Friday, March 24, 2023


Use these six words when buying an RV

Six words. Yes, all it takes are six words that will help you purchase a great RV that meets all your needs. If you can follow this important advice, you’ll soon be enjoying the perfect camping setup for you and your family.

My car story

Our 16-year-old car died last week. (Trust me, I’ll get to the six words. Just bear with me for a minute.) After 279,000+ miles, the Mercury Mariner finally gave out. Our diesel truck was in the shop for repairs, so we needed to buy another vehicle—pronto! We couldn’t keep borrowing a car, and renting a vehicle was cost-prohibitive. We’d saved for this eventuality, so we were ready to buy.

We decided to visit a section of town that has almost every make and model of vehicle known to man. We stopped and talked to several salespeople who I’m sure immediately recognized the panic in our eyes and the desperation in our voices. They could tell we had to have a vehicle!

After a solid week of “car shopping” with no results, a wise friend said six words that suddenly made the search for a vehicle manageable. The six words? “Take the emotion out of it.” Hmmm. She explained that we should start thinking with our brains instead of our hearts (emotion). So, my husband and I sat down and made a list of what we needed in a vehicle: affordability, excellent gas mileage, comfort, space for the grandchildren’s car seats. That’s it. Armed with our “needs list” we were able to find and purchase the perfect vehicle for us.

Same idea for RVs

It’s the season for RV shows and if you’re in the market for an RV, I sincerely wish you success! But I hope you’ll remember the six words, too: “Take the emotion out of it.”

RV salespeople know how significantly emotions influence consumer behavior. The statistics on emotional vs. rational thinking are fascinating. According to Phillip Adcock, an expert in consumer behavior, emotional reactions are 3,000 times quicker than rational thought. The emotional parts of our brains can process information five times faster than rational thinking.

Researchers agree. When most people shop for RVs (or really anything) our decisions are based mostly on emotion rather than on facts. If you can take the emotion out of it, you likely will make a good decision and be satisfied with your purchase.

A plan

Here are ways to get your emotions out of it and make a wise RV purchase:

  • Review your budget. Face it. Camping won’t be much fun if you sit around the campfire worrying about your next RV payment! Instead, look over your current expenses as well as upcoming ones. (Will the kids need braces? How will an upcoming medical procedure impact your finances?)
  • Consider camping costs. Find out what it costs to stay at various campgrounds. How much fuel will it take to get to a campsite? How many times a year will I use my RV? (Get a calendar out, mark potential camping dates, and count them. Ask yourself, “Is __ days of RVing worth $_______?”)
  • Set a budget. What can you afford? Remember that buying an RV is not like purchasing a home—even if you live in it full-time. The RV will not appreciate in value so, in my opinion, it’s best to pay cash if you can. If this isn’t possible, be very careful as you choose the method of payment.
  • List “must-haves.” Ask yourself questions like: Who will use the RV most? (Sure, it’s fun to imagine hosting friends or family members for a camping trip, but realistically, how often can that happen?) If you plan to camp just on weekends, do you need a residential refrigerator? (Probably not.) Once you’ve made a “must have” list, review each item and test its validity.
  • Be patient. Most RV dealerships will extend their RV Show prices for a week or so after the event ends. The pandemic’s RV buying frenzy is over and many dealerships have replenished their inventory. It may help take the emotion out of your decision by waiting to buy an RV until after the show.

How do you keep from making emotionally based purchases? Do you have additional tips about buying an RV? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Learn from others’ RV buying mistakes



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Gary Bate
27 days ago

“You’re Gonna Regret Buying This RV”

26 days ago
Reply to  Gary Bate

👏 😆

27 days ago

Those 6 words truly are correct. For our RV and our vehicles I start the list. My husband laughs his head off at my lists, but I don’t care. I list must haves and deal breakers, all under the top dollar I am willing to spend. And my husband and I both try to outdo each other on how low we can get someone to go in price before we buy. Not to mention checking all the reviews (and taking those with a grain of salt). And we definitely do not use our RV enough!!

Neal Davis
27 days ago

DW is a seasoned negotiator. Her skills were honed by years of representing lenders in large real estate deals. That experience augments a natural talent, which was on display the first time that we bought a car after our marriage. By the end of the negotiation, I was on the side of the poor salesman. So, our “hint” is that it may be better if only one of the two is actually present by the time of actually talking price. It certainly is with us. I just wander away … and leave it to DW to close the deal.

Scott R. Ellis
27 days ago

So, how do you like your new mini-van? 😀

27 days ago

The article states: “How many times a year will I use my RV?” To put that in perspective, say you have two weddings to go to on a single Saturday. You’re going to miss one of them. Which one? What we did to ensure we got the use from our RV we said we’re going camping every weekend. Weddings didn’t matter unless it was a very close friend or relative. That meant we might miss two weekends of camping all summer. It makes the decision much easier as most invites to a wedding excluded our children. Family was our priority.

27 days ago

And here I thought the six words were going to be “The price is WHAT!!!? You’re crazy!!!” 🙂

27 days ago

I would add “look up reviews for the dealership”. We’ve been considering a specific newer RV. A dealer not far from home has a couple decent looking used ones. Their reviews, however, are in the one and two star category. And, they told us those little items will be repaired before it leaves the lot. We left the lot instead. Makes our old one look much better. I support the idea of keeping emotions out of the purchase.

27 days ago

For an RV add: Floor Plan. We got the RV that suits us by drawing a rough floor plan of what works for our lifestyle — before we went to the dealership. After a few years of use, that RV has proved to be ideal for our situation.

1 month ago

Simple yet sage advice.

Bob p
1 month ago

I would add wear dark glasses when you go inside, manufacturers put plenty of glitz inside that appeals to the women. Look into the way cabinets are built and installed, pull out drawers to see their construction methods. In the bathroom simulate everything you normally use the bathroom for, sit on the furniture for comfort and features. Lay on the bed to see how many nights you can take it before replacing the mattress. Outside look under the chassis checking for rust, loose wiring, exposed water lines. Look at the tires are they made in China where you will undoubtedly need to change during the first 2 years. After all these inspections now you can take the dark glasses off and enjoy the glitz.

1 month ago
Reply to  Bob p

Great advice, Bob.

John S
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob p

To be fair, the glitz appeal to both sexes. The female glitz might be shiny appliances or flashy lighting; the male glitz might be over-the-top electronics or lots of buttons to push…

Bob M
27 days ago
Reply to  John S

For me the less electronics and the need to not use phone apps is what appeals to me.

John S
27 days ago
Reply to  Bob M

Less expensive stuff to repair…

27 days ago
Reply to  Bob p

All good advice…let me pile on two more. Before you get to the RV show or the dealer’s lot, do some homework. Check out the brands with the best reputation for quality and reliability and know the brands to stay away from. Buy the best quality you can afford. You’re wasting your money buying a great floor plan if it’s sitting at the dealer waiting to be fixed. Then, no matter what you buy, pay for a comprehensive independent inspection…money well spent.

27 days ago
Reply to  Cat

…and do not purchase the RV until each and every item is fixed. Be willing to walk away from the deal.

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