Buying a brand new RV can be an expensive investment. So, why not consider buying a used one? Not only are they more cost effective, but they can also be reliable if you follow our tips to help you purchase just the right pre-owned RV:
1. Borrow or Rent an RV
Before buying your own RV, you should borrow or rent one, for at least a weekend. You can check out your local RV rental agencies and Outdoorsy for affordable rentals. When tooling around in a rental, you'll learn a great deal from parking, driving and living in an RV, even if it's only for a night or two. If you're not able to rent an RV, see if you can ride around with other RVer's for a couple of days, pay attention and ask questions.
2. Join the RV.Org RV Consumer Group
This is a non-profit website offering ratings on all towables, motorhomes, and RVs.
3. Buy Through an Approved and Trusted Dealer
It may be a good idea to buy your pre-owned RV from your local RVDA (RV Dealers Association) or ORVDA (Ontario RV Dealers Association).
Buying from these dealers will benefit you in various ways, including giving you peace of mind and trust by offering you a warranty on your unit. You can find an approved and trusted dealer through our “Find A Dealer” page.
4. Ask the Proper Questions
Create a list of your questions in advance. Call the seller or see them in person and go through your question list. Be sure you're speaking with the actual person selling the RV or at least someone who knows the RV best. Some questions you might want to ask are:
- How many other owners were there of this RV and how often did they drive it?
- Does the individual showing the RV own it?
- Are there any maintenance records?
- When were the tires last replaced and/or how many miles are on them?
5. Check Your Chosen RV Before Buying
Before you make an offer on an RV, make sure you inspect it thoroughly checking for things like:
- Around the windows and the roof
- Gas furnace
- Cooling system (vents, air conditioner, fans)
- Kitchen appliances
- Safety equipment
- Water heater
There are many things you should check on the RV before buying. Instead of manually checking the unit, why not:
6. Consider Hiring a Professional to Inspect the RV
If you're nervous or aren't sure of what you're doing, you might want to think about hiring a certified and professional RV inspector and letting the seller know your offer hinges on clearance by an inspection. It's probably a good idea you offer the seller a reasonable non-refundable deposit (10 percent maybe) to show your seriousness and ask the seller to hold the RV for you while you have the inspection done.
7. Make an Offer
If the inspection pans out and everything looks good, your next step is making an offer and going through the bartering process. It's fine to start your offer on the lower end of what you're willing to pay, however, don't go so low that you insult the seller.
If the seller won't negotiate the price and you're not comfortable with paying the full asking amount, politely thank them for their time, ask if they'll contact you if they change their mind and then walk away. There are plenty of other RVs to look at. You can give them a call several weeks later to see if they've sold the RV yet.
Through the process of buying your pre-owned RV, be patient. While a used RV will cost you less money than a brand new one, it will require more due diligence to pick out the right one. If you do your research and are patient, the right deal will come your way.