Buying a travel trailer can be one of the biggest purchasing decisions you’ll ever make. Getting a good deal with all the features you need should be a priority.
How can you score a good deal on an RV? Is there a best time of year to buy a travel trailer? There is actually. Let me tell you all about it.
The best time to buy a travel trailer is from October to January. This is the fall and winter season when dealers aren’t interested in storing their RVs during the cold months.
If you’re serious about getting a good deal, read on to learn more.
Dealers don’t want to store their old RV models for winter because they’d rather sell the vehicle instead of spending on its storage and upkeep. Winter is also not RV season and this is the time when sales are low. Due to the cold, there are also fewer people looking to go on trips.
RV season happens around spring and summer when most buyers are looking for an RV. During winter and fall, you can get bigger discounts from dealers who are trying to avoid the additional expense of storing their trailers. If you’re looking to capitalize on this seasonal drop in prices, head for the northern states.
RVs are logically less useful in these areas where winter is coldest. People tend to spend more time at home and settle in for the season.
You will therefore find many dealers willing to drop prices to improve sales. This is a great opportunity for buyers on a budget. Like many items available for sale, the off-season is a good time to buy a quality RV at a price that’s lower than usual.
Keep in mind, however, that winter is not the only time when you can get a good deal on travel trailers.
The good news is you don’t have to rely on seasonal discounts alone for a good price on an RV. There are other ways to get a good deal.
Trade shows are when buyers can benefit the most. These shows often happen during colder, off-season months between October and February. If you are looking to buy an RV, look into attending an RV event or two.
Trade shows are great for a lot of reasons. The dealers are more open to price negotiations since they are required to make a sale to reduce transport costs. The display vehicle also goes through some wear and tear during the show and transport which means it won’t sell at full price.
Other than that, trade shows are a good opportunity for first-time buyers to gain more knowledge before buying an RV. Even if you don’t end up purchasing one right away, you can learn about trailer types and installations by chatting with the different dealers to know what to look out for when making a deal.
Manufacturers release new RV models during fall and winter. All dealers are naturally preparing to bring in new models by getting rid of the old ones. They try to expedite this by offering discounts and cheaper deals before fall which is September.
If you play your cards right when negotiating, dealers will be more than happy to sell one to you. Private owners looking for a new RV and selling their old ones are also in the market during this season.
With dealers and private owners eager to sell their vehicles, it’s a great time to buy a travel trailer. Some of the best deals can be had during this yearly turnover from old to new models.
Turn a burden into a benefit by taking advantage of lower RV prices when gas prices go up. Why are the prices of trailer homes affected by spiking gas prices? Trailers are seen as gas guzzlers (and rightly so).
When gas prices rise, it discourages would-be buyers from purchasing RVs. However, if you’re a serious buyer who has given the idea of buying an RV a lot of thought, fluctuating gas prices won’t dissuade you from making the most of an opportunity such as this.
Where is the manufacturer of the trailer you’re looking to buy located? Buy a trailer close to where the manufacturer is based to help save on transportation costs. If you have yet to settle on a trailer, it pays to look around to see if there is a manufacturer nearby that you can purchase from. If you reside near or in one of the southern states, then you’re in luck. A lot of trailer manufacturers are based in that region.
Don’t forget to consider the cost of visiting your manufacturer’s site especially if it is some distance away. It could eat up whatever savings you were planning on.
Private sellers are another possible source of a good deal. There are sellers in need of cash or are looking for a new RV trailer especially towards the end of the year. These sellers are in the market for a very short while. They will typically try to sell their RV quickly before winter sets in to avoid storage costs.
There are also sellers who bought an RV but are unhappy with their purchase. You can often take it off their hands for less than the original price. These resellers will try to sell their trailers between October and March before the new models for the year come out so they can use the resale money to buy a new travel trailer.
Private sellers are looking for a good price and they are willing to negotiate. They recognize that their trailers are used and they do not have the same selling opportunities as dealers. For you, this means more chances of getting a used RV trailer in good condition at cheaper rates.
For good measure, have an RV mechanic inspect the camper before buying so that you can take into account any necessary repairs. If there are considerable repairs, you also can use this information to negotiate for lower prices.
If you decide to buy from a dealership, visit and check with as many dealers as you can. Use these visits to study local prices of the same RV trailer, compare deals, and negotiate for free add-ons. Some free or discounted items to negotiate for are free customizations and extended warranty periods.
Warranties are important because they give you better access to future repair and maintenance services. The cost will also be minimal compared to shouldering these expenses on your own.
If you’re a first-time RV buyer, asking around and looking at RVs, trailers, and campers and their prices will help you make a better and well-informed purchase. This will also keep you up to date on trends in the RV industry and help you learn where the best deals are.
Many dealers post ads if they are clearing out old products. Even if you decide not to buy one right away, it is always beneficial to get as much information as you can. You could use the time to learn about future releases and new models you should wait for.
