As you know, I sold my car over the weekend. Two months ago, I started shopping for a RV. It was just window shopping online, actually. I knew I wanted to get one, but for some reason, I had it in my mind that it would be something only possible “In the future”. Yes, having a dream and vision is all good, but I was paying attention to concrete reality. Even used, these beauties can be expensive!
Despite my perceived financial obstacle, RV living was stuck in my head and I couldn’t help but indulge myself anyway. I subscribed to full-time RVers’ blogs, (especially female ones) and joined several Facebook pages dedicated to the lifestyle. I stalked RV Trader and Craig’s List like a leopard. The more I researched, the more excited I became. The more excited I became, the more I was compelled to act. I committed myself to the decision to get my RV now. Given my newly adopted No Waiting Credo, I had to make this happen.
I examined all my options. I chose the quickest and most straight forward approach; simply sell my car and “adjust” my sights to something older and affordable, yet good. I could’ve looked into financing something newer, but that would defeat my purpose of being financially free. I could’ve waited and give myself a year or two to hustle and save, but that would go against my newly held beliefs. A lot can happen in a year and I’m not giving anything room to wiggle itself in my way. Selling my car as soon as possible was the best way to go. Thankfully, Rugby had retained much of his resale value… it was his final gift to me.
It’s a good thing that I didn’t postpone shopping around. There are a lot more affordable options out there than I thought. There’s a RV for every budget… So, I got to work…
I found this beautiful Falcon (above) on Craig’s List, listed in Upstate NY for $11,500. It had everything that I wanted already installed: hardwood flooring, solar panels, and a generator. The owner even replaced the standard sofa with a futon with custom made organic cotton covering! Another plus was that it was the same model that Glenn Morrissette had when he first started his journey. I wanted it so badly and almost bought it immediately, but a good friend of mine (who knows all about mechanics and car stuff), pointed out that it was way overpriced for a 1996 model… especially with 120k miles.
After looking up its value on the N.A.D.A. website, I saw that he was indeed correct. It’s actually worth around $6,500 and that’s with it being on the high end of the spectrum. The owner wasn’t willing to go down anywhere near that price. She had put a lot into her Falcon, but failed to see that those extras also had depreciated over time along with her vehicle. She was too emotionally invested in her RV and wasn’t going to let it go for what it was actually worth. She was a pleasant lady to speak to and I really liked what she did with the RV. I would’ve paid around $1,000 above its valued price, but we couldn’t come to an agreement. Though disappointing, I looked at it as an exercise in the RV buying process.
Note that I never drove upstate to see the RV in person. After viewing detailed pictures and asking the seller a lot of questions, I found a mechanic in the owner’s area (with a good online reputation) who would do a pre-sale inspection for $100 when I come up to see it. Then I would negotiate a deal with the seller at that point based on what the mechanic found. Since the owner let me know over the phone that she was more or less firm on her price, I cancelled my two hour trip. Moving on.
With this RV, I wish I had exercised the same common sense that I had with the Falcon… but I didn’t. I found this 1994 Chinook for only $7,500 and 50K miles on Craig’s List and got carried away! To give you a little background, Chinooks are the Cadillac of RV’s and they’re built solid like tanks. I also liked that it had a completely enclosed bathroom and a great layout. Also, they stopped making Chinooks years ago, so they are very much in demand and usually don’t stay on the market for long.
I was so sure that I was going to make a purchase, that I drove five hours to the southern most part of New Jersey to see it… and it was a BIG disappointment! What the pictures didn’t show was the faint black and grey splotches of mold all over the outside of the RV. What the pictures didn’t show was the overwhelming smell of dampness on the inside of the cabin that made it smell like an old boat. I’m no expert, but any type of water damage can’t be a good thing. Moving on… to FIVE MORE hours back on the highway!
They say the third time’s a charm. In my case, it may be true! The moment I returned from my exhausting New Jersey excursion, I searched for a cute RV that stayed in the back of my mind since my online window shopping phase. I called the owner, found that it was still available and made an appointment with my mechanic to see it the very next day. And yada, yada, yada… I put down a deposit on my new home that I’ll be picking up first thing tomorrow morning… BREATHE DEEP!