This may come as a surprise, but it’s not uncommon for buyers to purchase RVs sight unseen. In a conversation with the seller after we had sealed the deal, he mentioned that a family from New Zealand had expressed interest in the RV we bought and were willing to purchase it while still in NZ.
While there are of course risks on both ends of a long-distance vehicle transaction, there are practical steps that a buyer and seller can take to minimize those risks. Some things we did:
- I spent hours on the phone with the seller going over a way too long checklist that I compiled. I documented the seller’s answers to my questions, and sent him my notes to confirm. Part of our written agreement is that if at the time of pick-up the RV is not as represented, the sale is off. I also requested many more ‘current state’ photos of the RV and its components and will confirm that what we see at pick-up matches those photos.
- (Bonus: I’ve made the “Buying a Used RV” checklist available as a Google Doc. It is compiled from various sources, with my own items added in.)
- I confirmed that a reverse look-up on the seller’s land line leads to his name.
- I used Google Street View to see that the RV was in the seller’s driveway. (I wasn’t expecting to see the RV there, but spotting it was a plus!)
- I made sure that I felt comfortable with the seller on the phone, and that everything he said was consistent. For example, he referenced his wife [Name] being on Facebook during our call, so I made sure that her profile existed and had consistent content. I also called the seller’s house line during the day when he was out to confirm that his wife would answer the phone.
From the time I’ve spent talking to the seller, I am completely comfortable with our transaction. I am convinced that the owner takes great care of his vehicle, knows it well, and will deliver it in fine shape. I just can’t wait to get out to California at the end of July to pick the thing up!
posted by jayhorowitz