Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Are You Anxious To Find "The One?" - Searching For Your RV - How Best To Do That?

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Ready to RV hop

After figuring out what you really want in an RV you get to move to the next step. Go physically look at RV's. Look at new ones, look and used ones, look at cheap ones, look at expensive ones. All the while you are looking take physical notes, photos and discuss the attributes or lack of for each one you view. The more RV's you look at the easier and more apparent it will become to you what features are "must haves" what features are "nice to haves" and what features "don't have a place" in your RV.

Starting your search. Our methods may not fit you personally but I suggest that you start using the internet. For instance your search terms may be "Used 2003-2005 Class A diesel pushers with three slides"  Sample Search Term - CLICK HERE TO GO TO GOOGLE SEARCH

This search may not target exactly what you are looking for but it will give you a good start.

How to deal with finding an RV on line?

First your search will undoubtedly give you dealers, private sales, bank repo's, and a few shysters along the way.  You will be faced with auctions on Ebay, dealer tactics like no pricing on an add, or dealers that have high prep and destination fees. Don't let these shake you up. Just go with it.

What do I mean "go with it?" read on.


Well first most dealers without pricing on a unit want your name and contact information. Just do it, sometimes it is worth talking with someone that can steer you into the right direction. Give them your needs and wants list and let them provide you with the units that fit your ideal RV. Never discount a new unit missing your budget. Just let them give you an entire list.

After you have seen what they have to offer and the pricing it is time to get specific with them. Give them an entire list of what it is that could be a deal maker and what may be a deal breaker for you. For instance, in my search these are the parameter that I give sales people:

Diesel - 300-330 HP
Mileage 75K-175K (diesels at 75K have barely been broken in)
Freightliner Chassis
No dinette - table and chairs only
Leather upholstery
King Bed
No Smells (I tell them it is a deal breaker period ie: cats, dogs, mildew, smokers)
Newer tires (when you look there will be four oval windows on the side wall the last is the week and year the tires were made - 0213 means second week of 2013)
Newer Batteries
My not to exceed budget
Don't discuss finances until it is unavoidable

Will the dealers sales people bug you? Not usually unless the sales person is really good at what they do. Let them call you but when you provide contact information give the a cell number. Why? it is easier to block a number from your cell phone.

Dealing with asking prices

They are "asking" prices period.  Dealers usually mark up units between 22%-35%  Yes, really. Obviously they have a lot of overhead, flooring (interest for bringing units on the lot until they sell) and prep costs (putting things together that were not together from the factory).

Tell the dealer you are only "looking" and will purchase at a later date after you've explored your options. Let them show you units that fit your list of wants.

Take cell photos of them as you walk through. Make sure you look into all of the storage bays and in every nook and cranny of the RV. Let him quote you a price. Write the price down and reference it with the dealer stock number of the unit (important because after looking a while all of the units start running together, the stock number makes it easier to be specific about a unit you're interesed in).

After your finished, let them know if you are interested in a particular unit and leave the dealership (don't worry, if it sells there are lots of others).

Your next step is to consult a NADA RV Pricing Guide. Plug in all of the information regarding the unit you liked so that you can get a determination of what the unit is worth. Be honest about what equipment and amenities are included.  If the number is far below the asking price you have two options, walk away or shoot the dealer an offer lower than NADA. Always, always know what the unit is worth or you will get screwed. Also be aware the unit may be on consignment and the owner has to have a specific amount to pay it off.

These units are easy to spot after a bit of practice. For instance you are looking a a 2003 Winnebago Journey DL. It may be priced at $75,000 at the dealer and when you book it in NADA you may find that the unit should bring closer to $50,000 or even below depending on the condition.

Down payments and loans

If a dealer wants 15% down take a walk, there an abundance of dealers out there.

There are a lot of other dealers around each of them is betting your credit will be marginal to mediocre. They have lenders make agreements with the dealer. That agreement means that the lender can quote you with higher interest rates for less than perfect credit. That in turn will net kick back to the dealer. You have to weigh what your personal situation will accommodate financially and if you can live with extra finance charges to get what you want.

Dealers have quoted us anywhere from $500-$15,000 down. A little out of whack eh?

My advise is that if you need a loan get pre-approved for a loan. That way you can deal with a credit union or a bank of your choice. You can also google "RV finance sources."

Private sales

I cannot stress enough to do your homework. Know in advance what to inspect for when viewing an RV offered by an individual.  For instance, we found a really nice 2003 Newmar coach. When I started looking closely I found the outside slide out kitchen wall separated at the sides and the outside top. It had been neatly caulked but was structurally iffy.  When I looked in the engine compartment I saw two RATS.  Rats chew wiring. I walked away.

If you see an ad on Ebay or Craigslist book the unit prior to going to view the coach. Know what it is worth in "fair, good and excellent condition."  If you are interested in purchasing the unit drive it, run the generator, make sure everything works on shore power and on generator power. If it has solar panels insure they are working and ask how to make the on board conversion from shore/generator power to solar. Check the tires and batteries. Check stoves, ovens, microwave, refrigerator (make sure that electric and propane both work), look for discoloration or delamination in walls and ceilings and outside fiberglass exteriors (indicates moisture problems). If at this point you still think you might want to purchase the RV have an RV inspection service check it out for you and give you a report. It may save you thousands.

Bank Repossessions

Yes they are out there. Dealers usually handle these for the banks. Obviously the dealers make a percentage of the sale. Again know your units price. Offer substantially lower than the dealer is asking. All they can say is no.

Purchasing older with the intent to remodel

Buying a older unit or a beat up unit can be an option. You can find all classes of RV's in this category. You need to be confident of your skills, have sources for replacement parts and have a lot of time on your hands. Most cabinetry is custom made in an RV so that in itself can be problematic. Just be aware that you will have a lot of work ahead of you.

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