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Which Motorhome Will Keep Its Value Best?


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#1 BarbRN

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 06:12 PM

We have narrowed our motorhome search down to two Winnebagos. We hope to keep it a few years and try to sell it and recover some of our money at that time. Which one would be the best for resale in ... three years, for example? How do you come up with the estimates?

2005 Winnebago Adventure with every option available. $60K range

2002 Winnebago Brave 32 with several options. $30K range

Both are extremely low mileage.

Any thoughts?
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#2 kingfr

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 07:37 PM

I would expect that you would loose less money with the 2002 than the 2005. If each depreciates 30% over 3 years, you are out $9K on the 2002 and $18K on the 2005. Probably a better question is which one are you more comfortable in, assuming that the initial purchase price is not an issue on either coach. A motorhome is not an investment, it is a hole in the air to throw money into! :rolleyes:
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#3 Shields

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 08:21 PM

Welcome the FMCA forum.

After three years (2014) the two coaches will be 9 and 12 years old, respectively. By that time, both will be heavily depreciated and their resale value will depend mostly on mileage, condition, and amenities.

So, with that in mind, you might want to focus on the mileage first. Once a gas powered coach exceeds 100,000 miles, the values tend to drop faster. Since both are low miles, will you still be under 100K in three years?

Next, look carefully at the condition of each coach and think through what repairs, replacements or refurbishments will be needed during the time you’ll own it.

Finally (and maybe most importantly) which coach will you and your family have the most fun with? Getting an RV you really like and will use more often is an equally important value proposition. No matter what, you’re likely to loose money; but it’s an investment in fun, adventure and memories.

Good luck and happy RVing in the New Year.

Tim and Beth Shields
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#4 BarbRN

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Posted 29 December 2010 - 08:44 PM

Welcome the FMCA forum.

After three years (2014) the two coaches will be 9 and 12 years old, respectively. By that time, both will be heavily depreciated and their resale value will depend mostly on mileage, condition, and amenities.

So, with that in mind, you might want to focus on the mileage first. Once a gas powered coach exceeds 100,000 miles, the values tend to drop faster. Since both are low miles, will you still be under 100K in three years?

Next, look carefully at the condition of each coach and think through what repairs, replacements or refurbishments will be needed during the time you’ll own it.

Finally (and maybe most importantly) which coach will you and your family have the most fun with? Getting an RV you really like and will use more often is an equally important value proposition. No matter what, you’re likely to loose money; but it’s an investment in fun, adventure and memories.

Good luck and happy RVing in the New Year.

Tim and Beth Shields

All excellent points and the Shields hit it on the head. One thing I'll take exception with is 30% depreciation. A newer car will depreciate more in the beginning and slows in it's later years. Wouldn't this be the same with a motorhome?
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#5 vtbigdog

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 10:38 AM

Depreciation is only a factor when you sell and also keep in mind that the selling prices of items like cars, trucks, RVs and the like are often below what would be a reasonable value. That is just the way it is.

From my perspective I would purchase the RV that suits your needs, particularly if you are going to keep it for several years. Both RVs you mention will be nearly fully depreciated and condition will be the determining factor when selling.
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#6 TBUTLER

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 04:07 PM

Of course the value of anything is ultimately determined by the demand for the item. When the fuel prices skyrocketed in 2005, we saw huge numbers of motor homes with for sale prices parked along roadways and very few motor homes on the road. If you wanted to sell in that market you would have been competing with many other sellers for the money from very few buyers. Buyers were scared away by the operating costs for a large vehicle that gets under 10 MPG when fuel was selling at over $4.00 per gallon. I'm sure many didn't sell their motor homes because they simply weren't able to find any buyers.

The motor home resale market is still soft and prices for older motor homes are low because that is the only way to sell them. Some of this is due to fuel prices but at the current time an even larger factor is the anemic economy. Loans are hard to get and many people who would love to have a motor home are more concerned about having some savings in case their job suddenly disappears.

If you have a clear vision of the future of the economy, fuel prices, and a host of other factors that are going to influence buyers then you can make a good estimate. In reality, owning a motor home is, as said so well above, an investment in "fun, adventure and memories." If you can't afford to throw that money away for that purpose then don't take the plunge. Consider anything you recover in the sale at the end of your adventure as an unplanned gift.

We've lived in our current motor home for seven years and in that time, the money it cost us to operate it and keep in on the road would be an incredibly small portion of what it would have cost us to travel full time all over the US and Canada by any other means. We're on a car trip right now and I recently remarked to Louise that the $80 to $100 motel prices we've encountered (nice motels) sure make the $35 per night RV campsite look like a great bargain. And then there is the convenience factor of traveling in your own vehicle, sleeping in your own bed every night, setting your own schedule as you travel. What is that worth? Priceless!
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Tom and Louise Butler
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After 9 1/2 years full time in our motor home and being Winter Texans we are now living at Sandpipers Resort in Edinburg, Texas. Now we are Summer Chickens!

