If you are in the market to buy an RV, you might be pondering the most common question, “Should I buy a used or new RV?”
Hear that? Those are crickets. You know why? Because for me there’s no contest — buy used. I say that even though I bought a new RV. But heed my warning as this is a cautionary tale about what NOT to do.
The Pros and Cons of Buying A New RV
My husband and I knew we should have bought a used RV — all the research tnew us that. But because we were such newbies, buying used felt scary. What if we inherit a mess? What if we have repairs that we don’t know anything about? We let the fears drive our decision.
So we bought new. To be fair, there are some pros to buying a new coach. I’ll share those first and then talk about the cons.
Buying a new RV is like buying a new car; it smells good, everything looks nice, it’s clean, and no one has used it. You can’t really beat that “new coach” scent.
A new RV also comes with a warranty. Anything that could go wrong, is usually addressed by the manufacturer for one to two years. Be diligent though in your research about which manufacturers provide fast and responsive service. Check out this article on what to ask a dealer when you buy an RV.
Other than the freshness and warranty of a new RV, I don’t think there is much more upside. In fast, I think the downsides outweighs the positives.
Simply put, you are going to lose money on buying a new RV. I hate to sound so dire, but honestly you’re going to pay top dollar for that new RV. Then it’s going to depreciate the minute you drive it off the lot, and if you sell it later, the price gap between what you paid and what you sell it for, will leave you in shock.
If that’s not enough, a new RV hasn’t been broken in yet. Your first year may feel more like a rotating door into the dealership than a carefree highway. That happened to us when we had a slide that wouldn’t open or close merely three weeks into our year-long journey.
The Pros and Cons of Buying A Used RV
To be fair, I have never purchased a used RV. However, I have talked to many people who have, and many people who have bought both new and used. There hasn’t been one savvy RV buyer who’s said that he or she would recommend buying a new coach. In fact, the more familiar one becomes with RVs, the more likely one is to buy used.
It’s probably obvious that the main benefit to buying used is saving money. If you’re patient enough, and do your research, you could even find the exact new coach you want that’s only one-three years new. This actually happened to us but we let it get away. Again, we were so new to RVing that even when we had the opportunity to get the RV we wanted at 30-40% off, we simply weren’t confident enough to close the deal. A few months later, we bought nearly the same model, but at a mark-up. Visualize me kicking myself now.
In addition to saving money, a used coach is more broken in than a new one. Also, the prior owner(s) may have completed upgrades, added perks like newer technology, or installed satellite or solar.
There are so many benefits to buying used, but like anything be diligent in your research because there are some downsides too.
Yes, you could buy a lemon. But you could buy a lemon even if it’s new. It’s rare but it does happen. If the previous owner(s) don’t disclose something, like water or structural damage, that is a giant RV pie in the face. A way around that is to get an inspection. If the seller is serious, he or she may even be willing to pay for that inspection.
While you generally save money buying used, you could still end up paying too much for it. Maybe the owner did custom work and wants to get her money out of it. In this case, you have to decide what you are willing to pay for. Again, do your research on a fair market price and go from there.
Try not to get too dazzled by the perks because you may pay more for those than they’re worth. Like this vintage trailer — look at those amazing touches! No, no look away. Don’t be dazzled.
One last possible downside is that a used RV doesn’t automatically come with a warranty. Depending on where you buy it, you may need to buy your own warranty package. In the long run though, you will save more money on that warranty than buying a new RV.
The Winner: Buy a Used RV
Hear that? That’s the happy sound of flapping dove wings because you made the right decision to buy a used coach. If you bought new and disagree with this post, that’s ok, I did too. To be honest, now that we worked out all of our kinks, I really like our coach, I just wished I had paid less for it. But it’s roomy enough, and the interiors are in relatively good condition. Oh, except the torn up sides of the couch and chairs from my cat’s claws. Whoever buys this from us should definitely negotiate a “cat-scratch” discount.
Now are you wondering what size RV to get? Check out this article on More Than A Wheelin’.
Did you buy a used or new RV? What was your experience like?