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moving into a new rv

The Shady Truth about Buying an RV

There’s no doubt about it, we love the freedom and ease of spontaneous travel that comes with RV’ing.  It suits our travel lifestyle perfectly! What we don’t love is the potential stress and frustration that can come along with buying an RV.

We would love to tell you that the RV shopping and buying process is fun (for some it is and can be) but wow are there some horror stories out there!  So, while we can’t guarantee a smooth and easy experience for each of you, we can tell you the shady truth about buying an RV.
Why?  Because information is liberating and can be the difference between feeling uneasy or certain about such a big decision and purchase.  Also knowing the “ugly” part before starting this process might just make it better.

Let’s begin with a few quotes we’ve heard from fellow RV shoppers:  “Salesmen are liars and don’t know crap about RV’s.”  “We dealt with the nicest salesman who knew all about Winnebago, Fleetwood and Tiffin, he was so nice.”  “It’s frustrating because I know more about the RV than the salesman!”

If you’ve ever gone to a dealership looking to purchase a new RV you may have walked away more confused than ever, or maybe you…gasp…purchased your RV right on the spot!  We’ve personally been to dozens of RV dealerships across North America looking at motorhomes and helping friends seek out the “perfect” RV to start their adventures.  If there is one certainty across the board when it comes to all RV dealerships it’s this:  THERE IS NO CERTAINTY!

After hundreds, maybe thousands, of interactions throughout the industry we decided to put the controversial topic up for vote on our crowdsourced content page, and its no surprise the topic titled The Shady Truth About Buying an RV won the vote. In the video above and text below we’ve outlined many of the negatives, and a few of the positives, that we’ve experienced over the past several years.

Purchase Price

Let’s begin with the million dollar question that everyone asks:  So what price should I expect to pay when purchasing a new RV and how big of a discount is normal?

You’ll get the idea when you visit your first dealership and the MSRP is $200,000.00 and the salesman quickly pipes up with something like “Don’t worry about that price, we’ll get you a real good deal.”  Like much of the RV industry the sales tactics are leftover dinosaurs from the past.  Nowadays with a car you can get up front pricing, or you can check a website and get the average sale price of similar cars in your area…this doesn’t exist anywhere in the RV industry (as far as we know).

35% off MSRP – We’ve read on other websites, and we’ve had potential buyers mention to us they plan to get 35% off MSRP or else they’re not buying.  I wish we could give you a magic number but there are too many factors that must be understood when getting a discount on a new RV.

  • Factory Incentive – Sometimes the factory will launch a new product with incentives to the dealer and a set price. Recently this happened with the Winnebago Vista HE in order to compete with the Thor ACE pricing (we actually reviewed this Vista in this video: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/top-rv-picks ).  The dealerships were advised to sell exclusively at a set low price with zero options, so to make more money each dealership would offer “upgrades” that they could sell and install at their service center. Incentives may also occur when the factory has built too many of one RV and it’s not selling as well as they’d hope, so they take a profit cut on their end and the dealer is supposed to pass this along to the buyer.  The best place to get factory incentives is an RV show, each RV Mfr. wants to sell the most RVs at the show so they can rub their success in each other’s faces, and so pricing is often fixed on many of the RVs on display.
  • Best Place to Buy an RV – We’ve seen some of the best deals on a new RV at the major RV shows.  A “major” RV show includes multiple dealerships and manufacturers at the same location who are all competing for your business.  Mfrs. are super eager the first day of the show to get those first sales on the board.  This is prime time to get a good deal on the coach you want.  If you’re not in a rush to purchase at the show we’ve seen great deals made on the last day in the last hours of the show from dealers (the downside is they may have sold your RV by then, so you can’t be in a rush with this tactic).
  • Best Time of Year to Buy – As the new RV year models are coming out, the factory, nor the dealerships, want old models sitting on the lot, so big discounts can be offered by both to move the RVs quickly. This is a prime time to purchase, but supply is limited to what’s in stock so you might not be able to get the floor plan or the fabric you had your heart set on.  Here’s an example:  Our friend just emailed me yesterday and said he found a 2014 Fleetwood Bounder 33C at La Mesa RV in AZ on “clearance” for $99,998.00; that’s a whopping $40,000 off the MSRP!  Not a bad deal, and he hasn’t even started negotiations yet.
  • Supply and Demand – its how most markets are run and the RV industry is no different. Take the Leisure Travel Vans for example:  If you purchase a new Leisure Travel Van today you won’t likely receive it for 4-6 months!  That’s right the factory can’t keep up with the demand.  With an MSRP around $120,000.00 you’d be lucky to get it any cheaper than $110,000.00.  On that same note a quick search online shows there’s only 2 used Unity Vans and they’re listing for the same damn price!  Sure these vans look cool and are designed very well, but over 100k for a used one????  Come on!
  • Real Discount Expectations – Our go-to response when people ask about what discount they should expect to get when purchasing a new RV is 20% – 30% off MSRP. The best thing you can do is search online for similar dealer stock BEFORE going into your local dealership.  I generally start with a search at these places:  MHSRV, La Mesa RV, Lazydays, General RV and RVTrader.  If a dealer makes you call in to get the “price” it often means they want to play games, I find it a very off putting way to start the purchasing process.


Buying direct from the Mfr

Some RV companies sell direct to the consumer, and while we haven’t had personal experience with this type of transaction we have seen a few brands represented at shows and they play the same games:  “Show Specials” or marked out MSRP with an updated “Sale Price” I mean COME ON!  Wouldn’t the benefit of buying direct be so you don’t have to pay the astronomical markup that the average dealership charges?

The “Show ‘em Three” tactic

I hate to say it but don’t think most salesman are your friends, keep in mind if you don’t buy an RV they don’t eat!  We had a friend tell us an old sales trick, which you’ll see in action if you watch our HGTV RV Hunters Episode:  Show them the RV you think they should buy, show them one that’s not as nice, then show them one that’s way bigger than they want…then take them back to their original and it’ll seem “perfect”.  It’s a surefire way to convince a potential buyer that their original idea was the perfect RV, unless there’s a similar RV that pays a larger dividend to the salesman!  That’s right, some RV mfrs pay a higher percentage to the salesman so think twice before you purchase based solely on a salesman’s recommendation.  For instance it’s not uncommon for you to come in wanting brand “A” but the salesman directs you to brand “C”.  Stick to your guns, if you’ve read online that brand “C” isn’t a quality product don’t let a pricing incentive and sales tactics sway your decision.

You get what you pay for

Fleetwood and Winnebago make great products, Tiffin and Newmar make some great products too, but there’s one RV model that comes to mind to show you EXACTLY what you’re paying for:  If you can do a back to back walk through of the Winnebago Vista 26HE and the Winnebago Vista 27N (or really any other Vista) you’ll see a huge difference.  The 26HE has no factory options, it uses gelcoat instead of real paint, the interior products are all about budget; this specific floorplan was built to compete with other class “A” and “C” crossover RVs like the ACE, FR3, Pursuit, etc.  You’ll notice a huge quality difference between the 26HE and Winnebago’s normal RV quality.  After doing a back to back walk through you can see where they skimp on in order to save the $20,000+.  You’ll begin to understand what’s left out in order to reach such an attractive price, then you can take this knowledge to other mfrs and models.

“We won’t service you” scare tactic

We were pressured with this sales tactic in Dallas when we purchased our first RV and we’ve had other friends tell us the same.  When you tell a dealership “I can purchase this RV for $8,000 less in another state” they may tell you something along the lines of “If you don’t purchase it here we won’t service you.”  This is a crummy scare tactic used by some salespeople, and while they can refuse service to anyone should they choose to, it’s not in the dealerships best interest to do so because the service center makes a lot of money with repairs.  The good news is even if you buy your RV from another dealership there is likely another mfr. certified service center nearby, and if you plan to travel full-time then it’s really not a problem because you’ll be visiting service locations all around (or preferably visiting the factory service centers).  Another unsettling tactic is the promise “we’ll give you better service if you buy from us”, another untruth we often hear, service is service and the service center operates separately from the sales center, and often times the service guys dislike the sales guys for making unrealistic promises like these.  In many cases you can expect to receive ZERO help from your salesperson once you’ve purchased your RV.  When we were having major issues with our first RV I attempted to contact my sales guy multiple times and his best answer was “I wish I could do something to help, but I’m sure service will take care of you”…how about that for a “screw you” from my sales guy?  Not Cool man, not cool.

If it’s broke don’t fix it

Some dealerships won’t accept an RV from the Mfr. unless it’s fully repaired and functioning.  Other dealerships will leave things broken till a customer purchases the RV and at that point they will put the brand new motorhome into service before they allow you to take it home.  Recently we’ve heard of a few dealers that send all incoming RVs through a “PDI (Pre Deliver Inspection) location” which seems like a good fix to the standard RV issues.  We took a tour of the Giant RV PDI center in Rancho Cucamonga and the manager there said the number one priority of the facility is to test, service and prepare all incoming RVs to be in top quality before putting them on the sales floor.  If you’re visiting a dealer that doesn’t do an incoming PDI make sure you give the Mfr. a brake because it’s not necessarily their fault the RV you’re walking through has cabinets falling off because it hasn’t been repaired from delivery or the recent RV show.

Post Purchase Walk-through

Many dealers will rush you through the process, and at this point you’re so overwhelmed you can’t slow them down.  Make sure you schedule your RV pick up in the AM so you can sit in their lot and soak it all in.  Tell the technician to give you an hour or two minimum in the morning, then break for lunch, come back to the RV by yourself, then follow up with the tech again before they close.  An even better plan (if available) is on camping overnight to test everything on-site, many RV dealerships have full hook-ups on location and will allow you to stay for a night or two while you work out all the initial bugs.  Make sure you request this BEFORE you sign the papers, otherwise they may want you outta their hair ASAP after the purchase.

Quality vs. Price

Obviously it’s a delicate balance to hit your personal budget.  I mention the Thor ACE and the Vista 26HE above, if you need a RV that sleeps 4-6 people for the occasional weekend trip/tailgating/party wagon you might be perfectly happy with one of these selections.  If you plan to go full-time you may want to think about something put together a little more solidly like a Bounder or a “non HE” Vista.  There’s also a drastic quality and price difference for each model level upgrade: check out our video where we compare the Excursion vs Discovery.

Straight-up Lies

We have witnessed many blunt, bold faced lies while walking through new RVs:  “Those are dual pane windows”, “no that fridge doesn’t need a lock and won’t come open while driving down the road because of the vacuum seal”, “All the slideout issues were fixed when they added a third rail”, “No, you don’t need a special license to purchase this size RV”, “The 4 batteries will last you a week, no problem before you’ll need to plug in”; we could go on and on about the crazy things we’ve heard but we’ll spare you.  The thing to keep in mind is always do your research and do not rely on your salesperson to know everything.  We’ve met a few knowledgeable and helpful salespeople, sadly just not as often as the latter.

The buyer knows more than the salesman

RVs change as often as a baby’s diaper, so there is a good chance you’ll know more details, specs and features about your favorite RV than the salesman.  It’s difficult to understand at first but the more we’re around the RV industry the more we can relate with the salespeople.  Give your salesman a little slack here, every mfr puts their inverter in a different location, batteries can vary from 1 to 8 and tank sizes are all over the map depending on brand, model, floorplan, etc.  Granted when you’re considering dropping $200k on a new rig it’d be nice to feel like your salesperson was fully educated, but that’s pretty rare.

buying an RV

A few other items to consider

  • Depreciation – When we sold Windy, our Monaco Vesta, she was 3 years old, had 32,000 miles on her, and had been lived in nearly full-time with 2 cats. She was in fine shape with average wear and tear.  We sold her for about $100,000, that’s half off the MSRP.  Considering we got her for around 30% off we only lost 20% over 3 years.  Some people might say that’s horrible, but I say what’s the depreciation on a family trip or rent on an apartment?  It’s 100%!  We feel if you want to travel North America there’s not a better, more comfortable, more affordable way to do it.
  • RV Loans – Many RV loans are treated like a home loan with 15-30 year payoffs. I can’t say what your loan will be, but with our first RV we got a loan on a $100,000 coach and paid about $900 per month.  Talk to a CPA before you purchase an RV as there are many tax benefits to owning a motorhome.
  • Shipping Miles – Unlike a new car, most new motorhomes won’t have “0” miles when you purchase them. When they’re shipped they’re typically driven from the mfr (most are made in Indiana) so they could have a couple thousand miles on them before they even make it to the dealership.  Your warranty should start at the mileage you purchase the RV, not at zero; for instance if the warranty for your RV is 10,000 miles and you purchase a RV new with 2,000 miles, your warranty should cover you till 12,000 miles on the odometer.  Make sure you confirm with your dealer (and double check your paperwork).
  • Never Enough Battery Power – The RV industry is notorious for under supplying the battery bank of an RV, so don’t expect your RV will last more than 12-24 hours without plugging in. This is a pain because if you want to wild camp you’ll need to add more batteries (or solar/generator), but the mfr. rarely leaves enough room to install more batteries, so you may have to replace all your batteries with lithium to fit in the tight spaces or AGM because you can put them indoors.  Currently there’s only a small portion of the RV population that wants to dry camp (according to Mfr. studies), so until more people demand more batteries don’t expect a change anytime soon.
  • Dead Battery Situation – the more times your batteries are drained the shorter their lifespan. Dealerships are not particularly good at keeping the batteries charged while the RVs are sitting on the lot.  I cannot tell you how many RV’s we’ve walked into on the lot, at RV shows, etc. where the batteries are completely dead…so dead the generator has to be cranked using the “aux power” from the chassis batteries.  So consider this your fair warning:  Don’t expect your batteries to last as long, or be as powerful as the battery manufacturer suggests!
  • GoRVing and RVIA – Every RV that’s manufactured and sold with the RVIA seal has to pay a ‘fee’ to RVIA, it’s like the parent industry of all RVing. GoRVing is the public face of RVIA and they are supposed to be providing inspiration, education and spreading the word about RVing to the general public.  GoRVing has a multi-million dollar budget each year and most RVers and Manufacturers alike wish they provided more information to the buyer.  Their site is worth a visit but don’t expect to gain a great understanding or do any ‘real’ research on selecting RVs.

Where else can you turn to for help?

There are a lot of great websites and blogs out there with a ton of helpful information.  If you haven’t visited our RV’in page yet, please do.  Then check out all of these links to our favorite RV Resources where we list everything from helpful blogs to membership programs.

Please know we’re not saying all salespeople are bad and we’re not saying the industry is out to ‘get you’, it really boils down to years of the same practices.  Sure the majority of sales stories we hear are negative, but we’ve also spoken with some people that had an amazing purchasing experience, so there’s a chance you may have one too.  We’re not trying to frighten you, we simply feel it’s our duty to share our experiences (good and bad) to help you prepare for the day you walk into that dealership looking to fulfill your dreams of travel.

The good news:  Finding the perfect rig and the purchasing process is the most difficult part of RVing, once you’re on the road everything else is smooth sailing…until you breakdown (hopefully a rare occasion), but that’s another article entirely!

Please share some of your RV shopping tips and stories in the comments below.  The main purpose of our site is to inform and inspire newbies, part-timers, long-timers and first-timers so share away and let’s make this crazy process a little bit easier on everyone…who knows maybe we can eventually effect a change in the way RVs are sold!

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Disclaimer – We’re not trying to tell you we know everything or have experienced it all, we’re 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 our opinions, nobody paid for us 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!

Famous for my "how-not-to" videos, and typically the man behind the camera, sometimes I’m forced to be here in the “spotlight”. When you see my face you’re probably reading something more technical than adventurous, but either way I do my best to tell it like it is and infuse my opinions into the commentary…after all this is a blog and not MSN.

Comments (267)

  • Rancher Rob

    Just another glimpse into dealer pricing games – This fall we called on a left over last year model Super C located in SE Washington state that was listed for $229k. But sales guy said it had just left the lot for Arizona. I thought it was some weird ploy. But sure enough, a few days later it showed up on RVT in Arizona. Same make color, make, year, model and even same VIN but now the price is listed as $279k!

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  • Rancher Rob

    To give people an idea on the pricing games dealers play: It’s Early-mid November 2018 and I found a 2018 Renegade Verona 40VBH about 5 hours from me in WA state for $229k asking. I emailed and they said they could knock off $5k. When I called they said it had just left the lot going to AZ. A few days later, that exact same RV (same VIN) shows up as a new listing in AZ and they are asking $278k ! I guess it was an expensive trip and they need to recoup the additional $50k!

