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Seeking Advice for Purchasing My First RV


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Hi everyone,

This is my first message, and I'm very excited to join the community! I'm seeking assistance in finding my first RV to purchase at the beginning of August, travel with my family (6 people) for 5 months, and then sell afterward. I'm looking for a Class C RV, around 30 feet long.

I've already found some relevant listings on RVTrader.com and Craigslist, but I need some advice on how to choose the best one, what to check before buying it, and which features are most relevant for me.

By the way, is it okay to add links to the relevant listings here?

Thanks

 

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Welcome to the Escapee forums! Links to things of interest are fine. Just don't use links to advertise things for yourself.

RV Trader is a good place to shop. If you would share your location, we might be able to point you to some RV dealers who have good reputations as well. Also, share some more information about who will be using the RV as in number of adults & number and age of children. You would also be wise to take advantage of one of the pre-purchase RV inspection services as well before you spend any money. An idea of what your budget for the purchase is would also help us to advise you. 

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure

            images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQqFswi_bvvojaMvanTWAI

 

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On the outside what you are wanting to do sounds so good, right? No matter what RV you purchase, it will depreciate by about 50% as soon as you drive it, pull it, haul it and live in it overnight. Will that fit your budget? Can your 6 people live together in an "Efficiency" apartment? If not it won't be any easier in a home on wheels. (Or any bigger). 

Try renting one for a week or two with half the people and see how it works out. 

 


Good luck, 

 

Rod

White 2000/2010Volvo VNL 770 with 7' Drom box with opposing doors,  JOST slider hitch. 600 HP Cummins Signature 18 Speed three pedal auto shift.

1999 Isuzu VehiCross retired to a sticks and bricks garage. Brought out of storage the summer of 2022

2022 Jeep Wrangler Sport S Two door hard top.

2007 Honda GL 1800

2013 Space Craft Mfg S420 Custom built Toyhauler

The Gold Volvo is still running and being emptied in July. 

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Basically, we cannot make suggestions because we do not know what things are relevant to you.  For example, how old are those 6 people?  Many RVs will tell you a unit sleeps 6, but many of those sleeping places are child-sized. For example, I have a jackknife loveseat that will sleep someone no older than about 6 years.  The two bunks I have are 70" long, but very narrow and my 5'3" granddaughters barely fit and would certainly be  uncomfortable over 5 months!!!  

The depreciation rule, by the way, assumes you are buying something new.  Is that what you plan to do? 

Also, what do you mean by RV?  Are you planning on buying a motorhome or a trailer?  If you want a trailer, do you have an appropriate pickup truck to pull it with?

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Welcome. Sounds like you have started doing your homework.

First, spend some time at every dealer and RV show you can. Look at everything on the lot, from the ratty old pop-up out back to the three million dollar Class A out front. You are looking for two things: floor plan and quality. The older units will give you an idea of the quality you can expect. The floor plan will tell you if you can spend two or three days inside and not kill each other.

Remember that you will have something towing something else. A motorized coach will need a towed vehicle to get around. You may thing that a Class C can be you daily driver, and there are people who do that, but putting everything away for travel and then setting it up again can get old pretty quickly.

I'd suggest that you start out buying a used rig, rather than a new one. Depreciation may not be quite the 50% mentioned above, but it will be pretty hefty. Very few people buy the right rig the first time, and some trade two or three times in the first year or two.

rvtrader.com is a great source for finding lots of RVs, but remember that prices for similar units can vary widely. PPL Motorhomes (pplmotorhomes.com) is a good place to get an idea of the low end of prices. They are a consignment company with several locations around the country. Their largest store is in Houston. They generally price pretty low so the rigs move quickly. Since they are a consignment place, though, they don't have the final say on the asking price, other than telling a seller that the asking price is too high and to take their rig elsewhere.

David Lininger, kb0zke
1993 Foretravel U300 40' (sold)
2022 Grand Design Reflection 315RLTS

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Posted (edited)

Hi,

Thank you so much for all the useful answers, thoughts, and information.