You could also prepare by setting aside the budget you need for your RV or by applying for bank financing if that’s the way you want to go.
Lastly, arming yourself with information will help when it comes time to negotiate with a dealer or private seller.
Now that we’ve uncovered the best ways to get a good deal, I share with you what you shouldn’t do and what you can do instead.
If you’re looking for a good deal on travel trailers, here are some suggestions on what not to do.
If fall and winter are just too far away and you must buy an RV now, give yourself a break by buying on a weekday. Why? Because weekends are busy days for dealers and shoppers. Everyone looking for an RV is out during the weekend and when you join a throng of enthusiastic buyers, it’s less likely that you’ll get the dealer’s attention, much less a good deal.
Skip the weekend crowd and find time to shop for an RV during weekdays instead. You’ll have the dealer’s full attention and can ask as many questions as you want while getting a better price.
Here it is, folks — the absolute worst time to buy an RV is during spring and summer. It comes as no surprise but it bears repeating nonetheless. Beautiful spring and summer weather may rouse the travel bug in you, but guess what? Everybody else wants to travel as well.
With demand comes higher prices. Add to that the fact that this is when new models of RVs are released and you have a very low chance of getting a significantly lower price on a trailer.
While it is the perfect time to get your RV out, it is certainly not the best time to buy an RV trailer at a discount. Skip buying in the spring and wait for fall and winter if you can.
While buying a camper for a steal is the best, there are still other ways to get more bang for your buck.
Ask your dealer if you can get free maintenance check-ups for the next year or season.
You will need to take care of your new RV and there are costs associated with that care. See if your dealer can offer an extension on the warranty.
Some dealerships prefer cash payments as many buyers are unable to keep up with monthly installments. If you can pay in cash, mention this to your dealer and ask about cash discounts.
See if your dealer is willing to offer free storage for the off-season months during the first year of purchase.
With dealers, it’s easy to visit and look at different RVs. You may not have that option with online sellers. However, it’s still best to look at an RV before buying it. If you can, take a mechanic with you when you do. If there are any repairs necessary, a mechanic can tell you if they are major issues and how much they will cost you.
Inspect the vehicle thoroughly and run the engine if it’s a motorhome. Look for leaks, mold growth, and other clues to assess how the owner took care of the RV. You can also ask the owner for maintenance and repair receipts to see how well it was taken care of. Check the miles on a used camper and see if it was brought in for tune-ups.
When buying an RV, it helps to know what you’re looking for like the size of the vehicle, your budget, and how you plan to use it. This makes buying easier and helps dealers make appropriate recommendations.
Look at the places you intend to visit and think about how often you’re going to be on the road. This will tell you how much wear and tear the vehicle should be capable of handling. Take into account if the roof needs to be able to withstand snow, hot climates, or heavy rains.
The number of people and pets you’ll be taking with you is another factor to consider. The more people you bring with you, the more space you will need.
Your budget is also something you need to factor in. How much down payment can you afford? What are your loan options based on your credit score? What is your budget and limit for monthly installments, interest rates, and which RVs fit the bill?
What must-have features do you need right away and how much additional cost do they entail? Which ones can you add or buy later?
Do you have a towing vehicle or do you prefer a motorhome? Your answer will eliminate a lot of possibilities and help you focus on the right models. For those who already have a towing vehicle and few financing options, it may be better to get a travel trailer instead of a motorhome.
Expect a motorhome to be heavier, like driving a truck. Towables by comparison are easier to drive.
This will make the biggest difference in the price of your RV. The older the RV, the cheaper the deal, but you may have more repairs down the road. This is why it’s important to get an RV mechanic to look at your potential trailer before buying one. You may end up paying for unexpected and expensive repairs.
The condition of your trailer will also impact your living conditions as you use it. If you’re not planning on frequent trips in places with harsh terrains and extreme weather conditions, a used RV in good condition should serve you well.
These are considerations you’ll be free from if you purchase a new trailer. New campers come with a warranty period during which time repairs are free. Since it’s new, you also have better assurance that your RV is in good working condition and you won’t have to worry about significant maintenance and repairs anytime soon.
If having the latest features is important to you, you can be assured of getting them with the newest models.
The resale value of vehicles is not as good as other items. The same goes for travel trailers. If you plan on using your RV occasionally but intend on keeping it for years, a used trailer is a viable option. However, if you’ll be using it quite often and plan on selling it after some time, stay on top of maintenance and repairs so that you can resell it at a good price later.
Be cautious of sellers trying to sell you a damaged RV, trailers without a warranty, and campers with abnormally low prices. Perform repeated checks online and offline with local dealers, trade shows, etc. to ensure you’re getting what you’re paying for.
If you can’t find a good enough deal at the moment, think about renting an RV for a trip or two until better offers and models come along. Considering the amount that you’ll be paying for a brand new RV or even a used one, it’s worth the wait.