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DIY RV Buyers Guide: Buy an RV for the Right Price for the Right Model

Step 2: Find 2-3 Options You Like, Then…..RENT!

Rent before you buy. After completing step one and discovering what your looking for, contact one of the services below and grab your type of RV for a weekend or  short road trip. Take some time and see if you like the ride, how it handles, living in it, and possibly working in/around it. Consider meeting other RV’ers in your travels and find out more about the options and lifestyle.  A few websites to look into when you are setting up your rental trips:

Step 3: Get Ready to Make Your Purchase

Now that you know exactly what type of RV you want after your rental weekend and have done all your research by visiting, RV shows, Dealers, and scouring the internet. Its now time to make your purchase.

Arrange Financing

Another important consideration to make when purchasing your RV.  From your local credit union, to bank, to any array of financial institutions there is no shortage of places willing to write RV loans. There are several guides available that come from reputable sources that I encourage you to look over.

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RV Loan Payment Calculator

Free loan calculator by Bankrate.com

When, Where and How to Buy a RV

RV Buyers Guide General Tips:
  • Because RVs (like cars) don’t have firm asking prices, don’t be shy about asking for significant reductions in price. Some RV dealers regularly add on a considerable markup on the wholesale price.
  • Most RV sellers are willing to negotiate with you on the RV but not on the add on equipment. Be wary of this before agreeing on a price.
  • If you can get your hands on the wholesale price, use that as your negotiation point.
  • Make sure you have your prospective purchase reviewed by a RV technician or are covered under warranty.
Dealing with a local RV Show/Dealer or Buy Online?
  • From a pure accountability standpoint, you are probably better off trying to find an RV (new or used) locally, even if you use the internet to find it.
  • You can inspect your potential purchase at a Dealer/ RV Show
  • You can take local RVs for test drives.
  • You may find that using the internet offers more options and better pricing.
  • Thousands of RV’s are now found and purchased online successfully every year.
Either Way:
  • Utilize the Internet. Great way to compare prices and make sure your getting the best deal.

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1. Buy at a RV Show

Once you have the model(s) in mind that you are interested in and once you’ve arranged your RV financing, visit a large RV show at the beginning of the show and find a RV or two that would fit your budget and needs. Representatives at RV shows are often very willing and excited sell their display RVs rather than have to ship them back to their facilities. If your prepared, well versed in the details, and relatively patient you can find yourself buying these floor models at a discount. When the show is coming to an end check in on your favorites again. If they are still sitting there then move in and introduce yourself.  Explain your very motivated and making several offers today. Offer them your best price whatever that may be and if you have done your homework and the time is right you may be a proud owner of a discounted RV.

2. Buy at a Dealer

#1 rule at a dealer is ALL prices are negotiable. Many sales people are fantastic, helpful, knowledgeable human beings. But one egg can ruin the whole batch and if you find that bad egg don’t be shy to ask for another sales person or locate a different dealer.

  • Buy at the end of RV season in your area. Dealers typically pay fees every month a RV sits on their property. If you come at the right time they will be more motivated than usual to move RV’s off their lot for fear of having to wait out the winter paying fees.
  • Most RV sellers are willing to negotiate with you on the RV but not on the add on equipment. Be wary of this before agreeing on a price.
  • If you can get your hands on the wholesale price, use that as your negotiation point.
  • Some dealers will offer better prices to those who choose to finance with them. Keep that in your back pocket when your in the throws of your negotiation.

3. Buy Online

Buying a RV online has become one of the easiest and biggest time savers in the process of purchasing a RV.  While sitting in your home (0r RV) you can navigate the information super highway and literally see 90% of the available new and used RV inventory in the USA. Finding the right price and model has never been easier. Buy utilizing the resources available at no cost to you, future RV owners will find that sorting through the many choices that need to made are much less painful than years past.

