Update 1: I have a tenant! They say third time’s the charm and that’s exactly how many showings it took for my property manager, Nicole (with Acorn + Oak), to find a renter. As soon as I got the signed contract confirming the May 1 move-in date, I reached out to the owner of an RV I had my eye on…which leads me to…
Update 2: I have a deal in place contingent on inspection for a 2015 Coachmen Leprechaun 317SA! AHHHH!
How Did I Get Here?
In February, I went to a dealership to test-drive a Class A (big rig) motorhome. I hated it. I felt huge in all senses of the word – wide, long, and bulky. I felt completely out of my comfort zone as I was white-knuckling the bus-sized steering wheel and barreling down the highway (I was probably only going 45 mph but let me have my moment). Anyways, since we drove 1 ½ hours to get to the dealership, we decided to look around to see what they had in stock and check out different floor plans. Well, I stepped my pretty little feet into a Class C Coachmen Leprechaun 317SA and all of my visions came together. The SA in the model number stands for “Side Aisle,” which means it has a hallway on the side of the coach, rather than down the middle. From the beginning, I knew I wanted a floor plan that had separate living room and bedroom spaces, and this hallway was the perfect transition, with two huge windows to let in as much light as possible (another one of my criterion). So I focused my research on this floor plan and, surprisingly, couldn’t find any other RVs with a side aisle, let alone one that met all of my criterion, as the Leprechaun had. That narrowed my search down quite a bit!
I then started my market analysis. I wanted to figure out a few things:
- What year should I get? (the Leprechaun 317SA was made from 2013-2019)
- What is the current inventory like?
- Should I purchase from a dealer or from a private seller?
- What should I expect to pay?
- What would my down payment be? AKA how much do I have to save?
What I got was a huge spreadsheet with data from 30 active listings from RVTrader.com, RVT.com, and Facebook Marketplace. I pulled in the year, asking price, mileage, seller type, and distance from Chapel Hill. Then, I compared each asking price to the average retail price from NADA.com and calculated if it was over-priced or underpriced. What I saw were a ton of 2019 listings, which was a red flag to me. They were also over my budget, so I ruled them out after finding that not much had changed (feature-wise) from 2018 to 2019. I also ruled out 2013s and 2014s because I didn’t want anything older than 5 years.
Now I had 10 options, plus any that might be posted for sale in the meantime. I read a lot of horror stories about purchasing from dealerships, and had formed my opinion of them based on my own experiences, so I ruled those out.
Down to 4. I sorted these by distance (closest to furthest) because I hadn’t narrowed that down previously and wanted to keep my drive under 6 or 7 hours. Down to 2. I took the average price of these and got what I should expect to pay ($55,575) and my minimum of 10% down payment ($5,557). The first and closest option was a very slightly over-priced 2015 in Georgia. My dad and I called the owner to get more details about the sale and make an offer.
Blah blah blah negotiate negotiate blah contingent inspection blah blah
I’m sure this story is as boring to read as it is to write, so I will sum it with what this all means to my process:
If the inspection checks out, I will put down a deposit on the 2015 Leprechaun in Georgia. Then, I’ll pick a date to drive down and drive it home (after my parents move into the new house -because that’s where I will keep it until departure- and before I move out of my house -so I have a place to, ya know, live-, ideally). In the meantime, I need to obtain financing and insurance, as well as get my Jeep equipped to be a toad (aka a towed vehicle).
Okay, that’s it! Thanks for reading my brain dump! (Who are you kidding, you had nothing better to do in your quarantined state) 😉 Bye!
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