Getting closer to finding The One
After what feels like an eternity scouring the Internet, I’ve managed to cull the list of candidate Class A motor homes down to a modest 15 units. Our search criteria was as follows:
- Within about 3 hours of either Chicago or Detroit
- Sticker price under $25k, although I am using NADA Low prices to consider what we’ll actually pay. I separated our candidates into 4 tiers: < 10k, 10-15k, 15-20, 20+.
- Class A Gas Motorhome, with a Diesel exception for an older bus conversion.
- 30-37′ in Length
- Few obstructions in the bedroom for a King bed upgrade
After the final purge, there were 10 remaining candidates within a few hour radius of Detroit. A tremendous number of them were in the <10k price bracket. Check out all our candidates in the Detroit Area
One vintage bus conversion really caught my eye, as a coat of paint and some updated fixtures could turn it into a sleek aviation / nautical themed interior.
I also found a 1996 Mountain Aire that looks to be in great condition for its age, and the price is very reasonable – Asking price is $18k and NADA Low is around $12k. Washer-Dryer combo included!
This 1994 Coachman Catalina was a great budget find, coming in well under 10k. The interior has been remodeled, which will save us a lot of time and money. There were plenty of “just fine” coaches as well, but nothing that blew my mind. See all our candidates in the Chicago Area.
What I Learned
- For Class A rigs over about 20 years old, the NADA Low value is $8,550. This was a constant across my research, though I am certain that there are exceptions to the rule that I didn’t see.
- I had a hypothesis that prices would be lower in the Detroit area, and that seems to be true.
- Elkhart is the RV capital of the world, but we found zero used Class A candidates in the area. We still intend to stop there on the first leg of our trip, but more for fun than to make a purchase.
- I hate the “stock” look of almost every pre-2000s motor home I’ve seen, but DIY renovations can be inexpensive if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. I welcome the challenge, but renovations could add another 1k or more to our startup costs. Expect a post on DIY renovation instructions in the near future.
- Pinterest is ridiculously good for organizing information that’s primarily visual. The browser plugin is a godsend.
Browsing and saving listings, researching NADA values, and organizing information probably took at least a dozen hours, if not more, but I now feel very confident that I understand the range of options. Though we might not make a purchase in December, we think there are financial benefits to doing so. It might be crazy to full-commit four months before our departure date, but there’s nothing that says we have to stay in our apartment full-time until the end of our lease!