Monthly Archives: February 2015

Lessons Learned From Buying Our RV

Our journey to buy this RV was pretty frustrating.  From looking to getting financed to getting tags, each step was difficult.  Learn from our mistakes.

Looking Around

We spent time at RV shows, walking through dealer lots and perusing listings.  We went to the RV show in Kansas City and that was nice, but there were so many RVs we were kind of lost.  Plus, with the crowds, it was difficult to concentrate and take our time.  Same thing with the RV show in Omaha.

We also went to Camping World in Council Bluffs, Leach Camper Sales in Council Bluffs and AC Nelson in Omaha.  None of them really had a camper we liked, though Camping World suggested RVs.com and said if we found something we liked they could get it for us.  We never really saw anything we liked. The dealerships mostly had either really old ones or brand new ones.

Financing

We tried getting ahead of the game before starting by getting prequalified.  We wanted to know how much we could buy.  The bank wanted all kinds of information so we had to wait.  And in the end, it bit us in the butt.

Looking Some More

We went to the internet and found an RV we liked through craigslist.  We went out one Saturday morning and looked at it.  We went to the bank with the information and, after getting more information from the sellers, applied for the loan.

We decided to look at some more RVs, just in case.  We found one we liked even better than the first so we told the first seller no thanks.  We went to the bank with the information for the new RV and waited.  And waited.

The Loan Process

Our bank finally got the loan paperwork together and told us we had to be there the next day.  They started the loan paperwork when we applied for the first RV, not the second one.  They had a 30-day limit and took so long to get the paperwork together, we had to do it the next day or start the process over again.

When we got to the bank they took a long time to get things together.  They had issues but finally got the paperwork together.  We picked up the RV from the seller and spent time going over it.  But it was so late we had to pick up supper at a drive through on the way there, the kids had to do homework in the car and my wife had to leave for an appointment while I was still going over the RV.

It Wasn’t Over Yet

I know, you’d think it was over but that wasn’t all.  We wanted to pay the sales tax and get the tags but the county didn’t have the title.  We also needed to get a bill of sale from the seller.  He said he hadn’t gotten the check from his bank but when he did he’d get us the bill of sale.  Our bank said they hadn’t gotten the title from the seller’s bank.  We paid the sales tax (ouch!) and that kept us from getting fined for paying late.  Our bank finally called to say they had the title and the seller got us the bill of sale.  Now we have tags!

Finally, the Lessons Learned

  • Look at all sources, including online.
  • Look at several that you like.  We could have gotten a decent RV with the first one but did get a better one with the second.
  • Banks suck.  They really, really suck.  Bring your patience.  You’re gonna need it.
  • Go to the NADA online site and find the page for the RV you’re interested in buying.  Print out the list of all the features and work with the seller to fill that out.  You will want to take it to the bank to help with the loan.
  • Print out a bill of sale and get the seller to fill it out when you get the RV.
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Omaha Outdoor Show

A Big Day at the Show

Today we went to the boat, RV and outdoor show at the CenturyLink Center.  Omaha isn’t a big enough market to have its own dedicated RV show so around here, it’s thrown in with boats, fishing and some motorcycles.  It also has a spot for seminars, lots of booths staffed by different organizations, an archery range with compound bows and a trout pond for the kids to do some fishing.

We Went for the RVs, Of Course

For RVs, the show had everything:  class Bs, pop-ups, a Lance truck camper, travel trailers, fifth wheels, Class As and Class Cs.  I always like looking at the fifth wheels and some of the larger travel trailers.  They have so much room.  Class As are fun because they have better material and feel like a true apartment.  We made the right choice with our Class C, though.  The worst thing about seeing RVs here is wading through all the people.

Hunting Lodges, State Parks and Other Destinations

The show had several aisles with booths set up.  Canada was well represented with fishing and hunting lodges.  Going on a guided fishing trip up there would be a lot of fun, I think.  South Dakota and Missouri also had a lot of booths set up.  We picked up lots of catalogs with campgrounds and state parks.  Now we have a good start on researching our summer trips.

I Love Me Some Boats

We don’t have time money or time now for a boat but maybe when we settle down we’ll have one. The show this year had bass boats, pontoon boats and sport boats.  In years past they had a sailboat or two set up.  I went on one a couple of years ago and I think it would be so much fun to sail for a while.  They have about as much room as our Class C.  Maybe that can be our next adventure?

You Still Have Time

The show is still going on tomorrow.  The show comes around every February so if you miss it this year you can still set your calendar for next year.

Chomping at the Bit

Cabin Fever

It has been a long winter:  near zero temps a lot of days, over 8 inches of snow and a bad case of cabin fever.  You know, a typical Nebraska winter.  Not to mention we bought the RV and it’s just sitting in storage.  We are making plans for trips now and hearing from other camping friends that now is the time to make reservations because campgrounds around here fill up fast.

Plans This Summer

Our friends are asking when we’re getting the camper out and relatives out of state are ready for us to come and visit again.  So we’re getting our plans together and the RV is going to be busy this year.  So here are what we have in the works:

  • A trip to Columbia, MO, for a reunion with some friends from my trip to China to adopt our daughter.
  • A trip to Kansas City for Comi-Con.
  • A trip to Kansas City for another reunion with China friends and some time at Worlds of Fun.  Worlds of Fun has a campground so this should be a new experience.
  • A trip to Branson to spend a weekend with my brother and his family.  We’ve never been to Branson and it sounds like fun.  Plus, the Ozarks are just beautiful.
  • A trip to South Dakota to visit family and show my brother and his family around.  The Black Hills are a fantastic area to spend the summer.
  • A trip to Mahoney State Park, outside of Omaha.

Intermediate Plans

This weekend is the outdoor show in town.  We can get excited about all the fun stuff.  We might get the RV out for some cold weather camping.  We can do it if we don’t use the water and put antifreeze in the black tank.  I have found out about 12V electric blankets and we can put in an extra electric heater.  If we plug in at a campground somewhere then we can be toasty warm and still enjoy our new toy.

Final Words

We just have a couple of months left and then we can get out there and experience the RV life.  In the meantime we can do some cold weather camping, make our reservations for the summer trips and continue doing research for trips this year and next.