I'm now convinced that the process of actually buying a motor home will take years off your life.
Oh sure, you watch these TV shows about RV's where the couple goes out that day and buys their new rig, brings it home, and camps in it starting day one where everything is Skittles, Rainbows and Unicorns, right?
Never met one of those couples.
So we already know that buying an RV and minimizing the issues later on takes research, preparation and patience. And some people actually can just plop down some cash and head off into the sunset. But we're going to be full-timers, and that adds a whole other level of complexity to the purchasing process. We detailed the issues and the process of setting up a full-time mailing address in a previous post, and except for getting there, it's pretty straightforward.
The purchasing part? Not so much.
As readers can see below in our previous post, our Tiffin Open Road 36LA is scheduled to be READY for delivery on August 16th. Key word READY. Not delivered. And that's fine, because our dealer is only 200 miles and about 3 ½ hours away from where the coach will be built, so unless there's a big shortage of drivers that week, it will hopefully arrive on the lot within a couple of days.
Here's where the fun happens; and we're not talking about picking up the coach the next day and heading off into the sunset.
We're financing a good part of our future home on wheels, as many RV-ers do, but the rules for full-timers are a bit different than for people keeping a residence. So, never having closed on an RV before (Barbara and I have closed on 5 different homes in our soon-to-be 35 years of marriage), I decided to call our sales person at Marlin Ingram RV in Montgomery, AL to find out how the process goes.
To quote my Jewish friends, “Oy, vey!”
First, to the financing company. We already have approval from Essex Credit, a division of Bank of the West which specializes in boat and RV loans. They are, literally, the only company that can finance full-time RV-ers, due to special requirements in Federal lending laws. But we're already pre-approved, so that part is done.
Nothing can begin with closing until the dealer sends in a particular form to the lender, which only arrives when the coach is delivered. Once received at Essex, the paperwork mill begins in earnest. And here's where it gets very dicey for us actually being in the motor home by September 2nd (our last day of work and 2 days after we need to be out of our apartment).
If this was Bank of the West financing an RV for someone with a permanent address, a check would be sent out within a day to the buyer, which then gets cashed and the funds would be available for use within whatever timeframe that particular bank has. That person's bank is local, and depositing it is usually just a short trip downtown.
But we live (today) in Georgia, our bank is USAA in San Antonio, TX, and our dealer is in Montgomery, AL.
That means we have to receive our check, sign it and send it off for deposit overnight to San Antonio, TX, and wait for the funds to be available - hopefully within a couple of days. Not the worst thing in the world but if the motor home isn't delivered until the 20th or so, we now have less than 10 days to close before we're considered “homeless”. But wait! There's more.
This is NOT Bank of the West financing our loan, but their subsidiary, Essex Credit. According to our dealer, Essex Credit isn't as quick to issue a check as their parent company, so instead of a single day turnaround, it can be as much as 7-10 days before WE receive the check so that we can send it to the bank! What was once a comfortable two-week cushion between picking up the RV and fulfilling our last few days of work has now turned into a race to close before we have to find a hotel room to stay in with our dog, Taz. For a couple of nights.
And it now messes with our employers, as depending on the financial stuff, we could literally be telling our bosses that we couldn't work the next day because we have to go close on the motor home in Alabama. No shakedown nights at a nearby campground to test things out, just Wham! Bam! get on the road back to Georgia. It also means that Barbara will not be able to ride back to Georgia in the RV with me, because our tow dolly can't be guaranteed to be delivered on a specific date.
So here's our best and worst case scenarios: Delivered on 8/17, paperwork initiated on 8/18, check received on 8/20, deposited on 8/22, close sometime between 8/25 and 8/28, out of apartment on 8/30 and work our last day on 9/2.
OR, delivered on 8/22, paperwork initiated on 8/23, out of apartment and into a hotel on 8/30, work our last day on 9/2, check received on 9/3 (because 9/2 is a holiday) oh, and btw, where is the check going to be sent since we're now in a hotel room, deposited on 9/5, close on the RV sometime between 9/8 and 9/11.
Ain't retirement fun?
And THIS is why you call ahead and check on the process.
We're Dave and Barbara Richard, and we're living the ultimate retirement experience - traveling the U.S. and Canada in style in a Tiffin Open Road 36LA Class A motor home, playing golf and stopping at every weird and wacky roadside attraction we can find.