Does it Matter WHERE you buy your new (or used) RV?
and… What you SHOULD look for when evaluating that rig!
Part 4 of a 5 part series. Part 1 is HERE.
I learned some interesting facts when I first got into RV consulting in the Spring of 2015. I saw people who lived in Wyoming willing to buy from a dealer in Michigan or Indiana and in some cases travel there to pick up their new RV. A wise move? Well, listen to my thoughts below and then see if you agree with my summary posted below
Important note (updated Nov. 2020): My comments in the “Where to buy” video (NOT updated) were based upon the assumption you purchase from a dealer. I’ll admit right up front, I prefer buying from dealers. At the time, I WAS working for a dealer, but now as an independent RV Consultant, I maintain the SAME position.
When I purchased my first two used Class C motorhomes about 17 years ago, I bought from dealers. Why? A dealer has the obligation (at the least the HONEST ONES DO) to inspect the RV before they put it up for sale – AND you can always ask the Service Manager (who often has NO love for their own sales department) what they found on the camper you’re considering. They will also share that report with you – showing what was wrong with it when they brought it in on trade. They will also show you what they fixed – and what they left for you to deal with.
2019 update: I’m NO LONGER with any individual dealer. I’ve started my own Concierge RV Buying Service – designed to help you through the process and save you TIME, MONEY, and AGGRAVATION – check it out HERE.
A good negotiator (hopefully YOU – or you can always reach out to ME) can not only get the price down to a point where it’s a “great deal”, you may get the dealer (on a used camper) to toss in a 90 day extended service contract. While these contracts are NOT a full warranty, they WILL cover components (hot water heaters, slide motors, landing gear, refrigerators, a/c, etc…) and this can be VERY important to YOU as you drive off with your used RV – and if you’re buying new, extended service contracts that extend coverage out to as much as 7 years are well worth the cost (and if you reach out to me – I can save you some real money on one of these contracts. (Nov. 2020: Currently I’m “in between” ESC providers – but – contact me in any case for recommendations.)
Corona virus update Nov. 2020: Unprecedented demand for campers has reduced inventories and slowed the production of new RV’s, BUT, deals are STILL able to be found and negotiated. Patience is a MAJOR key!
If you buy from a “wholesaler” located near many of the factories in Michigan & Indiana, you may get a “teaser” price, but one BIG pieces missing will be the thorough prep done by many local dealers, and ongoing service and support you will WANT and need from your local dealer.
TIP: Here’s where NOT to buy from… “the BIG retailer“
If you buy from a private party, YOU the buyer assume virtually all the risk. The seller is not obligated to know if there is anything wrong with the RV (roof issues, black mold, etc…), so the responsibility is ENTIRELY yours to ensure you’re getting a good rig. I highly recommend hiring a tech to inspect the camper before purchase.
RV Trader is the #1 site through which used RV’s are now sold. If you’re really lucky, you’ll find a rig that already has an extended service contract applied to it for sale – and then you’ll have greater confidence that you have some level of protection when you drive off after closing the sale.
What to look for when buying a RV…
Summary thoughts on this topic…
- Virtually ALL RV’s require service/repair in their first year (and beyond!) – be sure you know how you’ll get your new rig serviced when you purchase! (And… do NOT believe the wholesalers when they tell you your local dealer will accept your business for warranty work!!)
- Consider the protections you’ll have when you buy from a dealer vs. a private sale
- Is the rig you’re looking at WELL BUILT? (IN MOST CASES the answer is NO – contact me for whom to avoid!)
- how accessible is the furnace for service? (and if you camp in the cold, it WILL need service!)
- any refinements to the frame construction?
- how will the rig drive off-road? do they use shocks on the axles?
- does it have tires or china bombs?
- is there attention to “finishing touches”
- is the plumbing protected/insulated?
- will the countertops hold up?
- Since this original posting, I wrote a review of my own (NEW) 5th wheel – HERE – in that review, I detail WHAT I looked for and WHY it matters. Now, 3 years into owning my camper, I’m convinced more than ever that the design and engineering exhibited by a SMALL NUMBER of camper manufacturers (in each major category of rv’s) DOES matter. AND – I always recommend a well built USED camper than a crappy, poorly build NEW camper (usually by one of the BIG manufacturers who are well represented in many RV dealers across the nation.)
AND… Are you willing to pay for a unit that attends to all or much of the above? Some of the best rigs I’ve seen are NOT the most expensive out there, but they’re also not trying to hit a budget “price point”.
As always… THANKS for visiting… and COME BACK SOON… y’hear? Please DO leave comments below and SUBSCRIBE to us using the box below to ensure you receive updates of new posts when they get published. Oh, and if you’re looking for great prices on some of my own choices for accessories, click the image below!
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