For those who find themselves with a bit of extra cash this summer, an RV can be a fun and adventurous investment! If you’re a first-time buyer, here’s what you need to know:
Buying an RV is a process similar to buying a car. Prices are often negotiable, particularly when the seller is motivated. Nonetheless, RVs are complicated and many buyers are unsure how to determine their actual worth. Getting the best price involves research, comparison shopping and a thorough understanding of the RV market.
The best way to become familiar with RVs is to walk through dozens of them at dealerships and RV shows. Unlike cars, RVs are available in a seemingly endless array of configurations. The first choice that must be made is choosing between a motor home or tow-able RV trailer. Within each basic category are models ranging from tiny pop-up campers to bus-sized motor homes. The interior layout and included amenities are different in each model of RV.
Make sure to thoroughly research the RVs. Each RV manufacturer offers multiple floor plans, even within specific categories such as “Travel Trailer” or “Fifth Wheel.” Talk to long-time RV owners in online forums and at campgrounds to learn from their mistakes.
RV shows sometimes offer spectacular bargains due to the cost of transporting units back to the dealership. An RV show is also a wonderful place to pick up tips that could save thousands of dollars. Talk to aftermarket vendors and RV mechanics to learn the hidden quirks of various RV styles. Factor in the cost of likely repairs when setting the budget for a particular model.
Consider purchasing a slightly used RV with low mileage. Most RVs have a notoriously low resale value, so buying a model that is a year or two old may provide significant savings. Buy from a reputable dealer and ask for a limited warranty.
TIP: Buying a used RV from a private owner can save thousands of dollars, but could lead to expensive repairs. Test drive the unit and have it inspected by a qualified RV mechanic before agreeing to the purchase.
When falling in love with a particular RV, do not tell the dealer. Remain nonchalant and willing to walk away. Like car sales personnel, RV dealers are quick to raise the pressure when they realize that a customer is already committed to a specific product. At RV shows, the emotional pressure can be overwhelming as dealers fight to sell their floor models.
Make sure to make a low-ball offer. RV pricing is not as standardized as that of the car market. Customization such as having the bunk bed removed, having a RV refrigerator replaced with a household model or other basic modifications are all possible. However, strive to have those modifications made without raising the sticker price. If buying the unit exactly as-is, offer no more than 50 percent of the asking price.
Don’t forget to take as long as needed. RV dealers are similar to auto dealers in rushing the customer and speaking as if the deal is already made. Do not become hurried or backed into a corner.
Source: USA Today