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There are two main ways to purchase an RV online:
  • Regionally Available to See Before Purchase – You can narrow your online search to areas that you can easily travel to in order to view, test, and negotiate your purchase. This is by far the preferred method for buying online(and in general). The internet serves only to narrow your search and you use the dealer, RV show, or individuals facilities and resources to actually purchase your RV. Most RV’ers will find that this is a simple, effective, and comfortable way of purchasing a RV.
  • Sight Unseen – This controversial method involves the above strategy but the trip to see the RV in person is skipped. This is not an ideal strategy but it can work under the right circumstances. In many cases a deposit can be negotiated up front and returned to you if the actual RV doesn’t match the description, pictures, and condition as it was presented to you. There are many people in the RV community that have successfully completed a sight unseen RV purchase but its not recommended for first time buyers.
Great Websites for Buying Online

Go To RVT.com Now!

4. Buy From and Individual

  • Don’t buy RVs from strangers or individuals without carefully researching the finance history and past ownership of that particular RV. Be sure to check the title, check it for any liens, and also have it looked over by a local RV technician.
  • State sales tax in most cases must be paid. (Most states require payment upon registration)
  • Dealers/ RV Show representatives have costs that individuals do not. Many will find that buying from an individual offers a substantial discount, however there is seldom a warranty.
  • A common theme among individual sellers is they are simply looking to get enough for their RV to pay off their existing loan. This can be a great aspect as long as the original purchase price for the seller was reasonable.
  • Be sure to ask for maintenance records, why the RV is being sold, find out if the RV has been properly winterized, and check the water delivery system for bacteria (bad smell).
RV Buyers Guide BONUS: Checklists for the Purchase Process
If your looking for more resources before you buy:

E-Book for Amazon Kindle App or Tablet

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Hardcopy Book

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Step 4: After the Sale

Registration, Insurance and Taxes
  • Registration – If you’re buying new, the RV Dealer or RV Show Representatives should be responsible for registering your rig. If you are buying from a private owner, you are responsible for registering your rig.
  • Insurance – When it comes to insurance make sure you’ve received conformation of insurance coverage before taking delivery of any RV.
  • Taxes – Must be paid at registration in most states. If you buy through a RV Dealer or RV show its typically taken care of for you. If you purchase from an individual this is your responsibility.
  • Tax Breaks – There are two tax advantages to purchasing a RV:
  1. Deductions for Loan Interest on your new “Second Home” – This is a topic you will definetly want to discuss with your tax advisor but if your curious there is more information here.
  2. Call Any State Home for State Income Tax Purposes –If your a full time RV’er (full-timer), one of the advantages is that you can call virtually any state home. Florida? South Dakota? Again consult your tax advisor on this issue.  More information here.
Start stocking your RV full of all the gear and supplies you need

Amazon.com RV Store     Camping World RV Store

RV Buyers Guide: How to Buy a RV Wrap Up

We hope that you found this guide helpful and informative. This RV Buyers Guide is intended to bring you the facts so that you can make a more educated decision when purchasing your RV.  In no way can we claim this is everything you must know but we think it puts you at a considerable advantage over most RV buyers. It is a big decision and not one that should be taken lightly. As you work through the buying process I hope that you find it enjoyable. Once your purchase has been made I think you will find if you had all the right information and planned properly you have many years of RV enjoyment ahead of you.  Good Luck!
If you have any questions or comments please submit them below in the Comment section!



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11 thoughts on “DIY RV Buyers Guide: Buy an RV for the Right Price for the Right Model”

  1. Very good info…hope to buy and go part time ina few years and full time about 10 years from now. The grey/black lettering on white is just fine for those of us who are color blind!

  2. I have to agree. The spelling and grammatical errors were driving me crazy. Its vs. it’s. Your vs. you’re. Those types of errors can completely change the intent of a sentence, which in turn makes the article more confusing than it needs to be. But otherwise, a lot of good useful information. We are looking to get into RVing in a couple years once my wife and I have enough passive income from our rental properties to financially fund our desire for adventure.

  3. Could you go into the safety ratings some? I understand that there is a lot to consider with the class A for instance. Thanks for all the good info.

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