Knowing How to Buy an RV Can Save You Money

Knowing How to Buy an RV Can Save You Money

Article by Steven Fletcher
If you’re planning to buy a Motorhome, Fifth Wheel, Travel Trailer or other RV here are a few things to keep in mind.

Bargain for the best price. Forget the sticker price, RV’s are often marked up as much as 40%. Start your negotiation by asking the dealer if you can see the manufacturer’s invoice and bargain up from there. If the dealer won’t show you the invoice you can search out the suggested retail price from services like the NADA Recreational Vehicle Price Guide, then deduct 40 percent-the typical dealer markup. (Your local auto dealership should have a copy of the RV price guide, or you can buy it online at

Avoid orphan RVs. The RV industry comprises more than 200 manufacturers… most offer multiple brands. The RV market’s inevitable ups and downs means some manufactures go out of business leaving behind many discontinued models, often called orphans, on dealer lots. Despite their discounted prices, it’s best to stay away from abandoned brands. Warranty issues and lack of repair parts can often consume any savings made on the original purchase. Some orphaned brands are: Kings Highway, Midas, Mobile Traveler, Titan, Champion, and Travco.

Even the best brands of RVs, including the more expensive ones, will have problems. It can take months and sometimes years to work them out. Some less reputable companies require you to return the coach to the factory for service. It can get expensive if you have to go to a dealer miles away from your home to take care of warranty issues. Stick with brands that have a national network of authorized repair dealers. An extended warranty may be a good idea but know that most manufacturers don’t allow their warranties to be transferred.

Think about the floor plan. You may save a bundle buying an RV with an unusual or out-of-date floor plan, but it may be harder to resell the RV when you’re ready to move up to another model. When you are looking at RVs take the time to imagine living in it. Do you like a built in dinette booth or free standing table? In a fifth wheel would you like the kitchen or living room in the rear? Is the refrigerator in the right place? Some RVers don’t like walking through the bedroom to get to a rear bathroom in travel trailes. Does the layout suit you?

There are manufacturers that will build an RV to your specifications within reason but you need to know just how you would like it to be. There are many extras you may want to have, but there are also lots of ‘frills’ that cost more and you may not need them.

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