We arrived in Connecticut on May 1, and from that point forward, it felt like our fulltime travel days were done. Our focus immediately turned to transitioning out of Barney and preparing him for sale. Interest rates were on the rise and we wanted to unload him before the inevitable stall in RV sales.
Because the campground we were staying at did not offer full hook-ups, we started showering and doing laundry at my dad’s house (to avoid having to dump the tanks every couple days) and we started moving the things we were keeping over to his house.
Of course, we’d started the process of cleaning out our cabinets and bays several months earlier, but that was the easy stuff.
Once we got to Connecticut, the real work began.
The process offered some nice opportunities to meander down memory lane…
but also some serious cleaning and rehabbing – like removing these old beat up vinyl tiles and replacing them with the extras that Tiffin gave us when we purchased Barney:
And yes, Kevin is using a wine bottle to press the new tiles down. You can’t possibly be surprised by these things anymore.
In between rounds of dusting, washing, scrubbing, and polishing, we pulled the remainder of our things from the cabinets…
and from the far reaches under our bed…
and marveled at just how much crap we had carried with us in our tiny home on wheels.
We then scrubbed out the bays, meticulously cleaned things like the window seals and entry steps, and power washed the outside:
After several weeks of dedicated effort, Barney looked – if I do say so myself – freaking amazing.
3 Options to Sell
We had 3 options for turning Barney into cash. Option 1 was to just bring him to a dealership and sell him direct. This would garner us the smallest check, but create zero hassle. Option 2 would be to sell him ourselves. This would garner the biggest check, but come with the potential for significant hassle. Option 3 was to split the baby with consignment.
With consignment, you give your RV to a dealership to sell for you. They take a cut and give you the rest. The standard used to be that their cut would be 5 or 10% of the purchase price. The new standard (at least where we were) is for the dealership to offer the owner a set price, and then sell it for whatever they can. The owner maintains their insurance on the RV while it sits on the lot to cover any damage caused there (think tornado or fire), while the dealership’s insurance covers anything that happens on a test drive.
We quickly ruled out option #1 since we didn’t want to take a bath on the value. We figured we could at least try one of the other methods before settling on the low-return option.
We started to make an attempt at #2 – taking high quality pictures and creating a nice online listing with tons of information, but, as I was setting up an account on RV Trader (the main listing service people use to buy and sell RVs), I had an epiphany.
And that epiphany was that people are a nightmare.
If we listed it on RV Trader, we were gonna get a ton of calls from looky-loos who weren’t serious and were going to waste our time.
And then some guy named Frank would want to come see it. And then Frank was going to want to take it for a test drive. But did Frank know how to drive a 40 foot motorhome? And what would happen if Frank biffed it and caused a bunch of damage? And what if Frank found some issue he wanted us to fix before he’d complete the sale? How would we get it fixed in the middle of the summer while every RV repair shop was booked solid?
And even if Frank was great and didn’t find any issues and wanted the RV, he would need to get financing and what if Frank’s bank balked at the purchase price? Or what if Frank suddenly decided in the eleventh hour that he wanted to undercut our deal? Would we tell Frank to pound sand or would we just give in because we had a flight coming up and we didn’t have time for this crap?
And all the while Frank was jerking us around, we would have to leave Barney at a campground unattended. Once he was empty and clean, we wouldn’t be able to stay there with Hairy Beyonce. So we’d all be staying at my dad’s house while our most valuable possession was sitting unattended at a campground… at the very same time thieves were stealing catalytic converters left and right.
Suddenly, consignment – where a dealership would be responsible for fielding calls, handling test drives, fixing problems, providing financing, and ensuring secure storage sounded like a really great middle of the road option.
So, we checked with two different local dealerships, sent photos of the interior and exterior, and were offered the same consignment price by each. We chose the dealership we thought would be best and, on July 25th, headed their way.
Barney took one last dump…
And then he got to do what he’d been waiting to do for 6 long years…
And then, we left our little Barney at the dealership.
But, because our little Barney never let us down, a little over a week after we dropped him off, we learned he had a potential buyer!!
But then the dealership jerked us around for six FREAKEN weeks and wouldn’t pay us.
It’s a long story, but basically, the new buyer hired an independent RV inspector to come to the dealership and check everything out before closing the deal. And the inspector found a couple items that the buyer wanted repaired – the most significant of which was a rock chip in the windshield. The rock chip dated back to 2017. After we got hit, we reported it to our insurance and they sent out Safelite to repair it. The Safelite tech filled the chip, and it remained stable for the next five years, but it was very visible and we could totally understand why the buyer didn’t want to rely on it.
When we initially handed Barney over to the dealership and signed the consignment contract, the sales manager implied that as soon as they had a buyer, they would have us come in and sign the title over and hand us a check. However, now, he told us they could not pay us until the actual sale and transfer to the new buyer was completed – which meant fixing the few items and replacing the windshield.
The change was annoying, but we figured it wouldn’t be a big deal. They had every incentive to close the deal and move the unit off their lot, and the buyer would have every incentive to take possession. It was a big dealership, part of a nationwide network, and we had no reason to believe they would screw around.
But, that’s exactly what they did.
For the next six weeks, the motorhome sat on their lot and not only did they not pay us, but they wouldn’t keep us informed as to what was happening.
Basically, they were having a hard time getting a replacement windshield in. But instead of just saying that, the sales manager kept going silent.
Like, “Oh, let me check with the service manager to find out what’s going on with your rig and I’ll call you right back…” followed by silence.
Followed by not returning our calls.
Followed by not returning our e-mails.
Week after week.
It quickly went from being mildly annoying to extremely concerning.
They had our motorhome. They had the title. They had our money. And they were refusing to pick up their phone.
We honestly started to wonder if they were trying to defraud us and started looking into our legal options.
As the clock ticked down and we were supposed to be getting on a plane to leave the country, we really started to panic that this was going to require return trips (which we could only do once under the terms of our initial residency visa).
So, a couple days before our flights, we just showed up at the dealership with the express purpose of cracking some skulls.
The sales manager wasn’t there, but the dealership manager was, and when we told him why we were there, he was – appropriately – mortified. According to him, he thought we’d already been paid weeks before.
“No, you clueless dunderhead, we haven’t been paid!! That’s why we keep calling and emailing your store asking what’s happening. It’s not like we just want to keep in touch for old time sake, you jerk!”
(I didn’t actually say that.)
So, while we were sitting there, he called the corporate office and tried to get them to issue us a check – because, at this dealership, it’s still 1964 and they can’t just wire money like any other big, modern company would.
But of course, the corporate office couldn’t issue a check because it was Friday afternoon, and no one can issue a check on a Friday afternoon. Obvs.
Meanwhile, Kevin was leaving Monday and I was leaving Tuesday.
So corporate would issue the check on Monday, overnight it to the CT dealership and it would arrive on Tuesday as I was sitting in the airport waiting for my flight.
At which point the manager helpfully suggested that I could just drive from New Jersey back to Connecticut (a 2 hour drive), pick up the check, bring it to my bank, then drive back to New Jersey (another 2 hour drive), drop off our rental car, grab our bags, and make it to the airport in plenty of time for my flight.
“What??? No… just no. That’s…. no. No.”
Realizing his idea was not a winning one, the manager then offered to take the check to our bank for us – which, apparently, you can do if it’s just for deposit.
So… we all crossed our fingers and, the day after I arrived in Portugal, an employee of the dealership brought the check to our bank and requested that it be deposited into our account.
And the bank said “no problem!”
And with that, we finally exhaled and closed the door on our fulltime RV life.