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Wanderlustveteran

Help with new or used class C?!

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Hi everyone!

Well I have decided to give up my brick and mortar and go full time RV living! I have done a lot of research for months now. I have started minimizing and have a checklist and a target date etc.  My only stuck point is whether or not to buy new or used. I have read thru all of your forums and many other sites. I am prepared financially with no bills except for the RV payment and cell phone. I will be in the RV for at least a minimum of 4 years to achieve my travel plan and adventures.  I will be by myself with my dog.  I plan on my family flying to meet me at certain destinations and staying with me for vacations. So any suggestions would be great. 

Thanks!! 

Charolette

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Either way you will have maintenance. I would look around and buy what suits you. Just expect a lot of maintenance the first year or two. In the case of used, you'll be fixing things the previous owner deferred maintenance on or things that just break in time. With new, you work out all the bugs that inevitably come with a new rig. Either way, build it into your plans and you won't be disappointed. May the adventures begin! 

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Welcome to the Escapee forums! We are happy to have you with us.

A class C tends to be a very popular choice for single RVers, particularly femails but I suggest that you also look at some smaller class A rigs as well since they have more room, more storage, and cost very little more. As to new or used, we have owned both and each has some advantage. A new RV typically has 1 or 2 trips for warranty repairs, while any repairs on a used RV will be at your expense. With a used RV there is always the risk of buying some previous owners headache. The cost of repairs can be mitigated by the purchase of an extended warranty but it is important to know that some of them pay well while the cheap ones seldom pay for much. Budget is the most important thing to keep in mind as you shop. Do not put much trust in the sales person, no matter how nice & honest they may seem. They get paid more if you pay more and many of them know little about what they are selling, but are good at acting like they do. 

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Thank you all!  I know their will be repairs needed on new or used and I understand the risk of buying used. What I don’t know is if it’s a good deal for a used one.  For example:  2005 Forest River Sunseeker for $19799 with 43k miles and sleeps 4. It is at a dealership. So is this a good deal? I was looking at class C that sleep 6 or 8 for the extra room.  My family will only be with me 1-2 weeks a year at most so it will just be me and the dog. I think the class A will be way too much RV for me.  I don’t need a whole lot of room as I am minimizing my life drastically for this conversion.   

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A good place to start is NADAguides.com.  Look up the year/model number and any accessories.  It's a guide, not the stone cold price.  It will get you in the neighborhood.  Have an independent RV inspector give it a once over.  Don't believe what the stealership tells you, they are only their to part you from your $$.  You can do what I'm doing, I"m using google and looking for a specific RV all over the good ol USA.  I don't mind driving to get what *I* want, not interested in what they want to sell me.  How little or how much room you need is up to you.  Very little, a mini van works, a lot, well, it can get big.... LOL  Folks coming to visit a few times a year.  Are they driving their own RV, hotel, pitching a tent or crashing on your floor.  Need to consider that.  I see singles in all different sizes of campers.  Tents/sleeping bags are cheap, just sayin (for folks visiting.. LOL)

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We could afford to buy new rigs and preferred to do that as any initial problems would be fixed under warranty. Then we knew precisely how it had been used and maintained since we were the ones doing that. Buying used means you are buying whatever the previous owner did or did not do to maintain the rig. Not being handy ourselves we preferred to not risk that.

When your family does come to join you they will need seatbelts, beds, and room to put the stuff they bring with them. I don't know how many family members you have nor how big they are. Class C rigs usually have a huge bed over the cab but may not have anything more than a sofa or dinette conversion for extra sleeping. Dinettes are not usually comfortable for anyone past childhood unless it's truly a person who can sleep on any lumpy surface as so many young kids can.

Linda

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13 hours ago, Wanderlustveteran said:

For example:  2005 Forest River Sunseeker for $19799 with 43k miles and sleeps 4. It is at a dealership. So is this a good deal?

