The rear door also has some water damage in the past so the wood paneling by the rear storage closet also needed some work.
We had thought, at one point, we would tear out the paneling and rebuild it into a design we wanted, but after tearing out all the gross carpet and old couches, we were quickly running out of steam and realized this was a way bigger job than we had anticipated.
Jake put together a video detailing the repairs we did and the ideas we had for the remodel. Check it out below!
Our take-ways from remodeling an old RV:
1. Are the parts available or serviceable? Due to her age, a lot of the parts were unavailable or super difficult to get. So, then the question is, do you go without a hot water heater, for example? Or do you replace it with something new and then rework the wiring/connections? If you don’t have an electrical or mechanical background this can be difficult, unless you like learning new trade skills.
2. Don’t buy anything with any sort of ceiling water damage. If you do, get ready for a serious project because it’s the damage you can’t see, that’s underneath the finishes that can cause the most headache.
3. You can sacrifice your want list, but don’t sacrifice your need list. For example, a certain length, amenities, style or year. We ended up loving traveling in the short RV but for our needs, with a dog and now a baby we need an RV that has a different layout. If this RV had a sleeper over the cab we would have been set!
4. Don’t buy on impulse. Just because something is a good deal, doesn’t mean it’s a good deal for you. We lucked out in this situation because we were able to make the necessary repairs and some cosmetic improvements so she was in better shape then when we bought her. We didn’t end up taking a loss on the sale.
5. Always, always NEGOTIATE on the sale price. If it is a private seller, they normally can go down at least $1,000. For a dealer, normally $500 is all they can do unless they receive it in as a trade.
6. NEVER buy something new. One accident, one hail storm and literally just driving it off the lot lowers the value significantly.
7. Whether it is a van you are looking to build out or a RV to remodel to fit your needs, the cost you estimate for the remodel/rebuild will ALWAYS be more! There is always something you missed, something that takes more to do than you thought, or the idea you had estimated a cost for actually doesn’t work for the set-up you bought.
8. There is nothing wrong with “slapping lipstick on a pig” as the saying goes. Sometimes with repairs or remodeling you have reached your breaking point and you have had it on your project. There is nothing wrong with adding some finishes, décor or a coat of paint and selling it.
9. Do your RESEARCH! It is amazing what you can learn from other people’s mistakes. Also, it’s a great way to come up with new ideas and learning how someone else creatively solved a challenging problem.
10. Making mistakes is all part of the process. Nothing will go the way you intended. As Jake always says, if you planned 2 hours for a project to be completed, then add 4 more hours to that as everything always takes twice or three times longer to complete than you thought it would.
We are AGAIN planning on buying an RV to remodel, as we are gluttons for punishment I guess! This time around we plan on sticking firm to the layout we want and only needing to make cosmetic improvements…no water damage issues for us! We joined a couple RV sites online and have found them to be a great resource for not just vehicle sales but also to see what other people are doing for remodels and how they are doing it. Also, we found a list online that we revised to appeal to a broader audience that is a checklist for repairing or refurbishing a recreational vehicle that you can review for reference. Please note it could easily be modified for a travel trailer too.
Repair and Refurbish Recreational Vehicle Checklist
Blog post written by Amy Karras
For the love of travel and new adventures, we live our lives for the next dream fulfilled!