I’ve been a real estate broker for a long time, so I know how exciting – and frustrating – it can be to shop for a new home. A few days before Labor Day 2016, an online ad lured me to a neighboring town to look at a Roadtrek van. The owner wanted $25,000 (close to my budget) but the vehicle had over 100,000 miles on it, was worn, dirty and past it’s prime. I tried to overlook the first impression, but couldn’t get past the “feel” of it. Jeez! This van-hunting thing wasn’t going very well. I wasn’t ready to give up, but figured I’d have to wait until next spring or raise the budget to get the kind of vehicle I was looking for.
I’ll never forget coming into my hometown later that day and spotting a cute little white Sprinter van in the grocery store parking lot. Those kind of vans always grab my attention, but I couldn’t believe my eyes when I noticed the red and white “for sale” sign in the window. Like a racehorse out of the gate, I bolted around the round-about, into the parking lot, jumped out of the car and confirmed that YES, it is for sale and YES it was in my price range (suddenly converted from a budget to price range).
It only took two or three tries to dial the right phone number – excitement does that to me – but soon I was leaving a message on the owner’s phone and
impatiently waiting for someone to return my call. In the meantime one of my colleagues, Jason, happened to be leaving the grocery store and saw me eyeing the white beast. He jokingly asked if I was planning to buy it.
Mistake #1 – I said “HELL YES!” and proceeded to reveal my plans for the upcoming adventures. (Of course my brain was saying “What do you mean you are buying this, you haven’t even seen it yet?”)
Finally the owner showed up – probably all of five minutes later. (Time is funny, isn’t it?)
Mistake #2 – I looked inside. As the owner opened the side door, my heart skipped a beat and I knew I was in trouble.
It was beautifully finished with beetle-kill pine planks wrapped along the ceiling and walls, a queen-size platform bed hung solidly over the storage area in the rear, the efficient kitchen cabinet with a stove and sink was positioned on the driver side, hardwood flooring and overhead cabinets completed the interior. There is a 100W solar panel on top to run the lights, refrigerator and water pump, with a solar shower mounted nearby; a trailer hitch, two large windows along the side, and a back-up camera, cruise control….OMG!
Mistake #3: I didn’t look closely at the outside. I didn’t notice the scratches, tiny rust spots and dents. All I saw was this perfect-for-me little white van and my heart made the decision before my head could get in the way. By the next evening it was sitting in my driveway.
Mistake #4: I didn’t listen when the owner told me the No. 2 glow plug was stuck and needed to be replaced. Frankly, I didn’t listen to much of anything the owner was telling me. All I could hear was the quiet hum of the diesel engine, the great sound system and my emotions screaming “THIS IS IT!”
You will get to learn more in upcoming posts as I work through the trials and tribulations of owning a vehicle that I knew nothing about. Sign up here and stay tuned. Thank you!
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