Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Negotiation - To buy or not to buy that is the question!

Now that I have looked at the RV and have decided that we are interested it's important to take it for a test drive.  There are lots of things that you want to think about and testing out how it drives and handles is one of the most important. 
(We will have a complete section on how to test out all of the mechanicals on the rig in a page completely dedicated to that process)

I asked the gentleman if it could be driven on the road?  He said that he had a dealer tag that he could slap on it for a test drive.  So we all piled into the RV I got in the driver seat and down his driveway we went.

The test drive of our new home

Once on the street I wanted to test out the brakes so I pressed them hard,  They were a little squishy, but it had been sitting for a while so something to think about but not get overly concerned about.  I stomped down on the gas pedal and she had some pickup, she is a big rig so I did not expect it to throw us back into our seats.  Just wanted to listen to the motor, are there any rattlings, pinging noises.  For the most part she sounded very good.  A couple of the belts had a slight squeak and I knew that replacing those would be high on my list because it had set so long.  We drove it for about 10 miles for the round trip back to his garage, I tested out the turn signals,  (They didn't work).  Made sure there was not a lot of play in the steering and a good evaluation of the overall handling of the RV.

After parking it back outside his garage, I pulled Vicki and Glenn aside.  I asked Vicki what she thought and she said she liked it.  Glenn's opinion was that I should low ball him and see where we land, it does need a lot of work but buying a 40' RV for under $10,000.00 gives me plenty of wiggle room as well as money to fix it up.  I ran some quick numbers through my head and told Vicki that it would probably take around $2,500.00 to get it back into to Road Ready Shape, she was OK with that.

The guy had gone into his shop as he was working on another car he was wanting to flip,  as I walked up I noticed that there were (4) brand new still in the plastic wrap 19.5 tires sitting by the side of the shop.  I went inside and told him that I wanted to discuss the motorhome and we were interested.  I asked him what the deal was with the tires,  he mentioned that he had picked them up a couple of weeks ago and it was ironic that they would fit the RV and if I was interested for $400.00 more he would mount those on the RV.

At this point you really need to think of what your top offer is going to be and stick to it!  I had set my top offer in my head at $7,000.00.  This would give me $2,500.00 to fix it up and an additional $500.00 in case I ran into any other issues.  So I made him an offer, $5,000.00 including the new tires installed.  He looked at me and made a counter offer of $7,000.00.  He is at my top offer,  I want to see if I can get this for as cheap as possible, Negotiating is all a game and I hate to loose!  I explained to him that it was going to take about $4,000.00 to fix it up and get it on the road.  So I pulled out $6,000.00 and put it on the barrel in front of him and told him that is all I had.  I pulled $300.00 out and told him it was going to take that to get license for it and that $5,700.00 is my best offer.  I explained to him that if he was willing to do it, I would take a bill of sale for the RV he could install the tires and I would come back and pick it up tomorrow.  CASH on a barrel has a way of persuading an individual it works much better then a check.  He looked down at the cash hard for a moment then looked up at me,  I never flinched I made sure he felt that if he said no, I was walking with my cash.  He said, "Can you give me till the day after tomorrow to pick it up"? 

I told him that was fine,  He picked up the cash wrote me out a bill of sale for the RV so I could go get tags, I shook his hand and we headed home.  When we got in the car, I have to admit that I was totally surprised that he took the offer I made.  Vicki and I got our new home for $5,700.00 and we got a bonus, 4 of the tires are going to be brand new.  We were very pleased with the outcome of the deal.

We find a new home!

My buddy that helped me find the motorhome on Craigslist said that he wanted to meet Vicki and I to go look at it.  So I called him up gave him the address and we agreed to meet there in about an hour.  When we pulled up the dirt drive way sitting close to the fence was the Fleetwood Bounder.  The hood was opened and a battery charger attached (Not always a good sign).  My buddy arrived shorty after we got there, the owner walked over and introduced himself.  He explained that he had just picked up the rig 2 days ago from an elderly couple that had to come off the road.  They had been full-timing in it up to about 7 years ago when they had to park it due to health reasons and decided to sell it.  So I now know that this guy bought it cheap and is flipping it (A GREAT SIGN).  My wife walked in side the coach as I proceeded to check out the body and mechanicals.

ROUGH but maybe still doable!

As I walked around outside my head was saying "NO WAY" the rig had 2 awnings and one leg on each one was detached from the body.  Most of the trim that runs down between where the panels on the sides come together was missing.  There were a few cracks in the body fiberglass too, around the wheel housings the plastic fairings were almost falling off and there was a big piece of trim that ran down the left side that was hanging off.  The more I walked around it the more concerned I became.  Glenn my buddy who came with me said we should fire it up and see how she sounds, don't get too caught up on the appearance, you can fix most of this yourself.  I asked the guy for the keys,  He said that to get it started you turn it to the ON position and then he had rigged up a push button because the ignition did not work.  I sat in the seat, and tried to turn it over,  it took a bit of work but she finally started up.  To my surprise other than a terrible exhaust leak she sounded pretty good.  I looked down at the mileage, only 48,500 miles on a Ford 460. That is good and bad,  if it has set for a while then you have to be concerned with the gaskets dry rotting.  It was my turn to check out the inside.  Over the dinette was the power distribution box, a lot of wires were just hanging out, that concerned me a lot!  The rig had a very musty smell and you could tell by the thick coating of dust that no one had really been in it in a long time.  Most of the rig on the inside was in pretty good shape.  A few water stains, a lot of dirt but a very doable floor plan.  It had a washer/dryer, a built in ice maker,  in the bathroom was an installed brand new toilet, and it had a shower and bathtub.  I knew that most rigs do not have both so I found that as a plus.  The bedroom was very spacious,  big closet and plenty of room to walk around the bed,  Glen even commented that the bedroom was a lot bigger then most,  and it also had a sink and medicine cabinet in it.

The question I had to ask myself at this point was I buying a money pit?  The motor is low mileage, it needs some minor work I could tell but nothing too terrible, the body had some issues but I had the skills to fix most of that the bottom line at this point was HOW MUCH was I willing to spend to get it and HOW MUCH would it cost to get it back into Road Ready Shape? 


Friday, April 11, 2014

WOW how time flies when your having fun!

Well, it's been 11 months since our last post, how did that happen?  Simple "LIFE" what I mean is in the last year so much has happened so many great things that the blog went to the bottom of the priority list. HOWEVER that will not happen again!  I think there is a great story to tell and share with everyone.

So here we go,

Time to go shopping!

With out going too far in the weeds on how we got to the point of buying the motorhome, it's important to hit the high points.  We literally made a very tight budget and stuck to it, we saved every penny we could and picked up as much work as possible, we stashed all of the money from the Yard Sale and were able to hit our budget by late October. 

So we have just shy of $10,000.00 and we need to buy a motorhome big enough to live comfortable with our 3 pugs.  There are a lot of different avenues you can use, what we decided was to keep our eye on Craigslist.  You would be surprised at the truly great deals you can get on a motorhome or trailer through Craigslist.  I have to say that we received some help from a good friend of ours who does a lot of Shopping and "Flipping" on Craigslist.  It was mid November when my buddy called me and said, "YOU'VE got to check this rig out" he sent me the link and listed was a 40' Fleetwood Bounder Motorhome.  The asking price was $8,500.00.  It was located about 30 miles from us so going to look at it would not be a big challenge.  We called him and  it was still available, (Quick note, if you see a good deal, DON'T Wait) so we set an appointment for in about an hour to go check it out.

More to come!  Next we will go look at the Motorhome