When Is The Best Time To Buy an RV? (Hint: It May Be Soon)
Many adventure seekers that are contemplating the purchase of a motor home or travel trailer are caught in a quandary.
Should they grab the first one that catches their eye before it’s gone from the dealer’s lot? Or is there a better time, place or way to get the perfect floor plan at the perfect price?
Let’s look at the best time to buy an RV and how to get the best price:
When is the Best Time to Buy an RV?
So… when IS the best time to buy an RV? Along with the best time of year to buy an RV, there are certain places where you will get better deals. Let’s break them down here:
Best Time To Buy An RV: At the End of RVing Season
Generally speaking, the RVing “season” starts in late Spring and ends before Thanksgiving, when long term travelers return home to spend the holidays with family and friends.
So if you’re looking for more options on RVs for sale, shopping for one from November through March is probably your best bet for three different reasons:
- Those RVers who have spent the summer traveling in their older model vehicles may decide they want to trade up before the next season. You will find many more used trailers and coaches listed for sale during this time, giving you a large pool from which to select.
- New RVs are sitting on dealer lots during the off season, just gathering dust. So many dealerships will find ways to sell these units, either by lowering the prices or offering bonuses with every purchase.
- Manufacturers have next year’s models ready to hit the showroom floor at this time. But, older models need to be sold first. So, dealers might drop the prices on the older new vehicles to make room for the next incarnation of your favorite camper.
Look for RV or Trade Shows
Most industry RV shows occur during the off season, with the biggest usually held in January, February or October. So many shoppers look forward to these events for a variety of reasons. One reason is that manufacturers and/or dealerships may offer discounts on show models.
Their rationale for doing so is two-fold:
- If they sell the vehicle at the show, they won’t have the time (or the cost) involved with returning it to the dealer’s show room after the event has ended.
- The model is slightly worn from thousands of shoppers crawling through it. So, the vehicle might be harder to sell once it’s back on the dealer’s lot. In fact, they may have to discount it anyway.
Buy During Winter – Travel North for Winter Deals
Winter is definitely a best time to buy an RV – especially in the colder northern climates.. This is usually because many residents have discovered the benefits of becoming a “snowbird”. They travel by RV to warmer destinations, usually in the desert Southwest, southern Texas or Florida.
- Some northern RV dealerships will offer discounts on their winter inventory. RVs can be hard to sell in the off season, especially in colder northern climates.
- Many snowbirds who wish to change models or trade up may put their existing motor home or trailer up for sale during this time to attract snowbird wannabes.
Before the Release of New Models
A final consideration for discovering the best time to buy an RV would be right before a manufacturer is introducing next year’s models.
If you do your homework, narrow down your choices on RVs to one model, then pay attention to new release dates, you can use that information to negotiate on an unused RV that happens to still be on the dealer’s lot as the newer version is getting ready to arrive.
Tips for Getting the Best RV Prices
Now that you know the best time to buy an RV, here are some tips to help you get the best deals!
Weekends are usually the busiest time to visit an RV dealership. So, weekends are generally not the best time to buy an RV. When the lots are full of buyers, dealers see no need to lower prices or take the time to haggle with you. Be strategic and visit when traffic is slow.
For reasons stated above, Spring is the jumping off point for the RV high season. Dealers have a lot of interest in their product, as people get excited about the upcoming camping season.
With that interest, there is less need to negotiate on prices, because so many are anxious to hit the road and will take the first RV they find. But you’re doing your homework and you know that there are better deals out there!
Although, in some cases, you may find a good deal in the spring if a dealer has older models to get rid of. Cindy Scott from Cinders Travels bought a new RV, and this is what she learned from a dealership:
”The RV industry does not operate the same as the car industry. However, there is at least one similarity; when new models are being rolled out, the dealers need to make room for the new. The easiest way for them to do that is by getting rid of the old! So that aspect is the same as cars, but the timing of that situation is not.” Said Cindy.
“New RV features are generally showcased in the fall. After that event, they typically go back and start producing those RVs. Then those new RVs begin to show up at the dealers in the spring. This way, they have their latest models ready for sale right before the summer season, which is, of course, when most people want to go RVing. Therefore, showing up and desiring a model that is a year or two old right around the springtime could work in your favor.”
Be sure to visit several dealerships! Look at a variety of manufacturers’ products so that you can narrow down your perfect choice by model, floor plan, workmanship and price. Note the fluctuations in price from dealer to dealer, look at their service departments, financing options, and customer relations/reviews.
That way, you will have the inside track when it comes to knowing a model’s true value, and which dealerships will offer good service after the sale. You will be able to make a wise and measured decision when it comes time to purchase.
Dealerships vs Private Sellers
Don’t forget to look at RVs that are for sale by owner.
After all, private sellers don’t have a lot of overhead or mark up when it comes to selling their own vehicles. Chances are you’ll find much more reasonable prices than at a dealership!
Be sure you have financing set up (if need be) before you look at private sales, however. Many lenders have stipulations about the age of the unit, and the terms of your loan may require a larger down payment or higher percentage rate.
There are many factors to consider when shopping for a new or used RV. Some of them have to do with timing, and most depend upon how much information you have before you pull the trigger. Whatever the reason, don’t be intimidated to begin the hunt for your perfect ‘escape vehicle’ today!
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