there are a ton more I haven't even found yet.

 

- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2IENUorXc6kRtIiAGPRKZA (Less Junk, More Journey) - This is couple traveling full time in a Class A RV with a 2 year old toddler. They've learned a few lessons the hard way and they move around a lot so they frequently have videos in many different areas. I really like following their videos. Most of their videos are about the experiences with their child on the road, but he's not afraid to share stories when he messes up. Their first major mistake was having an automatic 2wd jeep setup to tow before they realized that is one of the combos that just doesn't work, they tried to make it work, but eventually got a Subaru they tow now. He's had a few other things he's had to learn the hard way.

 

- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG2c4aUF3EoLwskydOBrrUw (Knorrp & South). This couple is amazing. They are full time RV'ing in a 5th wheel with their 9 kids! 4 are their biological kids, 5 are adopted. The middle 6 or 7 are all pretty close in age with the youngest being about 3 and the oldest 14. Now that in it's self is amazing. When ever they travel, the Dad drives the truck with a 5th wheel and a couple kids with him while Mom drives the 14 passenger van with the rest of the kids. They use the van when they are in one spot and go places as a family. I'm sure as a single mom, you'll have your own challenges, but this might give you some ideas they do to keep costs down, and keep it fun for the family. All of the kids once a certain age are required to chip and all the kids have chores to complete so the family keeps running smoothly.

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoAJNwpGmzq1FC4egKTCDQA (Goulds Gaining Ground) This couple has 2 younger kids. (3 & 6 maybe). They are actually just about to get on the road. They've been living out of their 5th wheel in one of their parent's driveway for months as they prepare to leave. They share a lot of their experiences of quitting their jobs and hitting the road and some of the challenges they face with 2 younger kids along the way.

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEhJLsShZt8McryMf_DHLZQ/videos (Keep Your Daydream) This couple travels with their 3 kids I think. I'm a bit new to their channel, so can't remember off the top of my head.

 

- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBo9TLJiZ5HI5CXFsCxOhmA (Gone with the Wynns). - This couple doesn't have any kids and are now on a sailboat, but they spent many years RV'ing and they have had a few class A motorhomes over the years. They started with 2 diesel ones and then swapped to a gas one. They have lots of helpful videos and are probably one of the more popular channels you hear come up in discussions. Some of their videos cover things like solar, composting toilet, batteries, residential vs rv fridge, etc.

 

- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2oIvS_wzweWauJea77q1Dg (The Motorhome Experiement) - No kids couple who is just getting started.I enjoyed following them as they shared the whole process of getting their house ready for sale and taking trips in the motorhome while they did that. They love to venture off the beaten path and they take there motorhome into some crazy boondocking places. Most of their videos are just about their experiences, but they have a good video on 4 down vs dolly toying if that comes into play. Funny, all of the videos I've watch so far are just them and the motorhome, no car towing. He favors tow dolly towing, but it might give you some ideas if that is a concern. Although in a more recent video he figured out the hard way as they finally got ready to leave that he never verified the car they were going to tow would actually fit on the tow dolly so now the dolly he just refinished, he needs to sell and get a different one. -

 

- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiCG0ehE-Zc9GnwCcFqtAhw (His & Her Alaska). This couple and their dog(s) aren't exactly full time, but this is their 2nd year leaving Alaska for the winter and traveling the lower 48. They travel in an older motorhome and are one of the few I follow that doesn't use a towed vehicle. Instead they tow a trailer with a side by side, their kayaks and bicycles. They have some challenges because of not having a car, but they seem to handle it very well.

 

- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzzfu83LhPMMuhtDVA75rfw (We're the Russos). Another young couple with a dog full timing. They currently travel in a Class A towing a Jeep, but are looking to downsize to maybe a Class B. They have several videos on the challenges of full time life, but also cover how they make money on the road and their expenses, they gave campground reviews and they tend to visit quite a few RV places always looking at different RV's. They also are foodies and cover a lot about their food and their lifestyle choices.

 

- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRTQUJWAFkzsxNbFriAZnYA (Pippi Peterson) - Single female traveling solo by herself in an older Class A motorhome. She's been doing a lot of work on an RV lately like adding solar and updating stuff so some of those maybe helpful.

