We decided to enter the world of RVing because it was the key to travel for me post chemo and it was a terrific way to travel with our furry friends. What we later learned was that travel this way was more amazing than we could have imagined. However, the process of finding our RV was complicated. We could have paid for a new RV but the depreciation for those units was crazy high…. drive off the lot and lose half your value. We also noticed that many owners of newer RV’s were having problem after problem. They seemed to have their RV in the shop as much as they had it home.
So, being the do-it-yourself team that we are after renovating a Victorian, we decided to look at older models and buy something that we could pay in cash for and would leave us with plenty of resources to update and make ours. After much looking…. I really mean that… we purchased our Tiffin. But before I go over the joy of this purchase, let me share with you a near miss because I would not want others to have the same experience that we had.
When looking we found ourselves at a local Camping World looking at older, used RV’s. We found a Monaco that was AMAZING! When it sounds too good to be true… it probably is, right. So I was on guard. The sales boy (barely out of high school it seemed) admitted during our test drive that he had never driven “one of these” and his nervousness showed that. Yet he assured us that all systems on the bus had been checked out and worked properly. In our review, however, we noticed that there were tools in the bay near the aqua hot. Now, new to this at the time, I had no idea what an AquaHot was and had to do research. The sales person told me it was find…. it was the hot water heater and worked great. But then we noticed that the sale of this vehicle was “as is”. That is ALWAYS A RED FLAG!
So here we are ready to offer on this RV and discussing financing. That is when we asked to hook it up so we could test systems. They would not be able to do that at this time but after we do our financing they will be glad to get it hooked up. What he meant was that after I had committed to buy it they would hook it up. Red flags are turning into caution flares. We pressed on and told them we would need an inspector to come and look over the rig before we went further. That prompted the sales manager to add pressure…. This unit has interest from another dealer and if we do not act now they will sell to the other dealer and we will miss out.
I have bought a lot of real estate in my life and I can smell a rat. The pressure was to move on the sale immediately. I did more research and learned that AquaHots are notorious for having major problems and that they are VERY EXPENSIVE to fix… to the tune of 10K or more. We were talking about paying 40K for a 2010 Monaco tag axel… a really nice looking RV. But thinking of sinking another 10K into fixing the hot water system and radiant floor heating was making me concerned. My overall budget without needing financing was only 50K and I knew no matter what we bought, we would want to change something… that is just how we are.
Long story short…. we declined to buy and that rig sat on their lot for several more months before disappearing. In hind sight, we could have changed to a standard or on demand water heater and been okay but I worried about what else was hidden in the list of problems with that vehicle.
So back to the drawing board…. we watched ads online. We stumbled upon the local Tiffin add and our research had already told us that the three manufacturers we were most interested in were Tiffin, Monaco, and Newmar. So, this Tiffin caught my eye. We went to the home of the owner and toured. It is much older but in good shape. No history of leaks and new fuel pump and solid engine with low miles for a diesel pusher. The owners wanted a little more than I thought it was worth so we made an offer. They showed no interest in budging from their price so like any real estate transaction, I refused to be emotionally committed and we walked away. Two weeks later we went to a small used RV dealer in Greenville, SC. There we found several we were interested in that were in our budget. Unlike Camping World, it was not as is. They actually had a limited warrantee on their rigs and there were willing to make minor changes we asked for. They buy at auction, pull up carpets, refresh and resell. Perfect for us. But as we were speaking to the sales person I got a call from the Tiffin owner saying they would accept our offer. The Tiffin was a bit older than some we were looking at but had great potential and by saving money on the purchase, we could spend a little more to renovate.
So the deal was done and we picked her up. We have made many repairs, discovered some hidden problems and done some cool renovation already but we have much more to do. Come along as I share the rest of our journey.