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L mag

Dealer or private seller

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Hello.   We are looking at a coach that has 79,000 miles on it. 2011 terra fleet wood.   He is asking 45,000.  My question is is it better to buy private than a dealer and why?  Is it a bad choice to buy a coach with such high miles?   

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Welcome to the Escapee forums!

There is really no easy answer to what you ask as a great deal depends on you and on the RV in question. If the RV is in good condition and has been well maintained, it could be a good buy. Based on the listing by NADA the price is a bit high as they say average is $41,000 but if they are asking $45k you cold probably buy it for no more than $40k and possibly as low as $35k. It has a gasoline engine so the condition of the engine and transmission are of vital importance. That engine should be good to 150k if properly cared for and maintained but it could be destroyed in far less. In addition, the RV is now 9 years old so if the appliances are still original and have been used much, they probably will begin to fail in the next few years, which could be expensive. If used a great deal most RV appliances have a life of between 10 and 15 years. Tires are also very important and you should check the tire build date on the sidewall as any tire that is more than 7 years old should be replaced, regardless of condition. I would also consider replacing all belts and hoses before any long trips and since it has an EDPM roof, the condition of it is also very important as it could be nearing the end of it's life, if not very well maintained. Basically, you would be wise to hire a professional to do a complete pre-purchase inspection to be sure of what you are buying.

As to where it is best to buy, either a dealer or an individual can be either good or bad. With most dealers you do get some support after the sale and possibly as much as 30 days of warranty where a private sale will be as is and have no recourse if things go bad. 

Edited by Kirk W

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Welcome to the forums!

I agree with all that Kirk posted.  One additional suggestion is to have the RV inspected by a independent certified RV Inspector and a certified automotive mechanic.  The cost for the inspections can save you in the long run; especially if they find things that are going to be expensive to fix.  

Best regards,

Richard "Doc"

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A private seller is selling the vehicle as is, where is. There is NO guarantee that it will do anything. Offsetting that is the fact that the seller is usually the person who is most familiar with it and can give you a really good instruction time. Private sellers sometimes have no idea of what their rig is worth, so you may have to educate one or two.

A reputable dealer (and "reputable" is the key) has a good reputation in the area and wants to keep it. Said dealer has spent some money on the rig before you ever see or hear about it. Some other rig went off the lot at a huge discount because the dealer gave that buyer a trade-in allowance. The dealer has no guarantee that anyone will every want to buy that coach. Offsetting that is the fact that the dealer usually knows exactly what he can get for the coach and factors in his expenses and overhead in making the trade-in offer. The coaches on the lot are generally priced a bit higher than what the dealer expects to get for them because people like to negotiate the price.

I said that "reputable" was the key. There are some dealers that only want one reputation - they sell for the lowest price. Those people do the bare minimum to get a rig ready for sale, they know little about their inventory (other than what they are supposed to get for it), and really aren't expecting you to return to them.

It still comes down to buyer beware. Do your homework before you go looking. Ask questions, both about the prospective coach and the dealership. Join the owners forums for any brands you are considering, ask lots of questions there, and when you are going to go look at a specific rig, ask about it. Ask that any comments be sent to you privately, not posted publicly on the forum. Sometimes people know things about an owner or rig that they don't want to share publicly.

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Any used vehicle is a crap shoot. Ones that show how well they were maintained are more desirable. Getting it checked out by a qualified RV tech would be good, but keep in mind that you would have to pay them, a couple hours of their time to Inspect it. You could also purchase an extended warranty if you are really concerned about the longevity. Used vehicles are all different then each other. There is only one like it in the world. 

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42 minutes ago, kb0zke said:

I said that "reputable" was the key. There are some dealers that only want one reputation - they sell for the lowest price. Those people do the bare minimum to get a rig ready for sale, they know little about their inventory (other than what they are supposed to get for it), and really aren't expecting you to return to them.

I consider PPL Motorhomes to be a reputable dealer but the rest of that description does come close to fitting them. We refused to list ours for the low price they suggested but it sold anyway. So, it's also seller beware.

Linda Sand

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I have used a consignment dealer in East Texas to buy and sell my last 4 coaches. They clean up and detail the coach, and leave it plugged into 50 amp all the time with heat or ac running.all the time. Looked at PPL, but their consigned coaches are not plugged in and are in the same shape as the seller left them in when they brought it in. As far as I know, they charge the same 10% commission as PPL and advertise in all the same places. They will not accept coaches that do not meet their standards though.

https://www.motorhomesoftexas.com/used-motorhomes-for-sale-Nacogdoches-texas--inventory?condition=pre-owned

Edited by jcussen

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Since we've kind of strayed to PPL, I've been to two of their three locations. Houston has FAR more rigs than you could want to think about. They are packed in with just enough room to squeeze between one and the next one. As was mentioned above, most of the rigs are just as the seller left them. They do offer an optional clean-up service, but I don't think may sellers take advantage of it. The prices are at the low end of the scale, and they move the inventory quickly. If you are looking for a diamond in the rough, you may find it there.

We've also been to the New Braunfels location. Not as many rigs there, and they seemed to be in better condition.

MOT has an excellent reputation with the Foretravel people.

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