Friday, December 8, 2023


Oh, the pain of unwise RV buying decisions

Dear Reader:
I received this letter from an RV Travel reader named Walt. I won’t use his last name as I didn’t get back to him until late yesterday to ask permission. But I believe his message is so important that I must share it. I receive letters like this every month, all heartbreaking tales of a buyer making an unwise buying decision (or decisions as in this case), simply hoping everything will go well afterwards, and then it doesn’t.

In this case, Walt knew he was digging a deeper financial hole as he moved up from one RV to another. And yet he proceeded. Now, in desperation, he reached out to me to see if I could offer a solution to his dilemma. I can’t. If you have any thoughts, please leave a comment. But understand, he fully acknowledges he messed up, so please don’t jump on him for his questionable decisions. We all make mistakes, it’s just that some hurt more than others.

Here’s his letter:

Dear Chuck,
I have found myself in a real royal mess and I need some suggestions on how to ever get out of this alive if I can.

I bought a 2004 Itasca motorhome and made many improvements but I just couldn’t make it ride any better. I drove a diesel, a 2007 Monaco Dynasty, and fell in love with the ride and the coach. But being green l found myself hoodwinked with a unit that was down rather than up in so many ways. I soon became very discouraged and traded once again for a 2015 Holiday Rambler Vacationer.

You probably have already figured out my mess. I didn’t own the 2004 outright so I had to roll the difference into the 2007. That’s bad enough but then I did it again when I bought the 2015. Yes, I just read in the current newsletter that 20-year financing is a bad idea and I knew that through common sense, which left me on a couple transactions, but I figured that I wouldn’t be alive at payoff so….

My intention all along was to travel our great country. But sometimes things change in your life you just have to deal with. I know I’m not in this dilemma alone. Here I have a $130,000 motorhome retail but not worth that much on the market. Because of my financial boondoggles I owe $30,000 which I would have to cover to get rid of it and start over. But I will never be able to purchase another one even if I had the resources to cover the difference.

I wished I would have been smart enough to not be where I find myself. I don’t know but I think I read an article in RV Travel sometime back on this subject. Can you offer me any advice? If I can’t get rid of this I’ll jack it up, take the wheels off, skirt it and find myself in a very expensive park model.

Thanks in advance Chuck.

Related article: What does financing an RV for 20 years really mean?


Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodbury
I'm the founder and publisher of I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.



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Brian (@guest_58405)
3 years ago

I have relatives that are this situation. I warned them to very aware of the pitfalls of a 20 year loan on a RV but they didn’t listen and wanted to keep up with us ( I have always paid cash in full) you know “keep up with the Jones’s”. Now they want to move up and trade but have to pay to get rid of their current unit and roll that over to the new loan. These young people just don’t get it.

Keith (@guest_37570)
4 years ago

You talk like you are single. If that’s true you could advertise for a roommate.
Good luck

Marcella Mares (@guest_37230)
4 years ago

We’ve been camping many years with different types of RV’s. I’m the only driver because my husband is blind. We don’t want to give up camping, but in our 70’s it’s getting more difficult. I’ve been researching Class B’s, but haven’t found any feedback from owners or former owners of this type of RV.
This would also be our Michigan vehicle as we have a modular home in Florida & a vehicle there. Any suggestions to inquire with other owners? Thanks, Marcella Mares

Doug G. (@guest_37220)
4 years ago


I hope your circumstances have not changed to the point that you can no longer travel. Anyway, those who recommended you pay additional on your payment provide excellent advice, as the extra does reduce the principal. Another method you can try, is to make a half payment every 2 weeks instead of 1 payment every month (30 days). For example, if the monthly payment is $400, pay $200 every two weeks. By doing this you will make 13 full payments each year, not just twelve. On most long loans like yours (20 years), it usually reduces the length of the loan by approximately 7 years. And, if you can pay a bit more than that half-payment every two weeks, ,you’re reducing the principal even faster. This is assuming it is a simple interest loan.

Good luck

Bill T. (@guest_37181)
4 years ago

Hi Walt, when you said “But sometimes things change in your life you just have to deal with” does this mean you can no longer travel? If this is the case, I can see why you’re in a hard spot paying for a rig you can’t use anymore. The best advice I can give, like others have said, is to make more than the minimum payment and try to get this loan paid off. I don’t know where you live but where I do, you can’t sell a vehicle if there is a lean against it. Best of luck to you with this.

Sandy Swede (@guest_37482)
4 years ago
Reply to  Bill T.

It is difficult to sell a vehicle with a lien, but it can be done. I recently purchase a DP which had a lien. Work with the lender. Unless the lender is a large bank where you can get lost in the bureaucracy, most lenders want to get the loan off their books, especially one that is “upside down.” Assure the buyer that they will pay the lender directly. The buyer must have a signed payoff agreement with the lender which they agree to payoff the loan and release the lien. The hassle for the buyer should result in a discount in purchase price.
Disclosure: Retired banker

4 years ago

You have been underpaying on your loan since 2004. The idea is to pay off your present loan to correct the underwater situation. Whatever the minimum payment on your loan is, pay more than that every month. This takes money directly off the principal of the loan. In short order you will be at the break even point. Taking out a 20 year loan is not the problem; paying only the minimum gets you in trouble. Always plan to pay off your RV before you plan to get rid of it. The same holds true for your credit cards.

Captn John (@guest_37173)
4 years ago

Many years ago I considered selling a stock as earnings were coming out and I would be out of town. Instead I put in a stop loss order. The stock opened below my very low order. That was a $57K loss, it hurt. Stuff happens. We all make mistakes. Just have to shrug it off and move on. Good luck to OP everyone as we all have made mistakes. It takes time and effort, but we most often recover.

Robin (@guest_37169)
4 years ago

PT Barnam said it best ” there’s a sucker born every minute ” , sadly I too am under water on a small TT, but we will just make the best of it and enjoy it while we are able.

Glenda Alexander (@guest_37167)
4 years ago

Walt, even though you made a serious mistake, maybe you can still get out of this without going bankrupt. How about getting a long-term work camping assignment where you would have free parking and maybe utilities and a small stipend? Then maybe you could double up on your loan payments. The Corps of Engineers might be a good option for you. Several years ago I volunteered with them for 13 months and saved a bundle. They are wonderful people and their parks are very nice. Good luck!!!!

Kern (@guest_37225)
4 years ago

Rent it out through “Outdoorsy” that does have insurance also. Check them out. You could take it to an RV park, they pay for the campsite, and you get the rental for the unit.

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