That sounds very high priced to me. You don't give enough information to get an accurate price but the highest listing that I can find on the NADA guide for any 2005 Sunseeker is <$30k!  Forest River is not one of the leading companies for quality reputation. And as to class A when compared to a class C, I really think you are making a mistake if you don't at least take a look a a few of the smaller class A's since there are several that are making small ones today and the living space for the length is much better. A 2005 Sunseeker would be between 27' and 32' in length and the Winnebago Intent (2019) ranges from 29' to 32' in length. Either one of them will be 102" in width. Of course, if you are looking at one of the smaller Sunseekers, then you may still prefer the class C but you should at least look and perhaps do a test drive. Winnebago also makes a series of class C rigs and those go as low as 22' in length. A 2005 year model, Winnebago Chalet series class C is listed on NADA for $36k.

 

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Welcome to the forum and the "full time party".  

There are advantages and disadvantages to buying new, just as there are benefits and problems buying used.  There are a few campgrounds that have rules on how old your RV can be.  Even though it is rarely heard of, buying a 2005 RV could get you refused at some commercial campground in your future.

The first part of finding the right RV is deciding on what floorplan is going to fit your needs.  If you can find that "perfect" floorplan in a Class C then go that route.  If you find there are too many things you are giving up just to stay in a smaller Class C then at least browse some floorplans in smaller Class A units.  

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So much great information!   Couple of things... I can afford a new RV and still be financially secure but if it is better to have the new warranty than doing possible costly repairs from someone else’s negligence then that is a good way to go.   Several of you have said “smaller class A”, I have only see very large ones!  What exactly do I look for in a smaller class A?  As far as my family... 2 sisters and their 3 kids(2 teenagers and a toddler) and I have thought about the tents for them! Hahaha! But that seems kinda rude to invite them and they are in a tent!  Good point on seats and seatbelts for them!  So many decisions!! Good thing I am giving myself time. 

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Let me just give you my opinion on factory warranty and aftermarket warranty, or what is actually a service plan after the original factory warranty expires.  I will just base this on purchasing a motorized RV, not necessarily a fifth wheel or travel trailer.

With a new unit you will no doubt get a one year or two year factory warranty from the RV manufacturer.  This will cover most things that will go wrong with the "coach" part of the RV.  As far as the engine, transmission, and chassis, those will be covered under a different warranty, like Ford, Cummins, or whoever built them.  They could be a factory warranty for 3 years or longer.

Now if you buy new, or even 2 or 3 years old, you can add an extended warranty, or service plan.  There are a ton of them out there and each dealer will have one or two they like to push on you.  Most dealers will mark up a extended plan by 100% or more so beware.  You can get plans that only cover the "coach" part of your RV or you can get plans that cover the whole RV including the engine, transmission, and chassis.  

Our last new RV purchase came with a 1 year factory warranty.  Newmar, unlike many RV manufacturers will actually cover repairs after the warranty expires if they feel the part should not have failed.  They did a repair for us at the 14 month mark ($1,100) at no charge and will be doing another one at the 20 month mark (>$5,000) at no charge.  Even though we purchased an extended service plan it will not kick in because Newmar is just picking up the tab.   The service plan we purchased was for "coach" only issues and excluded the engine, transmission, and chassis.  Those systems are under warranty by Cummins and Frieightliner for anywhere from 3 years to 5 years anyway.

So, like I stated in an earlier post find the perfect floor plan.  Then start doing some research on the manufacturer that makes that floorplan.  Maybe then decide to start shopping for new or used.  

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We have owned both new and used RVs over the past 40+ years and have had mostly good experiences but buying used requires more RV knowledge since you won't have any factory warranty. You can buy an "extended warranty" one new or near new RVs but most companies will not write the extended for an RV that is more than 10 years old. That is because they are nearing the time of more failures to pay for. It is also the reason that I would advise you that if you do shop used, you should stay with RVs of 5 years or less age and you need to get the RV inspected by a professional before you purchase it to lower your risk. If you do choose to purchase an extended warranty on whatever you buy, I suggest that you read this article on them before you do so.

In motorized RVs my preference would be to buy from Winnebago, Allegro, or Newmar as they have the best reputations and records. Newmar does not build any class C units but they do build the Bay Star line in lengths from 27 - 33'. From Tiffin there is the Open Road Allegro that starts at 32' or their Wayferer line in 24 & 25' lengths.

