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Rent A Large DP Before Buying?


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#1 99phantoms

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 04:40 PM

I’ve been lurking this forum for a few months… this is my first post.

I have never owned or operated any type of RV.  Live in Memphis TN and am considering becoming a full-timer in 20 mos when I retire.

Studying large DPs has become a preoccupation the last 6 mos. I’ve toured the Tiffin, Entegra, and Newmar factories.  If buying new today, I know what I’d want.  Buying used is still somewhat of a mystery.

It’s becoming more difficult to ignore the advice that says rent one & try the lifestyle to keep from making an expensive mistake.  But, how does one do that?  Renting a large DP is expensive.  

How long is required to give this idea an honest evaluation?  Is it a good investment to spend $15k renting for a month?  

Are there alternatives? Is it reasonable to think I’d be able to rent a large DP from an individual for about a month? (eg, one that is for sale)

How can I calm the critics?


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#2 wolfe10

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 04:48 PM

99phantoms,

 

Welcome to the FMCA Forum.

 

Certainly renting is one option.  But I see a BIG negative-- you are then in a position of evaluating a life-style while almost certainly in the "learning phase".

 

Most who travel by motorhome started out knowing very little about the lifestyle and the machines that make it possible. 

 

I suspect if most reflect back, the enjoyment after learning the ropes far exceeded that experienced during the "learning phase".

 

I am not sure how to direct you, but clearly if renting is anywhere near $15k a month, you would likely be better served by buying a used coach in good condition so that the big depreciation hit has been taken by someone else. Like the life style-- keep it.  If not, sell it.


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#3 99phantoms

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 05:16 PM

wolfe10,

 

Good advice.

 

Shopping new RVs is easy.  Looking at used RVs, for me, would be like a hog looking at a wristwatch... not quite sure how I would proceed.

 

I've read that you should buy used from a private seller... but they are way spread out.  One could spend a lot of time/money traveling around visiting RVs for sale.

 

I'm hoping to attend Hershey in Sep.  Will there be a lot of used RVs there for sale?


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#4 Howde

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 05:33 PM

99Phantoms,

 

One option would be to look at other RV forums that are specific to the brand you think you want to buy.  Tiffin owners (independent of the maker) use tiffinrvnetwork.com; they also have a classified section.

 

I think irv2.com has sections for different makers.  Two dealers that are popular are Lazydays in Tampa and Arizona, LaMesa with multiple locations, and there are many, many others. 

 

If you find an RV that is appealing, ask on forums such as this about the dealer's reputation, etc.  At the big RV shows they are usually selling their new RVs but you probably can make a connection with a salesman that has some used ones on his lot. 

 

Good luck! 


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#5 DickandLois

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 05:33 PM

99phantoms,

 

Also a welcome to the FMCA Forum!

 

You quest for the answer is like the question, which came first the chicken or the egg.

I dare say that the large majority of owners started out in something smaller then a large diesel pusher. 

 

The exception might be someone who has driven large Semi's, Bus's, School buses or large fire engines. One gets comfortable with 40 plus feet of vehicle fallowing them behind the drivers seat.

 

Brett's thoughts are right on for the majority of newcomers to the RV life style.

 

Buying a good used coach, that has many or most of the features from your list of options even if its a little on the shorter side offers one the best of both possibilities. Loving the life stile or just not comfortable at the other end.

 

Your market size is larger with a mid sized coach be it Gas or Diesel, you avoid the large write off up front and have wiggle room if you want out.

 

The learning curve is a little smaller regarding a gas coach if you have never driven a vehicle with air brakes. The two do ride differently when adding the air ride of the diesel units. All in all not to bad a trade off to start your adventure.

 

The rest of the systems between the two chassis are for the most part very similar.

 

Good luck with your research and please keep asking questions. Everyone of us have taken a different trail to where we are today!

 

Rich.


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#6 99phantoms

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 06:48 PM

Clarifying my question...

 

I will be 65 yo when I retire in 20 mos, and hope to full-time for about 5-7 yrs thereafter (maybe longer).  Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't feel I'll have a lot of time to be experimenting during the 'learning process' with buy/sell, buy/sell, etc.??

 

Among the folks who did a 1st time buy, in a big way, of their 'final' RV... how many made the right decision?... how many made a financial mistake?

 

I see there's no easy path to a solution here.


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#7 WhiteEagle

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 08:52 PM

Not exactly your same situation but wife and I decided to try the RV traveling  lifestyle (not full time) when I turned 65...had not camped or RVed before.... bought 36 ft gasser that was a year old but new..good price discount.- good resale market...

 

After 2 years, we were "more" comfortable, decided to continue traveling with it and moved up to 40+ ft DP - felt we had very good trade-in situation and it worked out for us......

 

Glad we went the way we did... learning curve was about as steep as I could have handled .... still finding challenges every trip ... Thinking we might go "almost FT" in another 2 years or so...won't need to upgrade further .. but might anyway..... especially if I win the lottery soon......

 

Thank God for the Forum Advisors and community...


