The RV Hunt

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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25 Responses to The RV Hunt

  1. hobopals March 5, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    Congratulations, Becky! I think your methodical and intelligent buying strategy will pay off. I wish you many, many happy days/weeks/years traveling. I wish I were young, again–you have so much time ahead of you to enjoy. Keep us posted about your travels.
    hobopals recently posted..Spam Delete WarningMy Profile

  2. Carolyn March 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm #


  3. Isherwood Wildwalker March 6, 2012 at 1:29 am #

    Wow! What a great find!


  4. Dennis March 6, 2012 at 4:49 am #

    Now you will have all spring to “make it your own” and then all summer to use it. We jsut put in a new wood floor in our 22 foot Fun Finder and love it.

  5. Ross March 6, 2012 at 6:52 am #

    Congratulations, Becky. Looks like you took a very thoughtful approach to the buy, and in the end we all just jump in the deep end. Plunge!
    Ross recently posted..Our Tornado ShelterMy Profile

  6. Marvin March 6, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    Congratulations – sounds like you have done your homework and made some great decisions .
    A lot of decisions that are made about RV’s , are not as difficult as they may seem . Camping World and other companies make it sound technical and difficult to separate you from your money .
    RVing and travel are all about time , relax and learn to do 90% of the maintenance and repairs yourself .
    As you have learned , the web/net is a wonderful tool for answers and most of what you might need is available from fellow campers and the manufacturers of RV components .
    A large binder with page protectors can hold information that will be handy ! Good Luck & Be Safe ! !

  7. Ross Macintosh March 6, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    Great news! Your purchase plan seems very well thought out — and so nice to see a successful outcome. Congratulations!

    Regards, Ross (the other one)

  8. george March 6, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    So exciting ! So glad to hear you got the camper you want. Now your blog is really going to take off ! Lot’s of new subjects and ideas. Can’t wait to see and hear all about it.
    And pictures ! We need lots of pictures ! Speaking of that, from the pics you posted of it, it’s obviously well taken care of. So cool !
    ps, send me a private email if you would please, I have another blog you might be interested in. I’m sure he would not mind me sharing it here, but I don’t know whether you want me to post other folks links in your blog.

  9. Becky March 6, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    Thanks everyone! Two more days to go. I’m quite the busy little bee, now trying to catch up on other things I’ve neglected since Wednesday, hah.

    George – Feel free to post the link on here, I don’t mind. πŸ™‚

  10. Kathy March 6, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Sooooo happy for you! Lookong forward to your next posts! Your adventure has begun!

  11. Kristin March 6, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    Becky- congratulations, I’m so excited for you! I can’t wait to hear about the next part of your adventure and am so glad that you’re this much closer to full-timing!

  12. Arizona Eileen March 6, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    From the photos I can tell you that those owners did more than a few mods. I see a high-rise faucet, the range exhaust hood removed and replaced with fans, laminate flooring and baseboards, a cut-back partition, not to mention the woodwork around all of the windows. And that’s only what I’m seeing from those two pictures! You scored a good one!

    And don’t worry about being a newbie. Five years ago, I’d never towed anything, nor had I ever owned an RV. I drove from TX to AZ just fine. It’s actually pretty amazing how comfortable you can get with it so quickly.

  13. Pleinguy March 6, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    Woo-hoo! Dat’s what yah talkin’ ’bout! I’m so-o-o happy to see you get the Casita you’ve wanted. Now you can make a smooth transition when the time is right.
    Pleinguy recently posted..RV ShowMy Profile

  14. Becky March 6, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    Thanks again all, so excited! Just got out of work for tonight, one more day to go and then I’m up bright and early Thursday morning to bring it home. πŸ™‚

    Eileen – Yeah the owners did a lot of work on it. You should’ve seen the flooring in their house, just gorgeous. After doing it in their house and a few relative’s houses they figured why not get the Casita done as well, the picture doesn’t really do it justice, it’s great looking.

    I’m going to take my camera with me to get some footage of my first night in it, it’s going to be at a WalMart in St. Marys, GA hopefully, if the timing works out right. Otherwise I have someone on standby who can look up places for me to crash for the night if the DMV in Florida takes forever and I get delayed. πŸ˜›

  15. Bob March 6, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    Years ago I had thoughts of buying a Casita. Now the wife and I are planning to fulltime in a bus. I wish good luck to you.

  16. Tina March 7, 2012 at 3:19 am #

    What a wonderful post!!! So happy for you that things all worked out for you getting your Casita.

  17. Becky March 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    Thanks you two, and I hope everything comes together for your full-timing plans as well Bob.

    • Bob March 8, 2012 at 7:17 am #

      We are working on it. There seems to be a lot to downsize and organize but keep working to the goal.

  18. Dale March 7, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    Woo! Yay! I hope everything works out swell for you and your new rig.

  19. Becky March 7, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    Thanks Dale. Almost time to go to bed now, I’ll be up bright and early to start the drive. πŸ™‚

  20. george March 8, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    Here is the link I mentioned in the post earlier. Check out his “111 day trip”.

    ….can’t wait to see your pics of bringing the new trailer home !

  21. Imperfect Destiny March 9, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    Congrats Becky!

    Thanks for sharing the pics. Love the kitchen mod to the replace stovetop fan with something more streamlined and the floors are oh so nice.

    Safe travels home with your Casita bonita. Hope to see you out on the road some day.
    Imperfect Destiny recently posted..For the Love of Dog in Mission, TexasMy Profile

  22. Becky March 9, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    Well I’m back in one piece with the Casita! Pictures, video, and a full update are coming once I’ve had a chance to get some other necessary things taken care of. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the well-wishes everyone. I’ll check out Jon’s blog when I have the opportunity, and thank you again Jim and Julie for those pictures you sent me of your Casita what feels like ages ago, that’s how I figured out that the Spirit was the model for me.

  23. Ramona March 8, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    Happy Anniversary Becky! I am just reading this blog post now. You are so inspiring!

    • Becky March 10, 2014 at 12:15 am #

      Hello Ramona, thanks and glad you liked it! Seeing these pictures now makes me realize that Cas really needs a re-waxing, haha.

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