We chose to purchase an older (but not too old) motorhome because we couldn't see the sense in going into debt to buy brand new. Our goal is to simplify here. We looked at C Class RVs but we found that they were lacking storage. They would fit a family of 5 comfortably but not their belongings. We initially hesitated on getting an A Class because I was told we'd need a special endorsement on our CA issue class C license. Turns out, you don't.
So we started scouring craigslist ads to see what we could find. We hoped to keep our expenses under $10k. We wound up finding a 1990 Barth Regal 28' in AZ with 4 bunks and a sofa bed for $8k but since we had never been in a Barth we weren't sure if we'd like it. We were able to find a similar 1990 Barth Regal 31' for $9k 45 min away from us that didn't have bunks. Score! I just planned on going over and seeing if we liked the style and the space knowing full well that it wouldn't work for us because we needed at least one bunk. I toured it and snapped some photos and only listened to the owner with half an ear (because I knew we'd fly to AZ to buy the other one). Well, the joke was on me. Once we finally got more pics of the AZ motorhome I realized that the one I had looked at that only slept 4 was MUCH nicer. Leather seats, wood cabinets, sliding solid wood pocket doors, ceramic toilet, and only 18,000 miles! The other one we were considering only had accordion doors, drapes, 56k miles and not nearly as much storage. So, long story short, we bought the one near us for $8800.
After a deposit and a written agreement, we took it to the mechanics with the agreement that the full price could change if the mechanic found anything major wrong with it. Turns out everything was minimal that needed done and including the complete inspections it totaled out to just under a grand.
The CA DOL was going to be a sore spot for us since we knew we'd be taking it to FL in a couple weeks. CA required taxes to be paid and a title transfer fee. Luckily the registration was current and even though the emissions were tested and passed this year, they could still make us get the emissions checked again. Another potential $150. After a few phone calls I found out that you need to bring the proof of sale, title and new insurance in your name and it is up to the cashier's discretion whether or not you will need to get an emission test. It took Captain 4 hours to complete this (without an appointment) and they didn't even ask for the insurance. But they did finally waive the emission test. Tax was about $675 and title transfer was $15.
Total to date:
Sales tax $675
DOL fee $15
$10,722 = Slightly over our budget
Add'l Mechanic $682
Gas: CA to FL $1502
3 Motel Nights $242
2 Airplane Tickets $354
New running total: $13,502