Courtesy Motorhomes of Texas
When buying a big motorhome the question is: buy new or used? If you want the best overall deal the hunt will be among the “previously enjoyed” RVs. Here’s why:
People trade in their units for different reasons: Newer or improved equipment, TVs, heating systems, room slides, bigger or more efficient engine, more room, smaller size, etc. The list is long but the most popular reason is simply wanting a NEWER unit. Winding up with a unit that was traded because it was a problem or “lemon” is unlikely. Not all owners maintain their unit to the same degree, but most owners care for their RV better than the average belonging.
Worries about buying a bad unit can be minimized by buying from a reputable dealer. The dealer will take steps that ensure that all major components function as designed. The “debugging’ process of a new unit is often more frustrating to the first owner than the issues found in a properly prepped and detailed pre-owned RV.
There are just as many used units to choose from as new. While “new” dealers will say “You can’t spec out and build a used unit,” most new unit buyers pick one off the dealer’s lot. Few actually ORDER a new unit.
VALUE PER DOLLAR
When the papers are signed and the “new” unit becomes “used” depreciation rears its ugly head. You don’t even have to turn the ignition key. It’s used and now worth considerably less. Why? Let’s say a dealer buys a new unit from the manufacturer and pays $100,000 and then sells it for $115,000. Now, if the next day you decide you want to sell back your once-new but now “used RV,” you won’t get $100,000. The dealer can buy another “new” one for that. To make a profit, he’ll need to buy it from you for considerably less. The price will vary by dealer, but in our scenario let’s say the dealer feels that for the unit to be competitive with similar new units he’ll need to sell it for $100,000. To cover overhead and a salesman’s commission, he’ll offer you $85,000 — a $30,000 loss in just one day! That outlook gets worse the longer you’ve owned the coach.
Now apply the same scenario to a used motorhome. If the wholesale value of the used unit was $100,000 when the dealer acquired it, it will still be worth that the next day, week, or month. It will devalue over time but the new one would have also suffered more depreciation over time. The used RV buyer only loses whatever profit the dealer made to begin with in this example.