"The tipi is much better to live in; always clean and warm in winter, cool in summer, easy to move... If the Great Spirit wanted men to live in one place he would have made the world stand still." -- Flying Hawk, South Dakota Oglala Sioux


#7 hermanmullins

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 04:52 PM

Well said Tom. I had a friend that bought a travel trailer, $18,000.00. On his first trip he said "well that trip cost us $18,000.00 but on his second trip he said "well that trip only cost $9,000.00. You can see where this is going. Buying a motor home is an investment in a life style. I don't mean to be brash but if your only thought is how much can I get for my unit in the future you arn't going to have much enjoyment with your purchase.
Everyone looks up in December, January, and February and thinks this is a lot of money to spend each month for something sitting in storage. But come spring and you go out for the first time you think now this is what it is all about.
An RV be it a popup or a motor home it is an investment although is deprecates in value it's return in memories is worth more then gold.
Buy what you can afford. "DON'T WORRY BE HAPPY"
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#8 garykd

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 07:12 PM

Hi BarbRN,
Welcome to the FMCA forum. The 2005 price is way too high for a gas coach. I know of a 2004 Newmar Mountain Aire Gas, low mileage, 3 slides , all maintenance records, professionally maintained and in excellent condition for sale and the price is less than $60K. It is a Florida coach and being sold due to the owner's deteriorating health. On this point, would one want the Winnie or a Newmar Mountain Aire? If you want to contact the owner, let me know. PM me would be best.

More importantly is the view of buy it, use it and sell it. Some of the posts mention about RVing being an investment in a lifestyle. That is what RVing is all about. Consider buying the floor plan that best meets how you'll use the coach. You'll remember the coach's livability long after the $s have been spent. If you purchase the right coach, it will grow on you. Soon it will be a member of the family. All too soon, selling it will be out of the question. If you ever did sell it, it would be one of the hardest things you've ever done.
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#9 BarbRN

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 09:15 PM

Gary, help me understand why a 2004 Newmar gas is a better deal than a 2005 Winnie gas at the same price?
I really don't get it.
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#10 BarbRN

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 09:17 PM

Tom Butler, you must be a writer. Beautifully stated and some well taken points for sure. Whatever we spend on a motorhome is a dream and a bit of a stretch. We are near retirement and working hard to prepare for retirement. It's all scarey but a lifetime dream as well.
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#11 hermanmullins

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 11:23 AM

Gary, help me understand why a 2004 Newmar gas is a better deal than a 2005 Winnie gas at the same price?
I really don't get it.

Quality.
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"Fair winds and Following Seas"

Herman & Bobbie Mullins, F302225
Whitewright, TEXAS
'02 Monaco Dynasty, 40-foot 400 HP ISL
Chevrolet Silverado (M & G air brakes)
U.S. Navy PR-3 1956 to 1964

Southern Region Vice President for Six-State Rally Association
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South Central Lucky Rollers
Rally in The Pasture


#12 TBUTLER

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 04:43 PM

Tom Butler, you must be a writer. Beautifully stated and some well taken points for sure. Whatever we spend on a motorhome is a dream and a bit of a stretch. We are near retirement and working hard to prepare for retirement. It's all scarey but a lifetime dream as well.


Thanks BarbRN,

I wouldn't call myself a writer but I've done quite a bit of it as part of my job over the years. When I started out, I was pretty rough but with lots of practice I've improved a lot!

Herman started me thinking with his comment about the cost of a trip. I did a few calculations and our current motor home has cost us about $65 per day to own! Add another $35 for the average campground and I'm looking at a cost of $100 a day. I guess I could write a book, America on $100 a Day!
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Tom and Louise Butler
2004 Monaco Windsor, Cummins 400 ISL
Roadmaster Sterling Tow Bar, Brakemaster, GMC Acadia, BikeE Recumbent Bicycles

After 9 1/2 years full time in our motor home and being Winter Texans we are now living at Sandpipers Resort in Edinburg, Texas. Now we are Summer Chickens!

"The tipi is much better to live in; always clean and warm in winter, cool in summer, easy to move... If the Great Spirit wanted men to live in one place he would have made the world stand still." -- Flying Hawk, South Dakota Oglala Sioux


#13 garykd

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Posted 31 December 2010 - 05:06 PM

Hi BarbRN,
I'm not going to start a flame war as to which is the better coach. That would take the thread off topic and not accomplish what this thread is all about. If you have never been in a Newmar Mountain Aire consider doing that before you make a purchase. The Newmar Mountain Aire interior is very well appointed. When Newmar made the gas engine version of the coach the interior was kept the same as the diesel. The Mountain Aire is part of Newmar's luxury line of motor coaches. The worst thing you can do is make a purchase and a few months later determine you could have done better. There are differences in how the two companies make their coaches. The features provided as standard and options. The interior decor, the materials used and the feeling one gets when in the coach. The capacity of the water tanks (fresh and holding). These are some of the differences between a standard and a luxury coach. Consider getting additional information on this or any other luxury coach. You may be surprised as to what is available.

