Don’t Go RV Shopping Yet. Here’s Why.
When is the best time to buy a camper? The answer to that question depends a lot on inventory, time of year, and market expectation.
Of course, you want to get a good deal, but let’s face it, you really want to get an RV and get out on the road. Slow down, take a deep breath, and consider when is the best time to buy a camper. Good research will save you money in the long run.
When is the best time to buy a camper?
Shop in the spring for used models
Often in the late winter or early spring, RVers are looking to sell their existing trailer to buy a new one. Make sure you get your negotiation skills honed and you find an RV that has been well cared for; it could potentially save you money on the purchase and in the long haul.
When purchasing an RV for from an individual without a warranty, be sure and have a local dealer or expert take a look. It will cost some to have the trailer inspected, but it could save you money in the end. This can also give you some negotiation room if you find some repairs that might need to be done.
Also, consider looking at storage facilities for a pre-owned RVs. Some might not want to continue paying a storage fee if they haven’t used it for a while. You might get a great deal.
Shop in the fall during the slow season
The slow season for RV sales is in the fall, usually around October, when many RVers are getting their rigs ready for winter and plans for camping have come to a halt. This can also be the time when RVers decide their days on the road are done and some used RVs come on the market.
By the time December and January roll around, there is a definite lull in the market, which makes it a great time to shop for a new or used RV. RV lots don’t have a lot of people vying for their next rig, and you can take some time and not be around a crowd of people.
Buy on a holiday weekend
Holiday weekends are often designated to clear inventory off the lot, and salesmen are approved to give bigger discounts and are ready to sell.
Buy when gas prices rise
When gas prices rise, it’s a sure bet there will be RVers out there who decide they can no longer afford to travel, particularly those with a towable RV and a diesel truck. This can put some awesome, well-kept rigs on the market. Check out Facebook groups, RV Trader, National Vehicle, and other websites to see what deals are out there.
Buy when a new model is released
Manufacturers release their newest models in the spring, so you can usually find a bargain at the end of winter. Often, last year’s models are not that different from the new ones—maybe there is a color scheme change or something else that is purely cosmetic.
Buy at RV shows
An RV show is an excellent place to negotiate a deal on a new RV. These can be any time of the year, but many are planned in January, February, and March when dealers have new models to showcase. Not only do salespeople have permission to provide discounts, but there is also a lot of competition between dealers. The sales associates are often motivated to reach a sales goal, particularly on the last day of the show.
Also, dealerships would rather not have to transport those rigs back to the lot, so they might be motivated to provide better deals for that reason.
RV shows are a great place to learn more about different models and manufacturers. Aftermarket vendors can let you know about poor design features and routine problems on particular models.
Look for deals in different areas
In predominantly warm areas, dealers sell RVs all year round, and the markup is less than places that have inclement weather and down sales during that time.
You can also check out dealers that are near where the trailer is manufactured. The dealer won’t have to factor in transportation costs, which could provide savings for you.
Negotiate to get the best deal
The fall is also a time when dealers have the best incentives as they are trying to get rid of the previous year’s models and make room for the new models to come. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for end-of-the-year or holiday sales. You might not be in a camping mood in December, but you could get a great deal to begin your RV life in the spring.
Fall and winter are also a great time to shop because you may not find too many others on the lots. Your salesman might also have some room to negotiate as he tries to clear the lot for the spring influx.
Work on your negotiation skills and stay firm on what you want to spend. It’s easy to get caught up in the fun of finding the perfect camper and then roll over on the price just because you really, really want that one.
Don’t be in a rush to purchase
Sometimes you find the best RV for you at the right price, right out of the gate. But don’t worry if you haven’t found the perfect one right away; just make sure you take the time to get the best deal possible. If that means you have to wait for a period of time, there is nothing wrong with that. We found the best camper for us pretty quickly whereas we see a lot of people who purchase an RV, find it doesn’t meet their needs, purchase another, and continue the cycle until they get the right one.
If you purchase well in advance of your first long trip, check out how everything works. Go on a short trip close to home. Make sure everything is working well. Check that you know what to do. Fellow RVers are a great resource. They’ll show you the best way to park, level, and set up or empty the black tank.
When is the best time to buy a camper? Usually, the late fall and early winter are going to be the best time to purchase your new (or new to you) RV. Off-season purchases are going to get you the best deal. If you can save money on your purchase, you will have more to spend on upgrades and adventures. Making memories, of course, is the best reason to purchase an RV.
One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and much more.
- Important Things To Look For When Purchasing A Used RV
- Avoid The Rush, The Time To Buy Or Sell Your RV Is NOW!
Terri and her husband, Todd, are full time RVers and work campers. They have been living full time in their RV for nearly three years with their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Newton, and their Mini Aussie puppy Remi. They are currently wintering in Arizona with plans to continue their travels next summer. Writing is Terri’s passion but she also loves hiking, kayaking and anything she can do outside.
Mike Brown says
When you have the money to pay for it.
Ricky Mc Cowan says
Thanks for the good info.
Larry Berk says
The best time to buy is sometime in the future. Today, there are massive numbers of new RV’rs who have hit the road, folks now able to work from home (wherever home is), people who have taken their kids of out schools to home school (again, wherever home is) and travelling nurses who have increased their compensation by 10x by travelling around the country. The result is that it is VERY difficult to find camping space with hookups. Be prepared to book months or even a year in advance. Yes, I’m a little pessimistic.
Thank you for the information I will be looking to buy a used RV which can sleep two comfortably