I will be arriving in Portland, Oregon, in three weeks and wish to buy a used Class C motorhome, around 30 ft, for me, my wife, and our kids (ages 4, 8, 10, and 12). My budget is around $40K-$50K.

I could use some help finding reliable RV dealers around Portland, as well as understanding which offers on RVTrader or Craigslist I should consider.

Here are some of the listings i have found (pasted as links):

  1. 2011 Freelander  30 qb
  2. 2005 GREYHAWK 30GS
  3. 2014 Leprechaun 33ft
  4. 2004 Jayco Greyhawk

Which ones would you recommend and why? What do you think I should ask the seller in the first email? Which information is most relevant?

Thank you.

Edited by arielg
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3 hours ago, arielg said:

I will be arriving in Portland, Oregon, in three weeks

Where will you be arriving from? You will need an address in whatever state you plan to register the RV in to be able to register it and to get insurance. Are you arriving from another country? There is much to do before you arrive if you do not already have an address here. 

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure

            images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQqFswi_bvvojaMvanTWAI

 

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4 hours ago, arielg said:

Which information is most relevant?

Without a doubt, the #1 most important item is the condition of the entire RV. Will you have the financial ability to pay for major repairs? In 5 months of travel you could have significant need for repairs. I would highly recommend that you have a professional pre-purchase RV inspector go over whatever you choose to buy. The one with best odds of meeting your needs without significant need for repairs would be the 2014 Coachman, because of the low mileage. 

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure

            images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQqFswi_bvvojaMvanTWAI

 

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2 hours ago, Kirk W said:

The one with best odds of meeting your needs without significant need for repairs would be the 2014 Coachman, because of the low mileage. 

I know nothing about brands so I only look at floor plans and tank capacities.

I like the one Kirk suggested best because the shower is in the bathroom and the fridge is in the kitchen rather than either being across the hall. 

My first question would be about seatbelts for the kids plus a place for a booster seat for the 4-year old since that is required in the US. If they can all sit at the dinette during travel that would give them place to play games.

But, before I look at any of that I would check into renting an RV since the buying, titling, insuring, then selling would all take time away from traveling. There are a couple of companies that specialize in renting RVs for foreign travelers. El Monte and Cruise America come quickly to mind but there may be others.

https://www.elmonterv.com

https://www.cruiseamerica.com

Linda Sand

Blog: http://sandcastle.sandsys.org/

Former Rigs: Liesure Travel van, Winnebago View 24H, Winnebago Journey 34Y, Sportsmobile Sprinter conversion van

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On 7/7/2024 at 8:52 PM, Kirk W said:

Where will you be arriving from? You will need an address in whatever state you plan to register the RV in to be able to register it and to get insurance. Are you arriving from another country? There is much to do before you arrive if you do not already have an address here. 

Hi - Indeed i am from another country. I know that this is an issue and i am trying to resolve this.

 

 

On 7/7/2024 at 9:02 PM, Kirk W said:

Without a doubt, the #1 most important item is the condition of the entire RV. Will you have the financial ability to pay for major repairs? In 5 months of travel you could have significant need for repairs. I would highly recommend that you have a professional pre-purchase RV inspector go over whatever you choose to buy. The one with best odds of meeting your needs without significant need for repairs would be the 2014 Coachman, because of the low mileage. 

Thank you for your advice ! Makes a lot of sense

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On 7/7/2024 at 11:33 PM, sandsys said:

I know nothing about brands so I only look at floor plans and tank capacities.

I like the one Kirk suggested best because the shower is in the bathroom and the fridge is in the kitchen rather than either being across the hall. 

My first question would be about seatbelts for the kids plus a place for a booster seat for the 4-year old since that is required in the US. If they can all sit at the dinette during travel that would give them place to play games.

But, before I look at any of that I would check into renting an RV since the buying, titling, insuring, then selling would all take time away from traveling. There are a couple of companies that specialize in renting RVs for foreign travelers. El Monte and Cruise America come quickly to mind but there may be others.

https://www.elmonterv.com

https://www.cruiseamerica.com

Linda Sand

Regarding renting, I have considered this option. However, it would cost twice as much as the expected expenses from buying, selling, insurance, etc. (based on information from people who have done the same). Renting is more reasonable for short periods, but we want to travel for 5-5.5 months.