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgMpNBkUc7tTsk_gr06d17g (Technomadia) - This couple is well known in the RV community as they have been on the road 10 years and have shared so much info in that time. They travel in a renovated vintage bus towing their mini cooper, so that won't relate to you. However, they run the website RVMobileinternet and are a great source of info if you need to stay connected while on the road. I find a lot of their info very useful.

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr8_Ma9d8ERW8otlPJF_qIg (Spot the Scotts) - This couple full times and has two older kids, but the kids normally live with their mom in Montana and just come with them on extended trips. They just hosted one of the Xscapers Convergence in AZ I believe a month or so back.

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2EOriLgUuwQn-uCHl58m_Q (RV Geeks) - If you have any kind of question about an RV or want to learn how to do stuff yourself, these guys probably have a video for it! They cover a whole range of topics that can help you with anything you have questions about. Their channel is definitely worth checking out.

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/mhsrv1/videos (Motor Home Specialists) This is tot a vlog but a dealer that sells motor homes. I have no experience with this dealer, but they seem do do a great job reviewing tons of motor homes. I don't know how far back it goes, but you can take virtual tours of motor homes from your living room.

 

 

Some more Vlogs you may or may not enjoy:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC33Loj6OxDXepBuc3ry0rMg ( The More We Explore) Tow an airstream with a 4x4 van

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw5WYtMXQ799GErKpvR_5Rw (Long Long Honeymoon) They tow an airstream with a truck.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsjA83xRW2iaqPox8IbDLKQ ( RVLove)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClkhrrakVty75SWLJIbcxDA ( Drivin' and Vibin')

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCesDmjZLXA4gEg_aT3pIJHg (The Deprey's) - They use an HDT to tow their 5th wheel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCc6BovSeTIyfa6fkJVbH3jg (To Wander Freely)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCirNI5XV3xZZApeIe0a5-6Q (Mortons on the Move)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUrgyYI71LAjjBi-fyWzpbA ( Wellingit)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN84xiPAVdIdNLQjQ97d8fw (Love your RV)

Edited by BlueLghtning

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The planning is quite different for the various lifestyles in RV travels, just as is true for living in a house or apartment. There are far different issues to consider with children and since most of us here are retired, I'd suggest that you spend some time at the website of Families on the Road as well as Fulltime Families to learn more about the issues of RV life with children. Some other sites that will likely be very helpful to you are the Newschool Nomads and the Ditching Suburbia as well as several others.

 

You also need to do some reading of books on the subject of RV living and you can find them free at your local library or if you wish to purchase some, there is an excellent choice of books to be found on Amazon for a reasonable price. You can also learn a lot about the life if you notice the links that are found in many of our signatures on the forum. There are many of us who keep a website or blog and most have a link to that location in the signature line in their posts. If you check my signature, you will find mine there and I invite you to spend some time reviewing the information posted there.

 

Buying an RV is not a simple thing and since you are in Georgia, there are no dealers there which I am familiar with but you definitely need to spend a lot of time visiting as many of them as you can just to walk through the various types to familiarize yourself with what is available and the prices that they range over. If there is to be an RV show in your area, it would be time well spent to attend it. Keep in mind that just as lowest priced houses are of lesser quality and higher cost ones tend to be better constructed with more durable interiors, that same thing is true for RVs.

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Hello, there, Mom,

It sounds as if you have little time left to consider what RV you are getting. Since you already know that it will be a Class A or C, you obviously know something and have some consideration done. You are likely not going to be able to tell any problems with the children, if there will be any of significance, until into the lifestyle. You may learn some possibilities from the suggested reading above if you can do that. Having the children along when looking, so that they feel part of the decision, may help you decide. They may move you in their direction and you can tell if that is good or not.

 

Try to arrange to have any unit you wish to buy checked by an RV mechanic or anyone you know with knowledge of RVs. Hope we hear what you get and how it goes.

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As an interim stop why don't you rent an apt/house. for 6-12 months so you can do some research on what you want/need. Buying with a time crunch is asking for trouble, especially as a newbie.

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Wannab, you're getting great advice from those posting in response to your questions.

