There’s a lot to consider when looking for the right RV. A huge part of that consideration is price. Beyond looking at every make and model available, you should be sure you’re getting a fair price before you sign on the dotted line. Here’s a list of tips to use to hit that sweet spot when negotiating the price on your recreational vehicle.
Shopping for an RV might seem similar enough to shopping for a car, but the difference is in the details. Much like a car purchase, you're likely either going to a dealership or buying directly from a private seller, but knowing what to expect before you walk in the door can make a big difference between satisfaction and frustration.
With that being said, consider the following RV buying tips as your own personal cheat sheet to finding your best deal.
- Get preapproved. It's a great first step to take when you're first starting to look. Getting preapproved for an RV loan not only lets buyers know you're serious, but more importantly, it also provides visibility into what you can comfortably afford. If you've found the perfect RV through a dealership, you can even ask for BECU RV financing on site. You'll get our excellent rates with the added convenience of one-stop shopping. Make sure you're a current BECU member before applying for financing at the dealership.*
- Consider buying from an RV show. Oftentimes, vendors at RV shows will sell their display RVs at a discounted price. If you find a display model you really like, ask the vendor rep if they'd be willing to part with it instead of transporting it back to the dealership or manufacturer. If they agree, suggest a lower price than what you'd pay for it right off the lot.
- Be cautious if buying from a private seller. If you found a promising deal posted by a private seller on somewhere like Craigslist, be sure to thoroughly research what you're about to go see before you get there. Ask the seller for the RV Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to get started. When conducting your research, keep an eye on the history of the vehicle, and don't be afraid to ask the seller any questions you feel might be relevant to your buying decision.
- Do your homework. If you're looking for a used RV, use the NADA guide to serve as a baseline when negotiating price. Here, you can search for an RV and get its average wholesale value. This information is valuable in more ways than one. When negotiating, bargain up from the wholesale price you see listed, and not down from the seller's asking price. Also, carefully inspect the condition of the vehicle before you start negotiating. (To elaborate on a previous point, make sure you get the RV VIN prior to starting this process.) Remember: Every RV's price is negotiable!
- Don't let emotions get in the way. It's easy to get wrapped in the emotions of the deal-making process, but that still doesn't mean you're under any obligations at any point. Don't let your desire to get on the road take priority over taking a deal that you know isn't the right one for you. If you've done your homework, approached the situation with care and negotiated what you feel is a fair price, you've done your part. Remember: If you want to see what other dealerships are offering, it's never a bad idea to let them vie for your business.
Questions? Our RV loan experts can guide you through getting your best deal at a competitive rate. Give us a call at 1-800-233-2328 to learn more.
*Financing is subject to BECU membership, credit approval, and other underwriting criteria; not every applicant will qualify.