Tips for Buying From RV DealersSeptember 21, 2017
Owning an RV can give you traveling freedom. With your house on wheels, you can take off for an extended vacation at a moment’s notice. Your recreational vehicle will enable you to see all areas of the country, often staying in beautiful and rustic campgrounds. You’ll also have the convenience of some of the amenities you enjoy at home.
Purchasing from a dealer requires careful research of the offerings in your area. Like car dealerships, RV dealerships vary in their customer service, financing and selection of vehicles available. Research thoroughly before you make a purchase. Check dealerships with the Better Business Bureau to ensure that you don’t choose a dealer that has customer complaints. Approximately 2,500 established dealerships of varying sizes exist nationwide, so you should be able to find one that meets your needs. Large dealers typically have the ability to offer an extensive product line and high-quality repair centers. Smaller dealers can make up for a less extensive product line by offering strong customer service.
It’s possible to finance an RV directly from the dealership. You can also arrange financing through a third party, as you might find better terms when using independent financing. Dealerships typically offer financing terms over a 10 to 15-year period. Some consumers sell a home to buy a recreational vehicle, making it possible to purchase without financing. These loans have more stringent requirements than normal auto loans, requiring up to 10 percent down payment and two years of income tax information to verify earnings.
RV dealers set prices using manufacturers’ suggested retail prices. The dealerships mark up the MSRP prices between 15 and 35 percent, depending on individual policies. Dealerships can also add incentives to a purchase, such as model year-end assistance.
Assess and analyze the service department of RV dealers to ensure that you will receive high-quality service after your purchase. Some dealerships prioritize customer service and provide extensive assistance after a sale, while others do not provide this same level of service. Meet the service manager of any dealership to learn about after sale service. If possible, request references to enable you to speak with other customers.
Your options for purchasing include placing a special order for a new vehicle, buying one off the dealership’s lot without a trade-in, or buying one off the lot with a trade-in. To buy a recreational vehicle without a trade-in, your purchase choices will include whatever is currently available on the dealer’s lot. Many RV dealers don’t keep large inventories of the vehicles on hand due to the high cost of inventory, so selection may not be extensive. If you have an RV to trade, learn both the real value and the retail value of your model before initiating a transaction. Once you know these values, you’ll be ready to negotiate a trade-in price for an RV on a dealership’s lot.