 

The part of your post I'll focus on is the fact that you're a single mom with no family or friends to call on. There's not much of a rougher spot to be in. As the dad of a single mom, and one who lives 3000 miles away from her, I was deeply concerned about how she'd get along. My advice to her and to you is to look for some social group in your community that you can plug into, even short-term.

 

If you're part of a church start there, or look for a single parents' support group in the community, or the PTA, etc. Use those groups to ask questions like, "Does anyone know a good electrician (plumber, builder, etc.)?" Or especially in your case, "Do any of you have a friend or relative who is an experienced RVer who could go with me to look at RVs?" Those contacts aren't always "perfect" but your chances of finding a good, helpful person are a whole lot better than the yellow pages or on-line directories. In my daughter's case, the leads she got through a local church have been invaluable in helping her connect with skilled folks who she could trust to work on her home.

 

Good luck and blessings to you!

 

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As an interim stop why don't you rent an apt/house. for 6-12 months so you can do some research on what you want/need. Buying with a time crunch is asking for trouble, especially as a newbie.

 

I feel this is very sound advice. Slow down! Getting in too big hurry can really cost you in more ways than one.

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THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! to everyone who has taken the time to help me with this and offer wisdom! I can't tell you how much I appreciate all the help. I understand that this is a major undertaking and I preferably should put more time into it. I could rent somewhere and I may end up having to do that, but I would prefer to have our own place and not pay high rent. And I REALLY want an RV! I also have this little "problem" in that I am extremely head strong and hard-headed, haha!

 

We may not be able to travel right away if I get an RV, but at least we would have our own place. Downsizing and being mobile is also important to me and I really want my kids to see what I have gotten to see in our beautiful country. I am also selling my property but until that sells I have only $11,000 to buy something with. I know I won't get top of the line, but I can buy something and be prepared to put some money into it rather than pay out rent every month for something that will never be ours. So, to rent or to buy, that is the question.

 

I know I won't be able to buy exactly what I want because I will only have $11,000 to buy initially. I could maybe put a down payment on one? I am selling my property as well but until it sells, I only have the $11,000 to work with. I don't have a size limit YET. I have never been inside a class A, just a class C and the towables. There are some nice towables and if I had a truck that would give me another option to consider. But since I have a car, I will be towing it. I do have a CDL license and used to drive semi's so I don't think the size will be an issue, just the handling if it.

 

I'm going to check out all the links you guys have posted, go to a few RV lots, and do much more research. Does anyone have an opinion about buying RV's on eBay? Also, any help on what specifically to look for or avoid in an RV would be great. Keep the suggestions coming please because I am listening to y'all! Thanks again!

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Yesterday you said you were waiting on the check, but today you say "when" your house sells.

 

As far as renting and paying for something that won't be yours, keep in mind that traveling and paying for campgrounds is not cheap. Even if you eventually start boondocking, providing you have the proper set up, it is not cheap to be full-time. The more you travel, the more expensive the venture. 3/4 tank of gas just cost us $100 and we'll need more in a few days, a few hundred miles down the road. As you travel, the highest campground rates are the daily rates . If you use a daily rate of $20 , that is $600 per month. Many will have lower monthly rates if you can take advantage of that, but you can see it would be very easy to spend $1,000 per month just to travel some and stay in a campground during that month. Think hard as you make your decisions and make sure you are financially able to do this. If you are financially secure in the full-timing, then you can manage to learn some as you go.

 

With the kids, I would suggest maybe something with bunks so they can have their own space. You will not want to change a sofa or dinnette into a bed every night for them to sleep. That will get very tiresome. Think about storage also - where will you put everything? Each child will need to be allowed to take some of their own things, toys, games, bikes etc. A lot of planning to do. You can go online at PPL Motorhomes and view the inventory of motorhomes for sale including inside pics. This would allow you to view different floorplans. You may be able to eliminate ones that just won't work, you don't like and narrow it down to what you do like or things you definately want in whatever you buy. Good luck!

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Deep Breath. Stop and smell the roses for a few minutes. One of the best advices you've received here has been don't rush into it, as you can end up in a right mess. Heed that advice to "take your time" and do extensive research.