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#8 359105

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 09:21 PM

I would think you need to find out if you like the lifestyle and really want an RV, before you make the plunge into ownership.  I suggest you rent a smaller gas unit for weekends (long one if possible) and take some trips.  This will give you an idea of the life style and a chance to get comfortable with the unit.  You will gain lifestyle experiences as well as some driving and handling experience. If things go well, then you can proceed with the purchase decision. 

 

Best of luck and safe travels!!


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#9 Elkhartjim

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 09:34 PM

Hi 99phatoms, 

 

You've heard the three things key to real estate is location, location, location.  The three key things in a motorhome or any rv is floor plan, floor plan, floor plan. 

 

We have friends that full time in 34' motorhomes and some in 45's.  It depends on each individuals needs.  Some need kitchen worksurface, cooktop with no oven or cooktop with oven.  Washer, dryer, bath and half or two baths. The list is endless. 

 

I suggest you look at floor plan that works and then the mfg that can provide it.

 

Good luck in your quest and I don't believe you'll find many owners that they are so pleased with their intial purchase that they never thought of changing.

 

Rent!


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#10 zorro2kita

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 10:52 PM

I also considered renting a DP to "try" the lifestyle prior to purchasing -   What I found out that you could not tow a vehicle while renting -  so that sort of defeated "trying" the lifestyle before purchasing -   Thanks to all the forums available to us and talking to owners in local rv parks, I got enough info to make the plunge to full timing upon retirement -  available funds certainly dictate what you will be looking at for purchase  --

 

AS others have mentioned, a good used RV will serve you well -  due your research and have a used coach inspected by a party you hire !!


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#11 nctox

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 09:42 AM

Clarifying my question...

 

I will be 65 yo when I retire in 20 mos, and hope to full-time for about 5-7 yrs thereafter (maybe longer).  Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't feel I'll have a lot of time to be experimenting during the 'learning process' with buy/sell, buy/sell, etc.??

 

Among the folks who did a 1st time buy, in a big way, of their 'final' RV... how many made the right decision?... how many made a financial mistake?

 

I see there's no easy path to a solution here.

 

We did a "first time buy" of a smaller DP (34') and decided to buy new for a couple of reasons.  Before we bought, I joined several forums and read them daily.  I learned of typical problems  and their solutions, as well as which MHs had the best reputations for service and reliability.

I considered the difference in expense of new vs. used, and then weighed the security of warranties for new vs. the chance of getting stuck with a problem coach due to my lack of experience and knowledge.  We chose new for the above reason and a DP due to most opinions on the differences in quietness, ride, etc.  I do not regret our decision.  We are happy with the 2012 Tiffin and have many more big plans for travel.  We will most likely never be full-timers, but we do enjoy our motor home.


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#12 WILDEBILL308

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 09:06 PM

 
I would rent a smaller gas unit to get some experience. The difference when you move up is not that big. Lots of video on U-tube on driving a motor home.

I would recommend driving to some place 1-2 hours from your home base. This way you can get the feel of driving it and you won’t arrive at the campgrounds so tired. You still have to set up when you arrive. This can be stress full the first time. Better not to be exhausted by your first time driving all day before you start getting every thing hooked up. By the way I think 300 miles is a long day.
 
Bill


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#13 John_Harris

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 02:43 PM

As you can see, opinions and experiences vary greatly. What I have seen is not one answer is right for everyone. While I had camped in travel trailer as child some 40 plus years ago, my wife and I had not had any real experience with modern RV's when we made the plunge. She was a little more reluctant but after a trip or two, She is the one most interested in hitting the road and planning the next trip. I too was a bit intimidated by the thought of handling a big rig but that soon passed. the question of new vs used has pros and cons both ways. New units generally seem to have a few bugs to get worked out. (it took us the entire first season). Used may already have those bugs worked out, but you may be buying someones problems. New has the big depreciation hit at the beginning but you have a better chance of getting what you want instead of what you find. Looking back, i am very happy with buy new and jumping in with all four. Wile learning curve can be steep, it is part of the journey. The FMCA forum has made it much easier.


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#14 Carrol

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 03:52 PM

If you think 15K a month is expensive to rent you are going to faint if you buy one and tally up the cost of what you spent to own it.

Depreciation alone can easily run 60K a year and if you spend two fulls months in it per year that alone is $1000 per night.

You also need to be prepared for the costs, both financial and emotional of "working the bugs out" if you buy new--this can involve several "repair vacations" back to the factory where you will be spending an undetermined amount of days in a motel waiting for repairs to be completed.

I don't mean to discourage you from RVing because it is a ton of fun but many of the units you are contemplating would rival an aircraft carrier for complexity and costs to operate


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#15 BillAdams

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 08:58 PM

While I was never planning to go full time when I was looking for an RV, I did know that I did not know anything!  I rented 3 different RV's for 7-10 days and took off.  I rented a class C and 2 different versions of Class A's.  Doing so make 2 things very clear to me.  First was that a Class C would not work for me and the DW (please don't flame me Class C owners, this is a personal observation).  Second was that not all Class A's are created equal and neither of the ones we rented had all the things we wanted.  However, having done what we did, we knew what we did not want and we knew of the things that we must have.  As mentioned above, it's all about the floor plan but it's also about the amenities.  Once you know what you must have, the things you would like to have and what's completely unacceptable you will have a pretty good shot at getting the right RV.

