How to Buy an RV – Expectations

Expectations play a huge part in learning how to buy an RV. Whether we’ve thought about it or not expectations came into play with our kids, our marriage, with our job, and with just about any major life decision. Buying an RV is a major decision, so taking a few minutes to think about expectations can brace us for joys and fears down the road.

Here are a few things you should expect when it comes to buying an RV:

Your first visit to an RV dealer will likely be overwhelming

I can still remember the first lot my wife and I walked onto. Some of the first words out of the salesman’s mouth were “Don’t feel bad if the RVs begin to blend together by the time you get done. Your first visit is almost always overwhelming.”

We had watched dozens of videos online of RVs. We though we knew what we wanted, so I doubted we would be overwhelmed.

I was wrong.

By the time we had walked into the 5th RV I was already trying to remember which one had the island in the middle, which one had the tv over a fireplace, which one had the wood linoleum, and on and on and on.

Once I realized the salesman was spot on, I began taking notes on each RV we walked into. We knew our basic needs, but looking at so many RVs at once had already begun to make our head spin.

Many RVs are Polished Terds

Let me be honest. Some RV manufacturers are more concerned with making their RV look good than whether or not their RV lasts more than a few years. These RVs typically have more modern decor, more pleasing layout, and lowest price tag.

I’m not saying don’t ever buy one of these lower end RVs. What I am saying is have realistic expectations. You get what you pay for. If an RV costs half of what another RV similar in size costs, there is probably a reason for it.

Pay attention to the craftsmanship of RVs as you look at more and more of them. Some will use real wood cabinetry that has well thought out storage options. Others will have cheap particle board cabinets that don’t even close properly.

Some RV salesmen will be pushy, some will not

We’ve visited more than 15 dealerships and what we’ve learned is we enjoy the “mom and pop” dealerships much more than chain stores like Camping world.

One question you need to be ready for that we were asked at almost every dealer we’ve been to is “So, when were you looking to buy?” I’m not telling you to lie, but if you don’t want to be harassed to buy that same day, don’t answer with something like “We were hoping to have something in the next few weeks for our trip next month.”

On the flip side, if you want the full attention of a salesman (and likely 1-2 other employees once you step inside for the financial part of the sale), saying anything indicating you are ready to buy will have them following you around like a stray puppy. They will bring you water, answer questions, look up stats, drive you around in golf cart and do just about anything you need short of giving you the RV.

We preferred to look at our own pace and wanted very little assistance from a salesman, so we tried to hold our cards close to our chest.

RV dealers will take less than the sales price

Most dealers will come down from the sales price at least 10%. This is not 10% off the MSRP, but 10% off the marked down sales price. I’ve read of dealers taking 20-30% off the sales price, but those are rare occasions. Your best bet for a deal is to buy the previous year’s model right when the new models come out in April. Don’t ever pay anything close to the retail price.

You won’t get it right the first time

No matter how much research you do. How many people you talk to. How many dealerships you visit. You won’t buy the perfect RV the first time.

The shower will be too small. The kitchen storage will make no sense. You’ll wish you’d gotten a 5th wheel instead of a travel trailer or a Class A instead of a Class C.

Give yourself a break and enjoy what you purchased. Even if you traded in the RV you just bought for the one you though was the perfect RV, you would still find flaws with the second one. There is no perfect RV.

Buying an RV can be a blast, but don’t forget expectations play a huge roll. Research as much as you can before you take your next step, but always keep reality on the horizon.

Do you have additional fears or expectations when learning to buy an rv that I’ve missed? Share them in the comments below!

If you’ve already bought an RV, how have expectations played a role in your purchase? Were they met? Did they fall short? Share in the comments below? Do you have expectations that weren’t met with your RV purchase? How did you

Disclaimer – I’m not trying to tell you we know everything or have experienced it all, I’m simply providing our personal experience to help equip you with the knowledge that may help cut through some of the crap, and find that perfect new (or used) RV. These are all my opinions, nobody paid me to write this (I think that’s pretty obvious) and this is an entertainment site so do your own research and good luck out there!

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