 

First and foremost is budget! Set a limit and stay within it! That means purchase cost, emergency fund (you'll need it sooner or later!), and everyday income for living costs on the road. Sit down and plan it all out carefully. Whilst I'm a strong advocate that money isn't everything and health most definitely is, in this day and age it's a necessary evil.

 

Secondly what are you "exactly" trying to achieve? ie; what type of camping are you planning on doing, where and when = following the seasons, organized CG's, boon docking etc etc. Basically what are your key goals in doing this life altering change and how will it affect other areas/people in your life? You will also ascertain if being attracted to certain types/styles of camping areas whether you need to have a restricted in size rig.

 

Thirdly before wasting a ton of time and money going to look at one off private rigs all over the place, you need to check out the different styles and sizes of RV and make a decision what appeals or makes the most sense considering all the outside influencing factors.

 

Once you've got all this down pat on a spreadsheet or scratch pad, then come the pros and cons of each area about doing this. For sure there'll be conflicts in different choices so you will have to decide what you will and can't compromise on.

 

Fourthly and this probably saved us an arm and a leg over the years, is go to areas you know there'll be a lot of every day RVers (CG, SP, RV Show), and talk, talk, talk, talk, talk and in case I haven't mentioned it already talk to all these wonderful caring sharing folks. You'd be amazed what you will learn and especially when you have honed in on a type/style of RV and meet someone with a similar set up.

 

Typically the older a rig you buy (budget based of course), unless it's the hidden diamond in the rough you stumble upon, the higher chance you will have of things starting to break down sooner, hence the "emergency fund" comes into play and this fund needs to be consistently added to and replenished as quickly as possible after being utilized. (BarbaraOK taught me the importance of that years ago).

 

Once you have found a unit that appeals, get it inspected and checked all throughout mechanically as well as structurally. A good inspection is worth its weight in gold, otherwise you could end up with a moving (well for the start) money pit.

 

BlueLghtning gave you another list of considerations/questions, and believe me you multiply that by a hundred over time, as the more you enquire the more questions come up, but it is worth it every step of the way.

 

Bottom line is don't put the cart before the horse. Baby steps and one decision at a time so you don't get overly stressed going off at all different tangents.

Well that's our 2 cents for what it's worth which isn't worth as much as it was 50 years ago LOL.

 

Good luck, enjoy this wonderful lifestyle, but have your plan in place and ideally back up plan for "just in case".

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If you are buying used be aware of tire age. The tires may look good but if they are 6-7 years old you will need to replace them. Tires on Rvs do not wear out, they age out first. A quality tire is anywhere in the $300-$600 range and you will need 4-6. Also, you will probably want a car to tow. Fine if yours can be towed on the ground(4 down), but you still need to spend money to equipt it with a base plate and hitch($2000-$3000). If it can't be towed 4 down then you will also need a car caddy to tow it.

 

What we are all saying is spend some time, sit back, don't rush things. There are a lot of unknowns and gotchas out there.

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I know I won't be able to buy exactly what I want because I will only have $11,000 to buy initially. I could maybe put a down payment on one? I am selling my property as well but until it sells, I only have the $11,000 to work with. I don't have a size limit YET. I have never been inside a class A, just a class C and the towables. There are some nice towables and if I had a truck that would give me another option to consider. But since I have a car, I will be towing it. I do have a CDL license and used to drive semi's so I don't think the size will be an issue, just the handling if it.

Do you realize the size of change you are undertaking? If you travel the country, what address do you plan to use in order to get mail, keep a driving license(CDL is more particular), register vehicles, maintain insurance, and a long list of other address related issues? Do you realize that most states require you to prove that you have a physical home in the state and that there are only a few which will accept a mail service for these and no state that allows you to keep them without any address.What about a health insurance plan that will cover you & the kids in every state that you plan to visit and allows you to change doctors as you travel? Many plans do not allow that.

 

You also need to understand what an RV that is in reliable condition will cost. Since you are thinking motorized ones, recent models will cost from 5 to 10 times the budget that you have now. You haven't said how old the children are but they will need some space to call their own and even if they are small, they don't stay that way for long and space requirements grow with them. You will also need a place for home-school class to take place and for homework to be done. Have you considered how long you wish to live and travel by RV?

