Thinking of purchasing an RV Camper? Lets talk about SMART buyers vs. DUMB buyers…

And of course… we ALL want to be SMART buyers!

Recently, while working with one of my Concierge RV Clients, I ran across a situation that made me think about smart RV buyers in contrast to dumb rv buyers.

Smart RV Buyers take their time, do their research, understand RV loans, and more…

An interesting “case study” and what we can learn from it…

Here’s the situation: My client requested I search for, assess the condition of and help purchase a Class A motorhome. After conducting a thorough search, among others, I identified a well built and what appeared to be a well cared for camper at a dealership. The asking price was within reach of her budget and the dealer was within the distance she was willing to travel to get a camper. I was confident that with some negotiating, the purchase price would come in under her budget.

The book value on this particular camper was $77,000. The dealer was asking about $70,000. for it. I conferred with my client and I recommended if everything checks out, we should offer $57,000. and settle for $62,000. or less. I noted the camper had been sitting on the dealers lot for several months. And, as you may suspect, the longer they sit, the more they “gotta go.”

Note that I am aiming now in most cases now to buy most used campers at well below book value. As my prior posts have indicated, it is (in general) a strong buyers market.

My initial interview with the dealer suggested that the camper was indeed in far more than acceptable condition. More checks were needed, but as a first priority, I needed to negotiate price with the dealer. After conferring with my client, I reached out to make our offer to the dealer. As it turns out, a visitor to the dealership a day prior saw that camper, scooped it up and paid the dealers asking price. In my view, they paid at least $8000. more than they needed to (or should have!)

A quick thought on kayaking…

As Spring fever takes hold and the lakes and the ice begins to melt off the lakes, my thoughts turn (again) to kayaking. Here’s a recent review of a GREAT travelers kayak that I absolutely LOVE (and a discount code within)…

I’m a big fan of Aquaglide kayaks – click the image to learn more and obtain a discount code!

Negotiating skills? Impulse purchase?

Of course I can’t say what was going through the buyers head as they paid the dealers asking price, but I have to characterize that buyer as a “dumb buyer.” I don’t know about you, but overpaying by thousands of dollars is not a great way to preserve your families wealth!

As to my client, she and I moved on and found another camper in great condition for well under book value and she’s now happily motoring down the road. She, my client, is a “smart buyer.”

While I may sound “headstrong” speaking as I have about this situation, I’m only “calling it as I see it.”

All too common RV Buying Mistakes buyers make (subtext: don’t be a dumb rv buyer!)

Paying too much for the right camper is not the only mistake buyers make. Mistakes made by RV buyers include (but are not limited to) –

  • Quality is too far down on your list. Doesn’t it just make sense when searching for a camper that QUALITY should be at the TOP of your list? I’m not talking about luxury or bells and whistles here. I’m talking quality of construction and engineering. And… in this realm, MOST camper manufacturers (motorhomes and ESPECIALLY trailers) are deficient! Note my use of the word “most.” There are manufacturers (in each RV group (5th wheel, class A motorhome, etc.) who DO stand out and genuinely make a better product.
  • Buying a camper that is hopelessly mismatched to your planned or intended use. For example: Purchasing a camper that can’t fit into most campgrounds or even be driven (safely) on many backroads or secondary highways. I have a post coming soon on this very topic.
  • Purchasing a brand new camper at a time when there are a wealth of very lightly used campers available. Many of these used campers can be obtained for (literally) thousands or TENS of thousands less. Most brand new campers depreciate over 40% in their first two years. This may be a conservative estimate now that the market is FLOODED with “like new” used campers. (The key is to find the gems in a sea of turds!)

Here are two more all too common RV Purchase Mistakes –

  • Failing to understand the RV market and as a consequence paying far too much for a used camper. Or – offering far too little for “the one” and thus not being taken seriously by the seller.
  • Falling in love with a used (or even new) camper before thoroughly sizing it up for its actual condition. The biggest “killer” of RV’s is water damage! IF you know where to look and what to look for water damage can be identified In just a few minutes of careful inspection.
  • Signing a loan agreement without fully understanding the complete picture. What is the TOTAL cost of the loan? What “add-ons” did you purchase (extended service contract, extra protections…) and what is the REAL cost of those add-ons?

I’ve been a fan of gold and silver for quite a while now. Goldbacks are one way to hold gold…

Small denominations, easy to carry, recognized by several states, very artistic

Click the image to learn more about goldbacks and the vendor I use. When it comes to silver, contact me for a vendor I recommend.

Concluding Thoughts

RV Purchases are often the second most expensive thing you’ll ever purchase next to your home. It pays to give thought to your “intended use” (how and where you will camp with it) and other factors before “pulling the trigger” on a camper.

When I worked for an RV dealer several years ago, I was amazed at the number of people who gave minimal thought before signing a lenders note on a brand new camper that would put them into a payment for years to come on something that does nothing but depreciate from the moment it left our sales lot. It pays to buy the RIGHT camper at the BEST possible price. This way, depreciation will take the least bite when you decide to move on from that camper.

I know that the folks who contact me expressing interest in my Concierge RV Buying Service see the value in having a “guide by their side” and someone who has their back through the entire purchase process.

Spring is here! These are the RV Accessories I personally have tested and use

best rv accessories
Click the image to see my recommendations for important RV Accessories

As always, thanks for reading and I encourage you to share your thoughts below. Further, I invite you to join my newsletter below to be notified of upcoming posts.

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4 thoughts on “Thinking of purchasing an RV Camper? Lets talk about SMART buyers vs. DUMB buyers…”

  1. Dumb buyers. There are buyers that will haggle over $50 floormats on a new car or boldly state they’ll never pay the upcharge for “paint protection.” That same buyer will walk in to an RV dealership and pay the asking price on a new unit simply because they can afford the monthly payment. Many dumb buyers do not know what they actually paid for their car or their RV. Of course, the flipside to this is the dumb seller (or are they dumb?) They do not know the true market value of their RV and are simply basing the selling price on what they paid for it, what they owe on it, and what others’ asking prices are listed. But!! Wait!! There’s more!! All they have to do is wait for a dumb buyer. Another good observation of the market based on experience! Thanks Al.

  2. Thanks Al! Always a very interesting write up! Be a smart buyer! I also think Goldbacks looks to be a great idea!

    We are over 10,000 miles now in our first adventure in our 2018 Lance. We LOVE it!



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