Buying a used RV is
a bit like gambling at the race track: When you win, you could win big.
But, there's always the chance you could lose! Fortunately, unlike at
the race track, with a little homework and patience, you can
dramatically increase the odds of winning.
When buying a used RV, you gamble that you'll get a well cared for rig that will serve you well.
A used RV has already depreciated
considerably in value, even if it's still the current year's model with
barely any miles. The fact is, once a new RV is driven off the sales
lot, it's a used vehicle, and its value nosedives. That's bad for its
current owner, but good for a buyer. This applies to all RVs, whether
travel trailers, fifth wheel trailers, motorhomes, truck campers, etc.
Buying a used RV makes sense for
RVers on a budget. Dollar for dollar they will get more RV for far
less. Instead of a brand new 24-foot Class C, the same investment may
buy a recent model 30-foot Class A packed with extras. And if the used
RV has been well cared for, it may look and drive virtually like new,
and reward its new owner with years of service. RVers on a tight budget
can often buy a well cared for used pop up trailer for a fraction of
its price when new.
The pace of an RV's depreciation,
fast in the first few years, will be far slower in the those that
follow if it's bought used. We've heard of RVers who bought a nice
pre-owned RV one year and sold it a year later for the same price.
Foreign visitors to America often buy a used motorhome when they
arrrive here, then travel a few months and sell it for what they paid,
or darn close. They come out far ahead of what they would have paid for
a rental. Of course, there's always the chance that the used rig will
have major mechanical problems. If so, they could be out a chunk of
money. But like we said, buying a used RV is like gambling.
The major downside, then, to buying
used is that the rig could be a lemon (click here for a free report to
see if the motorized RV you are planning to buy is one). It could have
hidden problems that could end up costing a lot to repair. If its roof
leaked at some point, there could be rot inside the walls even though
there may be no evidence (at least not on a casual inspection). One way
to check on an RV's history, at least the motorized part of the rig, is
to research if it has had any major problems. Carfax will provide a
free instant scan of thousands of data bases to determine the number of
available vehicle history records for a specific VIN. Apply for this free report here.
It's essential to examine a used
vehicle with a fine-toothed comb, whether it's being purchased from a
dealer or a private party. Generally, you will have some guarantee from
a dealer about the quality of a used unit. If the refrigerator quits
100 miles down the road, you will likely have some recourse. But if you
bought the RV from a private party, you're goin' to either pay for the
repair yourself or dine on warm food.
The best advice on buying a used RV
is to examine a potential rig carefully, from top to bottom, front to
back, and inside out. If you're not an expert on what to look for, hire
someone who is. To just take a fast glance and trust what you're being
told is like betting on a three legged horse. You're cruisin' for a
And have some patience when looking
for your rig. Start your search for a trailer, fifth wheeler or
motorhome well before you need it. Look at dealer's lots and shop the
newspaper classifieds. Don't buy something off the corner of a shopping
center parking lot. Con artists operate from places like this, and you
could get taken for a very bad ride.
The best deals are often on a rig
being sold by a private party who bought his or her RV and then
couldn't use it, or who used it very little. Some older couples buy an
RV for fulltiming and then discover the lifestyle is not their cup of
tea. So they sell their RV, sometimes in just-like-new condition. Other
times, people buy on impulse and then discover they don't have time to
use the vehicle. In either case, you may "steal a deal" on a barely
If you are Internet-savvy, get on
the RV newsgroups and bulletin boards and ask the opinion of other
RVers on a rig you are considering purchasing. You'll likely have some
helpful responses within 24 hours.
Right after buying a used RV, many
owners immediately buy an extended warranty to cover unexpected
repairs. Other RVers forgo this expense, however, and take the gamble
that the rig will not develop major problems. Those that do buy an
extended warranty consider the peace of mind that comes with it well
worth the investment.
An excellent resource for information about how to buy a new or used RV is the DVD from the Better Business Bureau titled Buying a Recreational Vehicle.
The hour-long program covers virtually everything an RVer buyer needs
to know to ensure buying the right vehicle (for them), at the right
price -- and without getting ripped off.
For a quick overview of RV buying advice, visit RVbuyingTips.com, where five minutes of reading will help you avoid making a serious purchasing mistake.
The main thing to remember about
buying a used RV, above everything else, is to take your time and do a
thorough inspection of the rig you like. These steps alone will go a
long way in ensuring you end up with an RV that will bring you great
pleasure down the road.
RVs for sale
Motorhomes, Travel Trailers, Fifth Wheels, Truck Campers, Pop ups and much more. See the big selection at NewRVer.com
. Click here
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