 

Where do you wish to travel in the RV you wish to buy? Will you be staying in RV parks, or are you planning to spend your time in parking lots, truck stops, and in undeveloped areas that allow you to park for free, or very inexpensively? What sort of things will the children have to do to keep them occupied and happy? How will you stay in contact with friends and family? Do you have some sort of internet service that is portable to take along? What about cell phone coverage?

 

Take some time now to learn what to do and how to do it as well as to understand how to find a quality RV. I have more than 30 years of RV experience, yet I still seek professional help quite frequently. There are people who live successfully in older RVs that cost much less, but they do so by doing many repairs and upgrades and most do that work themselves. RV appliances are very expensive and if you must pay for maintenance and repairs, those can be expensive also. For most of us, it is much better to spend more and get a recent model of RV that is in good condition when we start.

 

There is a great deal of planning that goes into a successful transition to the RV lifestyle and children make that a much more complicated issue. No question that it can be done and is being done, but not without taking the time to learn how first.

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Wannab,

 

You've been given some great advice, especially the "slow down a bit" Also, finding some one to inspect RV's with you when purchase time comes is great advice. This forum is a wonderful place to ask questions. Also it has a lot of information already explained. It WILL be worth your time and effort to research answers on this forum.

 

A year ago we upgraded to our second RV. During that time, there was a lot of help from this community. So much so, I made the commitment to join Escapees, If I do nothing with it (and I've used it) supporting this Forum is worth it.

 

The following is a synopsis of that process with some lessons learned. This took place over a fast 3 month time frame, used up a LOT of non work time and we already had some RV experience.

 

We had a 25 year old small 5th wheel, no slides. Wanted a bit more room, bigger shower, walk around bed, and better kitchen. Maximum size was going to be 32 feet (wanted to stay under 29, helps get into smaller state parks etc.) Also wanted a decent insulation package. All this meant an upgrade to the towing truck. We determined a 1 ton pickup would be a very good choice for what we wanted. (The lesson is Stopping capability, you can tow some very large loads with a very small vehicle, but it WILL be unstable at speed and in windy conditions, and you won't be able to control it during a panic stop or down hills). A new Diesel 1 ton is 'SPENSIVE!

 

Round 2, let's look at motorhomes. I wanted a diesel (one of the more expensive kind to buy and maintain, BTW) reasons: Towing capacity, exhaust brakes, matching Alison 6 speed transmission is almost bullet proof, and durability. A modern diesel will last several hundred thousand miles if properly maintained. We are retiring in the next couple years and plan to travel, since we will be buying used by the time we are done, we could be well over 100 thousand miles. As we started looking we determined for our full time efforts, an on board washer and dryer would be good. (my wife has allergies to perfumes, so commercial laundry mats are a bad thing for us) The smallest workable floor plan for us now came up to 34 feet. (the dreaded two foot creep is starting) LOL!

 

We went through several (many, many) dealers, private sales, Ebay ads, and even a scam, etc. Finally narrowed it down to 2, and chose our 34' Fleetwood Expedition. The inspection process for the coach could have been better, I couldn't find some one I trusted to hire, so I did that myself. We bought from an independent dealer in Central Florida, he was helpful, upright about the things he knew. I would do business there again. The coach is a 2006, and when we bought it it, there was approximately 18 months remaining on an extended warranty. For $50, we were able to transfer that to us. Best thing we did, and it was one of the deciding factors in choosing this coach.

 

Before purchasing I did have the rig taken to a commercial diesel repair shop to have the engine and transmission codes checked, a complete inspection on the suspension, brakes, chassis etc. I also had fluid samples taken and sent to the laboratory for analysis. Report came back that service was needed but a clean bill of health. The dealer told me he had not seen anyone do all that before, I reminded him I spent my life as a Helicopter maintenance test pilot. Certain things were worth doing! :lol: Bought the coach for about the price of a late model diesel pick up.