 

Unfortunately, this will not tell you whether fulltiming is right for you but I did know right away that the huge smiles on my wife's face when we were in the RV was a pretty darn indicator that this would be a lifestyle that would work for us.


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#16 99phantoms

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 01:29 AM

However, having done what we did, we knew what we did not want and we knew of the things that we must have.  As mentioned above, it's all about the floor plan but it's also about the amenities.   Once you know what you must have, the things you would like to have and what's completely unacceptable you will have a pretty good shot at getting the right RV.

 

I've been studying RVing quite a lot.  Will I need to rent for awhile to really know 'what I'd like to have & whats unacceptable'?

 

Or will studying, observing, asking questions help me answer those questions?

 

Thanks for the insight.


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#17 Medico

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 08:06 AM

I would also like to welcome you to our Forum.

 

My DW and I jumped in with both feet. Our CC Magna is our first coach. We got it for just over half what the other coaches we were looking at were getting for new. And these new coaches were of a much lower quality compared to our CC.

 

Yes there were some growing pains. We bought from a dealer that does not normally handle CC (They are Tiffin and Coachman dealers). The walk through during delivery is somewhat less than stellar because they do not really know our coach. So you have to spend the time to learn your coach. I suppose if buying used from a dealer that deals with that brand new would not have this problem.

 

Make sure ALL the manuals are included in the coach.There are MANY manuals with our coach. It does take a while to work your way through them. The systems are complex so take the time. It did take us a while to figure out how to use the various systems most efficiently for us. Plus there were a couple of hidden problems that we ultimately figured out and corrected.

 

Did we make a bad decision? Absolutely NOT!!! We love our coach and often get many nice comments from visitors. Since we sold our SB home and live FT in the coach, we love the extra space. We do not travel constantly (as others have said this would be very expensive) but instead spend several months at a time in one area. We have changed our domicile to Florida and recently bought a permanent lot where we will spend every winter with our major travel in the summer. We are planning a major trip every couple of years (Colorado then back to NY for visits this summer) with smaller regional trips in the off years. We also work camp or volunteer during the summer to help offset the travel expenses. Traveling with a large coach is not cheap (average of 6 to 7 mpg on level roads. At over $4 per gallon for diesel, you get the picture) so we like to park and visit scenic sites using day trips with our toad.

 

We love this lifestyle. We have seen our kids and grandkids more since going FT than we ever did before. Our kids have lived Out Of State from us for many years and during our working life we did not have time to visit often. Plus when we did visit we felt as though we were putting them out when we visited. Now we take our home with us! What could be better? Enjoy yourself with this fantastic lifestyle.


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#18 BillAdams

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 08:55 AM

 

I've been studying RVing quite a lot.  Will I need to rent for awhile to really know 'what I'd like to have & whats unacceptable'?

 

Or will studying, observing, asking questions help me answer those questions?

 

Thanks for the insight.

 

Everything you do will help.  Visiting one or more of the major RV shows will also help.  We lived in Wash. DC and drove to the PA RV show where we could actually compare the various products side by side.  We discovered a product that we were not aware of and later purchased it after a bit more investigation.

By this time we had already rented and spent time in 3 different coaches so we at least knew what we were looking for an could make a more informed decision.  I just wanted to avoid buying something and then needing to trade it to get the things I needed.


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#19 jlandon13399

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 12:39 PM

99phantoms,

You have defined what you want to do with your life, but I do not see a list of features you require in an RV. My advice would be to develop your list of features and split them into two areas. one must have, and two want but could live without or add later.

 

Most folks new to RVing will have three or more rigs before they settle into the last one.

 

Seems you want to avoid buying and selling as most folks do, but it seems to be inevitable that you go through a couple RV's before finding the one you keep. Check you list against new and used and make the best purchase decision for yourself.


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#20 tlsistrunk

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 12:51 PM

Does the expense of renting an RV pay off in the buying process?  The answer to that question is complex and depends largely on your personal situation and preferences.  My wife and I faced the same question about 2 years ago.  On two occasions, we rented (two different) 45 foot pushers for a month at a time.  The experience did result in some changes when we eventually purchased our first RV.  However, I question whether the expense was worth it, as I doubt that our purchase would have been a disaster if we had not rented.

 

What did we learn from our rental experience?

 

For our purposes, we do not need 45 feet (we bought a 40 DP with a floorplan we like).  We much prefer flat towing (definitely worth the cost of vehicle prep).  We like the dinette (rather than booth).  Spacious shower and toilet area is important to us.  In places we tend to travel, 3 roof a/c units are a must.

 

The comments regarding the RV learning curve are valid.  We seem to be enjoying each trip more than the last.  The curve is especially steep the first month.

 

We became interested in RVing for sightseeing.  While renting, we unexpectedly stunbled upon the best reason for buying an RV .... the people.  Almost everywhere we visit, we meet friendly people.


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