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Ok, we had about an hour to kill and went to a local RV dealer. Wow!

Nice stuff!

But how do I know i'm getting a good deal?

Advice for first time shopper?

(we've been renting up until now)

How may trips do ya'll make a year? (non-Disney included)

Is it like a car, should we look at brand new ones?

Are there a lot of incidentals or hidden costs? (maintanace, repairs, etc.)

Are some brands better to stay away from?

HELP!!

 

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For a first time buyer I would recommend a used one, but take your time to find a decent one. Try to find one from an individual, not a dealer. Climb up on the roof and look at the caulking. That will give a good indication if the previous owner took good care of the unit. 

If going for a new unit, 30-35% off MSRP is a good starting point on price. Look out for gimmick add-ons such as protective coating and excess service/prep charges that are just profit enhancement. 

Ultimately be prepared to change units within a year to two years as you figure out what you like and dislike, or to completely step away from RV ownership altogether.

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Welcome to the forum. Those are some great questions, and there will be many different answers. Here are my general responses to those questions, with the understanding that everyone's preferences and experiences are different regarding brands and new vs old.

 

Ok, we had about an hour to kill and went to a local RV dealer. Wow!

Nice stuff!

But how do I know i'm getting a good deal? Typically you should expect 30% off of MSRP if buying new

Advice for first time shopper? - Look at all of them, without the salesperson in tow, picture yourself packing, unpacking - where will it all go, how easy is everything to get to. Stand in the shower - lay on the bed - open all doors - 

(we've been renting up until now)

How may trips do ya'll make a year? (non-Disney included) - We use ours 10 months per year - at least one trip per month - some are weekend trips, extended weekend trips, and some are two week trips to Disney - really need to use it more than 1 or 2 times to justify the spend.

Is it like a car, should we look at brand new ones? I typically stay away from any rig 10 years old or older  - two reasons - some parks don't allow rigs older than 10 years - and the roof is the most susceptible to time, has it been in storage, under cover, or out in the open - the sun is the worst enemy

Are there a lot of incidentals or hidden costs? (maintenance, repairs, etc.) - Just like owning a home that goes through a level 3 earthquake every time to you go somewhere - things will flex and move, sometimes resulting is minor repairs, tires should be replaced every 4 years at least, along with all the grease fittings tended to regularly

Are some brands better to stay away from? Dangerous question - I am partial to Jayco and Grand Design as the brands to consider, just because I have had really good luck with both brands.

 

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When you find the one you like search online to see if it is available somewhere else and for how much. I found ours at another dealer for $10,000 less. It was the same model but a previous year that had not sold.

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Everyone has given great advice. 

 

It seems like a lot of people I've talked to (myself included) always say "in my next rv I'll get ______" .  so starting with a used one give you a chance to see if you'll use it, and what options you might want or be able to do with out in the next one. 

 

Think of your family and what you plan on taking along with you, space you'll need for sleeping and ect. Then when you walk through you can imagine how you'll use the space and if it will suite your family. 

 

Also another thing to take into consideration is storage for the rv be it a travel trailer, 5th wheel or motorhome. Can you store it at home, what space restrictions do you have, if you can't what's the cost of off site storage in your area. 

 

If you're looking at travel trailers or 5th wheels figure out your weight restrictions before going to a dealer, sadly I have seen many sales people look at a vehicle and say oh yeah that can tow it no problem, when I knew there was no way. Don't let them sell you on the fact the dry weight is under your weight restrictions, you need to think of how you'll use it and the loaded weight of the trailer. 

 

Rvtrader.com is a great way to check prices at other dealerships as well as look for used RVs. We drove about 200miles to pick up our first TT, it met our weight restrictions and what we were looking for in a trailer at the time, not to mention the price. Craig's list is also another good option for finding used RVs in your area. If you do a Google search you'll find a lot of good info on things to look for in a preinspection of an RV. 

 

If you are buying a new trailer out of your area I would call the manufacturer of the trailer and ask if they have someone in your area that can do repairs and warranty work.

 

If you find a brand or floorplan you like do a Google search for that brand and floorplan. There are a lot of forums out there now for rv owners and it'll give you an idea of issues or things people like or dislike about that brand or model. 

 

Most importantly enjoy the search and enjoy your new RV!

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Everyone has given great advice. 
 