 

In the year and couple months we have owned it, the warranty has replaced the 2 front leveling jacks, replaced the awning motor, is in the process of repairing or replacing a roof air conditioner, replaced several faucets and plumbing lines, and several other things. My copay will be about $500. Total bill will be several thousand. And I have a shop I trust, there are many horror stories about RV repair shops. I am fairly handy and could have done some of those things myself (the jacks are not one of those items) if I hadn't had the warranty. But it was nice to let some one else do the heavy lifting. Becoming a handy person will save you money in the RV living game. The warranty cost the previous owner about 4 grand i think. I know he had a completely new refrigerator installed under it. The age of your RV and the type of coverage will determine the cost. I probably wouldn't have bought one, but I'm eternally grateful for the chance to have had it. Something to consider.

 

One more thing to consider is roadside assistance. Good Sam and AAA offer an RV roadside assistance plan that is not too expensive. Even a short tow, will more than pay for a years membership. Make sure you check the details in writing for the policy you are getting.

 

None of the above is meant to discourage you. Nor is it meant to sway you to choosing a diesel engine motorhome. There are some great Gas engine coaches out there, and for the most part, they are easier and cheaper to maintain. Your travel process, budget, and desire will dictate what you buy. So take your time, educate yourself, buy well, and get started on the great adventure. BTW, are your 2 children sold on this idea? It'll be great memories. Keep us updated!

Edited by Mr&Mrs Duet

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Welcome! By all means, SLOW DOWN! We took nearly three years of discussing why we wanted to full-time, what we wanted to do, what the budget would be, even before we bought a coach. And that was just the two of us (the cat didn't get a vote). While we were doing that we also discussed the type of coach that would suit us. At first, we excluded motor homes because they use a lot of fuel. Then we figured out that the RV goes from campground to campground, while the towed or tow vehicle does the rest of the running around. All of a sudden a MH was in the mix, and that's what we ended up buying because, as we discussed and considered, a MH fit our needs best.

 

You mentioned that you have $11,000 available now, and wondered if that could be used as a down payment on something. Yes, it could, but that may not be the best use of it right now. As others have suggested, get a temporary place to stay while you figure out what you need, want, and can afford, as well as a budget. Many people suggest that you have $10,000 in your budget for repairs/upgrades that you will need to make the first year. We spent $3000 or so on four new tires when we bought our coach. Had it already had the new tires we might have paid $2000 more for it, but that's assuming that someone else didn't beat us to it. Later that year we spent nearly $1000 for two new house batteries. Since then we've spent almost as much as we paid for our coach in upgrades (television, residential refrigerator, new inverter, new converters/chargers, new isolator, etc.). Some of that was because it was needed, some because we wanted to do it.

 

The advice to spend some time looking through everything you can is excellent advice. There are only so many ways to arrange the interior of a box to make it livable, so it won't take you long to figure out what arrangements work for you. Then you can start looking for a USED high-quality coach with that arrangement in your price range.

 

Why used? Cost. Our coach was $350,000 when it was new in 1993. We've got it for sale for a little over 10% of that right now - with many thousands of dollars of work in it. Few people buy the right coach the first time out, and when you buy you pay retail for the new one and get wholesale for the old one (the one you paid retail for not all that long before). When you are ready to buy, buy a used coach. Yes, you will have to put some money into what you just bought, but then you will know what you have, and when you go to trade you won't lose as much.

 

Now, about your children. We wish that we could have taken our three on the road when they were young, but we couldn't afford to do that. Your children will get an education that will be priceless - if they don't kill each other first, and if you don't kill them first. <grin> Living in a small space can be stressful if you aren't prepared for it. Children will need their own space. Make sure that whatever you get provides that. They also will need privacy, especially if there are any boys in your family. Make sure that whatever you get provides that, too.

 

From what you have seen on this entire thread, you have a lot to think about. If your children are old enough to participate in discussions, be sure to include them. Take your time, do your research, ask lots of questions here, pray a lot, and then enjoy the adventure. No matter how much planning you do, reality will always be somewhat different. Enjoy it.

 

One final bit of advice: start making a list of the brands that interest you. Join the owners' forums for those brands, and ask questions about the suitability of that brand for your planned use. Also ask about known issues (every brand has them) and what to do about them. Many brands have volunteer inspectors, so if you find a Foretravel (my brand) for sale you can ask if someone is near it to check it out for you.

