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Owning A Motorhome: Depreciation vs. Appreciation

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Blogger Gramps writes:

"Becoming a Motor Coacher has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me and my wife. Has owning one depleted my bank account? I suppose it has, but then, maybe not."

How do you feel? Do the costs of motorhoming outweigh the benefits?

Or, do unmatchable memories, experiences and opportunities supersede economic concerns?

Gramp's blog: Depreciation

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:rolleyes: Hi Gramp's,

My wife Susan and I never camped or owned any type of RV. We took the plunge two years ago and after driving our RV up to Palm Springs Ca. and back, we are kicking ourselves for not doing this along time ago. Sure it cost us money but we had done our research and talked to class A, B and C owners and the bottom line seemed to be that your paying for a life style and the people we talked to said that they wouldn't trade it for anything else. We have a rainy day fund where we put x number of dollars away each month and if the RV needs something it comes out of there.

Have a great day

Smokeater75 Kane and Susan 2003 Monaco Windsor.

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I agree. Owning a motorhome is one of the best thing that has ever happened to us. When I was a young man I heard a preacher say that he loves syrup. If it goes to a dollar a sop he would still buy it. I feel the same way about gas. No matter how high it gets I will fuss about it but I will still buy it. Hopefully it will never get so high that we can't keep our motorhomes on the road. ccmsm

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I guess that it depends on whether you are a "Glass half full" person or a "Glass half empty" person. As for us, it's been and is worth every bit of the cost. If you have to "Cost Justify" everything you do, then you probably will sit in your residence and do not much of everything.

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We started out with a small backpack tent, and graduated from that to a slide in truck camper. From there we transitioned to a 25' Georgie Boy class A retired and started volunteering at National Wildlife Refuges. We quickly learned that a 25 footer wasn't roomy enough to stay for any period of time and moved up to a 35' gasser.

Because we have a motorhome, we can stay in an area for an extended period of time and really get to know the area and the people. Yes it is more expensive than staying in Motels for a short period of time, but when you stay on the road 6-8 months at a time it balances out nicely. This is the first year we haven't traveled extensively, but that was due to health problems not the cost of travel. Pat and I like government campgrounds and Passport America parks, and rarely stay in the high rent campgrounds. Yes we have stayed in a few Wal Mart parking lots, but when you don't travel on Interstates and stick to back roads campgrounds of any kind are not always available.

Since we have been RVing a couple of other considerations have reared their ugly heads. A few years ago 20/20 did a show on the policies of hotels and motels when it came to changing be linen. All I can say is UUGHHH!!!! I for one do not wish to sleep in someone else's body fluids! Now the talk around hotels/motels is all about bedbugs. I'll take my MH.

We also did a cost analysis on the comparison of owning a motorhome and a fifth wheel. The fifth wheel won, but only slightly. Something that we didn't take into consideration was the number of friends we have made across the country because of the motorhome and our FMCA membership. That part is priceless to us. See you all down the road.

Ward

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When I purchased my first coach in 1978, I knew I was buying into a lifestyle. The memories created have already come back to please me many times over. Took our kids across the USA in ten years (before they went to college). In 3 years we will complete the same commitment with the Gkids. I admit it is 9 weeks of chaos every summer, but the memories make it all worth while. Cost? There is no cost. Without this lifestyle to enjoy, I'd be dead. The continuing stress of my career would surely have killed me.

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Pick any one year of our travels and that year is more than worth all the money we have spent on our motor home.

We spent one whole summer in Alaska, (including British Columbia, Yukon, NW Territories). Another summer we traced the route of Lewis and Clark across country. We lived near Kitty Hawk, NC in December 2003 and celebrated the 100th anniversary of flight. I've gone snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean, sky diving in Reno, NV and taken gliding lessons and received my license to fly gliders in Boulder, CO. Louise went paragliding in Alaska! We've hiked up volcanoes, through canyons and over glaciers. We've ridden our bicycles through Death Valley, along trails where Lewis and Clark traveled, past moose and elk, and explored whole islands on bicycle.

Along the way, we've met some of the most interesting and friendly people who walk this Earth. Everyone who owns a motor home has a story to tell. Not everyone expresses it in writing but start a conversation and you'll learn a lot about how exciting it is to live and travel in a motor home. We have a whole "family" of friends we've met on the road that we visit when we are in their neighborhood.

Our motor home has allowed us to "live" almost everywhere in the US and Canada. We have had time to spend with family when and where needed. We've been there to assist our children when they became new parents and shared trips with all our grandchildren. We've touched base with distant relatives we hadn't seen during our working years.

I don't have a lot of dollars in a bank somewhere but I have a million memories that are priceless!

Now, where are my keys? Let's get this rig rolling again!

