Buy an RV
Buying an RV can be a very expensive transaction. Before starting the buying process, we urge you complete the following steps, at a minimum:
- Review the Getting Started checklist.
- Research the fair market value of the units you are interested in (see Determining an RV’s Fair Market Value).
- Whether buying new or used, take copies of the RV Inspection Checklist with you.
What to Buy
Numerous factors come into play when deciding what type, size, and cost RV to buy—let our Getting Started checklist guide you through the decision making process.
Or, for a quick overview, including pros and cons, review the introduction page of each RV type:
Where to Buy
Most RV merchants sell both new and used models, and we see no reason to separate the two categories. Venues that primarily sell used items, such as online auctions and classified, often carry new RV’s as well.
Online Classifieds & Auctions
The most abundant selection of recreational vehicles are found on auction and classifieds web sites. As long as you use common sense and take precautions when buying from unknown parties, we feel that buying online is a good way to go. (You may be interested in reading our story, Changin’ Gears, where we briefly describe how we bought our RV and truck over the Internet.)
We recommend the following as your first stop:
Other online classifieds and consigners:
The most common local sources of RV’s for sale are:
- RV dealer or consigner (see our Manufacturers list to find near-by dealers)
- Local newspaper classifieds
- Bulletin board at local RV parks
Actually, this should go under a section titled “Where NOT to Buy”. High pressure RV sales environments like shows and tent sales should be approached with caution. A show is an excellent place to see, learn, and research, but we suggest not buying unless all of the following are true before heading out to the show:
- You have established an RV budget (see Budget for the RV Lifestyle).
- You have decided on the RV amenities (see RV Amenities).
- You have decided on the RV type and size (see RV Type Pros & Cons).
- You have narrowed down the manufacturers and models to a few choices that meet your criteria.
Remember, the main tactic used by sales people is to tell you that the prices have been reduced for the show only. Experience seems to contradict this claim—as soon as the shows end, the commercials start: “Show prices have been extended!“
Direct from Manufacturer
A small number of manufacturers sell directly to the consumer. These companies generally do not have a dealership network, but they do send representatives to RV shows. Here are a few manufacturers that sell direct: