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Author Topic: Build bus for me or the next owner?  (Read 3351 times)
belfert
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« on: October 14, 2007, 04:31:58 PM »

I've been spending some time thinking about the interior finish of my bus.  Should I be concerned about customizing it for me or considering any future resale?

I have no plans to sell my bus short term, medium term, or long term right now.  I figure I could get the value of the shell only if I did sell which is about half of what I have spent on my bus.  I figure the only reason I would sell is if diesel prices double or triple, but at that point converted buses would be pretty much unsaleable.

The interior layout of my bus is already so custom that most buyers would not like it.  There is no traditional bedroom with queen bed like most.

I had originally planned on a knotty pine interior, but I've decided an interior like that would be impossible to clean after a trip to the desert with all the dust.  I'm now considering doing all the walls and ceiling in either FRP panels or plain white paneling.  Not the best look, but easy to clean.  I'm thinking using all FRP panels would make the interior look like a insitutional shower room or a large commercial kitchen.

I'm probably going to rip out most of the interior of my bus next spring or summer to redo the wiring and some other stuff.  It should only take two weekends to take everything out and put it back in.  We had to hang wires from the ceiling in part because of time issues and in part because we had no good places to run wires.
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bubbaqgal
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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2007, 04:42:55 PM »

If you have no current plans for re-sale then why is there a question?  Why on earth would you consider building for a future owner when that would interfere with how you, as the current owner and user, can use your own bus now.  Say you put in a bedroom with 1 queen bed.  Then you can your group of friends want to go  on a trip, are you going to make everyone sleep on the floor?  Sorry, but that makes no sense whatsoever.  Build your bus for yourself and when and IF you sell it, let the new owner remodel and update to their own tastes.  Cat
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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2007, 05:45:38 PM »

I would suggest your basic layout should allow for a traditional conversion retrofit if you were to sell it, IE walls and bath in the right spots.

build your bunk room in the back ( bedroom) and build such that you could remove everything and have bare walls.

The Dina is a bit of a white elephant to sell even as a seated coach or raw conversion shell, so you should plan on making it as saleable as possible

The MC-8 I bought to lease as a VIP coach was bought specifically because the rear longe compartment could easily and cheaply be made into a ratyher large bedroom and the bus has a huge ammount of interior storage and a large bath.

Obviously you have put some coin into the bus and it is not a throw away item.....so do it right and do it nice.

Interior I would do in a laminate.  I am sure you know nothing stays clean in the desert so cleanability is not so much of an issue
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Songman
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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2007, 06:05:18 PM »

I agree with Cat. Build it however you want it to be. Most of the buses on here, and RVs anywhere for that matter, are not what I want. That is the biggest reason I want to build my own. Before anybody gets mad at me for dogging their buses - I don't like any rig where you have to go through the bathroom to get the bedroom. It's just a personal preference for me but that would stop me from ever buying one built that way.

On a similar note - My father-in-law says that we will never be able to sell our house because of the way we have it decorated inside. Thanks to our love of Victorian era antiques and my wifes affinity for crosses and angels, our house looks a good bit like a heavily decorated church when you walk in. Since her dad is not much of a religious man, in his mind it would turn people off. Judging from the reaction of people who come visit us, I think it would have the opposite reaction.

So build it however you like it.
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cody
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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2007, 06:16:05 PM »

I can only go back to what brought me to buses, after many years of S&S, I finally realized that I would never find the floorplan I wanted or the quality of construction that I felt I needed. The only choice was to do my own, the longevity of the unit was insured by the heavy duty nature of the bus, the uniqueness of the interior I provided.  If you decide to sell at some point the first thing that will go thru the mind of the new owner is how they will convert/adjust it to what they want,  based on that, I would build it to exactly what you wanted it to be, thats the nature of the converter.  I'm not worried about resale or what visitors might think, it's an expression of what I am, some days I'm a bum, other days I'm just a slob, but none the less, it's what I am.
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belfert
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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2007, 06:56:59 PM »

The reason for the question is just in case I would ever have to sell my bus quickly in case of financial problems.  The less exotic the interior probably means a faster sale at a higher price.  My finances are very tight right now, but I have no reason I should need to sell the bus.

The Dina is a little hard to get parts for, but most everything can be ordered from MCI even if it takes a few months to get.  The hardest parts to get would be exterior body panels and doors.  The body was actually made by Marco Polo out of Brazil so MCI could probably order even the body panels.  I ordered a $3 body part that took a month or two to get.  It appears MCI had to order it from Brazil and certainly spent more than $3 just on shipping.

