Buy An RV Fearlessly, With These Tips

Any large purchase can stir up fear and concern.  You want to make sure you don’t churn a lot of money into something that provides little return.  Or worse, negative returns.  It just takes some planning, research, drawing from experts’ experiences and a little gut feeling. So how can you enter the RV purchasing world and buy an RV fearlessly?

Buy Privately

There are a lot of positives to buying privately.   There are no markups from the rig being prepped or delivered to the dealership.  The person you are buying from has already covered all those expenses and they are not ones that can be passed along.  They might try, but you will know the rig value.  The other bonus – there is plenty of inventory!  You are not locked into what the dealerships have.  Sometimes they only carry a few brands.  Looking through privately owned inventory gives you access to plenty of RVs that match your RV criteria.

Buy Used

Remember the previous owner has paid for the dealership expenses.  You don’t have those now.  In addition, the depreciation isn’t as steep.  You are buying the RV at a used price which should be close to what it’s current market value.  So, when you drive it away from the used lot, you are not automatically losing thousands of dollars in just a few short minutes.  Also, when you buy used, the vehicle has been put through testing with the previous owner.  Kinks, bugs, issues may have already been identified and repaired or at least there may be a list of problems, so you know what you are getting into and how to negotiate based on that information.

Do Your Research

You should never walk in to purchase any RV until you have done your research.  Here are a few things you should know before you buy used:

  • What is the current value of the RV?
  • Does it have any valid warranties or maintenance packages?
  • What services have been performed on the RV?
  • How many miles has the RV been driven or towed?
  • Has the RV been currently inspected?

You should not rely on the seller to provide you with the value of the RV.  There are many ways you can avoid scams when buying and RV – doing your own research is one of those ways.

Be Patient

Rushing into a purchase because they say they have another buyer lined up is not a good reason to buy now.  The only reason to buy a used RV is because you have done your research, and this is the best deal for the RV you want.  Hasty buying decisions can cost you money.  You don’t want to get ripped off on your first RV purchase (or second or third)!   Being patient gives you the time to do several key things in your RV search.

  • You can cast a wider net. You don’t just need to search in your local area.  The larger your search, the greater opportunity you must find the right match.
  • You can walk away. If you feel like you are being pressured into a purchase, but you are pacing your search, you give yourself space to walk away and look elsewhere.  You do not want to feel locked in – like this is the only RV in the world for you.
  • Getting inspections. Being patient also gives you time to request an RV inspection prior to purchase.  And time to review the inspection and use that information as a negotiating tool on price.
  • Make comparisons. You have time to narrow down your search to a handful of RVs you are really interested in.  You are also armed with information from your research to make comparisons on which RV will yield the greatest savings or value based on your needs.

Look at Purchasing in Fall When Demand is Lowest

Late fall and early winter are the best to buy a new or used RV.  This season is considered the off-season for purchases so you can save money here and have more to spend on upgrades or your future RV adventures.  October and November are considered a good time to get some pretty good discounts.  December and January are even slower, so they are considered the best months to purchase if you are looking to buy used from a dealer because they want to clear old inventory.  TIP:  Another good time to purchase used RVs is when fuel prices are high and will stay that way for a while.

When you buy used, more of the responsibility falls on you to do your due diligence and put protocols in place to protect yourself.  So, follow these tips and you are off to a good start.  You can enter the RV world with your own direct purchase of a used RV and come out a winner.  What are you waiting for – get out there and start shopping!

Purchase an RV in the fall for…even better travel experiences. 

About Lucinda Belden

Lucinda Belden is a travel writer who has been full-time RVing for several years in a 44-foot fifth wheel toy hauler with her husband Will and their dog Cozy. Lucinda writes on all kinds of travel from cruises to motorcycling to RVing as well as travel books available on Amazon. She is also the Program Director for MyRVRadio, the first online radio station for RVers. You can follow her adventures at