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Hubby wants to buy new RV; wife wants used. What’s an RVer to do?

How do you vote? No, I’m not talking politics here. I’m wondering about your preference: new or used? I think a lot has to do with the way you grew up. And one notion is neither right nor wrong compared to the other. My hubby grew up “new” all the way. His family, though not wealthy, operated with the notion: “Let’s not buy someone else’s problems. We’ll get new.” As for me – well, I definitely grew up with the “used” mindset: “Why pay for something that immediately loses value once you drive it off the lot?” The new-or-used mindset has caused many discussions during our enduring (and endearing) marriage. I should have guessed it would eventually enter into the topic of RVs.

The search for new

Last summer, the Derecho (inland hurricane-force storm) blew our new RV over. It was a total loss. Though no one was hurt, I realized the new versus used conversation was inevitable. And I dreaded it. After a depressing trip through our local RV dealer’s lot, we both agreed to see what “pre-owned” rigs were available.

The search for used

We searched online for days. And then? The exact make and model of the RV we’d lost in the storm popped up in our search! Wow! It seemed like a no-brainer to me. We could spend a lot less time considering floor plans because we’d already lived in this model. It would take me all of ten minutes to pack the unit with our necessities because I’d been there and done that! We knew our truck would easily pull this fifth wheel because we’d pulled its exact twin down the road for several months! And the best part? The “used” RV was in Colorado. Can you say, “Road trip”? I was sold!

Decisions, decisions…

Hubby, on the other hand, needed time to consider the many ramifications of buying “used.” He spoke with the RV owner several times over the course of two full weeks. He asked for maintenance records, the number and types of trips taken, and much, much more! And then? The Colorado owner mentioned those magical words: Transferable Extended Private Warranty. While not big proponents of such things, it finally tipped the scales toward our “used” decision. We traveled to Colorado, purchased the RV, and have had no problems … so far.

What a difference a year makes! RV dealers’ lots are barren. Used RVs are selling well above their original list price from a few years ago. Demand is off the charts and availability is hard to find. Within all of this is our “new normal.”

Where do you stand? New or used? Maybe I should include “first available” as an option. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Related:

What you should know about buying a used RV

##RVT1021

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Kathy Niemeyer
13 days ago

We bought a used 1968 Shasta travel trailer in 1980. We had it for 20 years! We sold it and bought a 2002 Shasta Class C in 2015. We bought it to learn on as we had rented Class C a few times and knew that we didn’t want to pull a trailer anymore. We bought a new 2020 in February, 2020, (was delivered to dealership in Spring of 2019), because we are now retired and wanted to have new. We plan on keeping this unit for at least 10 years so the depreciation isn’t something we are worried about. We feel we got a great deal because the dealership owner had used this unit on a family vacation and put 5K miles on it. They took 12K off the price. In the meantime, Covid hit and new units are being put together very crappy to get them on the road as soon as possible. We had an email from the dealership 3 months ago asking if we were interested in selling our unit back to them. They offered more than we paid for it!!! We could have pocketed 8K as we paid cash for this unit.

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
13 days ago
Reply to  Kathy Niemeyer

What savvy (and lucky) RV shoppers and owners! We hope you have many happy and carefree years and miles RVing in your retirement! Take care. 🙂 –Diane

DL Jenson
15 days ago

We have bought two trailers, one a 1991 in 2008 and in great shape but just a bit too small. Bought a new small 5th wheel in 2010 and still have with at least 40,000 miles on it so far. If you’re going to take care of it and keep it a long time that is not losing money. Our first one sold for more than what we paid for it and that wasn’t money lost either. Good luck!

Lucinda R Shaw
16 days ago

7 class A mohos, a popup, 4 tagalons, and a 5er, All used and only two that I regretted, the 5er, I just don’t care for them. And a class A, The rest were great.

Bill Massicotte
16 days ago

I would definitely buy used and broken in! Any problems resolved and rig maintained.
As such, I am selling my used Class A on RV Trader. Check it out.
2017 Coachmen Pursuit 30 ft with 24,600 miles listed at 74,500. Very reasonably priced when you look at what others are selling for! See ya.

Susan Smith
16 days ago

Both my hubby and I wanted a used RV because of the depreciation factor that happens when you buy new and drive it off the lot. We’ve only dealt with a small out-of-state used RV dealership when we purchased 3 used RVs in different years and then trading off 2 of those RVs. The only thing my husband ever bought new was a 1978 Ford pickup which he paid cash for before we were married, otherwise, all of our other vehicles and the RVs have been used.

Judy Robinson
17 days ago

We have bought used and new. Private sales and reason for selling is important. My son bought 5th wheel from elderly couple who could not travel anymore for health reasons. Very good buy. One new we brought was nothing but problems. We then went for new but last year model and did great.

Alex
17 days ago

Having owned used trailers and a Class C motorhome, I regretted buying a new Class C (the Benz star looked really good but the RV part and dealer support very flaky!).. If you see the used RV at the seller’s home, you can usually tell whether they’ve maintained it well by the condition of their home: lawn, other vehicles, paint etc. Also, determine how long they’ve owned it and reason for sale. If they’re knowledgeable about functionality of their RV and you believe they’ve got a legitimate motive for selling, you’re not likely to be disappointed. If the location isn’t up to your standards, the ownership was brief, owner not confident explaining functionality and the condition of the RV is marginal, consider it a red flag. Even with that, it’s a good idea to find internet reviews of that particular brand/model where you’re likely to find pros and cons. Following those suggestions should make you and your wallet smile!

