Jump to content

Buying used class A - Key Issues


LHS61

Recommended Posts

My home near Seattle should sell next month... the market is good here. My new home will be a Class A motorhome. I owned a 30 ft Minnie Winnie a few years ago and enjoyed it for 2 years. I've been reading up on the forum and elsewhere for the last few months... getting ready for the big purchase. I have my brands 'somewhat' narrowed down to Winnebago, Itasca, Tiffin, Newmar, Foretravel which I will buy from a private party. Kirk advised me to have an adequate budget for replacing coach equipment in an a 10-12 yr old MH.... regardless of how careful I am in selecting the rig.

 

I'm asking for advise on these questions:

 

1- What are the most expensive coach systems to repair/replace? (amount needed for an emergency fund)

 

2- I would like to have the engine oil tested by a laboratory, but how would I get the seller to allow me a few days to do this? Pay a non-refundable deposit?

 

3- I will make my domicile in Texas and likely buy the MH there. But I could avoid sales tax in Montana or Oregon, but would I still have to pay the 6% tax in Tex to register it there? Sales/use tax in WA is 8.5% !

 

Thanks

Dave

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I believe Texas will deduct the % of tax you paid in the other state up to the 6.25% Texas charges. If, like in OR, you have no sales tax, you will pay the full 6.25% in Texas.

 

If you register in say, OR, you will have to pay the registration fee and then another when you register in Texas. Texas registration fees are pretty low, but you will still be paying twice for one vehicle.

 

If you are going to domicile in Texas, do that before you buy the RV. You can get a temporary (30 days I think) tag to transport the RV to Texas. Of course that requires you to make the trip to Texas soon after you buy the RV.

 

The most expensive system in a motorhome is the engine/transmission. You might want to buy an extended warranty. Keep in mind if you get an extended warranty and IF there is some question about not having proper maintenance on the engine/transmission by the former owner the extended warranty may not cover the repairs. It is possible that the extended warranty provider may say, that unless you can prove the proper maintenance was done, they may refuse to honor the warranty. They you may need to take them to court to get the money from them.

 

Water leaks that have rotted out the wood get really expensive. Proper inspection should find water leaks. Refrigerator, air conditioning and plumbing/sewer systems can get expensive.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

TIRES!!

Search this forum for how to find and read the date codes on the tires, once you bought it you own it and you could be facing replacing the tires as soon as you get off the lot due to age.

Make sure the tires are less than 5 years old, otherwise they'll need replacing and that could cost you up to $3000.

Best would be either new tires or a year or 2 old so you get some use out of them.

BnB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I personally would make your purchase subject to a complete engine inspection which may cost you $500. That's what we did. Take it to a good diesel mechanic who can run all the specs. Put it on the computer etc. That's what we did and took it to the closest Freightliner truck facility. You may need to pay for the fuel to get it there. Make sure they understand whos paying for their expertese. Much like you pay for a home inspection. Yes it cost us $600 but we knew that everything was up to snuff. They arranged for having the oil and tranny fluids checked. We had one we were interested in that the owner was very unwilling to have that happen so we walked away.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

3- I will make my domicile in Texas and likely buy the MH there. But I could avoid sales tax in Montana or Oregon, but would I still have to pay the 6% tax in Tex to register it there? Sales/use tax in WA is 8.5% !

 

 

Even though this subject produces heated discussion every time it is mentioned, as a full-timer you could buy your MH into a Montana LLC and register it in MT regardless of your state of domicile. Thereby paying no sales/registration tax.

 

We did exactly this as we were becoming full-timers and had absolutely no problems. Furthermore, since our MH is >10 years old our registration and plates are permanent, so there is no annual expense. Even with our toad being registered in SD where we are domiciled, we went back and forth across the US/Canada border last summer without a single question about the 2-state situation.

 

Montana LLC's are legal as long as you abide by the rules of the state you are domiciled in. In our case, our MH is only occasionally in SD so we aren't breaking any rules by not having it registered there. If you are a TX resident and spend a lot of time in the state you would have to make sure that the MH doesn't exceed the allowable number of days it can be in TX without needing to be registered.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You guys rock.... thoughtful answers by experienced folks. I just got back 10x what I paid to join escapees. I will likely combine your advice and do the LLC thing in Montana. I saw an ad in the escapee mag about that. My first trip will be to Illinois anyway. If I can just find a decent rig there. Washington has a 3 day trip permit, so I may be able to buy it here then get it to Montana ASAP. Domicile in SD is looking better for me since I will be going that way on the first trip

 

