The day would come eventually that we had to get license plates.

Title, tax and plates have been out there as an unknown expense since we began considering a purchase of this type. After reading many articles about registering a motor home out of state, setting up an out of state LLC, and after talking to folks we know across the country that have researched or do register their vehicles in another state- we had decided to register and plate our bus in Colorado at our home address. Several reasons, most notably that we wouldn't be under the radar and it would probably be out of the ordinary to have a bus with Montana plates in our Colorado driveway...

Today the title arrived, so I made a stop at the license plate office to see what the damage was going to be when I submitted the title and paid for plates. For the first time in my life, the license plate people had good news. Here's what I found out, which will matter if you purchase an RV.

We will register this bus as a motor home- because it doesn't have seats, and it's primary function is as a motor home. We're going with the GVW listed on the title (which I suspect was accurate when it was imported before conversion- and its less than what I think it is today), because it's over 10 years old, we'll pay the lowest value on the plates- although we still have to pay the sales tax. Next years plates will only be about $190.00 (!). This is great news, and very different than the scary, expensive news I was reading about when I researched this purchase.

Here are some important things the clerk shared:

A motorized RV is registered like a car, and will drop to nearly nothing in value after 10 years from date of manufacture for licensing purposes. On the other hand, a travel trailer or 5th wheel will bottom out at 45% of the original value, and will never go less than 45%. So at 11 years of age when we're at 0%, our 5th wheel neighbors are at 45%. Has the bus or the 5th wheel become less valuable? I would suggest that a bus conversion will hold its actual value better, so the formula seems skewed, but as bus owners we'll accept it. Also, if you purchase a new RV and license it in Colorado, hold on for the license plate blow! It's not going to be pretty. That seems to be the situation that has Colorado residents scrambling to other states to license their new road homes.

Since our title didn't arrive before the temporary plate expired, the broker sent us a replacement good until July 1, 2010. We purchased the bus on May 4th, so if we wait until after 7/4 (60 days) Colorado hits us with a $100 late fee.

Sure, we'll plate it before the temp plate runs out, but we'll hold onto our money until the last day.