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  • William Galatioto

    So here is my problem I bought my first MH Jayco Redhawk 22j 2019. We had to buy it 400 miles from home. Well now we decided it’s not what we want we want to trade for 2019 Grayhawk 26y. How much should I expect to lose. I have only put 2000 miles on it and most of it was going back and forth to dealer to have sound system repair work.

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  • Paul

    I enjoy your blog/vlog. However, Fleetwood has a very poor reputation for quality, I would not recommend any Fleetwood product.

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  • Kevin graham

    I have just purchased a 2018 Stryker 3010 toy hauler on Wednesday July 11 2018 and as i was being shown the camper the guy breaks the locks on the closing bench bed in back. Stated he fixed it and upon my arrival home I found that it had not been fixed. As I looked closer at the camper I found that it had three lights over the couch and they did not work. I then found that the refrigerator was not working on electricity only on gas. Then I found that the tv in the living room mount was mounted very poorly from the factory and all of the screws were stripping out of the wood. I immediately called and advised of the problems and I advised them I was leaving Sunday to go camping. I arrived at my destination on Sunday and Monday while washing dishes I had water running out of the sing and all in the bottom of the cabinet. I called back and advised them of this problem and they sent a tech out since I was only a few miles away. The tech said that the water line has an issue under the camper and he was able to fix my refrigerator. However he was able to find a blown fuse for the lights and as soon as he put in another fuse it blew instantly. The tech also advised that there was in his opinion way to much connected on one of the ports in the main hub. As I am a fire investigator and I know this is not good at all. I am highly highly dissatisfied with this camper.

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  • zelda

    I read your article and concluded you really don’t know crap about the rv market

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    • Gaius Gracchus

      What a bizarre comment. We’ve been buying and using RV’s for years and seems to us this information is quite accurate. Tell us, Zelda – do you work in the RV industry in some capacity?

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  • Michael

    You say, “If you’re visiting a dealer that doesn’t do an incoming PDI make sure you give the Mfr. a brake because it’s not necessarily their fault the RV you’re walking through has cabinets falling off because it hasn’t been repaired from delivery or the recent RV show.” Really? I’ve been a Class A full-timer for 9 years and I’ve never seen such expensive machines be so crappy. We are supposed to give the manufactures a break because they don’t test their motorhomes before sending them to the dealer? So I’m supposed to pay a quarter of a million to a millions dollars and buy an RV that doesn’t work right the day it comes off the line? It’s not the manufacturers’ fault their motorhome doesn’t work the way it was designed to work the day it’s for sale? Whose fault is it? Who else is supposed to screw the cabinet down???? I say we demand more from RV manufacturers and stop giving them excuses.

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    • You misunderstood what we are saying there. We totally think RV manufactures should be held accountable for their production quality. We’re saying those RV’s get delivered to dealers all over the country and get driven by whatever delivery driver the dealer hires. So, it becomes the dealers responsibility to check that the coach they have purchased to make sure it is still in “new” condition. We have seen some RV’s arrive from a long delivery looking like it’s been “ridden hard” so to speak. So, if the dealer never bothers to do an inspection upon delivery, you may walk into a coach on a show floor that has cabinets falling off. It’s on the dealer to make sure their product is in “show floor” condition, not the manufacture.

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  • Virginia Sommers

    We purchased a 2014 display model (never lived in and like new) Palozzo by Troy. While looking at it the converter caught fire. The dealer promised to put in a new converter which they did. We negotiated and unfortunately signed a contract if certain things would were done. On Thursday we took posession. Today is Sunday. So far since moving in the shower leaked all over the floor due to a freeze, no doubt, in the shower valves. We fixed that. The front door sticks and hopefully that has been repaired. The sliding doors to the bedroom are a mess as the track is a piece of crap . He is attempting to fix that at this very moment. The tv went out on friday night. Probably something to do with converter burning. We just wonder whats next. I doubt we have any options but you will admit this is a bit much. Instead of loving it and enjoying it we hate it and are afraid it might self distruct any moment.

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    • Curious Minion

      Oh man that’s awful! Sorry you’re having such a bad experience. Hope you can get some satisfaction from the dealer.

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  • A monroe

    That’s not a 20% loss, it is 28.5%. You have to figure it on the total amount which I put at 140000. If you paid more than 140000 then the percentage is even higher. Basically, you lost whatever you paid above the 100000 selling price including tax, repairs, etc. And don’t forget to add in any campground fees! Assuming a loss of 50000, which is a low estimate not even including camping fees, then it cost you approximately 1400 a month to live in your RV. 1400 plus camping fees. Now compare that to rent in your area.

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  • Ralph

    OMG This article is so true to hart for me, I just bought a new 2018 5th wheel that my wife loved at first sight, but and I mean BUT! I saw lot of craftsmanship concerns that piled up for me. I can’t believe what I just read in this article, its what quickly came to mind for me and that was PDI, QA/QC from the manufacture. I spoke with the Service Manager at the Dealership about this asking him how can you even show this Rv to anyone, don’t you have a PDI policy.. And this just further proves the fact that the dealer want’s the buyer to do the PDI so they can get away with some problems to fix up front. And why do I say that. it’s because I called up the manufacture and informed of my findings then gave him my Vin number to check out to see if any warranty claims where paid prior to the sale. Guest what ,some of the claims pertain to my findings and never was fixed by the Dealer…. WOW !!!Think about this..,it also had some major work done that wasn’t disclosed to me… I’m can’t find anything on line that states that this is illegal and was hoping to find out if there is for the state of SC need Help. So I think it may be a good Idea for all is to contact the manufacture and give them the Vin number to see what kind of warranty work was done on your RV even if its Brand Spanking New,

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    • Deborah

      Great advice to check that out, thanks.

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  • Britton Priddy

    What are our rights?
    I am 65 spouse is 63 and were both disabled I am a disabled Vietnam veteran.

    We perches a USED 2005 TropicCal 396 T R.V. IT WAS NICE AND RUN GOOD NO Mechanical problems.

    Our problem is that after the transaction my spouse was unable to use the stairs in the entrance way and the stairs to get in the Bed because of her disability (neurology osteoporosis) very bad and has other Ailments as well.
    We thought it be good to travel and live in the RV..ect,,,ect,,,

    .Well she just can’t do it.
    So after 2 weeks from our perches I called the RV dealer back and let him know our problem and ask if he would buy the RV Back?

    …he agree to buy the RV Back ffor what we owed on it from the Bank the balance (which we had not made a 1st payment yet and just recieved the tags and registration as we paid all this and docking storage fees and a few more un necessary fees were sure at the time of perches.OK

    65.000.00 Price of RV we paid 30.0000.00 down and financed 35.000.00 total of loan financed was 41.347.98.

    The dealer ask me how much do I want back? if he buys the RV Back and pays off the loan.

    I said well we gave you 30.000.00 Down with a cashier check… keep in mind this was going to be our home (Ful time RVING) and We need enough $$ to rent an Apt and buy some furniture & will take at least 5.000.00 to get what we need to start out he agree to pay us 5.000.00 &1000.00 For new flat screen TV’s and some oil change they did which I paid in those added fees and pay off the RV Loan.

    Well as you can see there’s a 24.000.00 fee we lose .as I understand I can’t get back the full 30.000 but minus the other fees such as registration fees storage fees ect,,,ect,,, this amounts to 6.000.00 so 30.000 minus the 6.000.00 -24.000.00.

    why can’t I get back at least 24.000.00 or closer to that amount?
    I feel like I been beat out of some of this money…as all the dealer paid us was 6.000.00 plus he paid off the RV loan (41.000.00 but he got the RV Back.

    I realize ”sutpidy” is no excuse for the Law (my bad)

    Do we just have to take this type of loss? or do we have any rights to recoup the 24.000.00?
    I have not seek an attorney b/c I don’t know what to do?.

    Any Ideals from anyone?
    thank you kindly for your reply.

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    • Paul

      That’s a painful story to read. And I don’t know your rights. Perhaps the dealer would offer to trade a gas motorhome that you could successfully use.

      However, if you traveled 12,000 miles per year with a diesel, you would spend close to $24,000 on fuel in just 4 years. Then you would have maintenance and tire costs, insurance and registration, camping and park fees, and the very real chance of an expensive or disastrous accident. Add in depreciation, and you have quite possibly saved yourself an additional $20-$30,000 by not having the RV and not traveling. And any motor or transmission work could add thousands more! Maybe that will lessen the pain? Cheers.

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  • Panda

    Been fulltiming for 12 years in a ’95 Pace Arrow diesel pusher, and while I love it, it is time to upgrade to something with more room. Looking into Class A toy haulers, as there are 3 of us and pets.
    Tried in 2010 to upgrade to a 2006 unit with bunks on a slide out, but the lending was being a Pirate. At $60,000, we were going to put $30,000 down and the dealership was giving my trade in a $17,000 value. The lender wanted more, claiming we were going to default on the loan. As Fulltimers? Even the dealer was surprised. I said no, $30,000 down and a trade in was way more than adequate.
    It was a beautiful model that had what we needed, including the 10k genset, bunks and slide outs.
    Sometimes the beast is the lender. The dealer didn’t get why we wanted what we did in a unit, but they did their best to help us.
    I relate to what you say, do your research, because the dealer won’t understand why a couple wants bunks and slides and dual bathrooms and whatever else you are asking about. Heck, they usually won’t even know your model exists! They will argue that the genset you want onboard is too big for your needs (when was the last time that golf cart riding dude ever dry camped in AZ in summer???). Know what you need and stick to your guns, don’t be understood. And get approved for a loan before you start, just don’t tell them the number.

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  • Kathy

    In the process of buying 2018 RV from campers world in NH. On line we saw same exact one ( also at campers world) in another state for almost 3,000 cheaper. They told us they can’t come down to that price. Is that true or tell them ship the other one here to your location. Please reply the rest of the deal should be done today. Thanks

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    • Curious Minion

      It’s hard to say without more info. They could have been ordered at different times & so Camping World paid more for one than the other, are you sure they didn’t have differetn equipment or trim levels, could be state taxes/licensing/other add-ons. Is the other state close enough for you to drive to?

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  • Brent Christensen

    Interesting article. Many years ago I knew the owner of a small RV dealership pretty well. At that point basically every unit had a 40% margin – meaning he could easily discount retail 35% and still make a good profit – I assume that still applies on new units.
    My question, is there a good way to know the quality differences between brands? I know there are already higher and lower quality built RV’s out there, but how do I know where a certain brand fits in?

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  • I Ploni

    Can anyone recommend any independent, reliable organization that rates manufacturers of all classes of RVs?

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  • Joseph Elliott

    Thank you for the article.

    We are in the market for our first motorhome. We’ve had pop-up Camorra but, now that the kids are all grown and married with families of their own, we want a grown up toy. We are doing our homework and thanks to sites like this, we will be armed with the best information.

    We will share more when we get our first motorhome and start traveling.

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  • Douglas Morrison

    Please use a high contract font. I can hardly read the gray on white background the world seems to think is better than black and white.

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    • Curious Minion

      Hmmm, the font color is part of the pre-set theme. I’ve played around with WordPress setting and there doesn’t seem to be a way for a user to change the color. I’m sure you already have your computer set to high-contrast? That’s the best solution I have at the moment. Sorry it’s difficult for you.

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    • Dave

      I can read it just fine. Looks good, actually. Must be your settings?

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  • Buzz

    Enjoyed reading this article! I live in the Dallas area, too, and I bet I know at least one of the dealers you’re talking about! I won’t name any names, but they definitely pull the 70’s used car dealer hustle on ya. I look forward to reading more as time permits. Enjoy life on the road! We hope to be on that road when our nest empties.

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  • JB

    Could you by chance tell me where you shot this video? We are preparing to start full timing and we loved the look of the site you were at. Or, was it private land?

    Thank you for the article

    JB

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  • I too have a horror story about my first time buying an RV however it was a learning experience…and I am not putting down any used RV lot or anything but 85 to 95 percent of the time their pre inspection is just not worth the ink that its wrote down on a paper with, I actually bought mine used…….only to find out that the propane detector and all detectors in the unit were out of date…….its a 1999 Georgie Boy….so that is a Safety Problem that should have been caught in the so called inspection, along with the brakes which were very very bad went out the evening I went to get it and they really did not want to bother with trying to fix it but I finally convinced them that yes you better come and help me ………that broke 20 miles from the dealership……I had plumbing issues that were not showed to me…….roof of a unit….believe me they might get up there and put some Dicor on if that roof had to have epdm put on it which I did at my own expense cause I did not go up there to check….and there is many other things………anyway I went to two different locations and classes to be come a RV inspector…..if anything get somebody other than the lots inspection if you are unsure or new to buying an RV, and if its coming from a private seller I would absolutely get one. The money you spend will save you a chunk of change in the negotiating part of it or just walking away from it all together. I love your site here…….. I actually have decided against getting flexible solar for my rig…if I can get the other half to agree with me on it anyway lol! Keep traveling and be safe all!

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  • Wingleader

    My wife and I are now retired. We have had trailers, fifth wheels and one motorhome. Sadly, as much as wish to travel by RV, we have found most of them to be very expensive junk ,and based on RV articles we have read over our many years, some of them pose serious safety concerns which have caused deaths and property damage. We have often talked about how our elected officials have done little to nothing to protect the consumer from poor materials, workmanship, design, and warranties of most RV’s. We would like to see a national RV Lemon Law and some serious government oversight via consumer protection agencies. The NHTSC does not seem to have RVing on their radar, nor does any other government agency. Manufacturers, suppliers and dealers MUST be held accountable for the consumer’s huge monetary losses on such purchases not to mention the deaths and injuries incurred by some. Please write to your Governors, Senators and Legislators to make them aware of what is happening in the RV industry. In the meantime, do your research and seek out the manufacturers and dealers who work to make RVing better. They are hard to find but some do exist and they should get more credit for their higher standards.

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    • Deidre Halliday

      PLEASE!! NOT MORE GOVERNMENT REGS!! WE CAN’T GO OUTSIDE WITHOUT SOMEONE TELLING ALL OF US WHERE TO WALK, HOW TO WALK, WHEN TO WALK, TALK, OR BE LIKE. BETTER IDEA – HAVE PEOPLE WHO MAKE SOMETHING FAULTY PAY FOR THE ENTIRE THING, RIGHT THERE!! NO EXCUSES. IF EVERYONE UNDERSTOOD THAT THEIR ‘CRAFTMANSHIP’ BETTER BE DARN GOOD OR ELSE THEY GIVE THE MONEY BACK (WHICH A BANKER CAN HOLD IN INTERIM). WE NOW HAVE GOT REGULATIONS OVERLAPPING OTHER REGS, RULES NO ONE CAN FIGURE OUT, AND IT CAUSES ALL OF US STRESS AND GRIEF.

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      • Karen

        Please don’t type in all caps. It is very difficult to read. Thank you

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    • Gaius Gracchus

      Wingleader is *right*!
      Lemon laws have saved people from awful, unsafe vehicles in many states that have them. You cannot expect the greedy, scum-sucking manufacturers to change their ways without being forced to. Clearly they have no incentive so far to make things better for their customers. Only the smaller, expensive custom shops do quality work consistently (like Advanced RV, Safari Condo, etc.)

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  • Rick Thomason

    Oh my gosh, I’m glad I found this site. I must share this for my own therapy. I have RVed/Class B for more than 20 yrs. I’ve owned 5 Pleasureways/Chevy only please. Other than some minor issues, great product. They have even called me back from their headquarters in Canada to explain the workings of the control panel. Several years ago I thought I’d try a Road Trek. Uh oh, my right eye is beginning to twitch again. I began my night mare when I left Venice , Fla heading to LA. Horrible horrible experience(brand spanking new unit). Nothing worked-RV World had to disassemble and reassemble the entire inside structure-it was shifting as I drove. The unit lunged as I applied the brakes-discovered by auto service in route that the brake wedges were still in place(supposed to be removed after conversion). The entire electrical system burned out due to the wiring being improperly placed over the exhaust pipe/system, (manufactured that way) but RTrek refused to honor warranty because their warranty does not include wires/problems from wires. I valiantly continued on my maiden journey until the black water tank was full. The power automated release would not work, and the manual override was not installed properly. I could not dump the mother. I drove it into a dealer in AZ, asked how much they’d pay me. They wrote me a check, I took a cab to the auto rental, and drove to LA and bought another Pleasureway.
    I swear on the graves of my family and the Gods of RVers everywhere that this is the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

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    • Gaius Gracchus

      Oh, we believe you. Pleasureway is known to make a high quality (but expensive) product. Roadtrek is known to be very hit or miss – and *lots* of misses.

