Somewhere in northeastern Romania. Photo taken November 30, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Not sure. We're staying in Chisinau for a week or so.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Should you buy a new...or used RV?

With the recent RV news headlines stating that sales of new RVs are hitting record highs around North America, it's hard to figure out why.

All of my research and figures say that it simply doesn't make good financial sense to buy a brand new RV. But, maybe it's because a lot of people simply don't have good financial sense! It's possible they just don't know any better. Or, maybe they've got too much money in the first place and they simply don't care.

There is such a big markup on RVs between the manufacturer and the dealer. Much more so than with the automotive market. And most of that will disappear in the form of depreciation over the first two years after that RV has been sold.

Reader Dugg makes some great points commenting on yesterday's post...

A lot of RVers only buy new, misbelieving that all used vehicles are problematic in some way, and will cost a fortune to repair and maintain. They think a new warranty will insulate them from big expenses, when the reality is, RV warranties are notoriously short, exclude uses like "fulltiming" and even "dirt roads", and often require exorbitant "scheduled maintenance" by so-called "professionals"---just to maintain the warranty!

If you are the least bit handy, you can save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the vehicle by buying a good used rig and doing all the necessary maintenance and minor repairs yourself. I realize not everyone has the desire, wherewithal and confidence to do this, but it's remarkably easy. 

If you buy a brand new RV at say $65,000, in three years it will be worth approximately $40,000.

Being a new unit, you may have saved money on repairs during the first couple of years of ownership. Maybe. However it is pretty much guaranteed that you have lost $25,000 on depreciation, plus it's possible that you've paid out money on interest if you financed the purchase.

But if you buy a three year old RV that's in "as new" condition for $40,000, you've got $25,000 that you could spend on repairs before you'd even come close to spending as much as if you bought new. I mean, there's s much benefit to buying used that it's really not even a comparison.

Besides the financial benefit, it's very likely that all the bugs have been worked out of the unit by the previous owner. Most buyers of new units will have made sure that their RV has been back to the dealership for any last minute warranty repairs just before the warranty period is up.

Personally, I think if I were to buy a different unit, I would buy one between 7-10 years old. Ideally from the original owner who has all the maintenance records. I would inspect it thoroughly, and if there was anything I was unsure of, I would pay to have it inspected professionaly.

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Some of the stuff on Amazon cracks me up...

Gold Skull Head Collectible Skeleton

"Brand new never used condition"... "Great skull head piece, makes a perfect gift"...LOL...too funny.


21 comments:

  1. Credit requires less cash. Hence buying new.

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    1. You can get a loan on a used one!

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  2. There are also great deals to be had in the ex rental market. The RVs usually have more miles on them, but are still only a few years old, how do you feel about these?

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    1. We bought a second hand 1994 Cruise Canada Tioga motorhome in 2000 and were very happy with it. We eventually traded it in because we wanted a slide which it did not have but I much prefered the Chevy 454 engine it had over the Ford V-10 we have now.

      I completely agree with Kevin in buying used. Let someone else take the initial hit when it comes to decrease in value. Our current motorhome is an '05 we bought in Texas in '08. It was a repo from a gone broke RV dealer and had only 4000 miles on it. New it was worth about $85K and we got it for $52K. The only thing used in it was the generator which had 60 hours on it. We never could figure that out.

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    2. I wouldn't hesitate to buy an ex rental, provided the price is right.

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    3. Sounds like you got a great deal on you motorhome Croft! Maybe whoever owned it first was parked on some private land of theirs and just dry camped.

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    4. Some campers find an inexpensive place to park and just live in it. It is their home. Some people on social security are purchasing RV's to live in to because their SS does not afford them money to pay rent.

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    5. Yes Cecilia, many people do that. It normally it would work out cheaper in the long run than paying rent on an apartment.

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  3. Our Phaeton MH and now our Cameo were both one owners. We were very happy with our MH and just as happy with the 5er. No brand new ever in our future.

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    1. I think that is the way to go. Glad you have been happy with both units.

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  4. My Santara is 1996, wouldn't trade it for the world. Got a great deal (the dealer only really dealt in Class A's so they were happy to be rid of it). Haven't put much into it except a new roof... there is some delamination I need to fix but probably end up doing that on my own. Once the roof done, should last me a long time... No regrets...

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    1. Glad you have been happy with yours as well and we know that you have been able to do some of the work on it yourself. You should do the roof yourself too, Kevin didn't find it very difficult more time consuming than anything really.

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    2. Karen, when did you purchase your 1996 Santara - how old was it when you purchased it?

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  5. I agree with your position on used RV's. We bought a Canadian built Titanium that was 7 years old when we went full time and love it. I have to be a bit handy, but I have got to know my home that much better. My repairs are usually better than the original build.
    Shawn
    ktmissouri.blogspot.com

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    1. Glendale Titanium was (is) a really well built 5th wheel.

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  6. Our first motorhome was a class B 1988 we bought in 1994, served us well for 7 years, got what we paid for it on a trade for a 2000 class C that was a rental. Then the class C was traded 3 years latter on our 1999 class A and again we got what we paid for it on a trade. No big cash layouts and very little in repairs. Would never buy new, too many headaches.

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    1. Well done on getting back basically what you originally paid on both units. If they are well taken care of, then it shouldn't be too difficult to sell it for about the same price you paid for it. That's something you could never do with a new one!

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  7. I can buy a lot of diesel on the hundred grand I saved buying a used MH. We were fortunate in that it has been very dependable. Wouldn't think of a new one.

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    1. Yep, that is another way to look at the savings! :-) Glad yours has been so dependable too.

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  8. The only part I disagree with is the bugs worked out. I can't believe some of the problems I have dealt with in used RV's. Several there since day one. Strangest one was a basement air system that had the time delay wired wrong. Once the AC shut off it had to be turned off and on to work till it shut off again. It was 1984 that I bought in about 2010.

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    1. There will always be some that will cause problems just like new ones but at least you didn't pay full price for it and start off with these problems. Hope you finally managed to figure out what the problem was and then be able to get it fixed properly.

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