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Both Bornfree and Lazy Daze are known for their longevity and quality.  With a used unit, the care it has gotten makes a difference too.  If I were only going to be in an RV for 4 years, I would not buy a new unit as you will be paying mostly interest and after the first 4 years, very likely you will owe more than you can sell if for - I have seen this many times!  Wanting to sleep 6 people, you need to look at the bed sizes and people sizes as the beds can be unusually narrow or short in length.  Dinette beds are usually the shortest.  In affordable, you will have to consider the cost of your RV insurance, registration, etc. plus you'll be getting maybe 8 to 10 miles per gallon of gasoline.  Tires over 6 or 7 years old really should be replaced, and they are expensive.

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Welcome to the forum and to the full-time life!

I'd suggest that you go to every RV dealer and show within a hundred miles or so and look at every single RV available - no matter the price or condition. You are looking for two things: floor plans that work and brands that have the quality you desire. Once you know that, you can begin to narrow your search. Remember that most likely you will have something towing something else. A motorhome, either Class A or Class C, can tow a fuel-efficient vehicle, an off-road Jeep, or whatever you want. A travel trailer or fifth wheel requires a truck of some sort to tow it, which will be your daily driver.

I'm in the group that favors buying used initially, as it probably won't take you very long to realize that you didn't pick the perfect rig to start with. (Very few people do, so don't feel bad.) When you go to trade you won't take as great a depreciation hit with something you bought used as you will with something you bought new.

Do pay attention to quality. Many rigs out there are intended for maybe 30 days of use per year. If you are full-timing, you will be spending 12 times (12 years worth) in it each year. We know some people who bought a new, popular brand MH and traded it even-up less than a year later for a 10-year-old Foretravel because they could see that the quality just wasn't there in their original choice.

One other thought: two-foot-itis strikes a large number of RV'ers each year. What is that? The idea that if the RV was only two feet longer it would be perfect.

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Thank you everyone for all the great info and the links. Ok so I will do much more research on the rig!  I am actually doing some window shopping today.  My next question is....  Should I choose a domicile ( I live in North Carolina)  before I purchase the rig?  I think maybe choosing another domicile would be easier and cheaper.  Does everyone usually choose another state when full time? 

 

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1 hour ago, Wanderlustveteran said:

My next question is....  Should I choose a domicile ( I live in North Carolina)  before I purchase the rig?  I think maybe choosing another domicile would be easier and cheaper.  Does everyone usually choose another state when full time? 

I am not sure that we can say what the majority do, but it is wise to at least consider where you want to domicile and also both when and how. The 3 most popular states are TX. SD. & FL because none of those states have an time requirement to be legal, no state income tax, and all 3 accept your email service address for things like driver's license, vehicle registration and for insurance purposes. If you are Medicare elgible or do not need to buy health insurance it makes that choice far less difficult but if you do then probably FL will be your best bet. I prefer TX for several reasons but health insurance was not an issue for us, thanks to my former employer. I recommend that you read a few articles about domicile before you make that decision. I suggest this one and this one

It may be advantageous to set up your new domicile address at least before you buy the RV because of taxes and registration fees. You will need to do some comparing of those before you choose but it will likely cost less to register the RV only one time and then insure it in the chosen state. If you will not have an address in NC you will need to get one somewhere as you must have an address in the state you choose to register the vehicles in and not all states accept less than a physical structure home address. 

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If you're going to finance then keep your present domicile. Banks will, most likely, finance easier with an established address.

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18 minutes ago, 2gypsies said:

If you're going to finance then keep your present domicile. Banks will, most likely, finance easier with an established address.

But if you do this be sure to read the entire loan document as it could have a clause allowing them to call the loan if you move to a place not acceptable to the lender. Of course, you really should read every word before signing any document. 

