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Old 01-25-2015, 01:08 PM   #1
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Best places to buy used- query from a wishy-washy woman

We've been vacillating between buying used vs. buying new for our first RV. Can anyone recommend good sources for buying used other than dealers and craigslist? Also, are there people out there for hire who will come with you to look over a used RV in the same way a home inspector would for a home buyer? As a newbie, that would be a great resource.
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Old 01-25-2015, 01:35 PM   #2
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RV Trader is a must.

quotes from dealers that have a big online presence, like RVW and RVDirect, will give you an idea what a good new price would be and are useful for negotiations.

It's been my experience that new prices are often close to what a private owner thinks theirs is worth.
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Old 01-26-2015, 10:06 AM   #3
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Yeah, Bikendan, that has sort of puzzled me as I look through second-hand offerings. It's almost like looking at used cars that people think are worth as much as new on the lot. They don't even allow for depreciation or lack of warranty and the dealers seem to be doing pretty much the same thing.
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Old 01-26-2015, 11:51 AM   #4
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Gasoline prices go down, RV and truck pricing goes up. A terrible circle...
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Old 01-26-2015, 12:15 PM   #5
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The pro to buying new is the factory warranty which will be good if you are new to RVs and how they are made. You likely won't have a warranty on a used one, even if you buy it from a dealer.

If your plan for your first is to just be a "stepping stone" to see if a RV is for you and possibly upgrade in the near future, than a used might be better because you will have less depreciation.

I don't know how the sales tax is where you live, but here in NV if you buy from a private party you don't need to pay the sales tax which is a huge savings. That might be one thing to consider if you buy used. There are plenty of private parties out there selling barely used RVs.

I used sites like RV Trader to help negotiate the price down on our RV. RV Trader, Craigslist, and EBay are great tools to show if a RV is marked up and get the sales price down at a dealer.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-26-2015, 11:11 PM   #6
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When you look at used vs new consider how it is equipped. Example, most new RV's have LED lighting at least on all the interior lights (one of the first things you would change if not LED), electric operated awnings vs manual. Refrigerator two door vs single door. Water heaters haven't had any dramatic changes in years and furnaces are pretty standard through recent years so not much difference there. Is it wired for satellite reception or just cable and over the air. Does it have ducted AC and heat? Ducted is a little quieter (less noisy) and better air distribution. Do you need a bunk house. Consider where the bathroom is located, easy to get to with slides in. If you want a slide(s) my personal preference is to avoid a kitchen slide and chose a sofa/dinette slide. Look at television location(s) to see if you can see them good from the sofa. Take a look at interior storage (wardrobes), is it ample? Check the condition of tires (dry rot, cracking between tread groves). When I bought my TT I was told that I would never wear out the tread on the tires, they would age before that happened.

If you are considering used and you are new to RV's then you may be wise to get someone in the service business to check it out for any major issues. It may cost a couple hundred dollars but better than losing 10,000. Shop around the internet to get an idea of competitive prices for like models (floor plans and optional equipment). There are some bargains out there but if it seems to good to be true then it IS too good to be true. Check reviews for dealers to see how they handle follow-up service and warranty work. You may find negatives for good dealers since few people praise a good dealer but get all worked up when there is a hard problem to solve.
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Old 01-27-2015, 08:14 PM   #7
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Thank you all for the info. How do you go about getting the used RV inspected prior to a private sale? Are there inspectors who are willing to go with you to the point of sale?
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Old 01-27-2015, 08:46 PM   #8
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A local RV dealer was having a big sale on new Prime Time TTs, so we were able to snag a 3 year-old used one for a great price - lower than Craigslist, etc. The advantage of buying from a reputable RV dealer is that they allowed us to thoroughly inspect the TT for 2 hours without pestering us. I removed access panels & inspected thoroughly for water damage or signs of abuse, etc. I made a list of things I wanted them to address before we would buy the TT - nothing major - but I wanted everything to work perfectly...

During negotiations, they readily dropped the price (again, because new ones were discounted...) and they included a "free" Equalizer 4 WDH plus a few other freebies.
Before we drove-away with the TT, they pressure-tested the TT for leaks, and thoroughly re-caulked. They adjusted the slide, the awning, provided a new battery, filled the propane tanks, replaced the CO2 detector, and fixed loose cupboards. They provided a 2.5 hour PDI which I videotaped for future reference.

We camped for 30 days without incident vs. having to take a new one back to the dealer to finish whatever was not done correctly at the factory. IMO dealers give such low trade-in values when people upgrade that they can afford to sell it for less than private sellers. The key is to hit them when they have a sale & have a bunch of trade-ins clogging up the lot...


Also, if you don't see what you want, ask a salesperson to call you if something new arrives that fits your wish-list. Our salesperson called us before it was advertised online... The good ones go fast...
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Old 01-27-2015, 11:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pearlbalt View Post
Thank you all for the info. How do you go about getting the used RV inspected prior to a private sale? Are there inspectors who are willing to go with you to the point of sale?
I just did a Google search and there were quite a few RV repair shops in the Baltimore/Annapolis area. Just get on the phone and check around. I'm sure there are a number of them that would be able to go on site for an inspection and the possibility of getting some repair work in addition. Get some references and do a search for reviews of their work. You are probably looking at a $200-$300 cost for what should be at least a 2 hour inspection. Make sure they are knowledgeable enough to be able to spot any water damage which can be the most costly to repair and make sure they do a good roof inspection.
If they can do a pressure test to check for areas that may leak it would be a plus.

In my area there is a couple repair shops that do not sell new or used RV's and offer inspection service so there should be someone in your area that will do the same.
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Old 02-02-2015, 07:32 PM   #10
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I would suggest a daily review of Craigslist and SearchTempest (which will search all Craigs ads within however many miles of your zip code you specify). If you look at certain brands, such as Holiday Rambler, you will see trailers from the 60's and 70's that remain functional and marketable. Before the mid 1990s, they were entirely of aluminum including the roof panels and wall framework. Even if a leak happened, it didn't rot the structure. I've had 3 HR trailers, all purchased from owners, ranging in age from the 1982 to 1995. I sold each for pretty close to what I paid since there is no depreciation after a certain age; price is entirely about condition. So, in my view, the most important factor is that you do not want to be the last owner!! Everything else is pretty much "watch it work" type things. Like does the fridge work; does the furnace kick on and deliver heat'; does the water pump work; does the water heater work; are there any funny smells; and last but not least, does the seller have valid title to the RV.

Whatever you decide, plan on surprises being part of the adventure!
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