Summer 2013: To Rent or To Buy

To rent or to buy? It wasn’t really a question as we haven’t bought a new car in over 20 years. So the research began. For those friends that aren’t into RVs and motorhomes, a class A motorhome is basically what you think of as a bus. Class C are the units you see on the road with a hump at the front which is a bed above the driver and passenger seating area. When you rent RVs they are almost always class C or smaller. Outside of North America the only class A motorhomes that you will find are typically used by film studios for their stars comfort or as on-site dressing and make-up trailers. We have rented class C motorhomes in various parts of the world. For three months in North America we wanted the space and size afforded by a class A. That was until we heard the rental price. Are you sitting down? The average price was more than $10,000 per month. You do the math – 3 months – too much money! Of course, the ones that I really wanted were the larger 45 ft models. The often rent at greater than $60,000 PER MONTH!!! Even the few dealers who rent the larger motorhomes told us renting was not a wise thing to do for three months.
So then we started looking at buying a used motorhome. As I mentioned in a previous blog I never actually wanted to own a motorhome in North America, distances to get anywhere on a vacation are just too far. We decided that if we bought one, used it for three months and then sold it we probably wouldn’t lose much money on the resale. For used we were looking at 2009 – 2011 models. Of course I had to check out new motorhomes just to know what sort of a deal the used ones were. I found an internet website that sold over the web and used a physical Buffalo dealer to do the dealer prep and delivery. With this internet dealer you had to know exactly what you wanted ahead of time because they weren’t a lot of help. I accidentally priced my RV originally with both optional tiles and ceramic flooring. They simply added both options in and gave me a price. No thought went into it on their part. On the other hand they were less than 60% of the list price. For that money I can do some research. None of the bricks and mortar companies could touch the price. I felt bad about that because it is nice to deal with real people and have them there to back you up. After months of looking into rentals, new, used etc. would you believe that I ended up selecting almost the identical model that Mike had fallen for at the RV show in January. Based on the used prices that I see on the internet, if we look after our brand new 2014 Georgetown XL 378TS we should be able to sell it at the end of our trip for basically what we paid new. And how likely do you think that will happen?
They call our motorhome a “couples” home. Someone jokingly said that it was designed to have 8 people for drinks, 4 for dinner and 2 for sleeping and that is exactly what I had in mind. Now that we own this brand new, luxury motorhome the first thing that I needed to do was to start modifying and replacing items. In other words I am going to start spending more money and Mike gets to do all the hard manual effort. There is something to be said for a division of labor.

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