Buying an RV?: Navigating the Dealership Traps

Hello everyone! We bought our second RV last year, and we wanted to share some tips with you. There will certainly be a variety of opinions on this, but here is our experience.

1. Find a great sales person who is also an RV enthusiast!

Honestly, we worked with two sales people and the difference was clear. One loved camping and RVs and one was a lackluster sales person. You will just get a very different experience from the two. You want someone who will honestly answer your questions and really help you through it all. Then, stick with that person! Please don’t buy on their day off. This means they will likely split the commission with someone else who didn’t help you through the process. The dealership will tell you it is fine because they want to close the deal, but it is not fine. If you loved your sales person, buy with that person!

2. Your truck/vehicle might be too small!

We don’t recommend only hearing from the dealership on this one. They want to sell you an RV. Ask your truck dealer and read more about this before making a decision. Can our F150 technically pull our 32 ft Coleman. Yes, it can. Will it be fine to drive around flat areas in the general region? Yes, it is fine. Should we have driven through the mountains of California, the deserts of Arizona, and the long haul from Texas to NYC. No, we should not have done that. We needed an F250. We recommend that you consider a vehicle that can EASILY pull your unit. Do NOT go with something that can barely make the weight on paper. You will regret it in the long run, especially if you have big trips planned.

3. Prepare for a major sales pitch after you have already picked your RV!

Yep, we were pushed very, very hard to buy an additional warranty, special insurance, and a coating for the RV. Candace is the researcher (she literally has a doctorate, not in RVs, but you get the idea). So, she was not going to be hard sold in the dealership. She collected the materials, went home, researched everything, and then came back the next day to close. Look, there are lots of opinions out there, but we didn’t buy anything they were offering. We decided that we could do the clear coat ourselves, and we didn’t read good reviews about the special insurance or warranty. In the end, we didn’t do the clear coat at all because our RV, Millie Falcon, is parked under a metal structure when we aren’t there.

4. Interest rates are terrible for “luxury” items like an RV.

Just mentally prepare that you aren’t going to get a good rate, and they are probably going to convince you to take a longer term than you should. Please research this yourself. How long have you planned for this? How long will you really keep it? Where are you storing it? If this is a bit of a whim, please don’t do a 15 year note. You will be upside down forever. We got a bargain deal on a brand new 32 foot Coleman for under 20k. You can find others much cheaper. Get into a unit that gets you on the road! Don’t fret over getting the golden unit of your dreams if it is out of your price range. We have our dream unit in mind too, but it is really large and we want to wait until we have a massive truck to pull that thing! Just get out there!

5. You will have to spend extra money to even take the RV home. Plan between $600-$1,000 or so!

Basically, you can’t leave the lot without insurance and a way to tow your unit. Add the insurance and get whatever you need for towing. We strongly recommend a sway system. This will make a dramatic difference in your truck’s towing performance and overall safety. You can buy it at the dealership, but you can “YouTube certify” yourself and buy on Amazon to save money. These are a couple of items that you absolutely must purchase, but stay tuned for another post with more details! Here are two quick items that you basically must have to use your RV!

Here is the sway system we have for our 32 foot Coleman:

Here is the RV septic hose we have:

Published by brawnerology

We are family living in Texas, who LOVE to travel. We have been all over Europe, Asia, and Central America. Now, we are heading throughout the US with our children!

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