It seems like a lot of people I've talked to (myself included) always say "in my next rv I'll get ______" .  so starting with a used one give you a chance to see if you'll use it, and what options you might want or be able to do with out in the next one. 
 
Think of your family and what you plan on taking along with you, space you'll need for sleeping and ect. Then when you walk through you can imagine how you'll use the space and if it will suite your family. 
 
Also another thing to take into consideration is storage for the rv be it a travel trailer, 5th wheel or motorhome. Can you store it at home, what space restrictions do you have, if you can't what's the cost of off site storage in your area. 
 
If you're looking at travel trailers or 5th wheels figure out your weight restrictions before going to a dealer, sadly I have seen many sales people look at a vehicle and say oh yeah that can tow it no problem, when I knew there was no way. Don't let them sell you on the fact the dry weight is under your weight restrictions, you need to think of how you'll use it and the loaded weight of the trailer. 
 
Rvtrader.com is a great way to check prices at other dealerships as well as look for used RVs. We drove about 200miles to pick up our first TT, it met our weight restrictions and what we were looking for in a trailer at the time, not to mention the price. Craig's list is also another good option for finding used RVs in your area. If you do a Google search you'll find a lot of good info on things to look for in a preinspection of an RV. 
 
If you are buying a new trailer out of your area I would call the manufacturer of the trailer and ask if they have someone in your area that can do repairs and warranty work.
 
If you find a brand or floorplan you like do a Google search for that brand and floorplan. There are a lot of forums out there now for rv owners and it'll give you an idea of issues or things people like or dislike about that brand or model. 
 
Most importantly enjoy the search and enjoy your new RV!
RV trader is what I used to do my comparison shopping.

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Forgot to add.

Look to see if there are any RV shows in your area, they can be a good place to see lots of different brands and floorplans.

 

If looking at new ask if they have any previous year models leftover. We got the same floorplan we had seen at an RV show but at a much better price for buying a previous year model they still had on the lot and we're trying to get rid of to make room for the new ones coming in. 

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On 3/28/2018 at 6:58 AM, busterthebronco said:

 

But how do I know i'm getting a good deal?  For us, shopping around (a lot) told us fair market value.  We looked at what both dealerships and private owners were selling for.  Another option is a FB page:  RV Pricing and Values.  When you find a rig, he can tell you if you're getting a good price.  I've never used him, just know about the page ^_^

Advice for first time shopper? Buy USED.  I say this because one of two things will happen:  1)  you''ll buy a rig and decide that you don't want to be an RV owner...so you'll sell it.  Used, you'll loose less money.  OR  2) you'll love owning an RV, but you'll learn with that first rig what you like and don't like....and you'll be looking for your next rig, within 12-18 months.

How may trips do ya'll make a year? (non-Disney included)  We have it.. so we use it.  LOL  We're in our rig, 60-90 days per year.

Is it like a car, should we look at brand new ones?  Not for the first one.  Nope.

Are there a lot of incidentals or hidden costs? (maintanace, repairs, etc.)  Haha... yes.  RVing is not a cheap hobby.  But it's amazing family time.

Are some brands better to stay away from?  That I'm not sure of.  We're on our third rig.  Our first was a Trail Vision hybrid and I really liked the construction of that rig.  Our second was a Jayco travel trailer and that one too, we liked (However, Jayco was bought out in 2016 I believe.  I've heard that quality has gone down some, since the buy out...so buy 2015 or older).  Our current rig is a Keystone Cougar fifth wheel... you know, not thrilled with the construction of this one.  Don't hate/hate it... just not thrilled with it.  I've heard negative things about Forest River, but I know we have some Fiends with Forest River products that have been very happy.

 

 Welcome!!  We too are in Atlanta ^_^

I think my answers may have echoed some of the others, but I hope they still helped!  

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If by chance your choice leads you to a product by Forest River there are a few owners on this board that have good info they might share with you, as in all builders there are good and bad even within themselves, our unit is a Forest River brand and we are very happy with it. Good luck with your search and feel free to ask any questions as you can see there is a lot of help offered here.

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Before you buy anything,  make sure you are ready for RV ownership.   In general, be prepared for one minor emergency on almost every trip.  If you're not handy, now is a good time to run or learn. 