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Guest BillAdams

Money FLIES out the window if you RV. There is no such thing as appreciation with an RV unless you simply appreciate the things you are able to do because you own an RV. The value of your RV is going to plummet once you sign the papers (don't even need to drive it off the lot) and it only gets worse from there.

I bought a used bus back in '99 and I will likely own if for the rest of my life due to the recent economic collapse. I am lucky that I am not upside down but I would barely get what I owe if I sold today (which I will not).

With all of the bad news, I am very glad that I did what I did and I am very glad to be on the road today.

You have to weigh the good against the bad and make your own choice. We are full-timers (since 1997) and hope that we still have another 20 years of full-timing left in us. Your use of a motor home may be different and will weigh heavily on the right or wrong buying decision.

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The friends we have made over the past 35 plus years combined with the places we have been and the sights we have seen far outweigh the depreciation.

Paul

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MY wife and I have slowly made our way up to our Class A Motor Home and love it. When we first me we both had a small tent, When to started dating I bought a small coachmen pop-up that had a small double bed on each end with just an icebox and a three burner stove and we loved using it almost every weekend while we were dating and used it for 2 years, until I seen a larger Rockwood Pop-up for sale that was almost double the size of our first one and had small frig and a three burner stove and a closet. We used this pop-up for the next three years.

Then while I was traveling for work I seen an old Frolic Travel Trailer, This time I had learned not to come home with a new toy without asking first. So I called her and we talked it over. We put our Rockwood pop-up in the local newspaper and it sold that night. So we went the next day and bought our travel trailer and pulled it home.

We thought we would have this for a few more years and maybe move up to a larger travel trailer. Over the next four years we used this travel trailer until I injured my back driving semi, and it was too hard to get it hooked up to the truck and get it leveled when we made it to our campsite. So we started looking and found a very nice used Class A motor home that was for sale. It was bigger then we planned on going until we were older, But the price was less then we were looking at spending so we bought it and have loved every minute we have used it.

After driving semi's and commercial buses it is very easy to drive park everywhere we have been in it. I love it and would not selling (Unless I bought a bigger one) Our current motor home is 31 foot and for just the two of us in our 40's it is perfect. I agree fuel costs are the worst part of owning one, But we know it would get about 8 MPG, So we plan ahead before we go and will like most owners travel shorter distances and stay close to home except for one or two big trips per year.

We joined FMCA last year and love reading the stories and talking to other FMCA members about their travels.

Bob

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If we could do one thing differently about motorhoming, it would be to buy one sooner. Yes, it costs a bit more than you might spend otherwise. However, the memories, family togetherness, and fun make it all worthwhile. My brother has children several years younger than mine, and I'm encouraging him to get started now rather than waiting.

Happy trails to you all.

Tim and Beth

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Well, you all know how I feel about this subject. The hardest thing for me about owning a motorhome is looking at it parked outside my Home/office window. I want to be in it and on the road to somewhere not just working to pay for it! I am looking for the day that I become an extended timer. That will be a time when Diane, Teddy and myself go out there somewhere for months, not just days or weeks, at a time.

I have to hit the road ... I need to see and do more things that I can blog about :rolleyes:

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As a "Newbe" I can say that I have finally taken the plunge and only driven from vancouver Canada down to San Diego last week.

I do not believe anything other than gold and silver is going to appreciate going forward. With that in mind I think it safe to say RV's are going to depreciate in economic value. Might end up being the same as home's as my home has lost 1/3 it's value in the heart of Los Angeles.

I agree that the appreciation will come from the memories and living in the moment that the RV allows you to do.

What a wonderful feeling to just sit up high and enjoy the scenery while driving down the road at 55mph.

I appreciate the little things in life when in my RV whereas i think I lost alot of that "magic feeling" just sitting in my home with the TV or radio on.

If you are worried about the depreciation then perhaps begin with something used and already priced at a point where it is just a disposable item and if you end up enjoying it you can move up to something more expensive and extravagant if that is your requirement. Just do it and remember if 2012 is as the Mayan's predicted you will be mobile and able to get to high ground where and when needed. All joking aside, above all do what your heart and mind tell you.

Happy trails to all who are on the road and safe traveling to all.

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Starting in 1972, we have had 2 pop-up campers, 3 fifth wheel RVs, and 3 motor homes, non of which were "cost-effective", but the memories we have and the friends we have made are priceless. 49 states and too many FMCA area rallies and national conventions to count, we will continue this life style as long as our health permits.

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I started with a pup tent in the boy scouts in 1956.

Graduated to a cabin tent in the late 60's.

We have had a pop up trailer, a slide in camper, several station wagons that we camped in, a few van conversions and three class A motorhomes.

We have had our current Diesel Pusher for 7 years and started full time 3 years ago.

We have only had the current rig to 49 states and half a dozen provinces.