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  • Bill Aus

    Thank you I been wanting to find a Deal . I find old overpriced units with wals delamating . All Junk for Big Money . I am still looking . I was Glad to hear the mark up is 100%. Now I know what it’s realy worth .

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  • Kristi Meiners

    Very informative article. My husband and I went out for the first time today. When we began we were looking at Class B+ but after being in a Class A decided we liked it better. We were shown a 2016 Thor ACE that we really liked. We came home and started researching but the customer reviews we’ve been seeing are not very encouraging. My husband did make the point that people who are unhappy are more likely to review than people who are satisfied. Can you give me any information? I have also noticed on the websites to search for RVs that there are many more Thors for sale. Is there a reason for that? Thanks

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    • Curious Minion

      There are a lot of Thors out there because they tend to be fairly affordable and have great layouts and features. But it’s like everything in life: you get what you pay for. Generally speaking, a bargain RV will have cheaper components and might have cut some manufacturing corners to bring that price down. Toyota and Lexus are both made by the same company, but a new Lexus costs more because it is a higher quality build and it will hold its value better than, say, a Yaris. Your best bet is to try to find a Thor owner’s forum where owners are discussing issues with the RV. That will give you a good idea of what the most common complaints/problem areas are AND will tell you how people still feel about the unit after having it for several years. If you want to purchase a “Lexus” (high-end RV) but can’t afford a new one, shop for a gently used one.

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    • Mark Shapter

      Thor and Forest River are bigger than all the rest combined thus, more RVs. They are cheaper and look cool. On paper they have the same features as lets say Fleetwood, Tiffin, or Newmar, but what you see isn’t always what you get. Forest River has a one piece fiberglass roof like Winnebago right? Wrong! They use lesser quality fiberglass with a lesser quality bonding method adhered to a lesser quality substrate…. and there is a raised seam on top of the roof all the way around trapping water … by design!

      I too found the Ace an attractive MH and then I did research and found complaint after complaint about the coach. And at the advise of the RV dealer I use in AZ, he said to avoid Thor even though he could have sold me one on their lot. There are others I believe that should be avoided and others that are much better in the quality department. So far, I have owned a Fleetwood Southwind and a Rexhall Vision and both were very good with few issues. Even with the best coaches, there is no guarantee that a person won’t have some issue or another. It is the nature of the beast.

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  • laurie m

    HI I found a 2003 Holiday Rambler Ambassador DP 34 ft . It has 40,000 miles and the owner cannot drive it anymore because of health reasons. My husband and I researched the daylights about DP’s and as well as this model. We found a recall on the trailing arms. We are getting this RV for a good price (we hope) $37,000 and new toyo tires all the way around. We believe we have such a good deal on this unit we don’t have an issue paying for new Source engineered trailing arms along with their Ride Enhancement kit. The mental and emotional fear of the unknowns have been nerve racking to say the least. I hope we are making the right decision …any input would help

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  • Scarlett Barbee

    We are looking for some help in our diesel pusher purchase. We bought a 1994 Fleetwood Coronado, gas, 31ft in Jan. We knew before buying it that it was the “tester” as we were looking for our diesel pusher. We found the one we like and we have just given $2000 to hold it until we can come see it. It is a 1999 Featherlite Vogue 5000 40ft, non-slide. According to NDAA, value is $40,500. Our bank will give 10% additional for whatever upgrade bells and whistles it has-and it has a lot (all electric, clear coat, 3k inverter, tag axle, heated bays, res. Fridge, hydroponic heat, and tons more). So 44,550…It has everything on our list of wants, except for a driver-side door. It is a one-owner, always garaged coach. When I walked through it, it looked like it came off the showroom floor-to include the engine, generator and bays. It is on consignment with a sticker of $79,500. There are really none out there for sale to compare to. A 38ft in LA for 50K doesn’t even come close. We know we will not get a loan to cover the total price and are prepared to pay out of pocket, but not almost double the NADA value. Any help in how we should determine what we should offer would be greatly appreciated.

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  • Becky

    We were told that there is a law in Texas that you have to use the dealership for warranty service from the dealership in which it was bought. Is this true? I’ve been unable to find anything in writing about this.

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  • Paul Neal

    Is there any reader out there that can tell me the best discount they obtained from a Dynamax Isata 5 purchase? I’ve been offered 30% discount off MSRP from two dealers. I was hoping for 33-35%. Is the 33% possible at a minimum? Thanks for helping.

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  • ted hardin

    I used to haul RVs from factory to dealers with all the paperwork from the factory including build cost. Most RVs are sold to you with a 100% mark-up price, if the dealer gave a 75% discount they would still make money. As an example I bought a 40 foot forest river 5ver toy hauler that was reduced from $62,000 to $35,000 because the dealer was going to retire. He still made a butt load of with my 28 foot 5ver I traded in ,even with the big discount I still got screwed. The new one is still a piece of crap.Even if they gave you a new one you would still have to rebuild it over time! Some people are pretty easy on their equipment and stay on paved roads and parks.If I wanted to be around people I would stay home! Those tiny homes they show on TV are built better than the best RVs. When you buy those big pushers you are doing a little better but ,not by much. The cost to keep up a pusher is almost the same as a over the road tractor trailer! There is no such thing as a free lunch,you are going take it in the somewhere in the process.They are all junk,some just better junk than others!! Good Day….

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  • Rosemary Lather

    At the last RV show I attended, the line I heard from several salesmen when we said we were looking to buy in a year or two was, “I hope you stay healthy” or ” see this used rv, it was owned by a man who died of cancer 6 months after he bought it”. Way to prey on the older folks, guys. I enjoyed your article and I will go prepared when ready to buy!

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    • ted hardin

      Scare tactic! Someday I will kick the bucket,you have to die of something nobody dies healthy.I am 68 years old and if I die I will be doing something I like! For you people who are worried about dying do not worry about it.Keep all your personal affairs in order and take off! Regardless what you do to stay alive you will never know when that day will come! Love life while you still can instead of I wish had done this or that until it is too late!

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      • Kelly

        Love this comment! Good for you,Ted. Worrying just shortens your life so live it up my friend!

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  • Marc Miller

    We are in the “research” phase (as well as the “purge” phase) and was completely dejected after getting trapped by a salesman this past weekend. He did ALL the tactics you listed above and instead of pushing back we walked away dismayed and super gun shy. BUT, we took a breathe and are now hunting nationwide and armed with your tips as well and some of the comments, I’m feeling a little more confident this will happen for us. Thank you and happy sailing

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  • Anna Victoria Taylor

    We’ve been full time RVers for 3 years. Our first experience buying an RV was from Motor Sports Land in Salt Lake City. We bought a 2005 Forest River Wildwood in immaculate condition and we were told everything was tested and working properly. Our first trip was off the lot to Northern Utah when we figured out our refrigerator didn’t work. When we called Motor Sports Land the service department told us to “bang on the pipes a bit”… they wouldn’t repair it, they didn’t want to service us, they lied about everything working… luckily, we’re handy and repaired it ourselves.

    Fast forward to February 2017: We attended the SLC RV show to buy a new 5th wheel. We fell in love with a KZ Durango 2500 and made a custom order through KZ but we were dismayed to find out we had to use Motor Sports Land as our dealer and service department. Motor Sports Land promised a delivery date for the second week of April… no call…. we called them and the delivery date was delayed to April 25th… no call… we called them AGAIN… we were told May 1st…. that was yesterday, no call, no return call… needless to say I’ve had it with Motor Sports Land. Being full time, our entire schedule is based on the delivery of the new RV. May I recommend not buying from Motor Sports Land?

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    • ted hardin

      If you are fulltime why do you have a schedule? Read my article up top!

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      • Farah F

        Why are you growling at everyone that posts a question or comment? #benicer

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      • Kristen

        If you want to stay at certain RV parks/state parks at certain times of the year you have to reserve early. So you definitely need a schedule to be at the best places at the best times of the year.

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  • Stephen Valgos

    Great article. I’m afraid the dealer sold me the floor model instead of a new one. They said they had six in stock, but when I went to the dealer inspection the floor model was gone off the lot, and the same child’s sweatshirt that was I. The floor model the previous day was now in my “new” rv! Is this legal? Is there anything I can do?

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  • Micki Long

    I bought my first MH from them in February 2017. I was pretty excited and really looking forward to everything about RVing. Unfortunately, it went downhill from there. They revealed after the sale price was agreed upon that I couldn’t get it unless I financed. That was the first red flag. In hindsight I should have walked away.

    I asked repeatedly and was told that there was no prepayment penalty. Surprise! They lied. So at the last minute I either took a higher interest contract with a different lender or took the lower rate and pay the penalty. We traveled from out of state to GA and after being there for 7 hours and a lot of high pressure I also bought the extended warranties. Then read the overwhelmingly negative reviews of GS warranties which mostly centered around claim denials and decided to cancel and go with a competitor who had mostly positive reviews.

    I made repeated requests to cancel the warranties and never received confirmation of cancellation but they harassed me with every reply trying to convince me to keep the policies. I had no choice but to dispute the charge with credit card company. Thank goodness I had used a credit card because if I had not, I would still be fighting with them to cancel the policies. Which we were told repeatedly are cancellable at any time. This may be true but good luck actually cancelling. They also tried to claim after the fact that the tire warranty was now non cancellable.

    We bought a lot of stuff from the store. Got to campground and discovered they had not given us several items. Had to run back to the store which was over an hour round trip to discover that some of the items were now out of stock. On top of all of this they had not put a temporary tag on the MH! They wanted us to run out to them again but we asked that they bring it out to the campground.

    They really should be ashamed of themselves but the customer doesn’t matter to them. Making and apparently holding on to the sale is whats important to them. They have certainly left us with the impression that they make $$money$$ on the financing and sale of warranties on top of the RV. I bought a better warranty for less with Wholesale Warranties.

    We do love RVing but the buying experience could have and should have been more positive. I am grateful though that I won’t have to deal with them again.

    Buyer Beware!

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    • Linda

      Thanks Micki! I am in the process of shopping for RV’s now (class C) and the sales person has no answers to many of the questions I ask, such as ‘what exactly is covered by the limited and structural warranties’, ‘what is the cost of an extended warranty’, etc.,. It is a frustrating cat and mouse game. I am checking everywhere I can for information and one piece I was hoping to get from you was, who is the great extended warranty company you are referring to?

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      • ted hardin

        Take someone with you who has been burned a time or two for back up!

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  • Allinson

    This was very helpful. I am currently in the research stage to purchasing a 5th wheel. My bf and I will soon be full-time RVers due to our jobs. We have only been to one dealership so far and the experience was ok. I could tell the salesguy was trying to make it sound like he was helping us out, thankfully I have a lot of experience buying cars and knew better. But I’m glad I came across this article because it gave me a few more things to think about when we go see other dealerships.

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  • Dale Poole

    Tennessee RV Supercenter, 835 Huckleberry Road, Knoxville, TN 37924, Salesman Roger Keck. We purchased a new 5th wheel from Roger in May 2005. We stopped in with a turn signal issue on our Toy Hauler. Wanted to look at some new non Toy Haulers told him what we wanted he showed us about 6 units one was just what we were looking for. We live 5 1/2 hours away figured he would high ball us on a trade. Roger came back with numbers lower than I expected (extremely lower). Got him down another thousand and bought. Six months later had a warranty issue, service department would not fix it. Roger called service told them to fix it and if the factory didn’t cover it he would pay for it. Roger also calls about twice a year to see how we like the camper. Again we live 5 1/2 hours away in Illinois and will always give Roger first chance when trading. If anyone sees this and goes to see Roger tell him Dale in Illinois said he was the Worlds Best RV Salesman.

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  • Joan GIRDLER

    I too am very wary, but had a good experience. I did my price homework,and was treated fairly. A win for both. The salesman insisted that we go to a nearby park for a shake down. We invited him to visit after work for a small celebration. He arrived, refused refreshments until after he had gone through the coach with us again. He insisted and would not be dissuaded. Found a small item and arranged for the service department to come over so that we would not have to drive back to the dealership. Wow! I’m now back in the market and he has left the dealership. Darn! I even called him twice from the road with a question. Very, very knowledgeable. Good ones are out there.

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  • Gail

    OMG…maybe we should just take cruises! My husband and I have wanted to RV for some time but after reading this blog and the subsequent comments I’m scared to death.

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  • Marv Schulz

    My wife and I spent all day today at the RV dealer that we bought our current 5th wheel from. We are not rookies at this game as we have purchased 4 units prior the one we are looking at now. The camper we are looking at is over $93,000 + taxes and fees. With that said we were there to buy…… not kick tires! This dealer offered us a HUGE $6,000.00 retail discount far from what I had expected, although the salesman told us they were giving us $7000.00 over wholesale for our current camper. Well so much for the truth. They were going to own my trade for $00.00 and we have bought 2 of our 4 units from them….NICE. So to tell you the truth we walked out with our money, I still have my current camper and we more than likely will not be buying a new camper this year. Buy the way I was an automobile dealer for the last 40 years and if I treated any of my customers like that I would have hoped that they would call the police and had me arrested for being a crook. I will be calling the builder to see if there is a dealer that will treat us fair. Sorry for the rant but you are right watch out for shady dealers and salesman.

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  • Sue Taylor

    Hi Very new to the RV world. If I purchase an RV from a private owner in Florida. Do I have to register it in my home state of Ohio.

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  • jim

    Boy, where do I start? I was also, until recently, an RV salesman. I did appreciate the comments of the other RV salesman. There’s a common saying among RV salesman. “Buyers are liars”. It’s amazing what they will tell you thinking it’s fine because you’re just a salesman who is probably going to lie to them anyway. Over my 6+ years selling RV’s I also focused on asking the right questions to help buyers end up with the right coach or trailer. I really cared that they ended up happy and took plenty of time teaching them about what to look for and what to watch out for, and I knew the products I was selling. Usually it was a waste of time. They would ‘land’ on a perfect RV for them, thank me, make an excuse why we couldn’t go in and work a deal, and then go shop for the cheapest price. There is ALWAYS someone with a cheaper price.
    I’ve had customers drive 2000 miles to buy what I showed them locally, then return and sit at my desk and tell me their sob story about how they didn’t get what they expected or (fill in the blanks).
    Because of those dealers that are somehow getting by with extremely thin profit margins this industry is going to get just like the car industry. Miniscule profits and the salesmen are either 21 years old or on social security and need to supplement their income. In either case the complaints by buyers that the salesman didn’t know anything are going to grow exponentially.
    Let me tell you about my favorite customers. They come in on a Saturday or Sunday (the days we have the best chance to make our living). They ask a million questions, have their notebook a-ready, and nit-pic everything. You are in a whirlwind and have trouble really qualifying them ( a taboo with the owner of the lot). After about 2 hours they tell you they are retiring in 3 years and they wanted to start their research for when they retire and can actually use the RV! The record with me is 6 years. Would you, as a decent human, go to a real estate office on a Saturday, ask for a realtor, and have them show you 20 houses – pretending to be ready- and not be ready for whatever reason in the near future? It happens too often in the RV business, because people who do that are bored and treat it like a free disneyland (that’s actually another group that totally wastes your time). Here’s a tip. Find an RV you love. Insist on the best price. Don’t let the salesman divert you to payments. Get that price and try for 5% better. If it doesn’t work it’s because they did give you the best price they were comfortable with. If it does great. Either way, buy the darn coach and go enjoy it.

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    • ted hardin

      Of course their is a tooth fairy!

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  • Deborah Giacalone

    Great blog, thank you!

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  • Rob Hopkins

    Great blog and video. For a real life example I’m looking at a list price of $121,000 on a 2016 Winnebago View sitting new on a dealer’s lot. If I deduct 30% my offer would be $84,700 and maybe we settle at 20% putting me at $96,800. Do you know if there is any additional incentive if I let the dealer finance the purchase?

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  • Cecilie Christian

    PLEASE STRIKE THIS COMMENT! I MADE AN ERROR OR TWO AND RE DID IT!

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  • Cecilie Christian

    Thank you for your blog information, Mr. Wynn. It has been insightful. Yes! I want to know where that salesman works, too!
    We are not new to the world, but have never rv’d full time. We are in the reviewing stage right now. We do not want to go into debt too much, so I’m looking at scores and scores of rvs online and Craigslist. There are the obvious wranglers for one’s personal information, one’s that have over-bought and are trying to get out from under the payments.
    There are the older rvs which may or may not have been cared for. This is the area I’m interested in. I’m cruising photos for folks who’ve kept the interior clean and neat and do not have excessive interior/exterior wear or damage.
    We have some local ads from folks who will do an ‘inspection’ for about $300. How do we find a reputable inspector? I want to be sure we get a full inspection of structure, motor(possibly) functions.
    Thank you again for your time and info!