Edited by Kirk W

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It also depends on where and how you are living now. If you have a house, especially if you are homesteading that house I don't know if you can legally change your domicile; if so, you would certainly have to give up the homestead exemption. If you have an insurance plan that requires using local doctors that could become an issue. Inheritance laws can also be an issue when choosing a domicile. There's a lot more to it than just registering a vehicle. I encourage you to follow the links Kirk posted above to even begin to understand some of things you need to consider.

Linda

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Well I went window shopping... I definitely like the class A better.  The deciding factor was the “cockpit”.  The class C seemed cramped and felt like I was in a uhaul truck!  It felt cramped and boxed in.  I loved the bigger window to be able to see everything better.  So now I will continue to look for the perfect floor plan.   As far as the things everyone mentioned about domicile..... I don’t own a home, hence the reason I have decided to do this.  I am covered by insurance through the VA as I am a disabled veteran. I am 45 yo and blessed to be able to travel now.  I don’t really have any restrictions and will have no bills but my RV payment, insurance and my car insurance.  I do plan to finance the RV and have a specific budget for everything so I can I’ll still be able to enjoy my travels.   My car that I will be towing is a VW Jetta.... Should I have a Jeep or something like that? My car is great on gas mileage and in great shape.  I know I have a lot of questions and I cannot thank everyone enough for being so helpful and kind!! 

Charolette

Edited by Wanderlustveteran

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Your Jetta will be a good car to drive once your RV is set up/camping.  If it can be towed 4 down and no trailer required better yet.  A jeep would also be good for local driving after camped.  My only input between the 2 is, do you plan on off-roading, run around the desert, run up down mountain roads or anywhere 4 wheel drive would be needed?  If not, I'd go with what you have.  mileage difference, esp. if you already have one, would not come into play much.

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1 hour ago, NDBirdman said:

Your Jetta will be a good car to drive once your RV is set up/camping.  If it can be towed 4 down and no trailer required better yet.  A jeep would also be good for local driving after camped.  My only input between the 2 is, do you plan on off-roading, run around the desert, run up down mountain roads or anywhere 4 wheel drive would be needed?  If not, I'd go with what you have.  mileage difference, esp. if you already have one, would not come into play much.

For now I don’t plan to need a 4wd but that can change and I am open to that once I get settled in a rig and on the road

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3 hours ago, Wanderlustveteran said:

For now I don’t plan to need a 4wd but that can change and I am open to that once I get settled in a rig and on the road

You didn't tell us enough about the Jetta to be sure, but it would seem that it can not be towed on it's wheels. Check with REMCO Towing website to be sure but I suspect you can't. 

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20 hours ago, Kirk W said:

You didn't tell us enough about the Jetta to be sure, but it would seem that it can not be towed on it's wheels. Check with REMCO Towing website to be sure but I suspect you can't. 

Thank you so much for the website, Kirk!  All of your links have been very helpful as well!   My Jetta is NOT towable on 4.  Now what!? I am rethinking all of it because I don’t want to buy a tow dolly.  Is towing my car like that bad for it? I know the dolly will add extra weight and impact everything too.  My Jetta is pretty low to the ground as it is and only the back two wheels down may cause damage. Maybe rethinking and buying a truck and TT??!!  The truck would serve as a 4WD and vehicle to get around in towns etc and pull the trailer.  

Also, I found two RV shows near me. One next weekend (4hrs away) and then one late September (2hrs away),  should I attend both or are they pretty much the same? 

I am so very grateful that I started asking questions now!  

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On 8/13/2019 at 4:57 PM, kb0zke said:

 

On 8/13/2019 at 4:57 PM, kb0zke said:

Do pay attention to quality. Many rigs out there are intended for maybe 30 days of use per year. If you are full-timing, you will be spending 12 times (12 years worth) in it each year. We know some people who bought a new, popular brand MH and traded it even-up less than a year later for a 10-year-old Foretravel because they could see that the quality just wasn't there in their original choice.

One other thought: two-foot-itis strikes a large number of RV'ers each year. What is that? The idea that if the RV was only two feet longer it would be perfect.

Very helpful, thank you!  How do I know the rig is going to stand up to full time living? I am not opposed to buying used at all!  Do you have a rig or travel trailer? 

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