I think I could sell my Dina shell for a good price since it is mechanically in good shape and is still $20,000 or more less than a similar MCI with a Series 60 and B500.
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Songman
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« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2007, 07:24:04 PM »

I think fuel prices are going to have more to do with the ease of selling a bus conversion in the future than the interior design.
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lostagain
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« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2007, 08:25:06 PM »

You can't be thinking about resale because it is only going to be worth 50 cents on the dollar, if that, when comes time to sell. Build it for yourself, enjoy it for how many years you can and don't count on getting anything for it later. Hell, it might be your estate putting it on ebay and getting $3200 for it... A converted bus is not an investment. It is a toy with a very limited market. That's why I still think you can buy a coach already converted, modifie it to you liking, and it still costs half of starting from scratch.
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JC
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« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2007, 09:52:52 PM »

I know of one bus nut that has this incredibly complicated air conditioning switcher that looks like spaghetti on the back with all the wiring criss-crossing in the back to operate the 3 roof airs either off gen, land line, or inverter.  When I asked why he just doesn't use conventional circuit breakers, he said that the next owner will like the simplicity of the rotary switch. 
Me- I built my bus to my standards and needs.  If the next owner wants something different, he can change it.  Good Luck, TomC
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lyndon
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« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2007, 11:30:04 PM »

The problem I see with renovating a style to suit someone else's future taste is not knowing what will be in style at resale time. Suppose you make decisions to use layouts or finishes that you don't particularly care for, and in 5 years, with new trends and all, nobody else cares for your choices either. Not only would you have spent money and time to please no one else, but you would have put up with something you don't like for 5 years.

My vote would be to create something pleasing to yourself. (In 5 years your choices could reflect the latest trends!)

Don T.
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Don
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« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2007, 06:40:07 AM »

Hi, I am familiar with your methods of estimating the time needed to complete a plan as I have been studying all the old posts on MAK for the last few weeks.  Your story of trial and tribulation and trial and trial and trial and tribulation was very educational for me.  So in the kindest way possible I must point out that
" It should only take two weekends to take everything out and put it back in."
is quite probably highly innacurate. 
I have no experience renovating buses, but I have tons retro fitting houses. In the early days I used to make estimates of time for a job then X3 to get it right.  then I had to X4 because i was still off.  After many years I now can get fairly close. Last winter I quoted a job as time + materials at $40,000.00, I went $1,200 over.  I could have hit the mark, but I'm a quality builder so when details need to be finessed I will back up a little to get it right.  I could also have completed the job for $25,000.00 but like I said I'm a quality builder. 
I'm not trying to blow my own horn here I'm trying to impart lessons I have learned from the school of hard knocks.
Finally I think you should build it the way you want, just make sure you do  good job 'cause I have a fondness for DINAs, and I might want to buy it from you one day. Wink.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2007, 09:10:20 AM by zubzub » Logged

Busted Knuckle
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« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2007, 09:19:01 AM »

Build it for me! I want it like a party/limo/executive type coach! easy to switch from one to the other & still use it for a week end outting! It'll take longer than 2 weeks to research and ask questions to which you'll do the exact opposite of the answers you'll receive! then half way through the remod you'll have to stop & redo because you ran out of the stuff you bought for .25 cents on the dollar and theres no way to match it! But remember when yer done I'll buy it as soon as you list it in he spare tire section! Remember there is a  $50 limit! Grin
Grin  BK  Grin
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ChuckMC9
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« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2007, 11:07:21 AM »

...just in case I would ever have to sell my bus quickly in case of financial problems.
Ain't gonna happen. (quickly) Unless you practically give it away.

The bus can't be your 'emergency fund' because it will be as illiquid as anything you've ever had.

In fact these days, and in the coming times, I don't think anyone should really plan on resale at all.

But if you're hardheaded like me, Wink with your plan it seems like it would not be a huge job to retrofit if you *really* wanted to, and if you wanted to go to the trouble to consider that as you design it. (I wouldn't though)
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tekebird
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« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2007, 12:16:21 PM »

I agree...build it how you want it...but keeping in mind cetrtain things that will make it easy to sell

Large bath
lots of interior storage
rear compartment of size sutable to a refit to bedroom


most of the people who may come look are not going to be a conversion nut ( Busnut is a guy who likes buses) and are likely not wanting to retrofit your bus.

the fastest seling buses and the ones that bring more than a small fraction of what you have in yours are the ones that are thoughtfully layed out and built with quality in mind

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kyle4501
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« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2007, 02:18:20 PM »

The ONLY time I'd do something to benefit future resale value is if it didn't take $$ away from any other project & it fit in with MY wants for the coach.

Now, I'm not going to totally disregard future resale possibilities, but I figure if I have to sell it, I'm gonna take the beating of a lifetime - So why add to the beating with stuff you don't want.


BTW, I saw some awesome interiors at the non rally that looked easy to clean & some that were reported to be nightmares to clean.
Seems the vinyl was a soft surface that deadened the noise, was easy to clean, & if done right - easy to install.  Grin
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« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2007, 02:36:44 PM »

If you decide to build for a next owner I would suggest, and I read this somewhere else, build your interior modular, outside the bus. That way it can be stripped out to an empty shell for the next guy, or left alone if they like it.
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Dreamscape
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« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2007, 04:10:20 PM »

I am building our Eagle for US!!!!!