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  • Stephanie

    I AM an RV Salesperson and I enjoyed every minute of this article. In fact, many points the author makes are what I warn my customers of as “common practices” in this industry. Now, I am a very rare “salesperson”. I did not get into this industry simply because I no longer wanted to sell cars (a very common thing really). I got into this industry because I LOVE to RV. I loved searching for my motor home so much that even after I bought one, I couldn’t get enough. I live in my motor home for months at a time during the summer season and nothing gives me greater satisfaction than recruiting more happy campers into my favorite lifestyle of freedom and simplicity. One thing most people do not realize, (and I commend the author for emphasizing this important fact) is that no matter what RV you decide to buy… it is ONLY as solid as the people you buy it from (whether it be private party or a dealership). Once you have done your homework on at least what type of RV will work best for you and your needs, do the same amount of research on any dealership or private party you are considering doing business with. For dealers, reviews say a lot! For better or worse, most people love to share their stories, and in this social media driven age, we should not be getting away with anything shady. A good dealer will do certain things that less reputable dealers will skip over to save money. The Pre-PDI process mentioned above (the initial inspection done when a unit arrives from the factory) is VITAL to a positive buying and RVing experience. Where I hail from, we do not even let the delivery driver leave the premises until the unit they are delivering has been gone over with a fine tooth comb. Would you sign for a package that was damaged on delivery? Neither would a good RV dealer. Although some do. Any imperfections caught should be addressed and repaired BEFORE the unit is detailed, staged, photographed, and put on the front line. No RV has ever arrived in perfect condition in my experience. They are ALL rolling earthquakes built by human beings. The manufacturer knows this. So, they empower the dealership to assist in sending their precious products into the market in a presentable and acceptable condition.
    My advice? Early on in the process, make a detailed list of your buying priorities. Every RV is designed and equipped for entirely different sets of needs and financial situations. I interview each guest I encounter right away to make sure we do not waste each other’s time on the lot. Nothing is worse than an uneducated sales consultant that does not listen and problem solve. It’s our JOB! There are so many reps out there just trying to make a buck that give the rest of us a bad name in the industry. And, as a salesperson, nothing is worse than wasting oodles of time with someone that cannot or will never buy. Depending on every individual’s specific circumstances, the RV buying process can (and sometimes should) take a long time. It’s a big purchase that is best done right the first time (or at least with as much consideration as possible). A good sales person will respect that. I will typically determine how far along they are in the process, their wants, needs, camping/traveling style, budget- both down payment and monthly payment, time frame for purchase, towing capacities, as well as hot button issues up front. I review my inventory, walk them in a few relevant coaches, and see how they feel from there. Has anything caught their attention? Do they hate that color or love it? Does it meet the search parameters? Does it fit their budget? I also let people walk in and out of several RV’s without me, yet I am nearby to answer any specific questions and make suggestions if needed. I let my customers take ownership of the right coach mentally before moving forward. A good sales person should add value to your decision, not just facilitate a transaction. A good sales person will stick with you whether you are buying today or in a year. The better the buying decision you make now, the less likely you will be trying to trade it back in a year later and taking a huge hit on depreciation. Unhappy buyers aren’t just mad at themselves down the road, they are mad at the person that suckered them into it as well. Rushing people into gigantic financial decisions without asking the proper questions beforehand does not make for happy customers. Here’s a cool trick: If you are really set on purchasing a certain brand of RV, but you want to deal with a retail salesperson that is the most knowledgeable on what you are looking for, don’t be afraid to seek out the advise of the manufacturer’s factory rep in your area (just call the factory and ask for their contact info- most have no problem with it at all). They can not only locate specific models, but they visit their dealers on a regular basis and are very familiar with the local sales reps that are properly representing their products.

    Now, with regard to pricing… There is NO MAGIC NUMBER with when it comes to the discount off of MSRP. Every coach books a different market value, and every cost is different! Profits on RV’s are not nearly as high as anyone would like to think they are (even me! lol). Like the author says, you get what you pay for. Saving a few thousand dollars on that coach that has been baking in the sun for an entire model year, taken to several high-traffic RV shows, trampled through by thousands of people, and is now being blown out below cost because it was the ugliest color Winnebago ever made… has major potential to ruin your RV experience down the road. Let’s say you compromised on tank size in order to save a buck, and now your dry camping trip is inconvenienced by a water shortage. Or say you really needed a 4-season coach with heated tanks, but you didn’t think it was worth the extra money versus the one with the deeper discount. Then a freak storm freezes your plumbing and costs you thousands in repairs. I have to say the most trouble I’ve ever had with coaches I sold were due to the fact that they had been sitting around for too long. It’s like they’re cursed or something. Be kind to yourself! Pick a coach that suits YOUR needs and negotiate from there. Don’t just buy the cheapest one simply to save a few bucks. Buyers remorse on a perpetually depreciating product holding a 20 year loan is the pits!!

    Lastly, the life of a salesperson… aaah yes… we salespeople (both the shady ones AND the honest ones) do work on 100% commission (in most cases). For those shoppers WITH a conscious… pretty please, do not take up hours and hours of a salesperson’s time just to turn around and give your business to another dealer based on price alone. Especially if they are working hard for you and adding value to your decision. If you are only shopping on price, then price shop first! Once you have found the unit you want online, research the dealership where you found it. If they seem reputable enough, work with a salesperson at THAT dealership. I work for a medium sized family owned dealership with an average inventory of around 350 units. In some cases, it’s nearly impossible for me to compete with a huge national dealer carrying thousands of units on price alone. You might spend a couple dollars more to buy from a reputable dealer that works hard for their customers, but I can promise you a more honest, pleasant experience, no hidden fees, a clean and functioning coach, thorough product orientation, and so on. There are still some very outdated and, yes, shady practices out there. Especially in the larger dealers where there seems to be enough volume to constantly overcome the consequences of their dishonest business practices. If their price seems too good to be true, it probably is. And keep in mind as far as discounts go, for every $100 I give up on a price to make your wildest RV dreams come true… cuts my next paycheck by $15 to $30. The cost of everything that I “throw in for free” (hitch-work, batteries, solar, warranties, etc) in order to make the deal…. is only free to you. That comes out of the profit of the coach and therefore, my commission. I have no salary to fall back on. Sure, some months are great! …And then some are absolutely horrible. Step one: Find a great salesperson. Step two: treat them the way you would want to be treated. They will ensure you are taken care of and you will always have someone to call if you need anything! I hope this helps. To the author: keep it up man! GREAT blog! I will be sharing!

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    • Excellent commentary! Thanks so much for sharing your side of the coin in an honest and helpful way and most importantly not to promote yourself but rather to add to the conversation. So, now I know I am probably not the only person curious to know which dealership you work at. Thanks again!

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    • Cecilie Christian

      Dear Stephanie,
      Thank you so much for your honest levity!
      This is such a chore, but the more good info we can glean, the better!
      Would you consider letting us know where you are selling??!!!
      Regards.

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    • Karen

      What dealership are you with? Karen

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    • Frank Mercik

      Hi,
      Where are you located and with which company? What is the web site?
      Please advise, thanks.
      Frank Mercik

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    • ted hardin

      Thanks for all the dealer hype, I want to sell you the brooklyn bridge!

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    • Eddie

      Thanks to the Wynns and to you Steph….I’ve never owned a motorized RV but I’m looking ahead for retirement. My method for buying new vehicles always includes a note book (paper please) to have questions ready that I might otherwise forget, to record answers and to signal the sales rep/service rep that I am serious and and will be thorough. I think it serves both parties well. Again, thanks to you both.

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    • Kelly

      Stephanie, you sound pretty awesome! The one “gripe” I have is that you rarely see females working as salespeople at RV dealerships. We had worked with one for a short while and she was absolutely awesome! Knowledgeable, caring, motherly really… I’d be willing to be some places would sell far more RVs if it employed women to sell. But I do realize, women have to apply to these jobs in the first place! Great, great comment. Makes you think!

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  • Melanie Jones

    We WANT a Winnebago Vista, and just looked at one, but then the dealer whisked us away to look at the many Newmar units that they have and really put on the pressure for us to like those better. Nice, but we still want what we want! Glad to hear this happens often so we will be more prepared next time.

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  • brad McQuone

    Can anyone please tell me of an RV dealership that stands behind their product and has a good service department?

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    • Joe

      Well, according to Jason Wynn, they’re all lying scumbags who screw you over. So I guess not.

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  • Bob

    Condensed slide deck of the problems my parents are now facing. Welcome any insight you can offer to help them.
    https://www.facebook.com/bob.murphy.507679/posts/10210679018996583

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  • Thank You Very Much For Posting, This Is Very Helpful At
    All

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  • Mrs. Downs

    We are newbs starting the saving process for our first RV. With a family of 5+ traveling anywhere cheaply is unheard of. I found your website and am thankful for this post!

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  • Regret listening to lies

    Don’t buy from LeMesa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Go anywhere but. Google the reviews.

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    • William Palme

      I am about to go see a 2017 Thor Miramar 37.1 at a LaMesa dealership. Why should I be wary of theis dealer?

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  • Joe Banks

    I bought a 1985 Winnebago, Ischaro with a 4 speed Rennault diesel engine. It started and ran and had a solid body but needed some work…57,000 miles on the odometer. I bought from an owner whom drove it from a Winnebago dealership in Iowa. I knew absolutely nothing about RV’s of any kind, but was so excited by the $3000 purchase price that I thought I couldn’t go wrong…NAUGHT. It requires more work and money than I have…so I need to sell it to a hobby person… or for parts or just junk it and cut my losses. What do you suggest? It’s now in storage $$$$

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    • Gary

      What’s the problem with the rv?

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  • Steve Sheetz

    Nikki & Jason, I’m SO happy I found your site when I did. I’ve recently decided that when I turn 50 in a couple more years, I want to buy an RV rather than a new Corvette. I love Corvette’s, but an RV is just WAY more practical for that amount of money.

    At this point I’m 99.9% questions and 0.1% knowledge. After reading through this blog and watching the video, I feel a lot more confident moving forward and will greatly enjoy absorbing the other material you’ve produced!

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  • Jules

    Oh my gosh I am so overwhelmed! I am looking for some personal help with purchasing a slightly used travel trailer to use for travel nursing. I don’t have much knowledge in this area and don’t trust the dealers/salesmen. If it were up to me I would just get the prettiest one! So far I have resisted this urge, and the better-half of my brain has prompted me to seek help on the net. Any advice/recommendations are extremely appreciated! (I am looking for help searching and deciding which trailer would be best for me from an RV-savvy guru)

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  • Steven Jenkins

    Do you have a similar video/article on buying a used motorhome?

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    • Laura

      I would like to know this also. I love the information on this article, but need to have similar like what percentage off of used Class A motorhome to be reasonable to ask for. I can’t find new prices on older homes like 2011 models etc…

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  • Mark S

    I would like to say thanks for great articles / video’s and wish I had found your site BEFORE I purchased!
    We live in our unit 6 mo a year and our unit is full of issues! That said I will never ever recommend this company that begins with a T and it is not Tiffen. We have had roof leaks / rot replaced and new roof put on, and now the sides are delaminating. The CW dealer we purchased from is useless as well as M. Lemois “action Hot line”. The Company T will not even return phone calls when all this started happening. I have talked with Factory Reps at Shows and they all say I did not maintain it correctly.
    All caulking was inspected every month and there was never an issue on inspections that i could see. The one crack in roof caulking I did find was corrected the same day by me and was the skylight over tub. Caulking was completely removed and done over. I’m talking about a 2012 unit that is now worthless and our dreams have become a nightmare. We can’t even trade it we are so upside down and we put 50% down.
    Do your homework folks and be prepared to lose big money.

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    • Laura

      Please, I would like to know what you would do to avoid buying one like this? I am trying to learn. Was this a new one that came with rot and leaks? Is there a mold test or something that would expose this?

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  • Dj

    I have a question, my name is Dj. Me and family are excited to get our new travel trailer, paid it full from the dealership. This our first time having one. Well from the start I noticed that the pipe is kinda low (where u drain the poop ?). They told me there is no complaints about it yet about that. When the day I finally have to pick it up, can’t back up in my drive way because it’s going to hit that pipe. And I told them numerous time that’s I’m not comfortable about it. Brought it back and they say they are going to fix it. My main concern here it may cause me money in the long run. The camper is still in the dealership, is it to late to back out on the deal we made and get a different camper? Pls help ?

    reply
    • Every state has different rules about returning a purchase so you would have to check with your state. That being said, no coach is perfect and will most likely have it’s own set of issues, quirks and modifications needed to suit you. You have to pick your battles when it comes to these homes on wheels. You may want to contact the manufacture or take it to them to make the adjustment versus your dealer.

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  • Julie Johndon

    Question: we purchased an Itaska Navion 2010 from General RV that was built on a 2008 Didge chassis. We weren’t infirmed and only found out after the signed purchase when looking at the manual labeled 2008.
    Response was we had full 2008 warranty on the Dodge truck. The first year all seemed well but since then the battery life has been an issue. Anyone have that experience or comment? I wonder if this was illegal in not informing us and do we have any recourse 5 years later? I think when we decide to sell we may have issues on value.

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  • Barney Weatherford

    travel trailers and fifth wheels sure are FANCY…. every human should own at least 3 in there lifetime… I personally have bought all of mine from Josh at Holiday World in Willis TX

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  • Frank winter

    Are new motor homes on dealers lots owned by the dealer, the manufacturer, or a bank? a “floor pla” like car dealers have may give buyer some leverage near the end of the month. Would appreiciay your thoughts.

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  • Edgardo R Garcia

    We are about to enter the RV world, but we live in Panama, Im a US citizen retired but my wife if not. So our residency is in Panama. We will like to spend at least 3 years traveling in the US. I know that there are taxes that differ from state to sate…. we are planing to buy an class A Diesel and a toad ram1500 diesel, 4×4 and pulled in a trailer. We are looking to buy used, and then bring all to panama. to enjoy the region. Im planing to finance 50% if I can, what can you advise us, there is so mucho different brands out there…. is crazy.. my budget is 45,000 for all…. where is the best place to buy an use RV, what brand is know to be the most reliable and durable, I know cummins are a long range motor, Ill like to ad as much solar as possible, lithium banks, led lighting, outside solar lighting, we are planing to do a lot of boon docking, Ill like the generator to be able to use both propane and diesel, what are the best systems to have internet, cel service and tv all over, .. I will appreciate your advice and of all outthere thanks

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    • If you can find all that you re asking for , at that price what model years’ would you expect to have. ’95-’98 is my guess.These things seem to cost big money round here, even a class a diesel pusher ’04 MH is $50,000 and upwards, let alone a toad w/ trailer…………[email protected]

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  • Terry Apple

    Good advice for sure. We have owned about ten or so RVs of various types over the years and can attest to all of what you said. Your response about full-time use also was right on. Full-time use is not intended and no manufacturer will tell you their RV is designed for full-time use, especially with the light-weight, skimpy RV-specific equipment, plumbing, etc., that they put into these vehicles. A salesman/woman might tell you full-time use is no problem, but even they usually will not commit to that because it could expose them to liability in the event of the inevitable failure of something. RVs definitely are not equipped the same as a sticks and bricks home, even if you can spend a million dollars on one. This is not a new concept; it has always been that way.

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  • Sandra

    Wow! Great blog and great article. We own a pull behind trailer now but have been considering moving up to a Class A. The one issue I have been reading about but didn’t see discussed here is the width restrictions. All the Class A motorhomes I have looked at are 101 or 102 inches wide. There are several states that limit the width. Do you find this to be an issue? We really want to get a Class A but are concerned about this issue. Is this an issue when you travel? Are there places you cannot go that you really wanted to?

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    • We have not seen anything with anyone having trouble because of width. It can get challenging to get into certain parks or areas due to length (we suggest under 35ft if you can) but that’s it.

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  • Dan D

    I’m thinking about selling it all and RVing for a few years. Under the paragraph titled “Quality vs Price” you say, “…If you plan to go full-time you may want to think about something put together a little more solidly like a Bounder or a “non HE” Vista. Does this mean there are some RV’s suitable for vacations but not full time. I never knew that. How do you tell vacation RV’s vs full time RV’s ? I’ve just started looking so I’m a complete novice. Also who is responsible for all those ugly paint jobs with the swirls and swooshes ? Yuck ! is there a reason behind it ?

