Big News And Buying Tips

Beaver Lake, AR. Not a bad spot to spend a few months.

Beaver Lake, AR. Not a bad spot to spend a few months.

Jeff and I have been home now for a few weeks and we have been busy with some pressing work stuff. But the really BIG NEWS (besides me turning 50-how did that happen?) is that…

 We sold our camper…the Ironman Can!

It was a hard decision especially since our 21’ Heartland Edge served us so well. Except for some insulation, we lacked for nothing on our epic trip out west. Yes, things were cozy at times especially when I wanted to stretch out my 6’ frame doing yoga on a cold morning inside the camper. But the time came for something a bit more…sturdy.

Our Edge was a “lightweight” not designed for heavy use or 4-season camping. And as we fell in love more and more with the RV lifestyle we new that our little camper would have to go. We couldn’t have had a better first camper and she served us well. Starting with a camper under $15k to test the waters was the right thing to do before investing in a more expenses “home” that we weren’t sure would just sit out in the back yard.

So what’s next? Well, we are the official new owners of a 2009 Carriage Domani 32’ Fifth Wheel. What is a Domani? It is a RV that we stumbled across on our search for a good quality, four seasons rig under 33 feet.

If you ever try to find a HIGH QUALITY RV ANYTHING under or around 30 feet, you will discover this is no easy task.

We seriously considered an Airstream after spending some time with the hip Airstreamer’s in the desert of Borrego Springs. We went so far as to use our RV business connections to try and get some vendor pricing for a 2015 Serenity. But with the hefty price tag, minuscule storage and low headroom shower compartment for our 6’ and over bodies, we just couldn’t pull the trigger.

Airstream

Tempting. Very, very tempting!

At the same time we had found a Carriage Domani that we were able to look at on our drive back to Arkansas. After seeing her sleek modern lines, 20” rims and accompanied clearance (can you say off grid goodness?), that glorious storage compartment and big holding tanks, the Airstream lost its sparkle in a hurry. Of course the $75,000 price difference helped with the decision, making the Domani the clear choice for us.

Carriage Domani

Rockin some 20’s!

We are still in the process of getting our new-to-us RV, as you will read in a coming post. But through this process of buying/selling /buying we have learned a few lessons about buying an RV.

Keys to buying an RV

After you decide on a budget and the RV you want, don’t be in a hurry. Do your homework and educate yourself on what a good deal looks like. NADA priced the Domani at around $65k. The Domani we looked at in Texas was originally $41k and they would have taken $38K. We didn’t pop because it was a consignment and the cheesy salesman really turned us off with his old school sale tactics. We kept looking and found another for $31K from a private seller on RVTrader.com and they accepted our offer of $30k.

Buy used…especially if it is your first RV. I’ve read to not spend more than $20k (I might even say $10k) on your first RV, because inevitably you will find what does and doesn’t work with the first RV…which then turns into a second, third and fourth one. We were so surprised by how many RV’ers trade up or down. Frequently. (Even Jeff and I are trading after 2 years) Let someone else take the hit on the depreciation, find out how much you will use it, and find out what you like before spending a lot of dinero.

Pay for an independent inspection. This will run you about $500. Since our Domani was in North Carolina and we were in Arizona at the time, we actually paid $150 to have the Domani hauled to a reputable dealer and have it inspected for $500. Even though the very nice sellers assured us that the RV had never been camped in and it was in impeccable shape our $650 discovered about $5,000-$7,500 worth of water damage and another $800 of non-working items. The inspection also confirmed that the RV was never used. Everything else was pristine…like a time capsule that had been shrink wrapped for 6 years.

Don’t shy away from a project. At first we were going to cut our losses and walk away. But after speaking with two different repair centers, we were reassured that the roof repair could all be fixed back to perfection for years of leak free use. Yes. It is an expensive process. So back to the sellers we went with a new offer of $25k, which they gladly accepted.

Use a negative to your benefit. Not only did we negotiate for a cheaper price, but we are also using the roof issue as an opportunity to run our upgraded wiring for technology and solar. This is a challenge to do when you are sealed on top and bottom of an RV. So this is a great time to run cables to make this a Smart RV for the future.

Are we happy with our purchase? That is a question for our next post….she says with a dramatic laugh! Wooohahahaha….

Happy Birthday to me! Not looking a day over 50

Happy Birthday to me! Sam has a bead on my cone

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  1. #1 by Jane on April 4, 2015 - 7:44 pm

    You will love the 5th Wheel, easier to tow and much more room

    Like

    • #2 by Deb on April 5, 2015 - 10:20 pm

      Hi Jane. We have been looking at 5th wheels for 21 years of marriage & this will be our first. Don’t know if I’m more excited about the storage compartment, holding tanks or a place to put my broom!

      Like

  2. #3 by Ingrid on April 5, 2015 - 3:47 am

    Very smart advice on the buying of an RV. Can’t wait to hear about the repairs and any changes.

    Like

    • #4 by Deb on April 5, 2015 - 10:17 pm

      Thanks Ingrid. The Domani arrives at the shop in Elkhart this week. Can’t wait to get started!

      Like

  3. #5 by Camp That Site on April 5, 2015 - 4:33 am

    Great story for those ho may be RV shopping.

    Like

    • #6 by Deb on April 5, 2015 - 10:23 pm

      Thank you. Check back for a status on our project.

      Like

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