Thanks tons

:rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Before you get too far into this you need to have a plan set for what happens once you take delivery. If you plan to use an LLC from Montana, or even are considering one, I strongly suggest that you contact the Bennett Law Office in order to discuss exactly what you will do. In addition, you will need to have a domicile set up somewhere as you must have that for other business activities as well as a way to get your mail. I believe that if you have not done so, you may well benefit by reading this article from Escapee's Magazine that discusses the selection of a place for your domicile.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You guys rock.... thoughtful answers by experienced folks. I just got back 10x what I paid to join escapees. I will likely combine your advice and do the LLC thing in Montana. I saw an ad in the escapee mag about that. My first trip will be to Illinois anyway. If I can just find a decent rig there. Washington has a 3 day trip permit, so I may be able to buy it here then get it to Montana ASAP. Domicile in SD is looking better for me since I will be going that way on the first trip

 

Thanks tons

:rolleyes:

 

No need to actually take the rig to MT in order to register it. Our titling and registration, as well as our LLC formation, were handled by Action Services of Missoula.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Kirk & all

I will call a couple of attorneys in MT about this stuff. I should have my cash by late May so have time to research these things. I'm leaning towards domicile in South Dakota with vehicles registered in MT. I'm on medicare and have a good supplemental policy through WA state. Would like to keep my banking in WA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm leaning towards domicile in South Dakota with vehicles registered in MT. I'm on medicare and have a good supplemental policy through WA state. Would like to keep my banking in WA.

Before you get too far, you might want to read the post from attorney Shawn Loring in the other thread about what you are considering. Also, check with your health insurance supplement plan to see if it will be available in SD as they have limited choices and you must buy insurance based upon your state of domicile.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

WA has gone after MT LLC RVs for tax fraud and won. A good friend works for Washington's Department of Revenue and warned me not to have a Montana LLC. He says Boeing might be an IL company, but the company vehicles in Washington are licensed in WA, not in IL, since they are used in WA. Trying to play the game of "for XXX1 I will use WA, for XXX2 I will use SD, etc." is a dangerous game. Best to pick a state and do everything there. For health insurance reasons we stayed Washington residents, with a relative handling our mail, and other than jury duty, it has worked out for 11 years of fulltiming.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He says Boeing might be an IL company, but the company vehicles in Washington are licensed in WA, not in IL, since they are used in WA.

 

I totally agree with this point; if a vehicle is largely used in one state then it should be licensed there. I worked for a large corporation with a presence in quite a few states; all company vehicles were registered in the states where they were used. But there is no relationship between your Boeing example and the OP's situation.

 

However, the OP says he is selling his home in WA, therefore, there is no reason that he needs to remain a WA resident nor have his vehicle registered there. We did exactly the same thing with Maryland. We sold our home, established a SD domicile and purchased our MH into our MT LLC, all pretty much simultaneously. As we had been advised, we intentionally filed a part year income tax return in Maryland for that year so the state was put on notice that we were no longer residents. Our vehicle shows up in MD for a couple of weeks each year while we visit grandchildren and once every couple of years it may spend a week or two in SD. We recently sold a piece of property in Maryland and the state considered us non-resident property holders for tax purposes and there were no questions relative to our domicile.

 

I support paying all the taxes you are obligated to pay, but IMHO there is no reason to pay taxes that you can legally avoid paying. As the famous judge Learned Hand once wrote: "Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back to 'repair' issues. I'm not one who believes in the 'engine/drive train' as being the 'major' repairs to look at. Simple fact is that most mechanical issues can be attended to in most large towns/cities. Sure they may cost a few dollars but they can be addressed even by those techs not in the RV industry. RV engines more often than not are under used rather than over used. Tires will be an on going expense regardless of RV type or age. It's a cost of RVing.

 

Me? I would look first at the coach build quality and look for any rust, side wall, roof, wood rot problems. These issues will be hard to fix in almost every town and/or city. How many coach builders are there in the whole country??? Oh yeah then there's floor plan. Can't fix that so easily either.

 

What I'm trying to say is don't just concentrate on drive train issues. Most RVers spend far more time living in their RVs rather than driving them. So start at than end of the problem and work towards the mechanical end. In all our years of traveling mechanical issues were all addressed at a nearby truck service center. Coach issues were a pain and required extra travel and time to address.

 

regards

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Again, super feedback everyone... thanks. The coming free stuff from Shawn Loring will be so very useful to many folks. The CARE group he recommends we support will one I'll not forget. I saw some very sad "nursing homes" when my dad passed a few years ago, so will contribute to them all I can.

 

I now feel confident that I have received professional advice sufficient for me to base my decisions on. This thread has been amazing.

 

Bill: I just looked at a Dutch Star this AM near Kingston and was impressed with the owners and the build quality. All new tires with 92K miles. No cash yet but that one is clearly on my short list.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I second Bennet for your LLC. That's who we use. ON another note, we will have our Winnibago for sale, if you are interested. It is a 2013 Adventurer, floorplan is thwe 37f. Look it up on their website. http://winnebagoind.com/products/class-a-gas/2015/adventurer/floorplans ,

 

If you have any interest email me at inflt48 AT gmail DOT com. We have pretty much every option offered, plus low mileage and serviced just a month ago. No issues whatsoever it is turnkey. We have decided to buy a home and settle down.