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    • This is all our personal experience and opinions of course. RV’s in general are not built for full time use…hence the name Recreational Vehicle but that doesn’t mean they can’t be used for it (obviously, lots of us do). Typically (there are always exceptions), the cheaper the RV, the lighter it is built. The lighter (more cheaply) it is built the less wear and tear it can handle. Buying the bottom of the line cheapest RV a manufacture makes might work just dandy for light weekend and vacation use but try living in it full time and you might find it doesn’t hold up so well. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to your personal wants, needs and budget. I would take the nomadic life in a $1000.00 trailer over a $100,000.00 sticks and bricks home any day. 🙂

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  • Cheryl

    The blog and information is fabulous for first time rvers/buyers. You have answered numerous questions just through your sharing of your experiences I love it as you are inspirational, funny, factual, caring of others via your blogs and you’re not afraid to laugh at yourself! If I may pick your brain a little further, I have two questions that I haven’t found specific answers I know you would but in what order; 1.) What options do you add to your new RV before closing the deal? As an example: Clear Protective coat, wheel bands, W/D? 2.) what items would you purchase first/second to ensure your maiden voyage is successful? i.e. batteries upgrade, solar, satellite, etc? Thank you for the additional assisstance.

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    • To be honest, I wouldn’t add anything at first. I would take a few camping trips (known as the shakedown trip) and decide how and where you are going to be spending the majority of your time. Also, how much will you be camping each year? If you decide you are going to be doing a lot of dry camping then you can look into adding solar and more battery power and make sure you have it installed at a reputable solar installer that does a lot of solar installations (you can get a recommendation from the solar manufacture like Go Power). I think its best to get your feet wet and add extras as you determine you actually need them.

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      • Cheryl

        Nikki, I apologize for the delay in my response. I couldn’t find where I issued the original questions. Thank you for your great advise. It has already come in very handy. I am so excited to get started on my lifelong dream. I pick up my new RV tomorrow, take my safety/defensive classes in the rv Monday and Tuesday and finally, I get to take my maiden voyage the first week of April. I am leaving colorado going through New Mexico and seeing all the touristy things I didn’t get to see while growing up in New Mexico. Cimarron – Boy Scout Ranch as the home was previously owned by the Phillips (oil/gas tycoon). They were friends of my grandparents and spent a lot of time there. They talked about it all the time so I am going to venture; Santa Fe – Love this place; Albuquerque – birthplace; Roswell – Aliens; Alamogordo – Missile Base, Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, Elephant Butte – Fishing, Hatch – Chili, on and on over to Tucson and through Arizona sites – Grand Canyon, then back through colorful Colorado. I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of your blog. I know that the upkeep is time consuming and sometimes difficult, but the wealth of information you have provided to others is worth its weight in gold. Just think you are going to have a book “Our Life” already created when years from now you start searching for your rocking chair on the water, in the air, or accommodated in an RV! Happy Travels!!

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  • Celeste

    Are there people who can help first time buyers? We live in the DFW area and want to purchase a 5th wheel and truck to tow it with. However, we don’t have the experience in either category and to be honest, there is so much information to read that it boggles the mind.

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    • PJ Fritsche

      I’d recommend renting an RV if you have not – go to a campground – KOA, state park, etc. and talk to people who have RVs. Go to the RV show and again – talk to owners, not the sales guys. You’ll get a wealth of information. We are on our third RV – first fifth wheel. You really need to think about how you are going to use it the most before deciding between a tow behind, fifth wheel or moving on up. We live in Round Rock and the Austin RV show is next weekend.

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  • Chad

    What you said about service isn’t exactly true. Most dealers won’t work on a unit they didn’t sale especially if it’s a small town dealer. The small town dealers just don’t have the man hours to cover everyone, so they focus on their customers. The bigger dealers will work on your RV, but they will put your unit at the end. Why? Because the dealership wants to make sure that their customer (ie. the ones who buy from them) are taking care of first. Think about like this.If you buy from a dealership in your town and do your service work at that dealer you naturally expect your dealership to take care of you as fast as possible.

    Also, not all dealers can do warranty work on all RVs. The dealership has to you sale the type of RV to be able to do the warranty work. Meaning… to do warranty work on a Jayco product the dealership has to sale Jayco products. However, if you buy from a dealer that is a Priority RV dealer you can do your Warranty work at any Priority RV dealership in the country. The way that works is the dealership that you have your RV worked on will contact your dealership for the Warranty information.

    It’s not always worth saving a few thousand when you have the headache of finding a dealership that can actually work on your RV when you need it.

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      • Chad

        Wow, I’m amazed at how fast you replied to my post. I’m glad you guys understand the politics behind dealers and service. And yes it a sad world that we can’t trust people… really in just about anything. I’m part of a family that’s owned an RV dealership (3rd gen. 🙂 for 65 years, I’m not going to give the name of our dealership because that’s not the point oh my post, one of the things I always tell people is that getting a great deal doesn’t always mean getting the best price. To me, the best deal is buying from a dealership that’s known for taking care of their customers before and after you buy your RV, a manufacture that will stand behind it’s product, because at some point you’re most likely going to need them. And last buying what works for you and what you want, because in the end you’re the one using it. And yes paying a fair price! 🙂

        Also, I’d like add a few more things from a guy in the RV Industry.

        1. It’s okay for the dealership to make a little money when you buy from them but it’s not okay for them to take advantage of you. That dealership is providing jobs to families just like yours, who are putting food on their tables. The best way to make sure you’ll not being taking advantage of is to find a modal that you love and than find another model that you love or even like at another dealership have a quote made up for both RVs. You’ll see real fast who is trying to pull one over on you and who is trying to be fair. Also look at what the previous years model is selling for.
        2. Research the online reputation of the dealership. Google+, facebook, and yelp are three great ways to find out if the dealership is a good one or not. Also read the cust. comment look to see if the dealership is trying to do anything to right the wrong. That’s more important than anything else. People mess up and dealerships will mess up too. Also, Google+, facebook, and yelp will not just let a dealership take down/delete reviews they don’t like, however their personal website the dealership has control so I wouldn’t trust the dealership’s own website as much as I would social media.
        3. If the dealership offers an extended service contract… research the company that service contract comes from and buy it! It’s the best decision could make when buying an RV. My dealership sales the CornerStone RV Extended Service contract and it’s the best we’ve ever seen. CornerStone’s service contract has some amazing benefits. Here are just a few they’ll cover on-site repairs, towing, trip interruption benefits (up to $600 for travel and lodging expenses while repairs are being down), and food spoilage reimbursement up to $150 for food spoilage. I have only two times since I started using CornerStone that they didn’t pay and both times after calling and talking to them we were able to get them to pay.
        4. Buy from a Priority RV Network dealer. Priority RV has over 117 US dealerships in their network and over 70 in Canada. The main reason for the network is so that their customers have a place to go when they need service work done when away from home. Any Priority RV Dealership can do any warranty work that’s needed because they’ll actually just work thorough your own dealership. That means were even you go in the USA or Canada there’s a dealer near (with in a few hours) that’s ready and willing to help you, because if they don’t they’ll get kicked out of the network. And their goal is to get you in, fixed, and back on the road as fast as they can.

        Last, Jason by the tone of your post I take it that at some point a dealership has really pulled one over on you or a friend of yours and, well, I would just like to apologize for what ever happen and say that there are dealers out there that are trying really hard to do the right thing every time. I know because I am honestly one of them.

        Hope you find this hopeful,
        Chad

        ps. I absolutely love your blog and your videos!

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  • rtoyota

    Love your sight. I just bought a travel trailer from the tampa rv show. Sales person great, got to the table and made my offer then all the extra cost came out. Tow/stabilization bar, tax,tag and title, break box hookup?, dock stamps, transportation fee. Wish sales person was up front with all extra fees before negotiations. I dont even know if what he was telling me was true with the laws of pulling a 35 foot tt. They sold my husband on ” this one is sold so we can take out tub/shower and replace it with a step in shower, gave him aluminum wheels, xl entry handles, cable on exterior, a air conditioner with wall thermastat, all at no charge ” made this the perfect rv, just what we wanted. My concerns are stopping the production line process to get this right. Keystone summerland 3030bhgs 2016 out the door 25,000. What are your concerns on this ! And are you supposed to be charged for tow bars and extra towing stuff for pulling a trailer?

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  • Bruce

    We currently have a Class A Gas and are now interested in making the jump to a diesel. We were burned on the last 2 RV’s we’ve owned including the current Class A. All the buyer “tips” you’ve listed are extremely helpful, but we’re so “gun shy” at this point, we have no idea what or where to go. A dealership’s integrity should be everything but once the papers are signed and you’ve driven off the lot, they’re done with you! On to the next poor soul…. It’s a shame dealerships don’t understand the meaning of integrity, or even realize there are people like us ready to buy but too afraid to even walk onto a lot. Help!

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    • Rachel Bromley

      I really understand how customers feel. The Idea of making such a large purchase of a Motor home and wanting to have a real sense of trust for the Dealership that is selling is a scary feeling.I want to share my experience as an employee of a Mid Size Family Owned Dealership. It is not easy. We are selling something that most of the time is coming off the Assembly line not complete when it gets the 804 mile trip to our dealership. Most customer couldn’t imagine going to purchase a home that has just been built brand new and you walk thru and find so many things that need repair. But this happens every day at an Rv Dealership. that being said, you do everything you can to make sure the product leaves your Dealership working and give the customer the knowledge to use the coach. Service is by far the most challenging of all, in every dealership. We never claim to be something we are not, but what we do for our customers is try to understand, and evaluate each and every problem. Sometimes a solution to the problem can not be immediate, but we understand that you are paying a lot of money for the cost of ownership and having your motor home at our dealership verses being used for your family trip is most frustrating. I cant begin to tell you our Service Department is perfect, that would be far from true. I can tell you, every single day, we have the same goal in mind, taking care of our customers, Dealerships want happy customers, You spend a lot of time sitting around the camp site sharing your service department horror stories. We sit in Monday Morning meetings asking What can we do today at Dylans to make our customers experience better than our competitors. I would love to invite any readers to give us a chance. No Dealership is free of flaws, but we work hard every day, knowing without customers we are just a building with people and a parking area filled with Motor Homes. Customers are everything to your business, especially in the Rv Business We are not selling 500 motor homes a month, we cant afford to loose a single customer.

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  • Mike

    I bought a brand new camper just over a year ago maybe it was two years doesn’t madder I am still paying for it and do not want to have it anymore. Is there anyway for te dealer who sold it to me to buy it back being I’m not going to use it?? Any thoughts or suggestions on what I can do???? Thanks

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    • Amy sabatino

      I might want your camper, I am looking for something for me and my daughters. Email me at [email protected].

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  • Annette

    Hi am looking for a class b or b+ motorhome. I have a bad back and need good bed and I get sick from diesel fumes. I like the looks of airstream interstate 24 grand tour.
    Also I saw your video where you say get between 20 and 30 off msrp. What further discount for when new models come out and there are still 2015’s available .
    Thanks
    Annette

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  • Eric

    Looking to buy a Keystone Summerland Mini. They say there is a $2500 freight charge added to price. This seems very high. Is this a legitimate charge?

    Thanks
    Eric –

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  • Mike Melby

    Another potential first time buyer here. I love the layout of the 2016 Forest River FR3 but I don’t know anything about the quality of the product they produce. Can you please give me your thoughts?

    Thank you very much.

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    • We actually reviewed that RV in our shopper series: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/small-class-a-gas-rv

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    • Lori

      Hi Mike.
      We have a 2012 Forest River Rockwood Signature Ultralite 8280 WS fifth wheel, purchased new, and are determined to avoid any future purchases that are manufactured by Forest River …..or any units with a Lippert frame. This will be hard as both companies have a large monopoly on the industry. Our experience with this unit was an arms length list of problems from the moment we drove it off the lot – lots of cosmetic stuff, plus replacement of the axles and tires twice due to the tires rubbing a hole in the undercarriage shell. We finally had to have a lift kit installed to get clearance or risk safety issues from a blown tire. But the most devastating problem we had was a cracked frame that was discovered in 2014 that took most of the 2014/2015 season to get fixed, no thanks to Forest River, who accused us of everything from overloading the unit, off-roading, and carrying weight on the back bumper and roof, none of which was true. They even went so far as to suggest these units are not made to be lived in for more than 12 weeks or built for long trips. We fought with them for roughly six months, even to the level of higher management, to fix the frame and finally had to throw in the towel if we ever wanted to get the unit back on the road. Forest River’s only offer, after all the bogus accusations that we had abused the unit, was to have us pay $3200 shipping for the unit to go back to the Indiana manufacturing facility from BC and then they would determine if the damage was our fault or not. Wonder what the result of that would have been, right? Then if determined our fault, we would have to pay for the repairs and then another $3200 shipping back to BC so a minimum of $6400 out of our pocket for an inspection, then add repairs. Thankfully, our insurance company came through for the repairs after an inspection of the cracked frame by a structural engineer brought in from Edmonton to assess the problem. Wonder why Forest River would not have offered to send a tech from their plant to assess the frame rather than have us $6400 out of pocket to send the trailer to them. During the repairs, our local RV mechanic also found that the side outriggers on the other side of the unit have dropped out of their correct alignment so more problems. Bitter? Hell, ya. Hence the determination to avoid Forest River and Lippert products at all costs in the future.

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  • Debby

    Oh my you two are so adventurous I have been following you for awhile. I am about to buy my first RV I am thinking about a thor Chateau, or an Melbourne what do you think my husband has alehimers and I want to travel with him before we cant,( I hear you) Im a nurse so we are good but I will at some point live in it so places to shop, toys to buy must haves and help at all would be great. Love you guys keep on trucking ps have you to ever heard that song bet your to young ahhh the 70s.

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  • Debbie

    Great information. However I would comment that now days MSN is more blog than hard news. 🙂

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  • AMANDA GARZA

    1st time buyers here and now regretting it….
    We just purchased a 2015 34T Winnebago Forza. Long story short, we feel like the “wool was pulled over our eyes” on several things but its too late now. One major issue I have is that the salesman told us both coaches we looked at had only 800 miles on them. We decided on one and we did all the paperwork with finance office and took our coach home. Following day took a short trip as directed from our salesman, to test things out. We discovered the coach had 2800 miles on it, not the 800 that was told to us. We went back to dealership and they said those were delivery miles. We live in Dallas, shipping from Indiana would be 1100 miles not 2800. There were several things we found that made us question if this was a returned or used RV. (large scratch on TV, Dash A/C had burning smell, bathroom smelled USED, told us leveling system needs to be replaced before leaving lot just to name a few) I told them I felt like we got a used coach and the finance dept said “the coach has to have 5000 miles to be considered used”. I can’t find any info anywhere to back up her statement. Do you know if this is a true statement? Any help is appreciated. I don’t know if we have a leg to stand on legally since we didn’t pay attention to mileage when we signed our paperwork, unfortunately we went with the word of the dealership.

    Thanks,
    Amanda

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  • Scott and Holly

    Thank you for all the info and help that you provide us newbies in making the decision to purchase an RV of any shape and size.

    We’re hoping to get a Class A Gas coach under 35 feet, and no more than 150,000 (before taxes, etc).

    I do have one question that I hope you can help us with….

    I’m concerned with the costs that need to be considered AFTER we purchase and insure our Class A RV we’d like to invest in. Is there any articles, or websites that help breakdown those “unknown” costs that first timers need, to help in making their decision so we don’t get in over our head? I’m thinking of normal maintenance, registration, memberships in RV Groups, Camping pricing with hookups, gas costs, normal wear and tear items, etc…I think that scares me more than the purchase of the Coach will be.

    Again, thank you and keep up the great work!

    Scott and Holly.

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    • Thanks for the kudos! I have not found anything that comprehensive but we have documented our costs over the years here that do include a lot of what you are curious about: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/rv-living-cost Hope this helps!

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      • Scott and Holly

        Thank you. This link helps. Scares my wife, but we will use the info, especially the 2012 info, and compare notes and adjust for our particular situation and come up with some ideas…much like you have done. You’ve given us a great starting point…! Understanding these other costs will allow us to determine if we can go big or go home….back to Coach Hunting…

        Happy Trails…!

        Scott and Holly.

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  • Ron Fauconniere

    Great article and good advice! Thanks for giving us salesman a break! I try to keep myself educated but I must say I am unaware of an RV that requires a special license?

    Ron Fauconniere

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  • Trent

    Any opinions on the RV Consumer Group ratings?

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  • Thank you for this great info! Me and my wife will be on the road full-time in 2 years this November!