I like the RVing lifestyle because I enjoy tinkering, and it keeps me busy.  We can afford longer trips than at hotels etc, but at the same time you will be astounded by the rigs people have.  I'm at the Fort now and have seen a handful of Prevost buses this week at a half a million bucks and up...so many crew cab diesels at 65 grand it's mind blowing.  Even with what I have into my fixer upper and used truck I could have bought a lot of nights at the Poly.

As far as the other advice, it's all good stuff and i agree with 30 to 35 off msrp.  And I'll add these rigs are all tossed together with little care and the workers are paid by the piece so be prepared for even a new one to have problems day 1. 

Enjoy the search!

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The Brand of RV you choose isn't as important as the Dealer you choose to purchase and service through.  I've owned 2 brand new campers and each one had issues that needed to be resolved.  The dealer we purchased from was quick to get our camper in and get the issue resolved (Days not Months).  

 

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47 minutes ago, bdm said:

The Brand of RV you choose isn't as important as the Dealer you choose to purchase and service through.  I've owned 2 brand new campers and each one had issues that needed to be resolved.  The dealer we purchased from was quick to get our camper in and get the issue resolved (Days not Months).  

 

 Completely agree

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On 3/28/2018 at 9:40 AM, Specularius said:

Ultimately be prepared to change units within a year to two years as you figure out what you like and dislike, or to completely step away from RV ownership altogether.

This is good advice that a lot of folks don't think about. With this in mind we went with an entry level trailer for our first one and kept it about 3 1/2 years. We might have traded sooner but the first trailer was also sized to fit our tow vehicle at the time and had to ride the transition to the F-150 we have today. Without breaking the bank it allowed us to determine if we liked the RV thing and how we would use it. It also gave us the opportunity to determine what things we needed, wanted or could do without in our current trailer which we intend to keep longer term.

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On 5/10/2018 at 1:16 PM, bdm said:

The Brand of RV you choose isn't as important as the Dealer you choose to purchase and service through.  I've owned 2 brand new campers and each one had issues that needed to be resolved.  The dealer we purchased from was quick to get our camper in and get the issue resolved (Days not Months).  

 

I have to somewhat disagree, dealer is important, but some brands offer 2 yr warranties which can make a difference, especially with components. Fridge, a/c , furnace etc. That is where failures occur.

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On 3/28/2018 at 9:42 AM, Specularius said:

And don't forget about the hidden fees and other issues associated with ownership such as property taxes, storage fees, and HOA/city rules/laws. 

Great point!  Also remember that you will need water hoses, sewer hoses, electrical protection, levelers, chocks, etc., etc.  The list goes on and on. There is a never ending array of offerings for RV accessories.  You may not need to buy it all at once, but it adds up quick. And if you decide to buy from a dealer insist that a "starter kit" be thrown in after you settle on a price. It will all eventually be replaced with higher quality equipment, but it will get you going.  If buying from an individual consider having someone who does RV service give it a once over. They may charge you a nominal fee, but it could save you big bucks down the road, and offer a little peace of mind. Hope you find something and enjoy!

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This is good advice that a lot of folks don't think about. With this in mind we went with an entry level trailer for our first one and kept it about 3 1/2 years. We might have traded sooner but the first trailer was also sized to fit our tow vehicle at the time and had to ride the transition to the F-150 we have today. Without breaking the bank it allowed us to determine if we liked the RV thing and how we would use it. It also gave us the opportunity to determine what things we needed, wanted or could do without in our current trailer which we intend to keep longer term.
So we are clearly the non traditional first time buyers. We still have the first camper (2006 28 ft tt)that we bought and the truck (2001 Dodge Ram extended cab) we use to pull it. Both are paid for and though we have thought about replacing them right now that is just not in our budget.

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On 5/11/2018 at 11:17 AM, Grumpy and Grandma said:

I have to somewhat disagree, dealer is important, but some brands offer 2 yr warranties which can make a difference, especially with components. Fridge, a/c , furnace etc. That is where failures occur.

I've never seen a manufacture offer a warranties outside of a appliance warranties.  Our Grand Design has a manufactures 3 year warranty, that covers everything Grand Design did, not the AC, Fridge, hot water heater ect.  Those only have a manufactures warranty and each is its own.  

There are crap brands out there, that don't stand behind their product, but I've found if you are looking at consumer grade stuff, not 5 * stuff its all built very comparable.

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