For the most part, the best deals you will find on RVs will be through cheap RVs for sale by owner. Sometimes manufacturers will have great deals and dealerships will pass them through to you, but generally they won’t give as much away as people who sell RVs for sale by owner. Not to mention that the blue book value of a dealership-sold RV is higher than a private party, and the minimum price is higher.
Of course, not all private party deals are just that. Sometimes a private owner owes more than what the RV is really worth and yet, they think they can get what they owe out of it. Other times people become attached to their RV and think that any improvements they may have made on the RV are worth more than it is. So you have to find the perfect seller. The perfect seller is someone who just wants out of a desperate situation. They are ready to sell their RV as fast as possible. Sometimes even if they owe more on it than its worth, they are willing to take a loss for it just to get out of the monthly payment. Other times, they just realize they have a depreciating asset sitting in storage and want to get rid of it today before its worth nothing. Sometimes, in the case of a divorce, the owners are ready to give their RV away because it reminds them of unpleasantness. There are several different reasons an individual would like to sell their RV for a quick sell, and if you know where to find these people, you can get yourself a steal of a deal.
There is one last fear to quell before we move forward. Skeptics are wondering why these people who are just so desperate to get rid of an RV, don’t just go sell it to the local RV shop. There are a few reasons. First, RV dealerships, like consignment stores, don’t take in everything that comes their way. They have to see a market for it or they won’t buy it. Second, sometimes dealerships don’t buy RVs unless they get it as a result of a trade-in which means they get something out of it. And lastly, dealerships buy the used RVs they sell at extremely low prices. You can find some great deals because a dealership will offer a seller about 40% of market value. If you can get an RV for 60% of market value, that’s still a great deal and the seller is getting 20% more than they would, had they sold it to the dealership.
So where are the best deals among private parties? The best deals are the old ones. These are the people who have tried to sell their RV for a few months and just haven’t had any luck. A good percentage of them will have given up and taken it in to the dealership, but some people are holding on, or the dealership didn’t want their RV. There are a few great places to look. First, check out the local paper, but look at classifieds that are a month or two old. Call the ones that are a good deal to see if they have sold yet. If you feel ridiculous calling these people, you can compare old newspapers to new ones, and see if there are any of the same listings and call them, because you will know they have not sold their RV yet.
The longer it sits not selling, the more willing an owner will be to take a cut on the price. A second place to look for great deals is on Craigslist. Do the same thing as with the newspaper, go back as far as you can and search to see how many times that RV is listed. See if the owner reduced the price at all, how often they have listed it and if there is any pattern to their activity. eBay can often be a great place to find a good deal, though sometimes it is harder to find something that is close enough to check before you buy. With eBay it is really important not to get caught up in the melodrama of an auction. Stick to your maximum bid, and don’t bid until the last-minute or so.
Between those resources, you should have no problem finding a great deal. Before you call, make sure you find out as much info you can about the RV, find an estimated market value and decide on what amount you are willing to pay – hopefully you can do this even before you call the seller for the first time. Stick to your guns, don’t get caught up in any one RV. There is always another day to find an awesome cheap RV for sale by owner!