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Old 01-26-2020, 03:08 PM   #1
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Default Making a long-distance buying decision

Hello, all, I hope I知 in the appropriate forum. If I find a rig I知 interested in for sale by a private seller (on RV Trader) far away from me, how can or should the sales process go? Are there protections that can be arranged if I commit to purchase before I can travel there? How can I be sure what I知 buying is really there? Are there people a buyer can employ to check out the rig for you, and how can you be confident in them? Or is this just a bad idea-not much on the market in my area.
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Old 01-26-2020, 03:23 PM   #2
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One important precaution is to ask for a photograph of the vehicle's VIN plate, preferably including some identifiable object that you specify--say, a handwritten note with the current date on it.
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Old 01-26-2020, 04:02 PM   #3
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I did it. The seller sent me the vin number. The vin search matched the seller’s name. I did a search on the seller’s name and it matched details in the ad, phone number, and phone conversation. I sent $1000 to hold with the promise to pay the rest on arrival if I completed the sale.

When I arrived there were several others lined up on her list that were begging for the unit, A Roadtrek C190P. She honored the sale. Her price was below market. I added $3k (took a lot of criticism for that!) Unit was more than expected with plastic still on the carpet and plumbing system never used tho 7 years old. ($30k total)

Anyhow, It worked for me but there was nothing I did that would have kept a dishonest person that didn’t own the unit from taking the $1000 and not been there when I arrived. No inspection on coach or chassis was done. I just lucked out.

At the time, 2010, I was always a day late trying to buy and was out of ideas. The seller was 2000 miles away. I lucked out seeing the Craigslist ad four hours after posting. And called the following sunrise.

Worked for me but she was honest and I was honest. Had she wanted to take the $1000 and run she could have. 75,000 miles later all is well. Biggest disappointment was Florida rust. Took a lot of work. GM parts were good but anything Roadtrek did under the coach was in bad shape. Propane tank had to come out and get cleaned up.

That was my experience. If you don’t do your own maintenance and repair you should probably buy new.
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Old 01-26-2020, 04:21 PM   #4
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A local RV shop can do a pre-purchase inspection of the coach. An auto mechanic can do the same for the van chassis. It requires cooperation from the seller, which may depend on how much local interest there is.
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Old 01-27-2020, 02:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avanti View Post
One important precaution is to ask for a photograph of the vehicle's VIN plate, preferably including some identifiable object that you specify--say, a handwritten note with the current date on it.
Thanks for the tip!
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Old 01-27-2020, 02:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hbn7hj View Post
I did it. The seller sent me the vin number. The vin search matched the seller’s name. I did a search on the seller’s name and it matched details in the ad, phone number, and phone conversation. I sent $1000 to hold with the promise to pay the rest on arrival if I completed the sale.

When I arrived there were several others lined up on her list that were begging for the unit, A Roadtrek C190P. She honored the sale. Her price was below market. I added $3k (took a lot of criticism for that!) Unit was more than expected with plastic still on the carpet and plumbing system never used tho 7 years old. ($30k total)

Anyhow, It worked for me but there was nothing I did that would have kept a dishonest person that didn’t own the unit from taking the $1000 and not been there when I arrived. No inspection on coach or chassis was done. I just lucked out.

At the time, 2010, I was always a day late trying to buy and was out of ideas. The seller was 2000 miles away. I lucked out seeing the Craigslist ad four hours after posting. And called the following sunrise.

Worked for me but she was honest and I was honest. Had she wanted to take the $1000 and run she could have. 75,000 miles later all is well. Biggest disappointment was Florida rust. Took a lot of work. GM parts were good but anything Roadtrek did under the coach was in bad shape. Propane tank had to come out and get cleaned up.

That was my experience. If you don’t do your own maintenance and repair you should probably buy new.
Thanks-I hope my future experience turns out as well!
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Old 01-27-2020, 05:13 AM   #7
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As for discrepancies there were many. The propane regulator leaked, the furnace didn’t work, the tires were seven years old and had to drive to Arizona (they made it). The generator ran but was full of rust requiring a new base plate, access door, and a lot of work.

Sometime during the seven years the original ECM had been replaced with one from a junkyard. This didn’t come to light till we replaced the original radio and the remote locks wouldn’t work properly. The doors would lock on their own, sometimes the remotes would work and sometimes they wouldn’t. A knowledgable GM tech figured it out and a new ECM with the actual VIN programmed into it was a $1000. The plumbing had taken a hit at the low point requiring the replacement of the dump valves.

The failed furnace was caused by a cold solder joint on the fuse board of the power panel.

The seller didn’t know about the crack in the plumbing nor would she have known about the replaced ECM causing problems. It worked just fine with the original radio.

This is to explain why it is not cost effective to have to pay a professional for such repairs. There was a lot of troubleshooting involved in getting things right.

The engine was solid with no tire wear, alignment problems. I would do it again but it is a lot of work to buy a used RV and get everything working properly.

The seller’s phone was ringing every few hours when I arrived. Messing around with an inspection and getting all the repairs done was out of the question. Either take it or someone else will. It was a good buy but it was a lot of work. I would do it again.

The original bill of sale was $76k. The last ones built were probably $110k or more. You will still have problems buying new but they will be different ones.

On the other side it cost the seller $550/mo., $46k for seven years, not including interest, to own that coach. Probably the worst investment she ever made. Buying new isn’t for sissies!
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Old 01-27-2020, 03:51 PM   #8
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So, is “NRVIA certified inspector a real thing? Have you any experience with one?
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