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  • Scott & Kathy

    Kathy and I thoroughly enjoy your videos! The cat is a hoot! We are looking into RV’ing on a more permanent basis. We have a popup that we really like. We are torn between TT, 5th and Coach. Some of the stories about quality and service are very troublesome. I know it’s an apartment on wheels, it’s not a car and it’s not mass produced. But that is not an excuse. You wouldn’t look twice at a home if it had all those issues showing on the surface.
    K&S

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    • I honestly think there isn’t a huge difference between a TT, 5th and coach. It’s more about personal travel style and what will work best for you. As for the issues with service/quality…it is always a mixed bag. Some a great and others not. But honestly I could say the same for car service centers, and home contractors. I don’t believe the downsides outweigh the good and try not to let is scare you off.

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  • Guy Owen

    Great advice and insight in this article! Probably one of the few I’ve found that does help a lot and isn’t just a commercial. After researching for several months, I’m beginning to realize there’s an awful lot to learn before — dare I say it? — driving off this cliff and actually buying one. I will be seeking out everything you’ve written and shared online to help me get up to speed. Gee… I just can’t get away from the “travel” wordplay tonight… 🙂 I must have the bug!

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    • So glad you find the info helpful! There are a lot of things to consider just like buying a car or a house and we really wish we would have known these kinds of tid bits before we purchased our first rig. 🙂 Happy researching!

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  • JD Hernandez

    I have so enjoyed everything that you write. We are getting ready to become full-timers and just love all your suggestions. Here is a question that I can’t find an answer. We have found a rig that we truly like. However our escrow just fell through so we are going to have to wait. I was discussing this with the salesman and immediately he said they would buy our house…have you ever heard of such a thing?

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    • I have not but perhaps they will and if it all works out for the best, that’s awesome. If it all goes through you are going to have to come back and let us know how it went as that might make the top of my crazy ‘how I bought my RV’ stories.

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  • Melanie Perdue

    Hi Wynns! I’ve been watching your videos since you were still driving Windy! Anyway – my hubs and I are going to the Hershey show in a few weeks (SO EXCITED!). We will be driving from Georgia with our 2014 Kodiak Travel Trailer. We have decided we want to upgrade to a Class A because we will be selling our home and taking off full time in 2017 when our youngest kid leaves for college. Do you have any ideas or information regarding how and if we can “trade in” our travel trailer for a Class A AT an RV show?????? Thanks, Mel 🙂

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    • I am sure you can do that…sadly I don’t have any info on doing that. However, you will have plenty of different dealers to walk around and get price comparisons from so it should be a great place to make it happen. Good luck and happy shopping!

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  • Do you have any experience trading in a RV at the dealer? I’m looking to purchase a new RV, but need to sell my current one first. Selling it myself is turning out to be a long process. What should I look for when trading in? The dealer ensures they “will give me my price”. I’m always skeptical of dealer trade

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  • Ambre

    Hi! I have a unique situation: I drive a converted 2001 27′ Mitchell bus that is used as a mobile preschool outreach classroom for my local county library. It was gutted and custom designed (long hallway, no beds, no bathroom, no slip-outs) with padded bench seats along the walls and custom cabinetry for our teaching materials and mini-library. We are looking for a new vehicle but most RVs and Bookmobiles don’t fit our needs, can you suggest someone that does really custom work (fingers crossed)? Thanks so much for all of the great info!

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  • Michael Sturtz

    You did an excellent job with your video. We have purchased a few RVs and had some great experiences and some really horrible ones. The lying salesman is one of them. In our case we made him put all of his assurances in writing before the sale. Add to that after we negotiated the final sales amount again in writing with exactly what should be included the finance office manager kept trying to change the price to add about $5000 in dealer profit back into the deal. It was really irritating to constantly go back to him with the original paperwork showing the negotiated pricing. We did eventually take delivery for the price they agreed to but the dealer hid the incorrect installation of several items and to add insult to injury they charged the manufacturer for work they didn’t do. It was a large chain dealership and since we actually took delivery at a local office the local office discovered the problems before we did. They fixed the issues and charged back to the dealership that sold it. So, in the end it worked out. Unfortunately it spent 8 1/2 months in the shop after purchase getting everything fixed. Your point about quality is well said. It seems that RV manufacturers us their customers as guinea pigs rather than doing proper R&D.

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  • Anne

    Thank you for the wonderful information! We purchased a used RV, which was definitely a money-pit and smelled horrible once all of the seller-hidden air fresheners were disposed of! Could never get rid of that smell… We sold it and purchased a brand-new travel trailer, which is nice; but on long trips, the comfort of the RV is unmatched. We pull it with a Ford F-350 Diesel and get pretty good mileage compared to the RV’s V-10. We decided against a slide-out, trying to stay true to our “stay simple” philosophies. Unfortunately, there are three growing boys and one large husband in my family. We cannot all fit in the trailer unless we are sleeping! We want to purchase a Class-C diesel RV that can tow a Jeep; a new model is out of the question due to cost. I found a 2007 Jayco Seneca 35GS with three slide-outs (actually it is more than we need). The asking price is $89,998 but according to NADA, retail should be around $78,850. The RV is in good condition but the paint is fading/peeling on the cab-over. I really want to make an educated purchase this time! Any advice is greatly appreciated!

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  • Rod & Keli Anderson

    One of the most useful & informative pieces I have read while doing our pre-purchase RV research. Thank you so much for all this fantastic information.

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  • Mark Schuttler

    Hello Jason and Nikki, My wife and I are looking at Rving full time next year. May 2016. Yes we have been looking at 5th wheels for about two years now and we are heading to VA this weekend to see a 2015 Gateway 3500RE. We do want a 5th wheel and down the road we may go to a motorcouch. You mentioned in your video a place in Texas, Image SRV?? I try to look that one up and I don’t get anything. Not sure if I heard you right. Also, any suggestions on how to make a little extra Cash on the road? I am Retired Military and I do get a pension, and its enough but I would like to make a few hundred more a month. Not much but a little. Something easy on line? something that you don’t need a degree in. I know there or Bloggers out there that have work on the road. You two look young and wonder how can you afford it, you must work. We also do know by reserarch that it isn’t cheap to travel state to state and hit some RV parks and most range 25 to 75.00 per night. We also know State Parks are good, Corps of engineers are cheap, Boondocking is real Cheap. Some clubs are cheap. But our first Trip up to NY next year will cost us about 800.00 for our Two Stops, Virgina Beach for 10 days, and Pennsylvanian for 7 days, then NY. My folks have land for us to sit on for some of the summer. So this is what I mean by it can be costly and that does not include stuff we may want to site see at these places. My wife and I are in our 50s and She will bring in extra money from her Art work, and I do like to Restore headlights. There are headlights that have a yellow tint on them, I can restore them like new for a small fee. I would like to do a little more. Thank you for your advice on buying an RV. Happy Camping!! Mark and Jodi

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  • Michael McLucas

    I’m considering a HR Trip 32. Is 36k too many miles for a 2011? Any problems to be aware of. This is a private party seller, original owner.

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    • Nah, just means they worked out all the bugs for you and broke it in. As long as they didn’t have any crazy repeat issues (engine problems, major leaks, etc), if its the coach you want, we say go for it.

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  • Amanda

    I’m looking for tips on what kind of recourse someone may have when they buy a brand new camper and receive a used one instead. Are there any laws that protect consumers ? Hoping someone has an answer 🙂 thanks

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    • There are some lemon laws and etc… but honestly you should contact a lawyer. You may also want to try joining Escapees and reaching out to them for some referral help.

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    • Guy Owen

      I can tell you from experience, if you have evidence on this issue you should IMMEDIATELY get a lawyer. Nikki’s advice was spot-on. Don’t even hesitate.

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  • Gavin

    Can you buy a RV out of the state you live & if so can you get financing from that dealer even though you don’t live in that state

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  • Tiffany eggert

    Any articles on buying used? We have had our fleetwood Southwind, 1994, for 4 months. As I type this, we are on our way home from our first road trip. It has been a nightmare. I will spare details on this comment but let’s just say the salesman plain lied about, well, everything.

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    • melvis

      Interested to know what problems you have encountered. We almost purchased an older gas unit but are opting instead for a diesel pusher since we need to pull a heavy Mercedes and trailer. Our observations are the gas models tend to sway too much and the motors do not last as long. But we would totally buy an older unit if it was powerful enough.
      Thanks for any info.!!

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  • Doug Kroll

    Luv the website. You did really good!!! Probably the best one I’ve read since goggling “Should I buy a rv?”, sitting at my happy hour watering hole, contemplating this . I’m retired USAF and working as a dba too, of sorts. Alberta, CA huh? Hmmm…Doug Kroll

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  • Stan

    Hi…lots of fun keeping up with you guys. Love the videos! Are there any tips to saving money if you have to order an RV directly from the manufacturer? No one has what we want (options) so we are looking down that road. Any tips you can give would be great!!

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  • Doug Miller

    I noticed that you guys bought your most recent RV custom ordered, and waited for it to be built. Most of the discussion on buying has been around buying one off the RV show floor or dealer lot. So, how do price negotiations work on ordering one with specific options, floor covering, etc?. By the way, love your blog.
    Doug

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  • T. Smith

    Just a few quick comments from an RV sales guy. I was directed to your site by a customer that wanted me to see some pics of a unit. I did. While I was here, I took a quick look around, and came upon this discussion.
    My two cents: I’ve work at this dealership for 24yrs. For 10yrs of that time, I worked parts and was a Service Consultant.
    Much of what is brought out is true. I take issue though, with the slant that is implied that all dealerships and especially sales people are out to get you. Possibly at many stores and a large number of sales people. But certainly not ALL of us. Some of the LIES told to a person on product or features, often is due to a lack of knowledge or being misinformed (or he just might be new). At our store, we sell everything from $6,000 Pop-Ups to $900,000 diesels and everything in between. It’s sometimes hard to get the changes in your head from one year to the next or a mid-year change. No wonder that some customers who have “done their reseach” on something that interests them, may be more knowledgable about certain aspects of a unit.
    Many of the “sales tactics” came out of the ‘car business’. NOT ALL OF US ARE LIKE THAT. I for one, will NOT pressure or mislead a customer (I sleep very well at night). I try to give the pros/cons of particular units. A great deal of the time, it’s the customers that are not honest. Yep, you heard me right. It has happened enough though the years that it has become cliche’ “BUYER ARE LYERS”. There seems to be this “I’ll get him before he gets me” mentality. Especially when a trade is involved. No wonder that the sales process has gotten adversarial.
    There is also this mentality that customers seem to think it’s a crime to make a profit. If you want the store to be around if the economy tanks again, you need to pay a reasonable profit so it can stay in business and employee the people they need to, to do the job and grow. That takes money, period. During the recession, the owner of our company had said “if you want the economy to improve, go buy something”. You know, he’s right. If you give product away or make such a small profit margin, you won’t be around long. Look at the manufacturers and dealerships that went away during the last recession. Dealerships don’t need to “knock your head off”. But they need to make a profit.
    Like I said, I agree with much of what was written here. But remember this popular saying. “It doesn’t matter how thin the pancake is…there’s still two sides to it”.
    And as far as sales people go, there is NOTHING in this world, that didn’t involve a salesman. But it’s up to the individual salesman to do his job with integrity. But it’s also up to the customer to show some integrity as well. (Boy do I have some stories)
    I could go on, but don’t have the time. Just my two cents.

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  • We found a very helpful website when we bought our Montana 5th wheel, seedealercost.com, it was a good site to do price research when we were buying. We ended up getting what we felt was a fair price and are happy campers!

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  • Fantastic work as always. We were in a 2012 Sunseeker Full Time for the past 11 months. It was such a smooth and wonderful experience we were really surprised when we heard horror stories from fellow RVers. A few weeks ago we upgraded to the 2015 Road Warrior Toy Hauler and have already had some issues from wear and tear that we didn’t notice when we bought it, most likely from it being used at RV Shows. Luckily for us the Dealership is taking care of them.

    Awhile back I started working on a Case Study (for myself, not sponsored and nobody else was involved) to understand the buying process of someone shopping for an RV. I visited over 1100 RV Dealership websites and their social media channels. Then spoke with countless RVers that we ran into. Finally to speed up the process I got permission from Dealership owners to be at the Dealership all day to interview people shopping. I’ve learned a wealth of information. Once I have more time I’m going to have a detailed report but here’s a few brief things I’ve learned.
    – Research, research and more research. I recommend finding the RV or a few RVs that you are considering rather than finding a dealership first.
    – Dealerships that service RVs seem to have better “after the sale” follow up (however this issue is a major one across the board!) Plan on camping nearby the first few days to shed light on things you may have missed or issues that the unit has.
    – Check out Social Media channels and reviews of the Dealership. Look for negative reviews, the content of the negative reviews isn’t all that important. What’s important is if the Dealership responded to the review or complaint. This is usually a sign of how you will be treated and cared for if issues with your RV come up.

    Thanks again for shedding light on some of the glaring issues in the industry. For anyone who is new to RVing or considering joining the “club”, I can tell you that the benefits and enjoyment we’ve had in the past year from RVing are tremendous. Happy camping!

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    • Thanks so much for adding your experience and tips to the conversation. Please let us know when you have your case study done! That will be very interesting.

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  • VCT

    I am a young 72 year old. I have camped in the past (20 years ago) with my children when they were young
    I had little “frill” money, so we used a “popup” tent trailer.
    I have many grandchildren and would like to get them into camping. I have been looking at travel trailers, and have been searching the web for “quality” manufactures. It is hard to find any sites (like consumer reports does) on camping trailers.

    Any suggestions on the better “light/Ultra light” travel trailers??
    Should I go new or used?
    How heavy a vehicle should I have to pull the trailor.

    Any advise would be very appreciated.

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  • I never expect this one, I’m into RV business and I didn’t know this kind of information.

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  • scott

    Some wise advise here, I recently watched an RV show on the american country channel where you two were looking to buy your first rv. I was amazed how much you have learned since those days, I really love your web/video content, I think your the best out there in the rv community.

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    • Well, thanks for the love Scott! Yeah, we have learned bucket loads since then.

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  • DMB

    We are on our third RV in ten years. The first was a used “let’s see if we like camping” model. We became more serious when shopping for the 2nd and 3rd models. I attend the RV show every year. I have found out that the best deal out there is a new prior year model that hasn’t sold. Also it benefits the buyer greatly to buy an RV as close to the area of manufacture as possible. The delivery cost is huge for RV’ s. A tank of gas can save you thousands off the sticker price. I personally drove six hours to another state and saved nearly 20k on a new 2013 in 2014. It cost me $300 in fuel.

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  • Rick Shea

    Are there certified and/or accredited RV surveyors (similar to those that perform marine surveys on boats) that perform pre-purchase inspections of an RV to ensure all systems function properly?

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    • Not that we know of, but that would be really nice. Just like getting a home or boat inspection before purchase.

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  • John

    We just bought our first Travel Trailer. We’ve been looking passively for about six months, and aggressively for about the last two. After deciding on our floor plan (Queen up front, bunks in the back), we narrowed it down to a couple of manufacturers. Then, we started hitting the used market. Late winter / early spring turned out to be a fantastic time for us, as we found a 1 year old that was exactly what we wanted for roughly 54% of the original MSRP, and this rig showed no signs that it had even been used, except that it had been winterized. We are looking forward to many adventures in our new toy.

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  • Hey! Great video. I wanted to give another perspective on the whole buying process from a Dealers point of view. I’ve worked for a dealers for about 3 years now as their Internet Marketing guy. 🙂 I won’t mention the dealer, as I don’t want to put anything negative on them. I do agree with what you’ve said here in part, but just have some perspective to give.

    Disclaimer: In my dealer, I’m not the sales person and I don’t directly benefit from the sale of one RV, though I do receive an overall benefit if we hit good numbers that week. So here goes! I hope this helps from one dealer’s perspective. I’ve followed you guy for a few years back and have a tremendous amount of respective for you and what you do for the RV community. (You might even know who I am 🙂 )

    1. MSRP: As a general rule, all RVs are marked up about 40% from dealer cost, I believe. I don’t see hard numbers, so I don’t know the exact amount. To ask 35% is a bit much (IMO) as that is 5% profit for a dealer. After you pay the sales person, run it through service, and generally keep the lights on…that’s not a lot. Though I do wish the RV industry had a better price model. I would love to see a dealer run a price model that was “The price you see, is what you pay.” Unfortunately, most people almost expect to negotiate. As a note, the bigger dealers might be able to do this, because they sell in volume. A small dealer like us…it’s harder to do. Also, because we live farther away from the manufacturers, we pay about 3x more in transportation cost to get them down here.