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I won't try to respond to your questions because what you are attempting to do is way beyond my expertise. What I will say is that I belong to several RV forums and all have a lot of positive stuff...that's why I follow them. But this site certainly has the most experienced, long term RVers and while they may have different opinions, their years of expertise is way beyond most sites. Take time to really digest all of what they are saying. You will benefit, I promise.

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Can anyone help on this? I found a Class A that I really like from the pics. The RV is in Florida. The website had no info on the unit but I did get some basic info from a salesperson on the phone. It's a 1998 Georgie Boy. Heres the link. https://www.americachoicerv.com/vehicle-details/used-1998-georgie-boy-georgie-boy-cruise-master-3410-1GBLP37JXW3305350

 

The mileage is 63,329. 300 point inspection. No other info. She said because it's a new unit and she doesn't have all the info on it yet?

The price is a little over $20,000. My questions are: What kind of price can I negotiate? How much should the asking price be? Any other help in this would be great. I need to work something out on the price before taking a trip down there if possible.

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I think others could probably give you better info, but doing a quick google search for similar model Georgie Boy Cruise Masters in that vintage they are a bit high on the price. In fact they seem to be the most expensive of that model on the used market. A lot I see listed fall in the $14k-$18k price range. Of course condition and what it may need will probably pay a bigger role on what that final price will be. This particular one appears to be one of the nicer ones I see. It looks like at some point a lot of the furniture was updated to what appears to be pretty nice furniture. The floor looks to be some type of wood or wood apearance floor when stock was probably capret and linoleum. So maybe those updates appeal to you and?

 

I think any motorhome of this vintage though needs to be throughly inspected because what you don't see is what could really cost you. Is there any water damage, what condition is the roof in, the sides, the under carriage? What about all the appliances, heat/A/C, propane system, water tanks, etc. The tire age will be a big question if they are aged out and need to be replaced. Of course the engine its self should be inspected and the transmission too.

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NADA says that the 3410 now lists for about $15k retail price and that sounds pretty good to me, if it is in good condition. A unit of that age no longer gets any bump for low mileage,, which that is. You don't say what chassis it has but the 1998 could have been built on either the Ford 460 powered chassis from 1997 or it may have the Ford Triton V-10 chassis shown to be a 1999 chassis. The new Ford chassis was released in March of 1998 as an early 99 model and it was rated at 18k of GVR while the 97 chassis that preceeded it was the smaller engine and a GVWR of only 16k.

 

We bought a 1998, Cruise Master, 3515 built on the newer V-10 powered chassis and we owned it 14 years putting on about 80k miles and living in it fulltime for 12 of those years. It served us very well but I'd not recommend the 460 powered version because of the lower GVWR. Even with the 18k we had only a cargo capacity of about 2200#. Later in the fall of 1998 Ford released another version of the Triton V-10 powered chassis that was 20,500# of GVWR. That would be even better.

 

EDIT: I should mention that we sold our coach in 2012 and the used market was pretty poor and we felt fortunate to get $10k for it, Ours did have an air conditioner that was unreliable at the time and it was due for new tires as those on it were 8 years old but still looked pretty good. It also had two dual pane widows that were partially fogged.

Edited by Kirk

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Tires and batteries are the two expensive items that need regular replacement - as in every 5-7 years. An RV with new tires and batteries will have a higher price than a similar one with old tires and batteries. It probably won't be the full amount of what those items cost, but close. Condition and maintenance history are all-important.

 

Don't fall in love with a particular coach. The sales person can smell that as soon as you open your mouth, and the price will reflect that. Establish the price you are willing to pay in your own mind and be prepared to walk away if they can't/won't meet that price. You might be surprised at how many people walk away and then get a phone call from the sales person a day or a week later, accepting their last offer. If not, there will be other coaches, and one of them might actually be a better match for you.

 

Also, keep some money back for repairs and upgrades that will be needed. Not all of those will be necessary for everyone, but some will be necessary for you. Example: If it had been just me I would have tossed both television sets that came with this coach and not bothered with any replacements (I never turn the television on when I'm by myself). Since I have a wife, though, the old television sets were tossed and a new set purchased. We chose to use the space where the bedroom television was for a small cabinet, since we never had a television in the bedroom when we had our S&B. Others might have replaced both sets because they DO watch television in the bedroom.

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