Although we are usually night owls, we have been working on changing our sleep schedule, getting to bed earlier and waking up earlier in the morning. So we were awake by 7:30 Monday morning, eager to get our Winnebago inspected and to do the consignment paperwork with PPL Motorhomes in Houston.
PPL is very good about walking you through the entire process ahead of time, sending you forms to fill out and a list of things that must be done before your appraisal meeting. One of them was having the RV weighed on a certified scale, which we had done before we got to town, and the other was to have a Texas state safety inspection done. They had given us the names and addresses of two different companies near their location that did the safety inspections and we had scouted both out in the Explorer ahead of time.
The first one we went by was Greg Bingham’s 10 Minute Oil Change on Wilcrest Drive, and we quickly ruled it out because access in and out with our 40 foot motorhome would have been darn near impossible. But the second location, Redline Auto Sports, was just two miles away from PPL on the freeway frontage road. It is located at a large strip mall with a bunch of empty stores, and our friend Charles Yust had told me it would be easy to pull into the mall’s parking lot next to the business and they would come out and do the inspection there. They opened at 9 AM and we were there waiting for them. The inspection was quick and easy; basically they just wanted to make sure that all of our lights and turn signals worked, and that the windshield wipers and horn were in good order. The whole process took less than 15 minutes.
By the time we drove back to PPL and dumped our holding tanks, it was still only a little after 9:30. Our appointment with the appraiser, John Byers, wasn’t until 11 AM, but I went inside to see if he might be available sooner. As it turned out, he was, and I felt good when the first words out of his mouth when he saw our rig was, “This is a beautiful coach.”
John spent some time going over the motorhome, both inside and out, we pointed out some of the upgrades we had done to it, and then the three of us went into his office so he could explain the consignment process and we could do the paperwork. Basically, PPL will either buy your RV outright or sell it on consignment, charging a 10% fee once the deal is done. Obviously if they buy it outright you are going to get a lot less money, but if you need to get things wrapped up in a hurry it might be worth it to go that route. Fortunately for us, we’re not in that position and we can wait until it sells.
We had been asking $45,000 for the motorhome, which I knew was a heck of a deal and way below low retail Blue Book. John agreed and said he was going to price it at somewhere around $53,000 for a relatively quick sale. I told him I know there are no guarantees in life, but based on his experience, I asked him how long he thought it might take to find a qualified buyer. John said he wouldn’t be surprised if it was gone in 45 days or less.
After dealing with tire kickers and flakes who just wasted our time for the last three months, I’m more than happy to let PPL handle everything, and it’s worth the 10% commission to us. They can also help buyers arrange financing, and they handle all of the title transfer paperwork, including any payoff to a lien holder. Terry and I were very impressed with John and with PPL overall. Everybody we talked to there was very open and friendly, and they went out of their way to accommodate us. John told me that PPL sells somewhere around 2,500 RVs a year, making them a very high-volume dealer. I think we left the Winnebago in good hands.
Because of our early start, we were finished with everything and ready to leave before our originally scheduled 11 AM appointment. I think both of us thought we would have some last-minute regrets as we drove away from our Winnebago for the last time, just like we did when the person who bought our MCI bus conversion drove away with it. But neither one of us did. I took one last picture of the Winnebago parked in PPL’s lot and we headed home, that phase of our lives behind us.
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Thought For The Day – I can’t wait until I retire, so I can wake up early and get in my car and drive around real slow, backing up traffic and making everybody else late for work.