Could you please provide more details about the floor plans and tank capacities? Additionally, which features did you find most important when selecting an RV?

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1 hour ago, arielg said:

which features did you find most important when selecting an RV?

Of course preferences are different for different people but here's some of mine.

Walk around bed since I can no longer crawl. Seating facing the TV so as to not get a crick in the neck when watching a movie. Microwave not placed so high it was unsafe for me to use as a short person. Toilet having enough space in front of it for my husband's long legs. Counter each side of the kitchen sink so dirty dishes can been one side while clean ones went to the other side as we washed them. A place by the stove to lay down a spatula. Shower big enough to pick up dropped soap. :)

We didn't travel with young children so didn't have to wonder about such things as where to bathe them and was there a place to anchor a child seat.

I hope these help you think about what YOU need.

Linda Sand

Blog: http://sandcastle.sandsys.org/

Former Rigs: Liesure Travel van, Winnebago View 24H, Winnebago Journey 34Y, Sportsmobile Sprinter conversion van

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5 hours ago, arielg said:

Hi - Indeed i am from another country. I

5 hours ago, arielg said:

we want to travel for 5-5.5 months.

You need to understand that doing that it will consume a lot of time making those arrangements and Oregon is not the best choice to do that. You would be much better off to buy and register the RV in either Florida or Texas because both have a lot of RVs available and both of those states will allow you to use a mail service as the address to register and insure the RV that you buy. Oregon requires that you must live in Oregon for at least 6 months before you are allowed to become a full-time traveler without a physical address. You have not said when in August, but with this being July 9, there are only 51 more days at most before you arrive in Portland. Is there some important reason for arriving in Portland? If you were to arrive in Houston, TX you cold very easily join the Escapees RV Club and use their mail service as your address and there are a couple of large dealers in used RVs in Houston who work with non US citizens to arrange such a purchase and are very familiar with what must be done. Probably the most experienced would be PPL RV and you can see on the website that they have a very large inventory of used RVs. You could even contact them now to get their help. If you have some reason for arriving in Portland, I strongly recommend that you contact the Oregon Driver & Motor Vehicle Services department and talk to them about what you intend to do. 

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure

            images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQqFswi_bvvojaMvanTWAI

 

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I second Kirk's advice. If you can, fly into Houston, rent a car for a few days, go to Livingston to get set up with Escapees, then over to PPL to find a rig. I suspect that there are people in Houston who would be happy to help you check rigs at PPL. Also, I believe you will need an International Driver's License. Escapees may be able to help you with that, too.

Give both places a call tomorrow or Friday. A hurricane did go through there a couple of days ago, so businesses are still getting back up and running. Livingston (where Escapees is) is east of Houston and should be up and running quickly. PPL is on the SW side of Houston, so they may have had more damage there.

David Lininger, kb0zke
1993 Foretravel U300 40' (sold)
2022 Grand Design Reflection 315RLTS

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Also, since you are traveling with 6 people, you also need to check the Cargo Carrying Capacity.  This is the total weight of things you can put in the motorhome, and includes the weight of all people, groceries, clothing, maintenance and cleaning stuff, water in fresh water and sewage tanks.  Basically, this weight is whatever you added to the RV after it left the factory.  Big Class Cs like this one are often built on the same chassis as smaller ones, thus they have less cargo carrying capacity.

As an example, my 32' C has only 1,300 pounds CCC.  I travel alone but if I added three other adults, plus clothing and groceries, I would be over-weight.  Being over-weight means your vehicle will ride worse and you might have tire blowouts or break springs, etc. 

I save weight by always emptying my waste tanks and not filling up fresh water tanks until I get to my destination. 

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Just a note on your driving license. The USA has an agreement with a number of countries where they accept your home countries driving license. If your country is a part of the visa waiver program then I believe your home license will be OK. However check with the insurance company to see what they also require.

Again renting will be much easier. Rental companies will do the insurance and indicate their license requirements.

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