    Tip: If you do want to save 35% off or more make sure you look for an RV that is brand new, but last years models. At a certain point, we REALLY want to get rid of those. 🙂

    2. Scare Tactic:”We won’t service your RV” I would never condone this as a sales practice….ever. BUT, I will say that we do have people who only come to our RV lot to “look” at an RV, knowing all along they will buy elsewhere that is cheaper, the only reason they are here is to “see it in person” While I think a salesperson should always treat them professionally, it can be frustrating, especially when they could be spending time with another customer who is willing to buy.
    a. We like to say that we give more priority to the customers that bought from our dealership, because they chose to buy from us, we do put some more value into them, just like any business would who has a loyal customer base.
    b. It can also be VERY difficult to work with manufacturer warranty programs. Some manufacturers are JUST difficult. They don’t make it easy and sometime will not pay for work we do (this is true and we can lose money on this) In this case, we find it easier to service customers who bought from us. We’re happy to service others as well, but usually means they have to pay up front. But like I said, I don’t like it being used as a sales tactic.

    3. Is this a trick: Show them the RV you think they should buy, show them one that’s not as nice, then show them one that’s way bigger than they want…then take them back to their original and it’ll seem “perfect”. When I saw this, I thought, “Lol, our dealer does this.” But we do it a little differently. We show them based on price. We show them 3 and try not to do more, but I think for more practical reasons: First, we don’t want to over whelm them with more than that. Second, we do want to show them several below, above and just at their price range. Not sure if that’s a trick, but some people do decided, “Oh, that one is out of my budget, but I really like it and I think we can make it happen.” From my understanding we generally show them the one we really think they should get last. So, 1: Under budget 2. Over budget 3. Just right. Is it a trick? I don’t know…sounds practical and a good ideal.

    4. Don’t trust the Salesperson: I have mixed feeling about this. Unfortunately, this is probably true for most salespeople. The only thing i would say about this, is don’t have a total mistrust, unless they give you reason to distrust. Buying an RV should be a good and happy experience and if you go in with a lot of mistrust and thinking they are going to rip you off could ruin your experience. There are people who will negotiated so much they just aren’t happy and then some people who pay a little higher price, but LOVED the experience.

    Just wanted to give another perspective. You do pay for what you get, both in service and sales and manufacturer. Thanks guys for your contribution to the RV style. I wish there was a way that consumer and dealer didn’t have to be so wary of each other.

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  • RV dealer employee

    I work with several RV manufacturers everyday. I have been in the RV industry for 2 years. For the previous 20 years I worked for a major heavy equipment company. Mostly on the service side of the industry as a mechanic, shop supervisor, service manager, service rep and branch manager. i Google searched the truth about RV industry tonight because I have seen things in the last couple of years that have made me lose faith in the human condition. When people come into our dealership I want to scream to them “run as fast as you can” It’s not just the poor service @ this dealership or the lies they are told from the minute they speak with anyone at the dealership. It is the industry. I work everyday with the following manufacturers.
    Forest River – They have a twelve page book of all the junk models they sell.
    Keystone – Coleman,etc….
    Arg – Fleetwood, Monaco,Holiday Rambler etc…
    Thor
    Winnebago
    Heartland
    Limited interactions with Jayco and highland ridge.
    In dealing with all these companies the one thing I can tell you for sure is I would not own any of these products. If I had to buy one it would be from Winnebago they are the only company that half-way knows what they used to build a specific coach. They also engineered the coach and have decent customer service. I would love to go further and give you some more great info but I speak better than I type. If you have any questions that I can help with please contact me. I would also love to put more info out for you readers. The RV industry is a huge scam.
    My advice you want to go camping get a tent.
    You want to travel cross country take your car.

    Thank You,
    Xra

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    • cmkirk

      Hey there, RV dealer: I am VERY interested in your experience. We currently have a used Tiffin that is 10 years old and looking to upgrade, but based on your information we might start looking at Winnebago…though your endorsement was far from trousing. Have you had experience with Tiffin? We had one repair place tell us that they are the only people he likes to deal with because they stand behind their product. Would love to here more…if you can get those fingers working.

      I would imagine it is quite a change to work for 20 years in heavy equipment that MUST stand the test versus this RV industry which is totally ridiculous when managing expectations.

      Hope to hear more!!

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  • ann&mike hebert

    Hi we are purchasing our first rv for full time rving. The dealer suggested we purchase extended warranty the rv is two years young with 13,100 miles ??

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  • We purchased our first motorhome, Winnebago Via, a year ago. It turned out it had a defective floor. They attempted to fix it by welding a bracket underneath. That didn’t work so we now have another appointment at the service center in June. We are upset with the attitude that “it’s too bad you’re having this problem” from the dealer and the service rep….who actually said…..do you really want us to tear everything out of a new motorhome. We love the style of this RV and feel at home in it. Is it unreasonable to expect Winnebago to replace our motorhome? We would appreciate any suggestions you may have. Thank you!

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  • Anita

    Having to filter thru the sales tactics can be discouraging… I have had the “where do you plan on servicing your coach?”, “if you purchase here you will be able to service here”, “if you purchase at the non-local dealer, do you plan on driving all the way back there to have your coach serviced?”. And today I was told the dealership takes a hit on warranty work. This is why the non-local dealer can sell for a lower price. So why would anyone be an Winnebago authorized dealer if they are losing money on warranty work? How frustrating…

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    • Anita, I don’t believe they are loosing money on warranty work. I think your sales guy is working you. If you are interested in a winnebago, I would call them and let them know about the experience you are having. They can help navigate the situation.

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  • Chris Stensgaard

    You both are awesome!Great information.Loved seeing you on HGTV.Your videos are great!My wife and I lived aboard a 39′ boat for 3 1/2 years when we were young.Getting close to retirement now, I’m a truck driver by trade and have previously driven the country. My wife isn’t very excited about full time ,but I think we could do it.I’m glad you are living the dream while you are young. We lived on the boat when we were 27 years old with a 5 year old son.Now a marine biologist!We traveled between south Puget Sound and southern Canada for 12 years.Same 39′ foot boat just didn’t live aboard any more. We are both 60 now and are getting zero satisfaction from the rat race in Seattle. FYI big trucks with CAT diesels are very unreiliable due to emissions and fuel economy requirements.All big diesel engine companies have plenty of lemons and issues that have caused smaller carriers to go broke, due to very lengthy down time with unreliable solutions.Thanks to you both! Chris Stensgaard Auburn, WA state.

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  • JC

    Hey guys,
    I’m interested in how you handled the situation with the “rolling terd”. We’re going through a similar situation with our new RV 🙁

    Did you guys have to go through a big expensive legal battle or were you just able to negotiate with them? We’re you able to get a full refund? Any advice on what worked for you would be appreciated!

    Thanks!

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  • Bob

    I was very impressed with the information provided. An Uber-Excellent job especially for this novice RV “maybe” purchaser.

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  • GoWestWardHo

    In one of your Shopper Series videos you criticized the “rail system slide-out” (it was the small Class A coach that provided that ‘slide-out lock’ pole). I believe you thought it was flimsy and wouldn’t hold up over time. But you didn’t mention what the best alternative slide-out mechanism might be?

    So what IYO is the best type slide-out mech to look for? What is the best slide-out mechanism Manufacturer or Model name (I know some of these slide-out mechanisms have branded their units). In the picture you show that ‘squiggly-grooved rail’, which I’ve been told (yes, by those RV sales guys) is the best, so your video really caught my eye! If that’s not the best, then what type is?, and how does it look? (in other words, how does one identify which one you’re saying is the best?) Thank you.

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  • Mike n Mad

    The video’s a good start on dealer/manufacturing issues. OTOH, it seems to me that an equally, if not more important question is for what purpose will you be using your rig? Full timing, occasional camping (wild or otherwise), transcontinental mobile motel room (with kitchen privileges), a combination of camping and transcontinental mobile motel room?

    Last week we bought a 2015 Thor Vegas 24.1 to replace our 12 year old 2003 Gulfstream 5230 BT Cruiser (identical unit shown here: youtube.com/watch?v=EMqeQN1sR9U ). We have no plans to be full timers. The BT Cruiser was bought used in 2007 and served us well during the time we owned it. It did, however, have shortcomings that we finally got tired of dealing with (most notably the lack of an actual bed).

    We live in California and own a lakeside “camp” in Maine. A Maine camp can be anything from a shack to a mansion that’s really only useable 3 seasons of the year. Ours is somewhere in between. We spend 4 or so months on the East Coast and the rest of the time in CA. We have two dogs and a cat that need transportation back and forth, so flying’s not really an option. A Honda Odyssey and Motel 6 was the initial transportation solution, but it got old after a while. We had a Maine neighbor who put us onto the BT Cruiser, and it served us well for nearly 8 years. It’s been more than a motorized Conestoga wagon. We’ve actually camped with it, especially with grandkids.

    Our criteria for a replacement coach were:

    1. Must have a real bed or beds (as in two singles).

    2. I have no desire whatsoever, to schlepp a toad. Any new unit would have to be able to get almost anywhere a car could go (i.e. be no larger than your typical UPS delivery van).

    3. Must be capable of at least the fuel economy of the BT Cruiser (Ford E450 chassis, 10 MPG), preferably more.

    4. Must be priced so that we could pay cash and, preferably, have some left over.

    5. Must not be a Class C with that appallingly ugly cab overhang. A B+ is OK, but nothing with that “bed” over the cab.

    6. The wheelbase to length ratio has to equal or exceed .55. IOW, the wheelbase has to be at least 55% of the total length of the coach. I read too many stories of handling problems and the spending of thousands on suspension upgrades for coaches (almost exclusively class A gassers) that had wheelbases too short for the length to want to bother with anything that needed suspension work to make a given model capable of other than white knuckle driving. Granted, there are other factors to good handling, but a reasonable wheelbase to length ratio is right up there as a major contributor.

    Those 6 items eliminate quite a few motorhomes right off the bat. No Diesel pushers (the smallest I know of is the Tiffin Allegro Breeze 28 BR). #6, by itself, eliminated virtually ALL class A gassers (save for the Thor Axis/Vegas twins which have a .61 wheelbase to length ratio). That kind of narrowed the necessary homework down to coaches mounted on the Mercedes Sprinter chassis or B+’s mounted on the Ford E350/E450 chassis. We also considered the new Winnebago/Itasca Trend/Viva twins. However, these turned out to have too cramped a cockpit for me to drive comfortably and regrettably (they’re supposed to get 14-16 MPG) we had to eliminate them.

    We eliminated the Sprinter chassis models mostly due to cost. They were anywhere from $20-30k more expensive. That buys a lot of gasoline, even at prices prior to the recent drop. A modern gasoline engine is good for at least 200K miles. What good does it do to buy a unit with a diesel that’ll go at least 500K miles if it will take you 40-50 years to reach 500K miles?

    The Vegas appears to be the best choice for us. We got a good price on it (as good as MHSRV, but the dealer is only 100 miles away). The drive back from Dublin to Monterey confirmed what I observed during the test drive, that the Vegas actually handles better than the BT Cruiser and is less subject to turbulence from larger vehicles (a Greyhound bus blew by us at about 75 MPH). The engine is the same as our BT Cruiser (Ford 6.8 liter V10) which climbed Monarch Pass (11,300 ft) on US 50 with no problem. We’ll see. We haven’t taken the new rig out for a camping trip yet, but we did take a couple of naps in the beds.

    Mike

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      • MikenMad

        You’re welcome, Jason. I’ll let you know how it’s working out when we actually put some miles on it.

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  • Ed Lang

    Thank you for your efforts. Have you ever used Kelly Blue Book for RVs? They charge $20 for one RV price.

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  • E.Bean

    What if you see the RV that you want and the company goes out of business a couple of years ago, but you see a few used ones and they have great low miles on them and are priced very reasonabl . We won’t be on the road intill my youngest son goes to college. That’s if i can convince my better half. I don’t think this rv will be available by that time. I have no money to put down at this moment to get it and store it, but I really want that one.What do you think I should do? Their are other nice rvs, but they are priced very high

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    • E.Bean

      He will be graduating in 4 years. The rv is a class b or class c.

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  • Beth Kirman

    We bought our first RV 4 years ago when our daughter started Penn State main campus. We have been alumni football season ticket owners for 20 + years…ok since we were in college. Always thought about it, but never wanted to take the “money” plunge since we were only 90 miles away. Anyway, we bought from camping world from their rental lot. We got a 2010 Thor Hurricane in August 2011. Basically, it was half price of a new one. We live in Hershey and attended the RV show there the season prior. We knew exactly what we wanted, as far as lay out. We were patient and waited. Doing the research, and attending RV show was the best way to know what would fit our use. We are currently looking to upgrade a few things that we now know we want/need as a result of owning for 4 years. And also that she will now be joining us in the RV lot instead of an apartment/dorm.WE CAN’T SAY ENOUGH ABOUT ATTENDING AN RV SHOW! Do it and see everything in one place.

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  • Rob Soley

    We are looking to attending an RV shoe this weekend and I was reminded of a cartoon that has all the features we would want. Do you think they might have something like this this:

    google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=mickey%27s%20trailer%20cartoon

    Let me know what you think. Seriously, my wife and I are enjoying your many videos as we contemplate becoming full-time RV’ers.

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  • Another great example of your informative and enjoyable videos.

    Please share the filming location! That looks like the perfect camping location. I know many seek out a social experience and don’t mind the tightly packed commercial campgrounds, but we prefer a quiet experience.

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      • Thanks Jason. We live in central FL and would like to have a nearby place like that to get away once in a while even if just for a few days.

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  • Ted Borstad

    We purchased a 1999 National Seaview two years ago via Craigslist. That was after one session on a dealer’s lot that didn’t seem right. We think we got a good deal, but who knows. So we’re learning about features we want in our next Class A. We’ll use your advice when the time comes to upgrade in the next couple years.

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  • Jeff B

    Hey guys! Ive just started my research for our first RV a couple months ago and found out pretty quickly that its a good thing that I’m not in a hurry. I mean by that that there is a lot of information out there but you have to be very careful to check on the sources. I’ve discovered your blog and videos last week and have been binge watching and reading all that you’ve done. Jason ur dont do like i did videos make me laugh so much because I reconise myself in there. Cant wait to see your model comparison videos. I have a question for you guys (the Wynn and the readers of this blog) First I should say that for the next 5 years or so the Rv will be used for weekend getaway and vacation. now my question is: From what i can see so far from our budget we could afford a descent 30 footer class A or a very nice class C. my gut tells me from being a truck driver that i would hate driving the class C should i listen to it. Ok ill write some more another time, i’ve got sooo many question. Keep up the good work, ur stuff is awesome.

    P.S sorry for the spelling mistakes, english is not my first language.

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  • Dillon

    If one is planning to buy a class B, you can avoid a lot of the shady crap by having Advanced RV build you a custom class B. Amazing quality and factory direct. Although they’re expensive, its a win.

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  • We bought our Leisure Travel Vans 2014 Unity 24TB used (3 months old) at Creston RV in Kalispell MT.

    It belonged to someone who discovered they didn’t like RVing and never used it. We paid $105K, which included propane generator, solar panel, cherry wood interior (real wood), and steel wheels. The price also included a Gearspace 34 cargo carrier we don’t use.

    With LTV, only 400 are made for sale every year, and just 250 of those for the U.S. market. The interior quality is very high, and there are maybe three other models with competing features and floorplans. We looked at smaller options from Roadtrek and Pleasureway, plus similar models from Winnebago and others.

    We found nothing we liked as well as the Unity – relatively compact, dry bath, twin beds (so we don’t disturb each other at night), two ‘rooms’, no slides (better reliability), MB Sprinter chassis (14-18 mpg), plenty of room for the two of us plus our Berner and Sheltie. The Unity’s fit and finish were much better than anything else in its class.

    It’s not like buying a car – RV purchases are very brand- and dealer-dependent, with no easy rules of thumb for a discount. A dealer like Creston is probably worth traveling to – you escape the used-car salesman mentality of big cities. If you want a LTV Unity, there are very few U.S. dealers anyway, so you’ll have to go where they are.

    You are right, it takes an order and a 6-8 month wait for delivery to get a new one. Check ads in RV trader for a used one, then call and be prepared to travel to look at it and get it.

    But it’s very worthwhile. We’ve cold-weather camped in ours in the Denver area and Taos NM a few times now. We stay at places with good shower facilities. With bottled water and a good ceramic heater, you’re independent of cold weather and most of the problems with freezing water. Just pour RV antifreeze in your toilet, keep a window open to minimize condensation, and you’re good to go.

