How to buy an RV – New vs. Used

How to Buy a RV: New vs. Used

Welcome to Part 2 in our How to buy a RV Series. (UPDATED Nov. 2020) This post explores the merits of buying a NEW vs. a USED RV. If you missed part 1, click HERE to access the first post in this series which discusses WHEN to buy an RV.

Most folks love the smell of a new vehicle – and RV’s are no different. Getting a nice, shiny, new RV is a real treat. But – is it worth the extra bucks over what you’ll pay for a “like new” used RV? Watch my video below and then see if you agree with my “summary points” – and by all means, feel free to chime in to the discussion by using the reply section at the bottom of the post! 

How to Buy a RV – New vs. Used

  • Greatest depreciation of a new RV occurs during the first 2 years – 40% for virtually ALL trailers
  • RV’s over 10 years old are tough to sell – so when buying used, look for something between 2 – 5 model years old
  • GET AN EXTENDED SERVICE CONTRACT!! Click HERE to learn more, see why, and get a quote – and this is NOT just for used RV’s, though it is VITAL for used RV’s!!
  • Buying from a dealer is often safer than buying from a private party – in the video I explain why
  • Never buy a used RV “sight unseen” – and don’t hesitate to hire a local tech to inspect it – especially if buying from a private seller.
  • If you purchase a used camper at the right price, you won’t take nearly as big a hit when you go to sell it

***Looking for the RIGHT camper at the BEST possible price? Help is here!

Check out our Concierge RV Camper Buying (and Selling) Service***

How to buy a RV - New vs. Used
How to buy a RV – New vs. Used. Either way – you can visit places like the Occidental Saloon in Buffalo, Wyoming, a piece of living history!

Thanks for visiting here today. While you’re on my site, please do visit the home page and see other topics that may be of interest to all RV’ers. Let’s connect! Why not consider joining our RV Across America groups on Facebook, MeWe and USA.Life.

Once you have your camper, you’re going to want to visit campgrounds – here’s an article I wrote on some DISCOUNT CAMPGROUND programs I like.

Visit PART 3: Selecting the RIGHT TYPE OF RV for YOUR needs… Click HERE

Lastly, if you like the content, please subscribe below to be notified of new posts and articles –

Connect with us:

6 thoughts on “How to buy an RV – New vs. Used”

  1. You mentioned that the dealer is required to tell you what they found wrong in the unit when they took it in. When does this “disclosure” occur? I was just about to purchase a unit and asked for the the report of what the dealer found wrong & what they fixed . The saleslady told me that would give me that report when we closed on the deal. I walked away. Was I right or wrong?

    • Gray, YES you did the right thing. While I do not believe I used the term “required” (at least when it pertains to issues outside of safety), the dealer WILL have a report from their service center on that unit (and will have decided what they opt to fix and opt to leave alone), you SHOULD ask for that report. IF they refuse or play games as the sales person did in your case, you WALK – and have no hesitation in doing so. Any dealer who even balks a little at fully revealing what they know about the trailer you’re looking at, does NOT deserve your business.

  2. Hi Al

    Great post.

    As you know – myself being new to Rv’ing- The best thing I ever did was buy a USED unit to begin with. After spending hours a day online,over a 1 year period, studying different makes , models and layouts I honestly thought that I knew exactly what I wanted and thus proceeded to buy (in 2013) a used 2007 Pleasure-Way Lexor TS. After my first camping trip and then over the next couple of months I found that it was NOT the unit for me.

    A few of my reasons:

    #1-I didn’t realize how having to turn the 2 front cab seats around to be able to have a seating area would would become a “mission” or an irritation.(I had the back sofa down and permanent bed set up in place)

    #2-Over time having to put a pan in the center Isle to shower also became a “mission”.

    #3-I didn’t realize how uncomfortable a Chevy Express van would be to drive over long distances in comparison to my every day vehicle.

    #4-I found my self spending a lot of time and money adding upgrades- Solar package, extra storage shelf and a mattress to place over the back sofa etc etc….and began to realize that I would not be seeing any of this money back in the future as the entire vehicle as a whole was a depreciating asset.

    #5-Only after living in the unit did I begin to realize that I had no real outside view. I could only see out through the front cab window looking forward or to see out the sides I’d have to lay down on the back bed. (An outside view from the inside is a very important factor to consider and this had not come to my attention prior to my purchase.

    My purchase and selling story:

    With all the above said , I was able to sell the vehicle for 3k more than I payed for it, 8 months later. When I originally purchased it I got a great price. It was on consignment with a dealer FOR $47500 (Other units that were similar or the same were advertised online for this amount or more or much more). After negotiating/haggling with the dealer over the phone , the price was reduced to $42500. I proceeded to pay a $500 returnable deposit. I flew to Philly to inspect the vehicle. I found it to NOT be as in clean condition as viewed in the online pictures, I found rust in a few spots under the vehicle, a dripping tap and faded decals. After pondering over my findings I made a low ball offer of $32k. The dealer called the seller to discuss. The seller let me take the vehicle for 36k. After cleaning up the vehicle myself and doing a few upgrades I sold the vehicle online in 3 days for $39k. Note that similar or the same were still advertised for a lot more – nothing less than $45k …so my purchase of my very first RV ended on a good note.

    My current RV:

    Based on what matters to me in an RV, I recently proceeded to purchase a NEW 2016 Winnebago Travato 59G. I bought it loaded- Solar Panel, roof rack,ladder on the back however no bike rack as I’m not into cycling at all. It has a permanent bed in the back , a very comfortable stand up shower and a booth table and seating area up front.- It has everything I want in an RV except a convection microwave where one would be able to bake- Im currently working on getting this issue resolved. The galley counter top was a little small however I have already had a flip up/down professionally made my a residential kitchen company.

    Why I bought new and not used:
    After doing multiple calculations I realized that the difference in monthly payments when financing a new unit with everything I wanted in regards to financing used unit with a few things missing, was only about a $50 a month difference. Why>I now have a 4.5% interest rate on the new unit. If it was a used unit I’d be at about 6% interest rate plus I know I’d be spending money on a credit card making additions or upgrades to the RV that it didn’t come with or even repairs that I’d be paying out of pocket as apposed to a new unit under warranty.
    Small amounts spent on upgrades here and there tend to start adding up quickly which is what I found with my first unit.
    I will also be using my unit as a mobile office for my business and there is a great tax credit for NEW business vehicles …which actually just about covers the +/- 20% depreciation of the RV in the first 2 years.

    I hope my post helps others looking to purchase an RV for the first time.



    • Marlon, Thanks for contributing! Your point about learning what you really want, and buying used at the right price is well taken. In my store, I actually had a customer come back after about 12 days from their purchase (after their first weekend of camping) wanting to trade their unit (which was too small for them – and I told them that before they bought it) for a larger unit. An expensive mistake.

      • I think this happens a LOT. I often see dealers advertising units that they have taken in on trade ….and the unit is only a couple of months old with only a couple of thousand miles on it.


Leave a Comment


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)