Robert Heacock
17 days ago

Our friend bought a new 2019 Fleetwood Flair class A motorhome. She’s had nothing but problems. First, there was a water leak in the bathroom, which necessitated the tear-out and installation of a new floor. Now, two years alter, all the screws (40 of them) which attach her slideout have rotted. The screw heads have broken off, so the slide doesn’t work any more. She’s got to have it fixed, then she’s selling it. If you can find a used one with low miles, and you know the service history, that’s the way to go. It seems like around 2015, the quality of new RV’s started to go downhill.

Engineer
17 days ago

I would never buy a used Class A coach…knowing the manufacturer, service capabilities of your dealer and reputation serve as the basis for purchase. Basing your decision solely on the price is the biggest mistake ever. Having owned multiple new Class A coaches without any issues has been our experience based on solid research, and solid relationship with our dealer

Jim Prideaux
17 days ago

My dad always said when you by used you are buying someone else’s problems. Also if the used unit was really a sweet deal a friend or family member would have gotten it. I like to buy new mostly because I want something with features and options I want and don’t want to get something where previous owner broke something and hid it. That being said I would be interested in the mythical garaged unit that was used one time over a sunny weekend at a campground just down the road by owners who decided RVing wasn’t for them. Providing of course the unit was something I would mostly custom order anyway.

TIM MCRAE
17 days ago

I think we are up to 6 now. All except the Coleman popup and a tent were used. I paid less for a like new 35 footer (private sale) than the new popup!

We have paid less, combined, for all 3 of our MH’s, which were all like new, than the depreciation on one new one. And we got more than we paid for each one when we sold it.

Very few repairs. All minor. Feeling like our luck can’t last forever we did buy direct a WW warranty this last time as we feel like we will have this one a long time.

It was less than 10% of our used price.

Montgomery D. Bonner
17 days ago

In today’s climate, find a good used one, and that will not be on a dealers lot, private party, and once you see inside you will know how well it’s been taken care of. Is it in private storage covered, pride of ownership, outside in the elements, hmmmm. Look in every cabinet for water stains, look for same in all outside compartments. Check tire dates, you don’t want to be faced with new tires in this climate when impossible to find. If you have never driven RV before, get some Big Rig Training, you life will love you for doing that.

Dave
17 days ago

Definitely used is the way to go provided you have some idea on the history of the RV.
If the RV appears to be well maintained, is clean and no obvious issues, then look for any problems such as leaks, even if the seller says that there are no issues.
If you find any, then either the seller is lying or really did not know.
You will have to decide which one and decide if the unit is the right one.
With used, most bugs should have been addressed, and other than regular maintenance, you should be better off, not to mention less money

G13
17 days ago
Reply to  Dave

“Most bugs should have been addressed”, however, were they “all” taken care of or fixed? Also, the ten comments all stated “used” so who’s buying all the new RV’s that are causing an explosion in sales according to this website and the industry.

Jeb
17 days ago

It must be a western thing that ” all RV lots are empty”. As I drive around on my just completed road trip I see RV sales lots overflowing from Florida to Ohio and back.

G13
17 days ago
Reply to  Jeb

Not true, here in SoCal, lots have plentiful of various types of RV’s/TT’s/Fivers, again, where is the explosion in sales occurring at. Guess it’s the remaining lower 46 states, lol.

Gordy B
16 days ago
Reply to  G13

Having delivered RV’s for over two years all over the country and talking to the new owners about why they bought on line as opposed to local, most cited price. The units I delivered originated in Michigan. A California buyer cited $15,000.00 difference in price for the unit he purchased. If you don’t believe it go on line and price a specific unit, then compare it to Michigan or the other neighboring states of Indiana.

Chas
17 days ago

Used just makes more sense to me as most are lightly used, presumably most defects/ problems are solved or at least revealed and most of the driven off the lot depreciation is over.

Steve Minor
17 days ago
Reply to  Chas

Chas, I agree wholeheartedly! All of that depreciation someone else has suffered to the have the newest, & best I would rather have in my saving’s account!!!

tom
17 days ago

Used, let someone else discover the initial problems. And, take the depreciation.

Jim Prideaux
17 days ago
Reply to  tom

Cept maybe someone else did discover problems and that’s why they are selling it.

Ed K
17 days ago

Other than a Tent we bought new, all our RVs were and will continue to be used. By the way, the tent leaked and was exchanged.

Dan
17 days ago

The only way I would buy a new RV is if I knew the dealer personally. I say that mostly based on what I’ve learned here at RVTravel. I’m sure there are good dealers out there somewhere, but until I know different, used will work for me, if I ever decide to get another one.

Don
17 days ago

This is a no-brainer. Why would you buy a relatively poor quality rig that’s going to drop in value like it’s fallen off a cliff, when you can get a better quality RV that’s over its teething problems for a small fraction of the cost? Think about it…

patti panuccio
17 days ago

Out of 17 different types of RV’s I have owned the worst purchase was a new one, nothing but problems.