 

Good luck with whatever you decide

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm going to throw a wrench into the works a bit.

 

Consider staying a resident of Washington and yes, pay the 8.5% sales tax. The thing to realize is what you pay is amortized over the years you own the motorhome AND that cost is tax deductible the tax year you buy it (sales tax deduction). Now consider the insurance which could be significantly lower depending on what carrier you use and Washington registration for an RV is way cheap (example: my 2014 Excursion is $141.75 - that's around 10% of what a SD registration costs yearly). Lastly, proximity to Oregon and no sales tax for supplies, services and such.

 

The UPS store (mail boxes etc) is starting to cater to the snowbird/rv lifestyle so mail service can be arranged.

 

No LLC, no switching and after the first sticker shock, a pretty sweet deal. Oh, and you can always switch later on if you need to.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I second Bennet for your LLC. That's who we use. ON another note, we will have our Winnibago for sale, if you are interested. It is a 2013 Adventurer, floorplan is thwe 37f. Look it up on their website. http://winnebagoind.com/products/class-a-gas/2015/adventurer/floorplans ,

We had a Winnebago 34Y with the sofa and recliner across from the retracting TV. Loved it! Great for watching movies. Wish we'd had that 1/2 bath, though. If we were in the market today, I'd drag Dave out to see yours.

 

Linda Sand

Link to comment
Share on other sites

my 2014 Excursion is $141.75 - that's around 10% of what a SD registration costs yearly). Lastly, proximity to Oregon and no sales tax for supplies, services and such.

 

 

 

I'm not sure where you got your numbers from, but it sure wasn't the State of SD. Using the fee schedule effective on 4/1/2015 the renewal cost of tags for my 2014 CR-V will be $72. For your Excursion the cost would be either $108 or $144. If you want to check you can find the data here: http://dor.sd.gov/Motor_Vehicles/Fees/PDFs/non-commercial%20auto.pdf

 

It's also been my understanding from reading stories posted by others that WA is not particularly friendly towards full-time RVers and makes it difficult for full-timers to retain residency without a physical address. Are you sure that a UPS store or other commercial entity would be considered acceptable?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I just called up DMV yesterday with a question about this because we will be full-time RV'ing starting next month but selling our WA home.

 

The lady at the DMV told me I can use the address of the house I am selling even though we won't be there because it is on both our cars and our drivers licenses. She said you put the old house as the address and can give any mailing address even out of state for mail to be sent to.

 

I had a long talk with her about it because I was concerned about registering RV next month AFTER we sell...I said what address can I use? I am full time RV'ing and will have NO address but I am still a WA resident according to the rules I read online which are cars registered here, license here, vote here, etc.

 

I am forwarding our mail to our daughter out of state and she said that address was fine.

 

I will check back in next month to update that it really works!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow! I would be nervous about registering a newly purchased RV to an address at which someone else, not related to me is living. The person that you spoke with should be giving accurate information, but if it were me, I'd tray contacting someone else in the state HQ of your DOT just to verify that. After you buy and are trying to get it registered is not a good time to discover that the old address won't be acceptable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

HOME SOLD!!! Now to find a quality class A for FT use. I'm spending hours on RV trader and Criagslist to find some to go inspect. I will take the remarks about focusing on the quality of the coach build to heart and not just the chassis/motor.

 

I'm tossing out this new "hand grenade" question for the discussion group:

 

My short list of top quality makes goes like this... Using Newmar as a 10.0 (top quality build)

 

Tiffin, Itasca, Winnebago 8-9.0 quality

 

Rexall, Gulfstream: 7.5-8

 

What quality brands am I missing? Do these ratings ring true in general ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Foretravel, Bluebird Wanderlodge, Newell, Beaver Marquis, and Newmar's King Air would be in the top builds.

Then you have a bunch of other manufacturers that compete for the 9spot such as Beaver Patriot Thunder, Monaco Signature, Newmar Mountain Air Diesel, Country Coach's flagship (not sure of its name atm ), there are a few more.

Keep in mind that each manufacturer has their luxury models and then go down the line in quality of fit and finish to the entry level coaches. for example Winnibego's top of the line competes with the above lists but they have a lot that dont as well. Same with Fleetwood and their Amercan Coach line which is high quality luxury MHs and then they have a whole bunch of others that are more price conscious and the fit and finish suffer as a result.

 

There are a lot of coaches out there and somewhere in the mix is the right one for you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also keep in mind if used, ANY coach can be a money pit if not taken care of. If at all possible get those maint. records, sometimes hard from a dealer, but a private owner should have them. And if you're getting an extended warranty, those maint. records will really be needed if something major goes wrong like an engine or trans. failure. Be patient when looking, there's an awful lot of good coach's to choose from. Take a look at www.pplmotorhomes.com they're a consignment dealer in Texas that has a pretty good rep. And on their web site is a place that shows what coach's actually sold for. It's a good tool when figuring out what to offer a seller. Good luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...