The remodel of our RV

a major red flag before buying a used RV off Craigslist

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Craigslist is one of the best places to buy a used RV.

And by best, I mean the cheapest. Craigslist tends to be the last people go for listing their rig, after RV Trader and Facebook Marketplace. So it’s still a good place to find deals on campers.

But it also means meeting up with strangers and buying a house on wheels from them…

When we decided to buy an RV and go on a fifty-state honeymoon, we didn’t know much about RV life. We toured a few campers before we finally found one that didn’t have water damage—which was pretty much the only thing we knew to look for when shopping for a used RV.

This RV would be our first home together. And when you’re trying to buy your first home off Craigslist, you never know what will happen. Let our story be a cautionary tale.

“Can I use your shower?” Heath asked.

“Sure,” I replied, wondering internally if he would still shower three times a day when we lived in a truck camper. Surely, the water tank couldn’t handle that.

“Thanks,” he said, kissing my cheek. He grabbed his phone and walked into the bathroom. The water started, and I heard Heath say hello. I shook my head. Who talks on the phone in the shower? This is the man I’m marrying.

Suddenly, still fully dressed, he opened the bathroom door, and from across the room, I could hear the caller yelling.

“I understand, but I—” The yelling grew louder. Heath mouthed something at me that I couldn’t make out. He looked spooked, and Heath didn’t spook easily.

“Who is it?” I asked, my heart rate rising. Our wedding venue canceling? An angry client from the software company where he worked?

“No, we—” he tried to cut into the conversation, but the yelling grew louder and was suddenly met with silence. Whoever it was hung up.

“What was that about?” I asked nervously when Heath slowly lowered the phone from his ear.

“That was the guy from Craigslist selling the truck camper. He backed out. Said that he didn’t trust us because we hadn’t picked it up yet.”

“But we said we would pick it up Friday. It’s not Friday yet.” That was the day Heath and his dad could take off work to pick up the camper together since it required two drivers.

Heath shrugged. “He was pissed. You heard. I couldn’t even get a word in.”

“Well, maybe you can call him back later after he calms down, and we can still get it?” I asked, not willing to give up hope. We’d look at campers for over a month, and that was the only one we found in our price range. I had just shown pictures of it to my whole family only days ago, proudly telling them about our upcoming adventure. We didn’t have every part of our fifty-state honeymoon figured out, but knowing where we’d be sleeping made the plans feel solid enough to tell our families.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, I could hear my mom’s voice in my head.

I could feel our plans unraveling.

I didn’t understand what went wrong. The couple selling the RV seemed to really like us when we drove four hours to check out their camper. They gave us tons of camping tips, and when we were all still talking as the sun went down, they even shared their homemade wine with us. Okay, now that I’m thinking about it, that was a little weird. It burned like vodka and tasted like wine. They made it under their sink from frozen Welch’s grape juice and—

Oh my gosh, why did we drink that?!

Our judgment was clearly off.

“No. If that’s the kind of person he is, we shouldn’t buy it from him,” Heath said firmly. “I wouldn’t trust him. He was mad that I was planning to bring my dad along to pick it up. We’ll have to find another one.”

“That one took us a month to find, put in an offer, and schedule a day to pick up! We don’t have another month! The wedding is coming up soon. We’re out of time. What are we going to do?” I burst into tears.

I could already picture Easter with my family and explaining how we already failed at our honeymoon and we weren’t even married yet. As if it wasn’t hard enough to share the whole story to begin with.

“We aren’t going to go now,” I sobbed to Heath. “It isn’t going to work out. This is another sign. We’re never leaving.”

Everything was piling up against us. Just weeks before our wedding day, I kept crying as I saw our honeymoon going down the drain.

If the seller yells at you, it’s a pretty good idea to walk away.

A few weeks later, an RV that we couldn’t afford dropped it’s price tag and we negotiated a sale on the side of the road after a test drive. That’s how a good Craigslist purchase looks. They had all of the maintenance paperwork, let us go for a test drive unsupervised, and, you know, didn’t cuss us out.

Related: 12 Questions to Ask Before Buying A Used RV

Looking back, our Class C motorhome “Franklin” was waaaaaay better than a truck camper, and we needed that first deal to fall through so we could time it right and find the perfect RV:

Find a Used RV: Check out our Renovated RVs for Sale marketplace for used RVs that have been fixed up like new!

There are always roadblocks to chasing after what you want—like visiting all fifty states or traveling full-time—but sometimes they are just the annoying stuff you have to push through to get the RV you were meant to call home! 🚌

Moral of the story: if the guy on Craigslist cusses you out over the phone, don’t buy his RV.

You can read the full story of RVing to all 50 states in our latest book: RVing Across America

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