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  • mike

    Jason
    have you checked into the Thor ACE 30.1 it’s only your opinion but I would love to hear your comments about going full time in it.

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    • We actually touch on the ACE 27 in our first “walk-through” video that should launch this week.

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  • Not all RV dealers are bad. Two years ago I bought a used motorhome from a dealer. I bought it “As is” and after I wrote him a check and the deal was done, he fixed several things.

    I camped at his location for several days. Everytime I found something that needed fixing, he fixed it — for a total of about $2,500 worth of repairs.

    Even a week after I had owned it, one of the six volt batteries wasn’t holding a charge. I call him and he said to bring it over and he installed two new six volt batteries and he said it was probably about time for a new 12 volt coach battery, so he installed a new coach battery, at no charge, or course.

    It’s not like a paid top dollar for the RV. Even thought I bought it from a dealer, two times in the last two years, I’ve been offered more than I paid for it.

    Bottom line, there are some good dealers left.

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  • Fantastic article, guys. Really. To second Mike’s comment, it’s great to read the kind of things that Motorhome Magazine would never have the cajones to write, lest they tick off their advertisers.

    You touched on a couple of really important issues that you don’t hear much about: the process of taking delivery of a new rig from the dealer, and battery condition (who expects a brand new vehicle to have battery problems, right?).

    Our first RV was a leftover from the previous model year, and the batteries were probably drained dead several times during its time sitting on the lot. Like you, we can’t count the number of times we’ve been at a dealer and found batteries on brand new rigs totally dead. Happens all the time, and it’s so bad for them. Our current RV was custom-ordered, so we took delivery of it almost immediately after it arrived at the dealer, so the batteries hadn’t been abused.

    Speaking of “the dealer” brings us to the second great point you made… taking delivery. We had the unfortunate experience of purchasing from probably the worst dealer on the planet (long story as to how that happened…. mostly related to geography and our naive assumption that any place that sells high-end RVs must be a high-end dealer).To Newmar’s credit, that dealer was terminated as a Newmar dealer about a year after we purchased there.

    When we arrived to pick up our beautiful new (and far from cheap) motorhome, it was transparent that they only wanted our money. While we had the foresight to inspect things pretty well before we gave it to them, the RV had not yet had the PDI done, and had not been cleaned. There were things that needed to be fixed (same as every other new RV, there are bugs to be ironed out at first) and had we not insisted that we weren’t paying until everything worked, they wouldn’t have done a thing. As it was, we ended up cleaning the interior ourselves (we were homeless full-timers, with our other RV already sold, and we were willing to do just about anything to be able to just move in).

    If we had to to do over again, your suggestion about spending the night on board before finalizing the deal is brilliant! If that’s not possible, the “come in the morning” idea is still good. There are so many systems to check out and confirm that everything is working properly, it just can’t be done in an hour or two, especially on a large motorhome with lots of options. We’d add that you should consider planning to stay at least a few days to a week or more in the immediate area after taking delivery, so that you’re able to go back if needed. We made the mistake of driving 400 miles away the very next day!

    Thanks for sharing this great primer for the uninitiated. And thanks for including us in your new RV Resources listing, too. We’re honored to be there, and hope we’re providing useful information to our fellow RVers as well.

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  • Linda Bailey

    What a great article. Very detailed. I purchased my 2014 Winnebago view last year and found out when I took it in for “warranty work” that there were 15 additional items that they knew about when I took delivery that were never repaired. It took them 54 days to get it done, after numerous calls. Yes, nightmare! I also found out that this company had the poorest Service rating in the State….I hate learning things the hard way. Your piece will help a lot of people from doing it the hard way.

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  • I’m not sure its as all bad as you proport. I’m not affiliated with any RV manufacturer, dealer, or group. And, I don’t take issue with any of the warnings you write about. But for every horror story, there probably’ is at least as many good experiences out there that no one is writing about. And, I know that there are buyers who can be very difficult to satisfy who may have expectations that can’t be met. I’ve bought 3 RV’s. An yes, I’ve had things go wrong with the RV’s. But, I’ve had no issues with the buying process or with the dealers or with the manufacturers. Buying an RV is no different than buying a house or car. You need to be an informed buyer and have realistic expectations.

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  • Jim S.

    Great post…From the “The buyer knows more than the salesman” to the “We won’t service you scare tactic”. Been there, heard it, done it. Even though, we have only purchased travel trailers, the same games are played. I / we prefer to use the web for research (price points, floor-plans, capacities, style) before even visiting a RV dealer. And then, would rather check out the units on our own with no salesperson tagging along.

    After were 99% sure what we want, including options, I’ll ask for their “out the door price”. Usually they will high-ball ya first time around even with no financing needed. I”ll then call around to other dealers selling that brand with-in 200 miles and say. I want this RV, these options…what will it take for me to buy from you?

    My last RV, the out of town price was so good, I caught myself speechless once given the “out the door price”. Actually took him about a minute to throw a price at me. I like to negotiate, but he caught me off guard. It was 50% less out of pocket (including a trade-in) than the in town dealer.

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  • Great article! A shady sales manager was definitely what we experienced with our ACE 30.1 purchase in 2013. Also Canadians overpay for RV’s have a different sticker for CSA versus RVIA standards and are identical otherwise. We imported our unit into Canada from Buffalo, New York. The Canadian dealers tell crazy stories to scare people from buying across the border and protect their higher margins.

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  • Loved the post, but I think you are being unfair about the 26HE. Winnebago made some great trade-offs in the 26HE that have allowed a lot more buyers to enjoy owning a new Winnebago. I agree it is not for full timers, but we really love our 26HE!

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    • We are not saying its not a great coach for someone, it’s a great example to see where a manufacture can cut corners to meet a certain price point. As a new buyer its sometimes very hard to understand where the money goes.

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  • elizabeth

    Yet another winner with this post. Thank you! Also thanks to JBoulware for the tax tips. I had no idea two states could possibly charge tax on one vehicle and had not considered residency in Montana. Montana has now been added to my spreadsheet comparison of potential states for residency. The research process, especially when the object is to sell everything and full time, is … extensive.

    Jason and Nikki, it would be very helpful if you would let your readers know when you have updated a post like you do when there is a new post. Dates with years would also be helpful.

    Thanks again for all you do.

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  • Tim a;nd Nani

    Thank you for sharing the shady truth about buying a RV.
    We presently live in Hawaii and are retiring to the mainland to live full time in a Fifthwheel. We have been following your youtube videos for awhile and really enjoy them. Keep up the great work.

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  • Excellent post! We bought our RV at a big show, on the last day. In addition it was end of year and they were trying to get rid of inventory from the previous year, so we definitely saw those $$ benefits exactly the way you describe them. We also spent several overnights camping at the RV shop to familiarize ourselves with the rig. It was super helpful, plus it uncovered several problems that the shop had to fix.

    Nina

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  • The gmc motor home made between 1973 and 1978 are about 10,000 to 25,000 dollars, 26 foot and have everything, onan, 455 cubic inch motor, front wheel drive, air bag ride, and most have been well taken care of and rebuilt end to end by the old owners, this is a very low cost and great design from designers that worked at NASSA. Check them out and there is a great deal of information on them on how to fix everything possible on them with the many clubs of owners of the GMC motor homes, Go to Classic GMC Motor Homes parts on face book and check them out. Just an idea for those that want to spend less and get more, i would rather have my gmc than a new one. Best regards and thank you for all your efforts.

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      • Jerry Hoxsey

        I bought a 1973 GMC in 1988; still have it today. Like many, I have completely refurbished it stem to stern. That said, I would not recommend it for full time. It is great for vacations and weekend trips.

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  • JBoulware

    Don’t forget sales tax in the price comparison equation. Every state has different rules. In some cases you have to pay the state where the rv was purchased and the home state may also charge you for the same tax because it has no reciprocity. Some states won’t Issue a temporary driveout permit which makes it illegal to drive the rv home through other states without plates.
    Montana has no sales tax on rvs so if you are making a high value purchase then Montana residency for full timers could make sense in that year.

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  • Bruce

    When you said about your first rv being bad are you referring to the vesta or that tan front engine one?
    Thanks,
    Bruce P.

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      • Bruce

        Oh, the Avanti

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  • Vikki Rogers

    I was afraid to read this article–we just purchased our first motor home last month after struggling to do research on line. After reading your post and watching your video it seems we were lucky to have stumbled on an honest salesman. Fortunately we didn’t have the experiences you warned of. He even gave us a truthful answer about what mileage to expect. We’re leaving for a five-day “shakedown” cruise tomorrow. Hopefully, we’ll still have the same opinion when we return. Thanks for all your written and video posts. They helped us to make an informed decision!

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  • Alan

    We agree with your comments. We did our homework when we bought a new factory built to our specs and paid 35% off MSRP. We traveled in the unit for a year full time and sold it for $500 less then we paid for it. We had no trouble with the sales department due to our knowledge and stuborn approach to the price. Our PDI took over 4 hours, with some minor repair completed before we signed the final papers and gave them our check.

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  • Ami

    Wow! I really wish I had seen this before we bought our first (used) RV in 2013. Great advice.

    Something else I’d like to caution people about: beware the “slam” when you’re signing papers. We kept asking for a copy of the sales papers to be faxed to us prior to going in to sign (we had to wait 3-4 weeks to pick it up, as we bought during an ‘open house’ and they had a backlog on service items) – and for some reason it never happened. Well, lo and behold – when it came time to close on the deal, “tire protection,” “extra roadside assistance” and a bunch of other things that cost THOUSANDS were included in our price – things we NEVER talked about or agreed to! We almost walked, and in hindsight, probably should have…but I don’t regret getting this RV now, at this time in our lives, when there are so many weekend family vacations to be had until we can retire and full time it!

    Thank you guys for all your sound advice and sharing what you’ve learned!

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  • Rick

    Great article about a touchy subject.

    I think the MOST important advice is to allow a lot of time for research and multiple dealer visits. I have spent over 2 years researching various models, visiting many different dealers and attending a number of shows, and only now am I becoming much more focused on exactly which models I am interested in and possibly where to buy. For example – I was originally very interested in a Class C sprinter model, but as I did more research (on-line, on-line, on-line!) and reading (blogs and Motorhome magazine are great resources) I am now more focused on a smaller Class A, because I realized that when we are able to get into an RV we will be taking extended trips and need the space and size for a number of reasons. But since we will be traveling a lot we do not want something too huge, so height and length limitations are important too.

    Luckily I live in southern CA so there are a number of dealers around as well as several shows a year, with the best being the Pomona show. I have visited Giant RV a number of times and have been fairly impressed with their salespeople, selection, etc.. There are good salespeople out there, but you’ll have to do some dealer visits to find the one for you. But I have also found that the more time I spend on-line the more resources become available, such as RV shopping sites which list new and used RV’s for sale all over the country. One such site is RVDirect, which offers great pricing on just a few brands available from just a few locations. But if they have the model you want they might just be the place to buy from.

    Which also brings up the point on dealer location. If you can arrange your best deal on your model at a dealer across the country – don’t be afraid to travel there for the purchase. Often that dealer may offer to fly you out as well. But you still have to get the RV back home (sounds like your first trek to me) and you will still be faced with all the local fees and taxes.

    Which is another point – watch out for last-second fees and charges suddenly added onto the price you thought you were paying. Many dealers (cars, RC, etc) love this tactic but don’t let them do it! Some are local fees/taxes which cannot be avoided, but most must be met with a firm NO from you. Such as outrageous dealer prep fees or charges for accessories and services you do not want (such as pre-paid service plans or extended warranties – which are usually some of the worst rip-offs around).

    But back to my first point – do your homework! Know what you want, do your research on RV lifestyles, research all models in your size range, and learn how RV’s work so you better understand some important features. One great example – Nikki’s article on the use of convection ovens vs. traditional ovens. Good luck!

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  • I am in the throes of doing research on what RV to buy (my first, btw) so I can join you and others on the road full time.

    Since it’s just me and my dog, I’ve concluded that a Class B will be a good fit for me. I’ve narrowed my choices down to the Leisure Travel Free Spirit SS (which I’ve heard is out of production for a while) and the Winnebago Era 70C.

    While I am keeping an open mind about other choices I’m now focusing more on my strategy for buying. Until your post, I ve not come across anything all that helpful. Thank you SOOOOO much for taking the time to provide such detailed information!!!

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  • Mike

    Excellent article, guys. SO glad you all have the stones to say things that you’ll never read in “Motorhome Magazine”. Very well done, accurate, and informative. A “must read” for anyone making their first new RV purchase.

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  • Thom

    Great Video ! Thanks. Recently a major RV Dealer in Southern CA went into Bankruptcy and about 100 RVs sat on the chained and locked lot for months. I went onto the Bankruptcy Court website and found a list of all assets including all of the RVs. This list showed the actual cost of each RV by VIN #, manufacturer, model, etc. It provided a good insight to actual Dealer cost versus MSRP.
    Safe travels,

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    • Ami

      Thom, can you share that website? I’d love to see that!

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      • I have a copy of the doc I believe… Email is in my info.

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  • Kathy Parker

    Great article! Especially once I tracked it down! I ended up on your website, FB was having issues I guess. I always love your advice. And I love that sometimes you don’t know and you don’t guess. Wish we were in the keys this winter too. Lol maybe next year.

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  • Roger

    Great article. As a first time buyer, hopefully by this fall, these tips are invaluable. I’ve read bits and pieces on the various boards, and personally experienced the deplorable “we won’t service you” scare tactics at my two closest Winnebago dealers. One even said you’ll go straight to the end of our service line every time and we’ll charge you $25 more per hour for service than people who buy here.”
    Just one correction. Leisure Travel has indeed created a monster in terms of sales for their superb Unity line. That was our #1 choice till we recently read they are actually running a 10 month backlog and expect it to be 1 year following the Spring RV season. As a result, we’re going to see if we can be happy in a true B. Focusing on Roadtreks now.

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  • I have been waiting for this to post for a month! This is such GOOD info for us “RV Virgins”. I agree that doing your homework is essential for a smarter purchase and I find your videos to be an excellent source to educate myself. I live in Dallas and I am curious about the RV dealership you mentioned…..can you post the info? Thanks bunches 🙂

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  • Jessica

    Have you guys heard about a forever RV warranty? I’ve seen a few dealers that offer a forever warranty.
    Like this place in Texas..

    vogtrv.com/learn-more-about–warranty-forever

    It seems too good to be true.

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  • Capt Jay

    Great article….thanks for writing it.
    When I purchased my new class A the salesman called me every day….the day I signed the papers I never heard from him again and he never returned phone calls. Do your due diligence….thanks again!

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  • Gary

    Hey great article. I like the information on your experience. It’s difficult to get that out of people’s comments sometimes. It’s unfortunate but I generally feel salesmen are simply trying to see how much of your money they can get from you. I never really get the impression they are trying to help you. I wonder somtimes how they can live with them selfs.

    Anyway. Thanks for the info.

    I’m wondering as the commenter above says “do your homework” what the actually entails . I see a lot of people say that but what is it they mean ? What was their homework ?

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  • Thank you – another great video with good and fair information about a MAJOR purchase.

    I’m not sure I agree about buying at an RV Show (and good for you pointing out a “real” multi dealer show vs. faux-show – or single dealer slinger kinda sorta show) – always always do your home work before the show (of any on-line purchase) and you’ll know a good deal when it comes along.

    Too many people see $35,000.00 off an think it’s a deal….when in fact it may be more of a …. “faux deal” yet because of the show atmosphere – there is more pressure to buy now.

    Any time you go on an RV sales lot, realize there are more RVs than buyers. Everyday RV Trader and RVT list 10-20 new listings for sale. I’m sure only one or two sell each day, if that.

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  • Thank you so much for this great article and video. Many new consumers are entering the market that would never buy a RV. (Example: Shasta retro reissue) Many Glampers in our group pre-ordered the Shasta Reissue and we feel that consumers must be informed. We develop a intensive 18 page PDI embellished with group crowd sourced intel. We don’t like the Shady either.

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  • Jeff Plamann

    I’m so happy you took the time to write “The Shady Truth about Buying an RV”. We had a great experience purchasing an RV (on order for June/July delivery). Interestingly, I’m looking for a tow vehicle and never seem to get the same answer twice from any salesman to my questions! Trying to find out if a car is towable four down is as difficult as the RV purchasing process.

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  • Julie Brumm

    Thank you so much for doing this “shopping series”! We value your shared experience and research…it gives us a good idea what we are getting ourselves into! Haha! You both have truly inspired my husband and I to start our own adventure…and soon will be “living the dream” while travel nursing!! Keep up the great job inspiring others and providing all the info to help us make it happen!

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