I remember paying $5.25 a gallon for diesel near DC a few years ago, so I will complain but will not stop moving.

Looking forward to many more years and many more miles.

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As did many others who replied here, we started out tenting and then had a couple of pop-ups. When our son was in college we took a hiatus from RVing knowing that it was our retirement goal to buy an RV.

When we retired in 2005 we took the plunge. After looking at Class Bs and Cs we found that we were much more comfortable in a used Class A. We took an 8,000 mile trip around the country, and the only change we made afterward was trading up to a slightly larger (used) Class A with slides. We almost certainly will not be able to afford to upgrade again. Quite honestly we couldn't afford the last upgrade. The rig we paid $80,000 for is now worth perhaps $40,000 5 years later. But we wouldn't trade a minute of all our experiences to get our money back. A trip around the country, two trips (as Trekmasters) to Alaska, two summers workamping, and lots of smaller trips in the middle. It's a great way to live.

When we leave this earth we may be broke, but we'll go with a smile on our face!

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Depreciation= Dollar & cents.

Appreciation= A life time of memories. New freinds. A new lifestyle. And remember, when you are with freinds who are not RVers you will make them jealous. PRICELESS

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My wife and I have owned camping trailers and fifth wheels nearly our entire married lives (45 years) and relish the many memories that have come from our travels. Several years ago I also bought an airplane in which we've done extensive travel (including across the pond to England). Again the memories are priceless. I always said my airplane was going to be my motor home when I retired. I retired a few years ago and we did in fact buy a motor home which we enjoy immensely. I still have the airplane (a Mooney 231)which sets lonely in its' hanger most of the time these days. Soon to be for sale. When we bought the motor home I simply took the position that that money was gone. Only the memories justify the expense and they are worth every penny. We only go around once.

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My wife and I hadn't even been camping in 25 years and then it was horse camping. We had always considered getting an RV, but just didn't see a need. Then I lost my job and was semi-retired. With the extra time we thought it would be nice to travel so we started looking RV's. It was quickly apparent to us that we wanted a Class A diesel. We found a low mileage repossessed 40 footer for a great price and took the plunge. It was a big purchase and probably doesn't make economic sense, but the pure joy we have experienced since getting it is beyond price. Yes diesel is pricey, but I calculated that we hit the break even-point after 2 nights on a 200 mile trip. Staying in a nice RV park for $40.00 a night as opposed to a motel for $120.00 and cooking meals in the coach adds up quickly to balance the fuel cost. Plus we don't have to worry about boarding our two Jack Russels at $30 a day. Of course the initial cost of the coach and maintenance out weigh the savings, but I can do most of the repairs and the Cummins at 24,000 miles has a way to go before it needs big dollars. Now we have just sold our house and will be living in the coach until my wife retires in August. Saves a lot of headache renting a house for 6 months. If you are worried about the money it probably doesn't add up, but life isn't all about dollars and cents.

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RV'ing is a special gift to a select & wise few (you know who you are). It brings certain great responsibilities as driving a combination that weights anywhere from 6,000 to 50,000 Lbs. or more does. But, with learning from a good teacher and lots of practice & experience, driving and maneuvering these large vehicles can be done safely.

There's nothing like RV'ing, and in particular motorhoming. Some call their RV home, others call it just recreation, yet others call it transporttion between gigs. Those who don't RV don't know about it, can't afford it, or it's not for them.

As to depreciation...oh yes, these things are a segment of the automotive market. And we know what the value of vehicles do, don't we. So, don't buy one thinking that its value will hold or even not depreciate much. But, as many have mentioned here, the appreciation from getting to know geat folks along the way far outweights the monetary.

If you got it...remember that you can't take it with you, so spend what you can doing what you like...RV'ing or giving it away to others...it's your choice.

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It's a life style! The memories are priceless! We have gone camping on Thanksgiving day in the snow, enjoyed the warmth of a summer day with swimming and everything in between. Now that the kids are on their own we have empty nest and we hit the road for the summer. ( We are both teachers. ) In five years when I retire we will hit the road semi fulltime. I can't wait!

Dan

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We just may be the last to experience this wonderful lifestyle as the economics of motorhoming may only be seen by future generations in "lifestyles of the rich and famous" ............and none of our kids fit that profile. We started this madness in 1977 and have decades of wonderful memories. We are not the least bit inclined to full time RVing. So for us, as it is for most, it is a very expensive alternative lifestyle that consumes lots of resources.

Having 4 kids, I can only say I don't see owning a motorhome as part of any of their futures. Not that they wouldn't like this form of recreational experience. It just isn't affordable for most of their generation.

What about your family? Any of them in their 30's or 40's pick up the torch for our RV lifestyle? I think FMCA membership numbers would indicate the sustaining numbers just aren't there. The FMCA demographic would be quite a shock to most.

Enjoy it while you can!

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