Buying an RV is a major investment, but there is no reason to spend more than you need to; there are plenty of ways to find high quality, cheap RVs. Perhaps the most obvious way to spend less money is to find a cheap used RV. There are both advantages and disadvantages to buying used, and it is a matter of personal preference to determine which outweighs the other.
Buying a cheap RV doesn’t mean you have to give up quality or new features. RVs are like cars – they depreciate rapidly in the first few years of ownership. In fact, the moment an RV is driven off of the dealership lot, it is considered used and has already depreciated by 30% from the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price). It depreciates another 10% in the first year of ownership. So a major advantage to buying used is that you will get significantly more value for your money, even if the vehicle is only a year or two old. Another advantage is that the rate of depreciation slows after the first few years. This means that you can purchase a cheap used rv that is two or three years old, and turn around and sell it two or three years later for close to what you paid for it in the first place.
A major disadvantage to buying a used RV is that you are taking a bit of a gamble. You could be buying a fantastic, like-new vehicle, or you could be buying a lemon. If you purchase from a used RV dealer, they may give you some kind of guarantee for a certain amount of time after your purchase – for example, one week or 100 miles. If you purchase from a private seller then you generally buy as-is with no guarantee. To reduce your risk, be sure to do a thorough check of the vehicle, in addition to a test drive. Check that all appliances are in good working order and check, inside closets, under cushions and mattresses, around the baseboards and throughout the interior for mold and mildew. Also be sure to do a Carfax check on the vehicle, which will tell you if there have been any accidents or major repairs on the rv. To find a cheap rv for sale, try searching the newspaper, going to used RV dealers, checking Craigslist, or checking on-line auctions.
If buying used seems like just too much of a gamble for you, there are other ways to save big with cheap RVs and buy them new. The first tip is to buy during the off-season. Fewer people are looking to buy just after the first snowfall, for example, then right at the peak of camping
season, which means that you will be in a better position for bargaining. Another tip for buying cheap rvs is to find out about low-interest loans, free warranty promotions and manufacturer rebates. The dealership will not likely give you this information, so you need to arrive armed with it and ready to ask the right questions. Finally, just as with cars, shopping during the model changeover period will help you in your quest for cheap rvs. Dealerships will be looking to offload merchandise to make room for the new models, and will be more willing to negotiate and offer price reductions just to get rid of the vehicle.
Keep in mind that a major disadvantage to buying new, even if it is cheap, is that, as discussed above, the RV will depreciate the minute you drive it off of the lot. If you don’t plan to keep it for several years, it may not be worth it to purchase new, no matter how low the cost.
Whether you are buying used or new, there are some basic guiding principles to getting the most out of your search for cheap RVs. First, do your research. Study floor models and added features, tour a few RVs, and figure out what you really want and need. Prioritize the features that you need and determine which ones you can live without. This will help you make good choices and get the best value for your money when it comes time to shop. Second, once you think you’ve figured out the model or style that you want, consider renting, even if just for a weekend, to make sure that it fits your needs. Though slightly pricey (around $100), it will cost much less than purchasing a vehicle that you realize you hate. Finally, start early. If you want your RV in time for camping season, start several months before that. No only will it help you find a lower price, as mentioned above, but it will also give you time to really look for what you want at the price you are willing to spend.
No matter what route you choose, finding cheap RVs is doable, and you can be living your RV dream in no time.