On Wednesday I saw a Craigslist ad for a RV that I was interested in. Today I decided to buy it. So what all happened during those five days to get from the point of seeing the posting, to deciding to buy? A lot. I’ve devised a walk-through of the process, for those of you out there who are also on the hunt for your perfect RV.
Before seriously looking at classifieds, I had done extensive research into Casitas and various optional equipment that they may or may not have. I wrote out a list months ago with two columns: Things I absolutely had to have in any trailer I would consider, and things that would be nice to have, but weren’t as important to me. As I went through prospective RVs ads, I kept this list in mind, and didn’t bother with anything that didn’t meet my criteria.
Since October of last year, I’ve found very few Casitas for sale in the area that met these standards, and so last Monday when I mentioned on the blog that I was possibly going to start looking again, I was very surprised to find something so quickly. It was almost exactly a repeat of last October when I started seriously searching for my tow vehicle and found it less than a week later. Now on to the process.
The first two days were about contacting and getting more information from the owners. I asked questions about the things that were on my list that they hadn’t mentioned in the advertisement, and they sent me more pictures. From the pictures and answers I was able to determine that this was a good candidate. I made sure to ask them if shore power, propane, and water were going to be available to test the various systems, and they said yes. If the owners of any RV you might be thinking of purchasing don’t have these things available I’d walk away, because you’ll have no way of knowing if things will work like they’re suppose to.
At this point, I was thinking about a pre-purchase inspection. This is a very good idea for people who don’t know a lot about RVs, to hire a third party professional to go over everything and make sure there aren’t any problems. It’s also popular for those who live a long ways from the prospective RV, so that they only have to make the drive out to it once when they purchase. While it does mean extra money spent, it provides peace of mind and can save you a lot more money in the long run by avoiding buying a lemon.
I spent many hours on Wednesday and Thursday looking up places in the area of the Casita who might be able to do one for me, and I posted on three different RVing forums to get opinions from other RVers. I found one respectable outfit that would be willing to do it, but the price tag was going to be over $500 since they were going to have to do quite a bit of traveling to get there. I found out from the forums that taking the Casita to the local Camping World was the most viable option, but that would require getting permission from the owners to not only have the inspection done, but to drive it over there too. The price for their inspection was $229.
The owners said that they’d show me that everything works, so I decided at this point that I’d make the drive down to Florida first and look at it myself and see how thorough they were in the demonstration. I found a seven part video series on YouTube that was a orientation of a new Casita where a technician went through and demonstrated how the various systems worked, so I had a better idea of what to look at. I figured if a third party inspection was called for after the visit that I’d worry about it then.
So, late on the second day, I arranged to drive the seven hours to see it over the weekend and printed up a checklist of things to look at when I went down to see the RV. On Friday I printed directions for the weekend and did some preliminary legwork on the stuff that would need to happen if I decided to purchase. I did a Google search for Storage facilities in the area and called six different places to get quotes on what it would cost to store a 17′ RV and what current availability was. I also looked up how registering an RV worked here in South Carolina, and thought about how I’d insure it.
I left with my roommate on Saturday morning (she was my moral support) and we arrived at about 3:30pm with checklist and camera in tow. The owners were true to their word and did a very good job of showing us that everything worked. We went through the checklist and they answered all my questions readily, and addressed a couple minor concerns I had. It was clear to me that they were proud of the Casita and had taken good care of it, along with having done several useful modifications.
If it hadn’t gone so well, I would have gone ahead and arranged for a third party inspection but I decided not too in this case. As it was, I had told the owners in advance that I would need some time to think about it and would not be purchasing on Saturday, and so we arrived back in SC on Sunday morning empty handed.
Sunday was my thinking day, to weigh the options and come to a decision. I was pretty sure I was going to be buying it, but I didn’t want to rush the process despite the fact that it was entirely possible that the owners could sell it to someone else while I waited. Whether you’re buying from an individual or a dealership, don’t be pressured into a decision before you’re ready. The owners were good about this and understood. When I e-mailed them yesterday I thanked them again for the demonstration and told them the answer was probably yes, but I just needed to do a couple more things first.
Which brings us to today. Today I decided to purchase the Casita, and arranged to drive back down to Florida to pick it up on Thursday/Friday. I have a feeling the next two days at work are going to drag. I also made three rather important stops today, but I’ll go over that in a future post that’ll detail the actual purchasing process.
I hope you all had a good weekend as well. I can hardly wait to get my Casita, this is going to be a long couple of days coming up.
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