If I was thinking of selling it (won't happen) I would stop and THINK. Why would I build it for someone else who will probably just tear it apart and DO IT THEIR WAY.

Just doesn't make any sense.

The resale market is huge, just look at all the coaches that have been for sale for weeks, months and maybe even years.

FWIW,

Paul
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tekebird
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« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2007, 05:00:31 PM »

I am not suggesting to build it for someone else...just keep them in mind......read as don't do stupid $#!%...and do what you do well.

besides the obvious resons for the glut on used coaches.......is the large number of poor ones...either from the platform standpoint....or the conversion quality/ or a componenet of the conversion.

there are some who are converting as a hobby....and seems the hobby is a large part of their decision to buy and convert.  some for many years have been converting or rebuilding their platform and have yet to use it.

that is fine if that is what your intention is.

I have seen some spectacular interior conversions...then you open a bay up and it looks like something that was built  out of salvaged Jap Zero parts from a wreck found on an unihabited South Pacific Island.......have also seen the converse

with that said I have not seen many conversions, incuding the MC-8 I bought that I would not have done something to......but I doubt you will find any buyers who intend on gutting a converted bus and start over....unless they are certifiable.......most conversion are not maintained well, and with the small value added in the cost of the converted bus the buyer would be better off starting with a shell or seated coach.

Now before any of you start bitchin......there are alot of well maintained and well built conversions out there.....but those are the ones that only come up for sale from an estate for the most part.

the key is to build/lay it out smartly......and design it with materials that are "timeless" and suit the taste of the masses.

Flowered Couches from some POS S&S do not meet the taste of the masses for example   Something more subtle is a bettter choice
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belfert
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« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2007, 07:59:07 PM »

I'm not sure what type of interior material will be easy to keep clean, not look like redneck central, and be reasonable in cost.

Tongue and groove pine would be a fairly timeless look, but I think it would be hard to clean desert dust out of all the cracks.  Still thinking about it since I won't be working on the bus again until probably next spring.

I built my bus to use and not just sit until the conversion was 100%.  I wanted to have it ready after just six months, but that didn't work out.
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BusMom
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« Reply #19 on: October 16, 2007, 07:44:18 AM »

We bought our bus (GM4905A) less than a month ago knowing that the interior would have to be gutted out to fit our needs.  I say don't worry about what a future owner is going to want (do you already know who is going to buy it and what they want).  Enjoy the fun and excitement of remodeling your coach the way that you want.    Cheesy  When we were looking for a bus we wanted something that the conversion had already been done on, but that was old so we didn't feel so bad about ripping out someones work.  All of the mechanical was already done so it made it easy for us to quickly get what we deemed necessary to use done and get on the road with the kids.  My husband and I figure that within five years we will be able to have it done to the way that we want and we will be ready to full time it when the kids move out of the house.   Roll Eyes  I think it takes a special breed to become a bus nut, and I love all of the ideas that bus nuts have come up with to solve the various problems that pop up with the ownership of a bus.  We can't wait to meet some of you at a rally or even just going down the road so if you see a 1978 GM4905A stop by and say hi! Grin
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Amy Riley
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« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2007, 10:04:49 AM »

I really did not find that desert dust was much of a problem . I went to the desert dunes for many years and several times a year and never really saw a problem.

The bus was closed up most of the time as we had to run the A/C most of the time. Throw rugs on the steps and down the aisle.

Always remove your shoes before entering the bus. A pair of coveralls to wear while out duneing or whatever activity you are engaged in and remove the coveralls before entering the coach.

really a no problem if you take some precautions.

Richard
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« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2007, 03:48:09 PM »

Build it 110% for yourself and do it now.  Life is too short.  Naturally, thousands of individuals will be throwing money at you wanting to buy your coach because it will be perfect in every way---or even better!  Smiley Smiley Smiley
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belfert
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« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2007, 05:01:28 PM »

Richard, I imagine the desert dust you're speaking of isn't anything like the fine talcum powder like dust found in the Black Rock Playa.  The dust supposedly can get through some air cleaners.

I did forget a rug for the door which would have helped, but no way would I take off my shoes.  My socks would be covered in dust if I did that.  We were choking on dust inside just from the drive across the playa to our final destination.  The dust gets everywhere, even more so during high winds.

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NewbeeMC9
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« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2007, 07:39:17 PM »

How much is the next owner paying you?  maybe you should post the question to him. Wink
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« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2007, 04:05:31 AM »

Build it the way you want it, any way how would you know how the next owner would want it,  If like most conversions you will only get pennies on a dollar any way.
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