The OP mentions about holding value over time. If you check with dealers, they will tell you when a pre owned Newmar comes to their lot, many times it is sold before it arrives or very shortly there after. PM me if you want additional information on this Newmar coach.
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Gary
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Tow With Tow Bar & Dolly (not at the same time)
Coach & Towed Combined Weight Is 37K lbs.
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#14 dalltop

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Posted 01 January 2011 - 09:20 PM

Quality is key. Cheap is sometimes just cheap. If you are not experienced in what to look for then be very careful. Each chassis and drive train have strengths and weakness. Most of the appliance are manufactured by a few companies and used by all of the coach makers. Coaches wall (frame) construction, trim, and cabinetry of the coach itself help determine how well the unit will hold up over the years.

There are a lot of details to sift through. How are the cabinets constructed? What materials; press board, plywood? How where the cabinets joined; stapled, miter joined...

Thats just cabinets. There are a lot of systems and components. I would rather have an older quality unit then a newer poorly constructed or designed unit.
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#15 Graybeard315

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Posted 02 January 2011 - 09:26 PM

Having recently purchased a used coach (November) I can pesonally tell you there are some really great deals out there right now! But as noted above, you have to search.

With specific regards to your question, try the Edmunds or NADA sites for what the values are. IMHO do not pay any attention to asking prices on coaches from dealers, other than for a general guide. Our '01 40 DP 'window stickered' at $129,000. We were out the door for about $35k under that. In this case the coach had only 16k verifiable miles and is in excellent condition.

Our good friends bought a 200 single slide 36' gas MH last Mar for around $47k, looking back, they'll tell you it's probably worth only $25k in the real marketplace. IMO "look, having looked, look again",

Good luck and hope to see ya'll on the road.
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#16 schoolsout2

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 11:06 AM

We bought our first class A in the fall. What to pay and fair price? We found a MH that was what we wanted. Price range, style floorplan etc... I then searched the internet to find others like it to determine if the price was fair. Resale was not a factor as we were buying into the MH life and our retirement. Like my cars, they never seam to get what I think they are worth when I sell them. My research showed that used or new MH all have problems. My new car had issues and it cost as much as our MH.

Yes I found some priced much less and others priced for much more. I wanted a dealer close to help with the major items. Find one that you say "now this is what we want" suffer the pains of repairs and most of all HAVE FUN. Worry about resale when you want to buy the next one.
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#17 BarbRN

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 11:15 AM

Well, our situation WAS different. We wanted one for a year with a quick turnaround after the 6 month trip that was planned. Now things have changed and we hope to hold onto it longer. We made a decision and got a good price on a private owner sale on a Winnebago Adventurer.
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#18 trocheleau

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 11:34 AM

I am by no means an expert with regard to the value retention of a motorhome or what you may expect to get back in a few years if you decide to sell, but basically, Winnebago motorhomes are high quality and probably receive top price on trade-in or sale. The key factors are the condition of the coach, whether or not the tires are new (by year stamp on the tire and not by visual inspection only) and the mileage on the coach. In your case you are dealing with 2 motorhomes, one which is 3 years newer than the other. Additionally, the older coach is smaller and shorter and was probably much cheaper when first pruchased. Mileage above 50,000 miles on a gas coach typically lowers the trade and resale value as well. You definately will NOT make money on a resale, and may recover a lot more if plan to trade up later on to a larger coach. GOOD LUCK with your choice.
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#19 roaminrancher

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 12:59 PM

We have narrowed our motorhome search down to two Winnebagos. We hope to keep it a few years and try to sell it and recover some of our money at that time. Which one would be the best for resale in ... three years, for example? How do you come up with the estimates?

2005 Winnebago Adventure with every option available. $60K range

2002 Winnebago Brave 32 with several options. $30K range

Both are extremely low mileage.

Any thoughts?

I wouldn't buy a motorhome with the thought of getting anything close to what I paid back at re-sale. You're on the right track already by buying a used one. Buy the less expensive one, if that's what you want, and enjoy your time traveling. If you look on eBay, you'll see that motorhomes with very little mileage are sold for a fraction of the original price. Buy a motorhome to have fun, and take good care of it. It will last a long time, and you can give it to your kids someday. Happy travels!
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#20 mikron

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Posted 06 January 2011 - 01:28 PM

We are on our 4th Class A coach. We do look for best price by checking the Internet and shopping near home. We have always picked our MHs by the floor plan and how it fits us. We have only bought gas coaches, we don't travel over 5,000 miles per year. Price is important but design and our comfort and use of space count as much if not more. Just bought our 2008 35' 3 slide Four Wind Windsport for $65,000.00. Coach had under 12,000 miles and in excellent condition.
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