How Much Will a Functional and Dependable RV Cost Me?
The first thing everyone wants to know when considering whether to live the RV lifestyle or not, is how much will it cost.
The real answer is that it's within your budget. How do I know that? Because it's within almost anyone's budget. Since you've bought this book and are considering it, I'm sure you can afford it because it can be so much less expensive than most people think.
If you're even remotely thinking about living full-time (or even part time) in a motorhome, by all means buy Bill Myers' referenced in Chapter 3. It will save you a lot of money when you buy your RV. The title of the book is:
"Buying a Used Motorhome - How to get the most for your money and not get burned"
You can get the Kindle version for $2.99 or the paperback version for $13.46. Find the books on Amazon by just searching for the title.
The fastest way to get an idea of what RVs are selling for is to check out eBay. Be sure to look at the "Completed listings" to see what RVs actually sold for. Sometimes the starting bid or the reserve price is way out of line and the RV will not sell.
To see the "Completed listings" and see the actual price RVs sold for, log into your eBay account and then in the top right corner of your screen in small print (just to the right of the big blue "Search" box), you will see the word, "Advanced." Click on this link and then enter the keyword, "motorhome." Scroll down and click on the Completed listings box and below that enter a price range or at least, enter a minimum price. If you don't enter a minimum price, you will see 20,000 items including mirrors, clocks, headlights and everything that has the word, "motorhome" in the listing.
Then click on the blue "Search" box. This will take you to the list of completed auctions. The prices shown in green are the ones that sold and the prices shown in red are the ones that didn't sell because their reserve price was higher than the highest bid or else they didn't get a bid because their starting bid was too high.
I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how low some of these motorhomes sell for.
Websites that show prices for used motorhomes:
nadaGuides.com/RV NADA Pricing Guide
kkb.com Kelly Blue Book prices
The above websites generally show you the fair-market going-rate retail prices of motorhomes, but these are not usually the real bargains. There are other websites that show prices for RVs. These are just some examples.
In addition to looking on eBay to find bargains, checkout CraigsList at Craiglist.org -- note that this website uses the "dot org" and not the normal "dot com" suffix.
The more you investigate the less you have to invest.
In addition to checking CraigsList and local RV dealers in your area, keep in mind that you can find some good bargains outside of your area. Check in Florida, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico. A lot of people go there to retire and then when they decide to stop RVing their RVs are up for sale. There are some real bargains to be found in these areas if you're diligent.
Spend some time looking at used RVs on the lot at RV dealers, but don't let them talk you into buying one of their shiny new RVs. By looking at RVs this way, you can see several RVs in a short amount of time. You will be able to compare floor plans and get an idea of what you like and don't like.
There are some bargains to be found on the lot at RV dealerships, but you will have to negotiate. They will start out quoting you the full retail price. Use the negotiating techniques outlined later in this chapter and you could end up with a very good deal. Don't be afraid to walk away. There are a lot of good used RVs on the market.
Make sure the RV has not been sitting unused for a year or so. Sitting unused is one of the worse things that can happen to an RV.You could have a lot of maintenance problems if you buy an RV that has not been used in a long time.
You can hire a local RV mechanic in the area where the RV you're interested is located to do an inspection for you. If they find something major wrong with an RV, this could save you from making a big mistake. Most of the time even if everything is in reasonably good condition, they can usually find enough minor things that you can negotiate with the seller to fix and almost always more than offset the cost of the inspection.
Also, if you don't want to go get the RV yourself and drive it back to your location, there are companies that will bring it to you for a reasonable fee. So don't overlook searching for RVs outside you your local area.
RV prices are more negotiable than car prices
Some people don't like to negotiate, but in the RV market almost all prices are negotiable and not just a little bit, but a lot. You can save a lot of money by doing just a little negotiating. Use the simple negotiating techniques described below and you should be able to get your RV at a great price.
Note that not a single one of the following statements say that you won't pay the price being asked. You imply it, but you don't actually say it. You are always free to accept the price that the seller is asking.
Here are my 7 all-time favorite negotiating phrases for people who don't like to negotiate
#1 ALWAYS, ALWAYS flinch at the first price or proposal
You should almost fall out of your chair because you are so shocked. Do this even if the price you hear is way less than what you expected. Flinch and say, "That's WAY out of my budget and then shut up. Don't say a word. Just sit and wait for the price to drop.
#2. Next, when you get the lower price quote, you should say, "You've got to do better that that."
And then again, you shut up. If you open your mouth, you won't get the next price concession. If you say yes to the first offer, the other person will know that they quoted you a price that was too low. They may even try to find a way to increase the price. They may say something like, "Well let me see if the boss will go along with this price" or, "Let me make sure that this is ok with my wife."
#3. If you make a counter offer ALWAYS Ask For a Much Lower Price Than You Expect to Get.
One of the cardinal rules of negotiating is that you should ask the other side for more than you expect to get. Henry Kissinger went so far as to say, "Effectiveness at the negotiating table depends upon overstating one's demands."
#4. Never offer to Split the Difference
It's human nature to want to "play fair." Our sense of fair play dictates to us that if both sides give equally, then that's fair. Realize that the other side is almost always willing to split the difference, so you should try to get a little better deal than that.
#5. How to use two powerful negotiating techniques all in one sentence. The two techniques are: "Absent higher authority" and "If I could, would you?"
We've all experienced the "Absent higher authority" technique. For example, "Our insurance regulations won't let you go back in the shop" or "The loan committee wouldn't go along with those terms." You don't get to talk to the loan committee (it doesn't exist) and you don't get to talk to the insurance company. It's a higher authority that you can't talk to.
Here's how to use the technique in your favor for once. When you're down to the final negotiations, you can say, "If I could get my (financial adviser, spouse, or some absent higher authority) to go along with this, would you replace the the two front tires?
Notice in this statement that you haven't agreed to anything.
The owner or salesperson is in a position of feeling that they need to go along with what you're proposing to keep the deal from falling apart.
#6. Nibble for More at the End
You can usually get a little bit more even after you have basically agreed on everything -- if you will use a technique I call nibbling.
You can say, "You ARE going to have the carpets professionally cleaned or you are going to replace the windshield wiper blades aren't you?"
The sales person is already thinking about what he is going to do with his commission. The last thing he wants is for this sale to fall through. He will usually give just a little more if you "nibble."
#7. When you're getting close to the end of the negotiations and everything is just about nailed down, say, "I'm getting nervous about this" and then SHUT UP. The other party will think the deal is about to fall apart and they will likely throw in one more concessions to seal the deal.
Bottom line: Use some or all of the above negotiating techniques and you can easily cut the price you end up paying for your RV by thousands of dollars.