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New or Used RV's - Why Buy Used RVs

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 4

Buying an RV is usually an exciting experience.  We dream of getting out on the road, collecting states or heading to Alaska.  Maybe you plan to use that RV for local camping in State Parks with the kids. However you plan to use your RV you first have a buying decision to make.

New vs Used RVs

While there are a huge array of options in the RV world, there is not a lot of real innovation from year to year.  You will be buying a home on wheels with thin walls and fiberglass shell.  When you compare last year's model or the model from 3 years ago carefully to this year's model you will be surprised at how little has actually changed.

One huge difference, though, is the price of new vs used RVs.  The used RVs are always a fraction of the cost.  Sure they don't have that new RV smell but your first trip will wipe out the smell of glue and paint that says factory fresh.

Save Money on RVs

Looking for used RVs is not hard.  Most dealerships have them giving you the chance to walk through lots of rigs in a day all in one place.  There are also large used internet RV listing sites to choose rigs from.  You can also check Craigslist for private deals on RVs.

Canadians Take Advantage of US RV Prices

Many Canadians are looking to take advantage of the strong Loonie which and the effectively brings the cost of used RVs down compared to when there was a 30-40% price spread when they were manufactured in the last 5 years. 

Troubles in the US economy are bringing more RVs to the market as some RV owners can no longer afford the cost of upkeep, payments, gas or insurance.  Some RV owners even need to liquidate their recreational vehicles to raise cash to live. 

Canadians are generally much better off financially and so some Canadians are shopping in the States for used RVs and finding fantastic deals.  The combination of the strengthen Canadian dollar and the economic weakness in the US make this a very viable strategy.

Fantasy Vs Reality

Wide eyed, dad takes the kids to the local RV show at stadium.  They marvel at the range of options available in an RV and the alluring displays of smiling families around the campfire overlooking a pristine lake and pine trees.  Just 10 years of easy payments says the smiling salesperson... don't you want you kids to experience the great outdoors and fresh air of the RV lifestyle?  

Dad slams down his credit card to buy a fifth-wheel and the adventure begins.  Dad soon realizes that the family van can't pull that fifth-wheel and he needs to buy a 1 ton truck.  Turns out that new trucks, with all the necessary towing gear, are expensive.  Next they realize that they can't park the trailer in the driveway and need to arrange storage.  Then there is the small matter of outfitting the new trailer with gear, from pots and pans to sewage system conditioner.  

Then mom can't find a good camping spot for the July long weekend (all booked months in advance) and dad gets called in to work anyway on Sunday.  

The family has spent much more then they planned and don't actually end up using RV, making it barely used.  They might lose a job, get a divorce, or otherwise end up needing to unload that RV.  That is where you can pick up a like new trailer for a lot less than retail.  

Fixing Up a Used RV

The very best deal on a used RV is a unit with some fixable problem.  The seller may not want the hassle of fixing whatever is wrong or maybe can't afford to put money into the unit, and most rookie buyers will shy away from a problem RV.  These rookies do not realize that every RV will develop problems regularly and that every RV requires regular maintenance.  RVs are complicated vehicles that need care and attention.  If you are going to own an RV better plan on either doing the maintenance yourself or spending money on an RV repair shop.

So if you really want a steal of a deal on a used RV look for one that you can fix up easily.  There are many sources of RV parts on the internet.  Spend some time getting to know what RV replacement parts cost and where to find good quality reasonably priced RV replacement parts.  

With your education and list of websites, you are ready to shop for a used RV.  When you find a bargain basement priced RV you will know where to quickly check the cost of parts to fix the unit up and can quickly estimate what the repairs will add to the price.  

If you find a seller that has a used RV you really love, but the seller is unfamiliar with the costs to repair outstanding issues, you will be in a position to educate the seller and bargain effectively for your new used RV. 

Making Money with Used Recreational Vehicles

If you have time on your hands and you love RVs, then consider looking for good deals on undervalued recreational vehicles.  Perhaps focus on RVs you can repair at a reasonable cost.  Buy the RV, bring it to pristine shape while enjoying the use of it and then resell it through effective marketing.  Repeat the process with your capital and profits, getting a nicer rig.  In this way you can get a much better RV then your original budget would allow and make money with your time and labor while retired.  

New vs Used RV?

Buy a used RV instead of a new RV is usually the wisest choice.  You have a wider selection from both dealers and private sellers.  If you are in Canada you can look south for a great deal.  You can save a lot of money by buying a RV with easily fixable problems and correcting the problems by buying the parts online and following  instructions rather than relying on the RV dealer to fix everything.   Finally you may even be able to make money on a used RV - impossible with a lot fresh rig.



Dec 15, 2011 7:48am
Good advice, yes buying a new RV or a new caravan and spending top dollar is ok if you have the money. Then again when you want to sell and buy something else it is harder to sell and the price drops dramatically.

We bought a new one last year and was goingto sell and buy an RV but we would have lost more than 15 grand so decided to hang onto it for now and just enjoy more travels. Its a great life traveling around your country.
Dec 15, 2011 11:41am
Thanks for sharing your enlightening experience with your RV.
Dec 20, 2011 7:37pm
The new RV will depreciate very quickly, as you have mentioned. Buying a used RV is a great idea. There are lots available in great shape with low mileage.
Dec 21, 2011 8:21pm
Good point. Many people buy new RVs with great plans and find life gets in the way. They dump them when the payments get too much or they realize they just are not using the RV.
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