I showed a customer a used travel trailer the other day that was simply beautiful. Less than a year old, barely used, perfectly clean; if it were a car one might think it was only driven by a little old lady on Sundays. The customer asked why the previous owner traded it in, and although I didn’t know the story about this particular RV, I’ve seen three scenarios over and over again. So here are three mistakes we often see buyers make, and how you can avoid them:
1. Buying Too Small
Often times, first time RVers purchase a small RV to “try it out” to see if RV camping is something they will enjoy. The problem is, they never know if they like it because their trailer is so small they are never comfortable. Then at the end of the first season they are ready to trade it in on a larger unit so they can really enjoy camping next season. Trading in after one season means you take the largest hit on depreciation. First time campers can save money and trouble by talking to more experienced RVers, reading online forums, renting a camper for the first trip or two, and if possible, taking a trip or two with a friend or relative who has an RV before purchasing their own.
2. Buying Too Large
This happens more with couples who are retired or close to retirement that fall in love with big, beautiful fifth wheels that have every amenity under the sun. And while they always end up loving the fifth wheel, after a few trips they remember that it is the adventure of traveling that they really enjoy, and having a large, heavy fifth wheel slows them down too much. Although luxury is right for many people, adventurous spirits like to travel light, and inevitably these couples trade down to a smaller, lighter unit and happily take off for wherever the road takes them.
3. Shopping in a Hurry
When you camp you are going to be spending quite a bit of time in your RV, so it makes sense to get a really good idea of what that will be like. Let the salesperson show you around, but when you find one you think you like, ask to be left alone to check it out. Sit in every seat. Relax, lay in the beds, open the cabinets, go through all the motions you would go through after the purchase. Is there a spot you are going to bump your head on every day? Is the counter so low it’s going to hurt your back when you wash dishes? Can you reach all the light switches? Bring all your family along, or if that’s not possible imagine all of them there with you. Any good salesperson will want you to make the decision that is best for you and for your family and will let you have all the time you need.
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This article was originally posted here.